• Rachit Maheshwari

The Power of Visual Storytelling

Updated: Jul 14

Stories have captivated humankind since times immemorial. It is evident as we have found pre-historic drawings from the time of the cavemen which are nothing but compelling stories of their day. It goes on to show that humans are driven by a strong desire to tell stories and detect patterns, connections even when they are not present. The best stories live on in the form of fairy tales, anecdotes, novels, and movies.

A few days earlier, I came across a thought-provoking line in a blog by Richard Branson – “With the naivety of youth, I believed that creativity and storytelling could change the world. With the experience of 50 years in business behind me, I still believe that.” The power of stories is something that is being given its due recognition.

This is especially true in the business context nowadays, and storytelling as a tool is increasingly used to drive different messages. With the advancement of technology, the medium of storytelling has changed.

Businesses, brands and people are now making use of Social Media, Augmented Reality. A story can now start in one medium and continue in another. A case in point being the 2010 season of BBC’s 'Doctor Who' which consisted of 13 television episodes and four episodes in the form of downloadable video games.

Concerning businesses, the biggest challenge in storytelling is to strike a balance involving the audience, delivering the message and including all the core components of any story which are:

  • Exposition (inciting moment)

  • Complication (rising action)

  • Climax (Turning Point)

  • Reversal (Falling Action)

  • Denouement (Release of Tension)

We will look at Visual Storytelling and how a growing number of businesses are using it to cut across the clutter in today’s world of information overload. But before we get to that, below are some data points to show that imagery helps in better retention of information.

Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets, 89% more favourites and 18% more clicks.

Infographics are amongst the most shared content types.

Data points in the form of imagery have the power to shock, inspire, or leave you in awe. Brands realize this and milk it to the fullest. But there is a caveat, the use of data should not have the opposite effect, that leaves the audience disinterested in the product or service.

Brands like Uber, Airbnb which are entirely driven by the customer, for without the customer there is no product, are built on stories. Here’s an image from the diversity section on their website.

One of the lessons of great storytelling is to be subtle and not push your brand down consumers’ throats at every given opportunity. A brilliant example of this is Apple’s iconic 1984 commercial or the ZooZoo ads from Vodafone.

Google, a company so ubiquitous that it does not need to market itself anymore (Apple too is of the same ilk) came out with an ad that tugged at our heartstrings and showed how it helps brings the world closer every day. It has an exquisite narrative that keeps the audience engaged right from the beginning.

Do let us know of your favourite brand stories in the comments section.

Source of the Infographics: What Makes Visual Storytelling Marketing So Effective?



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