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How Storytelling Design Can Increase Your Small Business Profits

Whether due to less visibility or a lack of resources, scaling a small business can be tricky. Competition is stiff, and many consumers often gravitate towards brands they already know. So how can a small business get its name out and win over the hearts of its audience?


The short answer is storytelling.


Humans love stories. They’re how we make sense of the world, communicate our values and beliefs, and connect with others. The same can hold for businesses - and through stories, a brand can let the world know what it’s about and showcase its personality.


Storytelling has the power to humanize a brand, making it easier for a business to foster a relationship with its consumers. And when you connect with your audience on a personal level, it can help scale business growth and increase your profits as a result.


While there are infinite ways to tell a story, one of the best ways to connect with your audience on a deeper level is through visual storytelling. Not only does visual storytelling provoke emotion and engage your target audience, but it also reinforces the message you want to convey through a medium that appeals to most in the digital age.


What Visual Storytelling Is & Why It’s Important


Visual storytelling is a design strategy that implements strong visuals, like animation, infographics, photos, and videos, to communicate a narrative to a target audience. It can be about anything: your brand, your products and services, or the audience themselves.


definition of visual storytelling over a purple background of an eye

Regardless, a visual story’s objective is to elicit an emotion, engage or educate a target audience, and potentially encourage a response. All of which plays a role in accelerating business growth and increasing profits. For a story to come to life, businesses utilize storytelling design.


Whether you’re the owner of a small business or a large corporation, there are many ways in which visual storytelling, along with storytelling design, can benefit your brand to help you achieve the bottom-line goal of profitability.


It Cuts Straight to The Heart Of Your Message


In today’s fast-paced world, visual storytelling has become a vital element of every marketing thrust. With 91% of consumers preferring interactive and visual content over its long-form, text-centric counterpart, people are looking to consume content quickly and more efficiently.


Visual stories cut straight to the heart of the matter. When done right, storytelling design allows you to hone your message, making it clear, concise, and approachable by using visuals to drive the message home.


forbes statistic about interactive visuals on a blue chart

Not only can it help ensure that it will captivate your target audience, but it can also tailor your content according to their needs. Regardless of which stage of the buyer’s journey they’re in, a visual story can reach customers where they are. Coupled with a call-to-action, and you can hit gold.


It Encourages An Emotional Connection With Your Audience


Not only do visual stories cut through all the fluff, but it also packages information to ensure that it resonates with your audience. A strong connection with your audience is an essential component to increasing profits.


Studies have shown that consumers base their purchasing decisions on emotion rather than logic. Storytelling design can be an indispensable tool here. The strategy can help rouse a spectrum of human emotions using a combination of visual elements to convey stories in a way that static text cannot.


elements of a successful visual story

Visual stories use images and colors, along with lights and shadows, to stir up emotion. They can also portray characters that your target audience can see themselves in. In other words, storytelling design renders the complexities of human emotion to pull your target audience in and encourage them to act.


It Can Increase Your Content’s Memorability & Share-Ability


In addition to tugging at your audience’s emotions, visual stories can also increase your brand’s memorability. According to one article, 80% of people remember what they see compared to what they hear and read.


While this doesn’t take away from the impact of a well-written blog post, it’s clear that visual storytelling is a powerful marketing tactic in its own right. You can produce content that increases brand recognition and recall through storytelling design, plus make it memorable enough that your audience will want to share it.


visual storytelling and the brain

Storytelling design can use solid visuals and marry them with compelling text to leverage your brand’s memorability and share-ability - and the more people take notice of your organization, the more likely you are to increase profits for your brand.


It Ensures That You Use The Best Medium For Your Story


While an excellent visual story will thrive wherever planted online, you can increase its potential by ensuring that the medium fits the message. A storytelling design strategy can help you determine the type of visual content that will best suit the narrative you want to share with your target audience.


If, for example, you want to share a story that revolves around your business’s values or the benefits your products or services provided, a video could have the potential to engage consumers. But if you want to share a story that focuses on statistics or data, an animation or infographic might serve your objective better.


an infographic about infographics

Regardless of the story that you want to tell, storytelling design can optimize your narrative for the medium of your choice, whether that’s Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube. And if you want to share your story on more than one platform at a time? You can customize a visual story to suit each channel without muddling the message.


It Leverages Your Brand Identity And Personality


As mentioned in the previous point, consistency is king for an excellent visual storytelling strategy. If you want to reinforce a consistent brand identity further, storytelling design can help you showcase your brand’s unique personality.


