Visual storytelling isn’t something people need to be sold on. We all know it is the most efficient way to catch attention, deliver a message, and build a connection. Information delivered without a visual component is less than a fifth as likely to be retained. That’s because human beings are built to process and remember images. Written words and even language itself haven’t been around as long as sight and visual communication. Visual storytelling helps people process difficult concepts, cuts down the amount of time necessary to understand them, and holds attention better.
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But what’s the trick? Not all imagery is going to prove effective. How can you use visual storytelling to make your next campaign really stick?
IDENTIFY YOUR MESSAGE
It all starts with the simple question: What are you trying to say? And it can’t be “BUY THIS THING!” (see our articles on Target Market Analysis). Your message needs to be something people can connect to. If you don’t have anything to say, it doesn’t matter what bells and whistles you put on a marketing campaign, your audience will see right through it.
INCORPORATE YOUR MESSAGE WITH IMAGES
A lot of people when marketing on social media over rely on captions. They put up an image and hope the casual scroller will stop and read the caption posted with it. However, this often proves ineffective. Rather, you should incorporate your message with the image, so that you can’t see one without the other. This can mean literally having text in the image, or it can mean having such a specific image, the audience knows exactly what you are talking about.
STREAMLINE YOUR VISUAL CONTENT
This is a seemingly simple idea, but you would be surprised by how few marketing campaigns successfully manage it. Often, a campaign manager thinks they just have so much they want to say, so they cram everything they can into an image, a message, or a website. But this clutter will confuse your audience. But removing anything extraneous from your content, you draw attention to where it needs to be. An excellent example of this is Volkswagen’s 1955 campaign. In an era where everyone else in the world would have thrown an exclamation point (!!!!!!!) onto an image, Volkswagen put a simple period. It was sleek, simple, and told you everything you needed to know, no fat—just the message.
USE COLOR THEORY TO STAND OUT
Color is both incredibly simple and extraordinarily complicated. There are the basics of color theory—complementary and tertiary colors, etc. But there’s also understanding shade, hue, and saturation. Often, if you want something to stand out, you need it to be in contrast to its surroundings. Sometimes this means using complementary colors, like yellow and purple. But if you apply this concept without considering saturation and shade, you can end up with a visually distracting image. A yellow subject amid a purple background will stick out more if that purple background is less saturated and less bright.
CONSIDER THE PLATFORM
Your visual marketing strategy should be complemented by the platforms you use to market. Obviously, this will impact the specs of any imagery you put into your marketing materials, but also the visuals you utilize can complement each platform. For example, visual content on a billboard should vary drastically from a post on Instagram, and which platform you choose to use should itself be informed by an analysis of your target market.
In any marketing campaign, proper visual storytelling can make the difference between success and abject failure. But if you find yourself scratching your head, thinking, “But this kind of work would mean hiring a professional team!” Don’t worry, you’re already at a website for a professional marketing team! Funny how that works. Check out our Gallery or contact us if you have any questions about what CATMEDIA can do.
CATMEDIA is an award-winning Inc. 500 company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1997, the company specializes in advertising, creative services, media production, program management, training, and human resource management. As a Women Owned Small Business (WOSB), CATMEDIA provides world-class customer service and innovative solutions to government and commercial clients. Current CATMEDIA clients include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).