For brands and marketers, one of the most crucial aspects of campaigns is connecting with target audiences. If a brand can provoke emotion and engage people through marketing, it will directly correlate to business growth. The ability to form emotional connections separates the great companies from the ones that settle for meeting targets.
One way to find deeper connections with a target audience is through visual storytelling. Experts in psychology and visual marketing say that between 70% and 93% of communication is non-verbal, giving weight to the cliché that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Mobile video viewing has increased by nearly 10 million daily viewing minutes over the last two years. A 2018 HubSpot survey reports that 54% of consumers want to see more video content from brands and businesses they support.
If brands want to engage target audiences, they need to produce the visual content in such high demand.
Visual storytelling refers to the strategy of using visual content to communicate a narrative. The objective is to inspire an emotional response, guide, and educate the audience. Sometimes, a visual story is a single item of content (infographic, video, image), but it is often a campaign comprising several pieces.
For example, Chipotle created a fictional web series called “Farmed and Dangerous” to engage Millennial audiences specifically.
The web series has a website featuring music, behind the scenes clips, and trivia about the show. Chipotle also released an iPhone game and a short video to promote the series as part of a full campaign. Millennials could share experiences and share content as the visual storytelling strategy was a massive success for the target audience.
If you don’t have the luxury of an existing customer base or a large budget, there are plenty of other visual storytelling tactics to try.
We could probably write an entire article about how crucial video marketing is in the 2020s. In Q1 of 2020, the TikTok app had 315 million downloads, which is the best quarter ever by any app. As a brand, you need to be part of the trend. According to Hootsuite, a video can get twelve times more shares than any other type of content on Facebook. The NBA knows that TikTok users want short-form content that engages audiences quickly. With that in mind, they use the platform primarily for comedy and memes featuring players. As a brand, the NBA is using different forms of visual video storytelling across other platforms. Games highlights appear on Instagram, news, and updates on Twitter, and TikTok for something creative.
To engage target audiences, some brands will step back from talking about themselves in what is known as “anti-branding.” The form of visual storytelling comes from the school of thought that customers are fed up with sales pitches or self-indulgent posts but want something they can easily relate to.
Images and videos submitted by your customers are an excellent way to create stories and increase engagement. For example, in December, Starbucks releases a “red cup contest,” which asks fans to submit photos of their coffee to have a chance of winning a gift card. The campaign has generated thousands of photos showing an exceptional amount of audience engagement.
According to TurnTo Networks, 90% of consumers say that user-generated content influences their buying decisions more than any other advertising type. The beauty in these stories is that they are unbiased and genuinely represent people with similar interests who share a common passion for a brand.
One of the most popular marketing trends over the last couple of years is animated videos and graphics. Animated videos can promote brands and educate customers in ways that standard video content cannot. Moreover, the animation is subconsciously not seen as a promotional pitch but more like a fun cartoon. Stories become more like entertainment and can engage different target audiences.
Explain Ninja specializes in creating videos that tell stories to increase audience engagement at various customer journeys.
This article highlights some of the most popular ways to introduce visual storytelling into your marketing strategy. The critical takeaway is to think about the end customer and what they want to see if you’re going to engage and connect with them. Experiences with brands are becoming more critical in the growing digital landscape, with those prioritizing visual storytelling likely to win the day.