The human brain absorbs visual information 600 times faster than sounds and smells. People also remember pictures with logical connections between them 65% better than text. But how do you make the visual information generated by your brand even more effective? Some visual storytelling tips will help you with this.
Visual Storytelling Tips
Let’s take a dive into these 6 simple visual storytelling tips:
1. Choose your Goal and Metrics
Aimless marketing leads only to budget losses. So don’t let your storytelling-based content be commercially aimless.
Storytelling can be integrated into any level of your marketing strategy, including a single ad, a marketing campaign, the tone of voice for social networks, and general brand narration.
If visual storytelling is a new tool for you, start on a small scale. For example, use visual storytelling for advertising a new product on social networks. In this case, the goal of your message will be to increase the sales of goods. Metrics that will help you evaluate the success of a storytelling approach are sales, clients’ requests, and social resonance (reposts, brand or product mentions, and comments).
2. Set a Budget to Find your Tools
You can apply visual storytelling at a single product advertising level or through the brand narrative on social networks. Each of the options means that you need a specific budget. The smaller your communication scale, the cheaper the tools are.
Master visual storytelling by working with small messages. This approach will help you figure out which stories are the most popular among your target audience and invest more in communication that really works in the future.
Visual storytelling can be embodied in the form of a static picture with brand captions, custom animations, videos, face filters, online games, and more. The most affordable way to start with visual storytelling is to use stock images, which I use often, and then edit them based on your needs. There are many editing tools out there, so you can design like a pro with no design experience needed.
3. Emotions are Everything
The emotional context of your brand can be very broad. Curiosity can encourage your customers to surf your online catalog. The desire to be part of a cool crowd encourages users to turn certain products into bestsellers. The euphoria from ordering a long-awaited product can make an online store user order something else as part of one order.
You can work with either positive or negative emotions as the latter can also be a purchasing trigger. If your potential customer experiences irritation while reading the assembly instructions by your competitor, they are more likely to buy goods from you next time if you provide them with a solution such as free installation.
Analyze what emotions are at the heart of a potential customer. Anger? Despair? Joy? This emotional trigger will influence the plot of your story and its visual style. This way you’ll increase your chances of capturing their attention to your product and prompt them to take a specific action.
4. Create a Hero that Saves the Day
The main rule for creating a realistic hero of your narrative is its relevance to your audience. In order for your story to be involved, a hero (and an antihero) must be familiar with your audience. It is wonderful if the hero’s prototype is representative of your target audience. At the same time, the hero may be the product you are advertising or your brand.
And who is an antihero? A good antihero embodies the fears of the hero and poses a serious threat to him or her. An antihero should also be easy-recognizable by the target audience. Use your target audience research to learn their fears and create an antihero based on that information.
5. Build a Storyboard Based on Conflict
A story is impossible without conflict. Conflict starts with your hero facing their challenges. Engaging stories are built on the clash of a hero and an antihero (a hero’s deepest fear). Your hero may win or die, or, perhaps you may leave an open ending that provides you with a room for a sequel. Build your first story using the following structure:
- Rising action
- Falling action
A storyboard usually consists of simple images that reflect the essence of each structural element of your story. You may even use them as content for Instagram or Facebook Stories. However, to turn your storyboard frames into a video, a banner ad, or other material, you’ll need to go on one more step.
6. Visualize your Story
Creating the layout of your story, consider the technical features of the platform you are going to post content on. For example, storytelling for Instagram should be based solely on graphics and short videos without text injections.
Visual storytelling for YouTube or TikTok can take the form of a series or a long movie. At the same time, visual storytelling on the landing page should provide users with constant motivation to scroll down the page or follow CTA. So think about how the user will interact with your story and determine its shape, style, and scale.
Use some proven visual storytelling rules too. First, use color and shade contrasts to highlight the subject of the story. Second, strive for minimalism. Your images or videos should not have a single detail that does not matter to the story. Third, control users’ eyes by arranging elements on the image so they could guide users along a specific visual hierarchy.
Bonus ending: Here are some books that helped me develop my visual storytelling skills: Visual Storytelling: How to Speak to the Audience Without Saying a Word by Morgan Sandler, Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative by Will Eisner, and The Power of Visual Storytelling by Ekaterina Walter.