By Payman Taei
Information overload is hardly a new phenomenon, but in the lightning-fast digital world that we’re now living in its a problem that is going to get worse before it gets better.
According to one study, people see on average 5,000 marketing messages every single day. In the B2B world, most professionals spend more time managing information – meaning wading through it all – than actually acting on it.
79% of people who responded to a survey already said that they don’t have time to read a full article, so they scan rather than go over every single word.
For marketers, this represents something of a challenge. You’re not just competing with the marketing collateral of your competitors for attention – you’re competing with marketing as a concept. People are being bombarded from every conceivable angle every waking hour of the day, making it hard to really stand out in the way you need.
So how do you fight an admittedly uphill battle like this one? Thankfully, the answer is easy. You stop looking at marketing as a sales medium and start looking at it as a storytelling medium.
The most forward-thinking marketers long ago realized that their brand isn’t represented by a logo or a website or that perfect 30 second advertisement – it’s represented by a story. The story IS the brand and to guarantee success in the future, you need to learn how to start communicating it as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
The Art of Storytelling in Marketing
People have always loved a good story, but this is especially true in the world of marketing. According to a study conducted by the Content Marketing Institute, 92% of consumers surveyed said that they wanted brands to make advertisements and other marketing collateral that felt like a story. They like their ads short, sweet and to the point – but at the same time they can’t get enough of content that expresses a clear narrative with a beginning, middle and end.
But the most important thing to understand about this is that a brand’s story is less about exactly what they do and more about why they’re doing it. People don’t just want to hear about a new product – they want to know the full story behind that product’s development.
They want insight into the moment of inspiration and the conflict that marked the path towards execution. They want to hear all about the setbacks that you and your team endured, the compromises you had to made and ultimately that moment where success became not a question of “if” but “when.”
They want to know all of this because people want to throw their support behind brands that they can understand and relate to.
Infographics as a Storytelling Medium
Maybe the biggest benefit of the digital world that we’re now living in, however, is the wide array of different tools marketers have at their disposal to get that story out to the largest possible audience. Case in point: Infographics and other presentation types, when designed properly, can be an incredible way to leverage the benefits of your brand’s story and the natural advantages that visual communication in general brings to the table.
Infographics can be a great way not to necessarily tell the larger, over-arching story of your brand but to provide a valuable context to certain components of it. Infographics are always at their best when they’re backed by a thesis of some kind – you say in an introductory paragraph or two what it is you’re trying to prove and you use visual materials, statistics and other resources to back that up.
For the sake of argument, say that a large part of your brand identity that you want to communicate involves how active your business is in the local communities in which it operates. You can use a tool like Visme to create a visual, compelling Infographic armed with facts and figures about charitable contributions you’ve made, organizations that you’ve supported and the very real impact that these efforts have made.
Take for example American for the Arts, which has migrated to using Visual Communication in the form of infographics to communicate their message as visual stories.
Remember that according to NewsCred, the median amount of time that people spend when reading an article is about 37 seconds. Most of them don’t make it past the headline and the majority of those that do stop reading and move onto something else by the end of the first paragraph. So taking all of your community involvement stats and efforts and turning it into a blog post may work for some, but it may leave behind the vast majority of the people you’re trying to reach.
Take that same component of your brand’s story, re-frame it as an Infographic and put it out into the world through social media, however, and suddenly more people are being exposed to your brand’s value system than ever before. You’re communicating the same aspect of your story, but in a much more effective and organic way – and one that naturally produces higher levels of brand recognition and engagement as a result.
You’re a Storyteller and You’ve Always Been One
In many ways, a brand’s most valuable asset has nothing to do with how much money it can spend on marketing or what hot new products or services it’s releasing to the market.
The secret weapon – the thing that separates one company from the next – is and will always be the brand story. It doesn’t just help to convey a brand’s personality and what it represents, but it can be a powerful way to position your brand as the leader in an industry that you always knew you were. It lets people get to know more about who you are, what you’re all about and what you’re trying to accomplish.
Most importantly of all, it lets you create the type of deeply rooted emotional connection with your target audience that turns individual customers into loyal followers.
Payman Taei is an avid technologist and the Founder of Visme, a Do It Yourself platform allowing everyone to easily create, manage professional presentations & infographics right in their browser. He’s also the Founder of HindSite Interactive an award winning web design and web development company.