The Power of Visual Storytelling
5/17/13 / Andrew Monroe
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Let’s stand by that. Pretend one picture is equal to (literally) 1,000 words. If it took, let’s say, five seconds to look at each picture in an album (remember, one picture=1,000 words), that means you would be able to consume 12,000 “words” per minute by looking at pictures (please note this is just for fun; a picture is not actually equal to 1,000 words). On the other hand, according to this Forbes article, the average reading speed for an adult is only 300 words per minute. If my non-conventional calculations are correct, that would make picture-viewing 40 times faster than reading!
All math aside, the message is clear: Visuals are quick and engaging for delivering a message, and trends in online content reflect that idea. In an effort to capture the short attention span of web surfers, marketers are using images and video to efficiently deliver their brands’ messages. Last week, Kate talked about the positive effect of “fluency,” or easily processing information. Visuals are a great tool to achieve this. Websites and social media platforms like Buzzfeed, Instagram, and Pinterest are supporting conversations and stories almost entirely through visual storytelling and photo essays. We’re also seeing an explosion of short videos in the form of GIFs. Mashable talked about how the New York Times used a looping animated image last week for its cover story. On the more informal end, a new app called Vine lets users create short video clips. Check out this (very amateur) one I made coming into the office the other day.
Part of the job of the market researcher is to understand the ways marketers are delivering messages to their brands’ target audiences, such as these trends in visual storytelling. By doing this, in Corona’s Insights for Strategic Marketing, the process is cohesive and interconnected, from an initial situation analysis all the way to program evaluation and monitoring. In other words, when we conduct a focus group, we’re making sure we ask the critical questions to guide marketers when they’re ready to reach out to target demographics. Beginning with the end in mind is crucial. That’s the role of the data-driven consultant.
*This figure is made up