Storytelling design utilizes recognizable brand elements, such as your company logo, brand colors, and fonts, and customizes them to be relevant to a given context. Furthermore, it can transform these elements to deliver targeted messages to your audience while remaining true to your organization’s identity.


Storytelling design can also utilize visual elements unique to your business, including graphics and illustrations. With a solid visual story, you can stand out and give your business a competitive edge. As a result, it can potentially increase your chances of boosting your business’s profitability.


What Makes A Good Visual Story

4 points that describe what make a good visual story on a purple and red background

With all this in mind, it’s no question that utilizing storytelling design can increase your small business profits. The question now becomes a matter of how to maximize visual storytelling’s potential. The execution of your storytelling design strategy can make or break your efforts to reach your objectives.


There are several elements that all good visual stories have in common. Marketers typically referred to these elements as the four principles or pillars of visual storytelling: Authenticity, sensory, relevancy, and archetype.


Each of these pillars holds a stake in how compelling a visual story is.


Authenticity


Being authentic is a highly regarded value among consumers; people want a brand they can trust who stand for something bigger than just making money.


When it comes to authenticity, Patagonia is often a reference point. In a blog post by GWI, they called out one memorable advertisement that the outdoor clothing brand produced in 2017. The ad, which features Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, promotes the importance of protecting public lands located across America.


Instead of advertising their products, they highlight the driving force behind their mission to create ethically made and sustainable clothes - and that is to make the world a better place for everyone. They’ve also developed ads such as this to encourage their target audience to buy secondhand, thus strengthening their message.



Incorporating Your Senses


Sight, sound, motion - these all tap into a multi-sensory experience that reinforces the emotion you want your target audience to feel when they see your story.


For instance, Hello Fresh, a meal-kit company, released an ad that features a visual walkthrough of the process of making a meal: From the opening of their paper bag to the chopping of vegetables and the sound of shrimp searing in the pan, and finally ending with the finished product.


The ad prompts the viewer, inviting them to see, hear, and smell the food. Replete with close-ups and ASMR-like sounds, the ad creates a treat for the senses, aiming to invite customers to experience the same at home by signing up for their service.



Being Relevant


Brands that aren’t just personally relevant but also keep a pulse on relevant topics can connect with an evolving audience.


Think of Nike. Throughout the years, the sportswear brand has proved its ability to keep up with the times. One post on LinkedIn brings to mind the Kaepernick ad. It showcases their stance on the ongoing cultural issues in America, making it more relevant than ever today.


The ad also included the message, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” along with their famed tagline. Nike has further reinforced their stance by spotlighting a wide range of individuals through its marketing efforts, thus, speaking to an audience that prioritizes purchasing from brands that are in tune with the times.




Having an Archetype


Having an archetype or character in your visual story gives someone your audience to relate to, helping foster deeper connections with them.


Take Girlfriend Collective, a Seattle-based activewear brand, as an example. Every point of their visual storytelling strategy supports their commitment to inclusivity. On their website and various channels, they feature models of all ages, races, and sizes.


On their Instagram page, you will also come across pictures of real-life fans wearing their clothes, showcasing a sense of community with their audience. Through this strategy, their customers can see themselves wearing the products as they shop.



Leverage Your Story & Increase Small Business Profits


With all this in mind, it’s clear that storytelling can be a powerful medium to leverage your brand. It can help you express a narrative that is authentic, sensory, relevant, and relatable, which in turn can contribute to your growth and increase small business profits.


Despite the powerful impact of visual storytelling, it can fall short when execution suffers, as a visual story is only as good as its design. If you want to create powerful visual content, you must also consider storytelling design.


Crafting a visual story from the ground up can be overwhelming, and it certainly takes a lot of time and effort. If you want a leg up on your strategy, we can help. Our graphic design team is equipped with the know-how to bring your visual story to life.


Feel free to reach out to our team, so we can work alongside you to help leverage your brand’s visual storytelling thrust and take it to its full potential.




 

Danielle Calma is a contributing writer for Zoek, the SEO, Web Design, and Digital Marketing Agency that assists small and medium-sized businesses with their online footprint. She has been a writer for over five years, with most of her experience concentrated in the e-commerce industry. When she isn't typing away on her keyboard, she can be found outside, taking aimless walks around her city, or curled up with a book next to her cat.

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