Visualisation of things has stepped up this year. Companies I've been working with are gradually steering away from tradition 'word only' documents in favor of more illustrated and graphical visual representations of their key communications internally and externally. Finally!, leading businesses have recognized that people think more visually than in words.
Why's communicating visually this important?
If I ask you to think of your couch at home, do words or a visual image come to mind? A picture right. That's because most of us think visually whether we're tunned into our visual thoughts or not. Our eyes take in mountains of information at a time, then when we think, we recall our associated visual memories to produce a thought. Because we mainly think visually, we connect best with visual communications.
1. Visualize your things
Visualisation can be viewed in two ways. Firstly, there's the visualization of current communications, so "how can we visualize what we've done". The other is the visualization of what we want things to look like, i.e. What is company vision going to visually look like in two years. One is presenting what you know, the other is making our imaginations come to life.
To help visualize your communications, I'm a fan of illustrations (drawings) rather than graphical art. The reason why is because the media world is flooded with graphic art (and I'm also a graphic artist), but if every form of communications looks similar to your competitors, then how do you stand-out in the media mix? You need to have a different look and feel to be recognized. An example is if every car looked similar (and many of them do) then it's only the unusual cars that catch your eye walking down the road. So my recommendation is to use a visualization type/look-and-feel that's not saturated in the market - even if your marketing company says "that's what everyone else is doing".
Less-is-more is a term many people use, but I'm amazed when I see them use PowerPoints with so much information on them that nobodies going to pay attention too. A picture paints 1000 words, so use pictures with a few keywords in your PowerPoints. In Social and general communications media, this applies too.
Hierarchy - Use bold colors, bold fonts, white space and make they key elements of your visualization communications stand out.
2. The emotional element
Because we are emotional beings, we also retain our most emotional moments. If we focus our communications on the more healthy communications (i.e. positive - wanting for a better word) then we can also emotionally connect with our audiences.
I often use illustrated portraits in my communications to help people connect with a person. Throw in a few expressions of emotions, then you have your audience paying attention to your communications.
3. Visualise your commmunication using a story.
Additionally, our visual pictures are best illustrated as part of a story. "A story for work comms?", you might say. Yes, even in business, that's because we mainly communicate in stories. We talk to our family and partners about 'What we've been doing', or 'what we'd like to do'. We watch movies, read books, magazines, newspapers, listen to radio-presenters, view TV-programs...they're all stories. So people easily relate to stories, we have since we were kids. We don't relate to business word documents in the same manner. Actually, if you ask most people, they don't look forward to a word doc. Why? because there's little or no emotional connection to a word doc, which is what people need first before they go into detail. I relate this to finding your partner, first you need an emotional connection and then later you find out all their idiosyncrasies. But if you'd found out all their idiosyncrasies first, you'd probably of run a mile. That's where visualisation, emotions and stories help - we emotionally connect with them.
Be authentic. If your communication isn't authentic in its approach, then you'll lose your audience. People want true stories, to know 'WHY' you're doing what you're doing and to not be sold to.
I often help companies visualise important meetings or complex communications using the above three elements. Visually capturing the essential parts of a conference for example, sparks creativity in the room and is visually available for all to easily refer back too. The best thing is that visual picture of the event can live on in posters, screensavers etc.
In my experience, IT and technology companies often struggle to communicate their processes, product's and services. Using Infographics in the flow of a story can help people emotionally connect, visualize and understand how the technology applies to them.
Animated videos need to stand out in the media mix too. Although I help companies with their Animated Videos, Whiteboard Animated Videos have a 156% better retention rate, due to the creativity that happens in front of you. Using drawings again, helps you be unique and stand out from the saturation of graphically animated videos.
There are many other ways visualization can help your company connect with your audience, so if there are any questions, please let me know.
Dave Leigh | Owner of Emphasise Ltd | www.emphasise.nz
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