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Visual storytelling in business

visual communication

The way you talk to your customer or client as a business can make or break your next sale opportunity. Through communication you have a great opportunity to explain (or signal) what you stand for as a business and how your products solve your customers problems. Last time I wrote about the verbal communication (written text and spoken words) and so today I want to focus on the non-verbal/visual communication.

I see many businesses with inconsistent visual messaging a lot! And, I don’t mean only on social media. I mean across the whole board. I always compare business to a car. If you imagine that a car is your business and you are the driver and the engine (your values, mission, vision), its bonnet and the body is your website, wheels are the marketing and sales (getting you going) and your number plate is your business card. Everything underneath is your operations and day to day business. Now, overall it’s one car model, one colour, one shape, one style. Same values / spec, same mission / purpose.

So if you look at it that way, you should see that all messaging must be cohesive. You can’t have one part made by one car manufacturer and the other by another.

When it comes to visual communication especially, you have to have something which joins everything together. Well beyond your logo.  The idea is that when you remove the logo, your customer or client still knows that it’s you, through pictures, photography, signs and symbols.

How to define your storytelling visuals

1/ Corporate identity – colours

The easiest way to define your visuals is to go back to your corporate identity. Your graphic designer should have provided you with a colour scheme. I usually recommend to have 3 core colours and 3 additional (lighter or darker) tones, so in total a colour scheme of 6. You can start with your 3 colours as your guide for visuals.

2/ Corporate identity – text

When it comes to text, you should always use your brand’s type of fonts given to you by your designer. There may be 2 font types except your logo, plus Italic for quotes.

3/ Your values

The next step is to understand your values. As I said before you should have them (keywords) written down somewhere  or having a tagline which describes what you stand for and what you’re about as a business. Those keywords should guide you through the brainstorming on what visuals to put together and use where.

For example, ESTILA is always about elegance, creativity and informative/educational content. Our colours are black, white and accent colour is gold. These are used as a backdrop to the colourful content we create. I would not accept any visuals that signal rebellious, OTT or old-fashioned messaging. I would also not consider content which is too young, extravagant or vulgar. There are publications which produce that kind of content, but it’s not for us. Our values and keywords guide me through the visuals I want to put in our content work.

4/ Your customer

When creating visual content, you should always have your customer/client in mind. Not only visualise the person but also understand:

a/how they communicate and behave

b/ what kind of language they use

c/ what kind of storytelling content they would most likely respond to

Think about the colours, style and vibe. Do they need a lot of colourful stimulation or minimalistic, clean and clear message? 

Think about what would make them stop and look.

Photo credit: Photography Anna Stathaki | Earrings Victoria von Stein | Scarf Bianca Elgar | Dress Elaine Bernstein

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