I am talking to a lot of folks these days about visual storytelling, and from these interactions, I learn that there is still a great deal of ambiguity about what is visual storytelling and why it’s important now for marketers? If you’re clueless too, don’t feel bad, some of the top dictionaries like Merriam-Webster and Oxford have no clue either:
Words fail us Sorry, the word you’re looking for can’t be found in the dictionary.Merriam-Webster
No exact match found for “”visual storytelling”” in US English When I figured, hey maybe these are old fashioned resourcesOxford
A visual narrative (also visual storytelling) is a story told primarily through the use of visual media. The story may be told using still photography, illustration, or video, and can be enhanced with graphics, music, voice and other audio.Visual narrative
Getting warmer! The reality is that the term “Visual Storytelling” is pretty new.
Looking at Google Trends, for the past 12 years the term garnered low counts of under 100 searches a month, and it’s only in the past 3 years that the term is experiencing a growth, albeit still modest.
Looking closer at these searches, we find that the term “Visual Storytelling” is largely associated with topics covering the visual arts targeting artists/designers: photography, media, illustration, and infographics.
Even though the traditional meaning of visual storytelling has been with us since the first man figured hey, I could create a stencil by blowing paint on my handheld to the wall to express how my day went. Sweet!
In line with the term direct affinity with the entertainment industry, when I searched for “Visual Storytelling” definition the first result Google offered in their high-attention summary snippet was from EICAR – The International Film & Television School Paris:
It seems quite obvious that the term “visual storytelling” is quite new for both visual arts and more so in the context of marketing, so users have no reason to search for it just yet – think “content marketing” circa 2005. However, switching our camera lens to the marketing space in 2016, we find that marketers have realized that the benefits that rode visual storytelling in the entertainment space to new heights, also make a lot of sense when driving business impact with jaded audiences, overwhelmed by tons of copycats content plays.
So what is the definition of visual storytelling
in the context of marketing?
Shlomi RonVisual Storytelling is a marketing strategy that leverages compelling narratives, placing your customer at the heart of the story, staged with an emotional visual media experience and effectively distributed across your buyer’s journey – in order to empower customers’ lives and drive business results.