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Semiotics Made Simple; Visual Storytelling For Marketers

When I was younger, my cousin and I often played this game wherein one person picked an obscure object or image from around the house to describe to the other, who then had to draw it solely on the basis of the description, no peeking. The catch - you can’t describe exactly what it was, or say things like “draw a nose or a pair of lips.” It would have to be “a right angle or two mountains and a curve below”. The more complex the object, the more we’d laugh in the end while comparing the two.

What we never realised was that we were essentially reiterating the fact that without visual aid, no matter how detailed an explanation, the communication chain breaks or gets side tracked due to the receiver’s imagination and word association. However, if there was text saying “two mountains and a curve below” with a picture of a pair of lips beside it - it would have made perfect sense, right?

Drawing lips

(Source -

This is an example of visual storytelling. It is essentially the idea of passing on complex information in a constructive and straightforward way, without having to say much. According to MIT researchers, the human brain can process images in as little as 13 milliseconds. A study conducted by John Medina shows that when people hear information, they're likely to recall only 10% of said information, if asked 3 days later. However if an image is paired with that same information, people are likely to retain at least 60% of the information three days later.

Visually appealing infographics

(Source - - sandwhich shop marketing)

Here’s why marketers are increasingly using visual storytelling in their communication:

  • It has a lasting effect on the audience

  • It makes for engaging content and boosts readability

  • It has strong potential to generate traffic

Here are a few tips to rev up your marketing engines to more successful visual communication lines.

  1. Establish a story based on your values or an idea Settle on one core message you want to leverage and build a story around it with the works - a starting point (a hook), a middle (rising action that leads to a climax) and an end (a solution with a call to action).

  2. Create communication for the right kind of audience You don’t want to create epic communication and see it fall flat - all because you're showing it to the wrong people. Ask yourself what you want your audience to think about when they see your content. How do you want them to react? What should their natural next step be? Is this something they would want to see? Would they be able to relate to the visuals? This extends to your display ads as well. Display ads should tell engaging stories. Be conscious to not show the right product to the wrong consumer. With Albatrot Cart you can reach out to the right audience with a well strategized media buying plan and strong design language. This will help you optimise your spends more efficiently, and of course, shoot your reach and sales up!

  3. Maintain a Visual Theme If there’s one thing your brand needs, it's brand guidelines that explains what your brand stands for, how every element represents your core values. Along with keeping your tonality in the zone of confidence, rather than toeing on hubris, establishing a strong colour palette, tonality and design style is a critical component in moulding your brand narrative. Colours illicit a certain mood within your customers, and colour psychology is an essential tool in understanding how your visual can be perceived by an audience. ​​

(via: -color-psychology-7-colors-and-how-they-impact-mood)

  1. Ensure you pick relevant imagery that uplifts your content Be it infographics, illustrations, memes or gifs, make sure your visuals uplift your content. Infographics elevate the information in a legible, easy-to-read format. Videos, comics and animated content pieces are the absolute best as they’re not only pictorial but also keep the audience engaged with your content. To illustrate my point (see what I did there?), check out Sahil Rizwan’s Buzzfeed review of a few Bollywood movies like Tera Suroor and Sultan that in addition to being funny, elevate his review with imagery.

  2. Cut the crap! Make sure your information is precise and to the point. Periodically ask yourself this - Does this add value to my story? If you aren’t confident in its value at any point, it’s gotta go. It’s as simple as that. Visual content is only effective if it engages the people in the most straightforward manner and without too much jargon.

  3. Create for the medium and not just the people. So now that you’ve created communication for a particular audience, ask yourself - What’s the best medium to reach out to them. Think about it this way - if you were looking for quick and easy recipes for an apple crumble, you’d much rather look at a 59 second video on Pinterest or Instagram as opposed to reading a blog that describes the author’s journey to sourcing the right apples before the recipe comes along. Found this helpful? You can thank us in feedback or in apple crumble pie, we’re not picky ;)

(Via: Giphy)


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