Storytelling has become a huge part of marketing in recent years. In order to differentiate and humanize themselves, brands are telling stories that pull customers into the experience. It’s practically a requirement, but it’s not something that can solely be done through words.
As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. That’s why we’re going to look at five ways you can start telling stories with visuals in your marketing and in your web design.
5 Ways To Tell Better Stories Visually
Until recently, telling stories, even as an academic essay writer or in your professional writing, was frowned upon. Marketing materials and best practices dictated that you stick to copywriting tactics and leave the stories for the authors of the world.
The problem with this approach is that you’re coming across as a robotic and unemotional brand. Today’s consumers connect with people, not brands.
1. Show Instead of Tell
The first method for improving your storytelling comes from a tried and true rule in film making. When telling your story, it’s best to show the audience instead of telling them. While you can use text in your images, sometimes you get a much stronger effect with nothing at all.
In terms of branding, this translates to showing customers the benefits of your product, as opposed to telling them what it does. One thing you should avoid at all costs is talking primarily about yourself and about the brand. Instead, focus on how you can show your customers all the ways your product benefits their daily lives.
2. Focus on People
While many brands would kill to have someone recognize their logo, it’s actually more important that they see the people behind your product. Take Offerman Wood Shop for example. It’s run by the famous Nick Offerman, but the website’s main page also shows the rest of his team candidly in their work space.
It immediately becomes more recognizable with pictures of actual people instead of just a logo. When you start telling your stories with visuals, look for opportunities to show people that work with you, or even encourage pictures of customers using your product.
3. Consider Context
The average attention span of today’s online users is only 8 seconds, which doesn’t leave a lot of time for you to tell a story. By leveraging context, you can quickly convey several concepts at once. You can also play off of viewer’s assumptions to provide compelling twists in your narrative.
For example, let’s say you want to show how your product can solve a common problem. You could put together a quick film that shows a common issue your customers face more often than not. They will instantly recognize this without the need for you to explain everything.
They will expect to see the problem manifest itself like it always does, but then you can surprise them with a demonstration of how your product solves this problem. You can do all of this without saying a word. You simply need to incorporate the right visuals to trigger these thoughts in the viewer’s mind.
4. Show Something New
Think about your favorite films. What makes them so exciting? Movies like Arrival, Interstellar, Doctor Strange, these all take viewers to places they couldn’t have imagined. These are stories that have fresh and exciting settings.
For brands, this can be achieved by going behind the scenes. Show your customers something they don’t get to see every day. Give them a reason to be excited about the story you’re telling. The important thing here is to show them these things. Don’t sit and talk about it, bring it to life through pictures or video.
5. Keep it Short and Concise
Photographers and film makers use the Rule of Thirds to help them capture shots and ensure that the focus is on the right elements of the image or scene. To harness this rule, simply divide an image into thirds using lines. The points where the lines intersect will be the places that the eye is drawn to.
These four intersections also act as quadrants that can each act as a different part of your visual story. Taking this into account, it’s important to utilize every aspect of these focal points. Anything you can do in a shorter amount of time or space is better than using more time or visual real estate than needed.
Visuals are just as powerful, if not more so than words. Telling your stories with a visual twist can really empower your message and your brand. Ultimately, it’s the secret to vastly improving your customer’s overall experience with your brand.
How do you utilize visuals in your storytelling? Let us know in the comments!