How to tell your brand story with visuals

Most people are visual learners. We process information much quicker with the help of visuals.

Visual storytelling has therefore become an efficient tool for individuals and brands to make people remember a brand message, and even convert people to loyal customers and fans of a brand.

About a Visual-driven Generation

Generation Z (Zoomers) consists of people who were born in the 2000s and grew up with internet-connected gadgets in their hands. They are also called ‘certified digital natives’ or ‘visual-driven generation’ because they comprehend the world mostly through digital tools. 

Although Gen Zs are still quite young, they already have a great impact on digital marketing as they form almost half of all internet users globally. When it comes to marketing numbers, surveys show that Generation Z is likely to make up 40% of consumers in 2020. In other words, it all comes down to the fact that brands need to adapt to the needs and habits of the majority of their target audience.

Why Does Visual Storytelling Work?

Visuals are far more effective in terms of communication. On average, humans remember only 10% of text information. At the same time, we can remember over 65% of the information that was shown to us. In practice, this means that a text without the right visuals is extremely ineffective in cases where a person needs to deeply understand something new. 

Storytelling makes your content engaging regardless of the project. Consumers can build connections between images, empathise with the heroes, imagine themselves as a character, and even become a real participant in a story taking some action. 

A study has shown that engaging coloured visual content has 80% more chances to be consumed by internet users than bold text. At the same time, users are 85% more likely to buy a product after watching a video about it (which is the most obvious form of storytelling).   

Visual Storytelling for Brands

Visual storytelling is about enhancing your brand communication and providing customers with a holistic brand image. It can be used at different stages of communication. 

The most obvious type of material where you can integrate a visual narrative is advertisement (video commercials or pictures), as well as case studies. At a higher level is the account of your brand on social networks. An advanced storytelling level is through the consistency of all your communication. In this case, you need to position the brand as a person with its own character, emotional baggage and, of course, personal history. 

7 Steps to Developing Your Brand's Visual Story

#1 Concentrate on a concrete purpose

Decide on why you need to communicate your message, what CTAs it may include, who is the intended audience, what metrics you can use to measure results. Visual storytelling works well but needs a lot of effort. Find out if benefits outweigh the cost.

#2 Find your tools

Storytelling can be implemented at different levels of communication including a single product commercial, seasonal market campaign, social networks content marketing, or brand narration in general. Which case is yours? 

Having answered the question, move to list platforms and communication tools you could use considering your budget. It can be stock images with custom captions, animation, videos, gifs, face filters, online games, etc. 

#3 Concentrate on emotions and impressions

Branding is not about selling goods but about selling emotions. Storytelling works similarly. Think of the action you need from users and come up with emotions you need to evoke in their hearts to achieve this. Do you need users to become scared? Pleased? Relaxed? Joyful?

#4 Work on your hero

The main character of your brand story should be as human-like as possible, realistic (which means there’s no room for a hero with no fears and cute flaws), and relevant. It has to be a character that users could associate themselves with. 

#5 Think of possible conflicts and build a story structure

If you don’t have a conflict, you don’t have a story. To find out what conflict can be outlined in your brand story, analyse your character. What is its deepest fear? A spectacular and believable conflict will arise at the moment when you make your hero collide with his opponent, who is the embodiment of his fear. Your hero may win or die. You decide.

#6 Turn your story into a visual story! 

Find images that reveal the essence of each element of your story structure. A little hint: a structural element is a small event that changes something in history. If you are working on a video or Instagram Stories, create a structured selection of ‘frames’ (in cinematographic, it is called a storyboard).

#7 Polish your visual narrative

There are several proven methods to make your story more visual. Until you have developed your personal style, we recommend that you continue to try and look for successful tricks that work in your case and lead to amazing metrics. Consider some evergreen hints:

—  The most important thing in your image should contrast against the background of everything else.

—  Make the largest object in the pictures the one you want to get viewers to follow. This may be the main character or item.

—  Avoid visual details that make no sense in the context of your story. The less unnecessary details in your illustration are, the more attention will be given to important things. 

Great Visual storytelling examples

— Recently, Google has uploaded a YouTube video showing doctors fighting for the lives of people infected by the coronavirus. 

— This year, Gap used their models as brand faces on Instagram. Some of models have artistic or charity backgrounds, some of them just describe their lifestyle and tell about their favourite Gap clothes.

— In 2015, Slack (the online collaboration hub) created a huge PR campaign out of a single banner! The Slack homepage banner said that the Stack app was used even by those who put robots on Mars.

— In 2018, the Gucci Beauty Instagram account has launched a gorgeous AR filter that allows users to create renaissance- and baroque-period self-portraits. The tool stimulated user-generated content production.  

Mariia Lozhko is a marketing writer at Depositphotos.

Related: This year's big visual trends – according to stock libraries

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