How to Use Visual Storytelling for Branding (With Examples)
People love stories, which is why brands use storytelling to help connect with their audience in more ways than one. However, it’s no longer enough to narrate a long-winded story related to your business that could just bore your prospects and clients.
Since you only have a fraction of their attention to make an impression, you need something that will grab their attention from the get-go.
This is where visual stories come into plan. People process images and visual media faster than other content types, so you can be sure that you can get your message across faster and more effectively.
At the same time, the visual medium allows you to put a face on your brand. Instead of people associating your brand with colors and your logo, they can identify with the people they engage and interact with within your organization.
This post will help you develop a visual story for your brand using the best visual storytelling techniques so far. We’ll also look into examples that you can use for inspiration when developing your campaigns.
Share Your Origin Story
A great way to make a splash in the industry is to share your origin story. It explains to your target audience why your brand came into fruition, what problems did you as a founder initially wanted to solve, and the challenges you had to overcome to get where you are now.
However, instead of just using words to communicate your message, it’s best to implement visual storytelling tactics to share your story.
If you don’t know how to tell stories using video, you can use other content types to share your message. Mailchimp has a very distinct brand style that resonates across all its marketing materials. On its About Us page, the email marketing brand uses company images to show the faces of the founders and the employees behind the scenes.
Just these simple images go a long way in showing the origin story of one’s brand.
Take the Social Initiative
Since you want to develop a more personal relationship with customers, you want to share your stance on social issues. However, advocating for social change is like walking the tightrope — there’s a good chance that you may alienate a portion of your audience, if not a huge chunk of it.
However, you have to draw a line as to what kind of brand you are. You could pander to their wants and needs all the time, or you could have an unpopular opinion that you strongly believe in.
In fact, taking a risk with your beliefs can pay huge dividends down the line more than playing it safe.
The example of Nike’s visual storytelling campaign with Colin Kaepernick is a perfect example of a brand taking a gamble that paid off through the years.
There was an initial boycott of the brand when it enlisted the controversial NFL player to become the face of its ad campaign.
However, Nike’s visual storytelling marketing out of the controversy. And while the brand still received backlash from some of its consumers, it received the support of bigger names in the industry like Lebron James and Serena Williams.
Aside from taking a stand, the example above taps into the controversy to elicit a response from people and create press for them, whether good or bad. And for its intended goal, it was able to achieve it with flying colors.
While you don’t have to go to the lengths that Nike went through, this example goes to show that having a firm stance can go a long way.
Live in the Moment
While pre-produced visual content allows your brand to put its best foot forward, you don’t have that luxury with live streaming since it happens in real-time.
However, your confidence in your brand should be able to shine through during live broadcasts.
Starbucks held one of its first Facebook Live videos in 2016 for National Voter Registration Day. The goal was to share with its audience the importance of making their voices heard with their votes.
The live videos showed Starbucks representatives volunteering to encourage the people in the audience and its viewers about how their vote impacts what happens in the country.
This visual storytelling example hits two birds with one stone. On one hand, Starbucks was able to engage with its audience on social media by live-streaming the event. On the other, the brand advocated for a stance it feels strongly about. Combining both tactics into its visual communication strategy allows its message to resonate more with its intended audience.
Also, aside from Facebook Live, you can create live streams across different social media channels to help spread your word and increase the chances of people finding you online. For example, going live on Instagram allows people to see your video on their .
Cast a Spotlight on Your Employees
Your brand won’t reach the level of success it has today without the help of people working hard at the backend. And since your audience normally doesn’t see what takes place behind the curtains, it’s a great idea to put a spotlight on who works for your company.
Adobe, one of the premier software companies in the world, puts its people front and center with Adobe Life. Here, you can read stories and watch videos of its interns and employees as they share their experiences as creatives using Adobe to bring their ideas to life.
Also, some of the pieces talk about the challenges of the employees such as being a parent at Adobe, advocating for the rights of Indigenous people, and more. The stories they share allows you to show everyone that they’re not just employees. Rather, they are people with beliefs and who face real challenges.
Again, this example shows the human side of your brand identity. Showcasing your employees as regular people like everyone else allows your audience to connect with them and build a much stronger affinity with your business.
Highlight Customer Stories
Finally, your business won’t survive without customers who have been satisfied with your business because it helped them tremendously in their lives. In this case, you should document their story with them using your product or service and showcase it on your website for social proof.
However, instead of asking them for a short paragraph, you want to capture the entire story in the video.
While video testimonials are common practice among businesses, not everyone does them to great effect. Squarespace, for instance, weaves together different customer stories into a cohesive narrative that communicates the value of building your brand.
These visual narratives allow you to paint a positive spin on your brand. The beauty of this approach is you let someone else vouch for you. The principle is similar to but is more organic and won’t cost you anything.
Nowadays, what you say about your brand holds little weight because you’re expected to make your business look good to your audience. Whether it’s true or not is another story altogether, which is why customer stories exist.
Since you want your prospects to buy your products and services, you want an impartial and objective person to tell them if your business is good or not. And customer success stories allow your business to speak for itself.
In other words, if it helps this person who has the same problems and issues as the majority of your audience, it should help them as well. As a result, this will encourage them to buy from you.
As you can see, visual storytelling marketing today is all about building that deeper connection that all businesses strive to nurture with their audiences.
Taking a cue from the best visual storytelling examples above, you should be able to develop and launch a strategy that allows you to leverage the visual element into your plan. If done successfully, brands can enjoy increased loyalty and than ever before.