Visual Storytelling: Why Less Is More [Webinar Primer]

by | Feb 20, 2018 | Public Relations

We live in a visual world.

People remember 30 percent of what they read, but 80 percent of what they see, according to a study by an educational psychologist. That’s why today’s communicator needs to be able to tell stories visually.

Visual storytelling, done well, means memorable, shareable content. And when you consistently provide such content, you become an industry authority; when your brand gets known for producing valuable and visually appealing stories, audiences will begin to seek you—and your wise words—out.

But when it comes to building brand images, it’s no longer enough to simply plaster your company’s name and logo across the screen. It requires that you provide a visual narrative that tells your story in an engaging, non-commercial way.

Newspaper Article Update Checking Publication Department

But I understand it can be a little nerve-racking to go from traditional, heavily branded content to “unbranding” the visual way, so here are a few tips to get started with visual storytelling:

Get your boss’s buy-in

The idea of unbranding can often make the C-suite nervous, however, it can often achieve unbeatable results. From Whirlpool’s Institute of Home Science to The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, major brands benefit from a more understated and editorially focused visual storytelling approach. Show your company leaders the success of other major brands and get their blessing before you begin content production.

Focus on the audience

Once you’ve got that all-important executive buy-in, you need to turn the focus away from your brand and toward your brand’s target audience. Consider what the audience cares about and how they will benefit from your visuals. By doing this you will naturally be able to scale back the spotlight on your company, choosing the visuals that will most resonate with your key audience. This will increase the likelihood of more people seeing and sharing your brand’s story. In short, give the people what they want.

Think like a journalist

Unbranding your visual content doesn’t mean stripping the content of all branding. Think about how an outside journalist would represent your company if they were capturing the photo, video, etc. If a journalist would not set up a photograph or video shot with your company’s logo in the background, then find a subtler way to weave it into your visuals. Consumers are tired of being bashed over the head with heavy-handed branding – in the long run, less is often more.

Beautiful landscape image of Burbage Edge and Rocks in Summer in Peak District England in pages of imaginary story book

Watch my Agility PR Solutions webinar, Visual Storytelling for PR Professionals, on demand for tips on how to turn these concepts into reality and to learn innovative ways to measure success, like using AI-powered image monitoring to track your visual reputation.

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Aaron Cohen
Aaron Cohen (@cohencomms) is an award-winning writer, consultant and tech evangelist based out of Portland, Oregon. He is the founder of Glitch PR, a one-person powerhouse helping tech-forward startups think different about all things PR.