When we think of stories, we often think of pages in a book, or maybe we recall a memory of our parents evoking tales of their youth. These are but samples of traditional storytelling.
Words written down or spoken aloud in order to tell a story from beginning to end, detailing the events and outcomes throughout. But what of stories told with visuals rather than words?
Visual storytelling describes the process of telling a story without the need for lines of text or audio cues. Although these can be included, it is widely considered that visuals can almost work perfectly without the need for words. They say, ‘ a picture paints a thousand words’, well some images have the ability to tell an entire story.
However, what constitutes visual storytelling? What are the tricks, the techniques, the nuances for composing a good visual story? Here are but a few of the more important rules to remember it comes to creating compelling visual stories for your brand.
1. Be Personal
It’s one of the oldest, yet most sound pieces of advice that can be offered to anybody, regardless of their professional background. Be yourself!
Brands that show themselves in an honest light have an edge over their competitors for the simple fact that nobody can copy them. They can’t share the same story as you.
Visual storytelling is most effective when some aspect of vulnerability is included in the imagery. It shows a certain flair of personality, one which tends to resonate with your audience more than with a generic brand advertisement or illustration. Explore your brand’s personality and use this in order to create captivating visual stories.
2. Strive for Strife
This is a simple, but often forgotten about, canon of storytelling. The protagonist wishes to achieve something, an opposing force blocks their path, and the story follows this protagonist’s struggle to complete his goal.
This is extremely important to the success of your brand’s visual campaigns. Viewers will engage more with a visual advertisement which tells an exciting story which involves some form of conflict.
Also, because these are typically short they suit the typical amount of time a viewer may dedicate to visual presentation. Some of the most memorable ad campaigns tell a visual story in order to convey brand values, especially ones with lovable characters the audience can root for.
3. Keep things flowing
A good visual story needs to flow naturally.
There has to be a definite sense of direction where clear structure and a noticeable story arc is present. If things are stagnant or just plain confusing to look at, it acts as a massive turn off for viewers who’ll focus their attention elsewhere. You see this in countless Hollywood blockbusters and award-winning TV campaigns, so there’s no harm to consider it for your own visual campaigns!
4. Be Educational, but in a fun way
If you allow your audience the opportunity to take something away from your visual campaign, why not it be new knowledge?
Your campaign should aim to teach your audience about something that they wouldn’t have learned from their everyday interactions. This way, your brand becomes ingrained in that knowledge and leaves your audience with a more lasting impression of your brand as a whole. Brands like Guinness and Lidl have done this in the past and their visual ad campaigns have had major success in doing so.
Just remember, a true storyteller will be able to tell a fantastically entertaining story and still somehow tie their brand back into the middle of it all.
5. Dare to be Different!
This is almost a given. With some of the world’s largest brands competing for views, it can be difficult to stand out.
Visual stories should be full of twists and turns. They should never follow the conventional path and they should openly challenge the storytelling norms. You, as a visual storyteller, should always be looking for ways to be different. If something appears mundane, do whatever is necessary to put a new and exciting twist on it.
Remember, brands can never appear to be homogenous, so throw your competitors for a loop!
Here at All Good Tales we are always keeping an eye on the latest trends. Right now we are doing great work for brands like Kingspan, Glandore, Ancestry.com, and DAA, to name just a few. We are building brand newsrooms, executing exciting PR strategies, and training key staff how to source, structure and tell great stories. For more information please click here or call Gaye on (01) 254 1845.
Or if you want more info about how to craft your own brand story, request a free copy of our Storyteller’s Manifesto.