For thousands of years, humans have used the art of storytelling to communicate and forge meaningful connections. Ancient man drew on cave walls, the Ancient Greeks passed down myths about the origins of the world, and today, we’re telling stories in radically new ways through the digital landscape.
Nowadays, we still use the art of storytelling to form friendships and relationships with those around us. Whether we realise it or not, we spend a great deal of our lives telling stories- during conversations on the phone, through texting and social media, even that last email you sent tells a small part of a bigger story about you and your business. These are all examples of written narratives which tell a story or a sequence of events through words. But narratives can be visual, too.
The Art of Visual Storytelling
Visual storytelling is a way of showing, without words. Instead of conveying meaning through writing or speaking, visual storytelling communicates meaning through imagery and visual media. Since the rise of giant platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat, more and more businesses are investing in the power of visual storytelling.
But why bother?
In many ways, visual storytelling can be even more impactful than written or verbal stories- one striking image has the power to resonate with thousands of people. Plus, there’s no language barrier to visual storytelling: your content has the potential to be truly universal, appealing to a mass audience.
Even your Instagram grid and the images on your website tell a distinct story about you and your business. They work together to evoke an overall mood or a feeling for your audience, whilst promoting an inherent set of values, or a particular lifestyle. It’s a way of communicating concisely and quickly without the need for text.
When Written and Visual Stories Combine
By thinking about the relationship between written and visual storytelling, you can really start to hone in on your audience’s brand experience. You have the power to shape that experience and get creative with different ways of interacting with potential customers. All points of communication and social media channels, from Twitter to Instagram, should work together in harmony to tell your audience a coherent story about your business.
By effectively harnessing the power of visual and written storytelling, you can engage your audience, capture people’s imaginations and trigger deeply emotional responses from potential clients. After all, when customers invest in your business, they’re investing in you. Let your personality shine through in your brand story. This well help to foster real, human connections, and it’s also a way to stand out from the crowd. Using written and visual storytelling, you can communicate your brand’s USP by showing not telling what it is that makes you different (and better) from your competitors. It doesn’t have to be complicated either- simple is often better. An uncomplicated narrative, even if it’s one striking sentence, can capture people’s interest.
Here’s some case studies of small businesses and individuals who are nailing the art of storytelling for business.
Case Study 1: The Gin Bothy
The Gin Bothy are a local craft gin distiller with a unique emphasis on written and visual storytelling. Their website combines beautiful product imagery and carefully crafted copy to capture the story of the brand’s origins. With a focus on the Scottish landscape, where botanicals are foraged, the brand tells the story of bothy culture and the journey from earth to bottle.
Case Study 2: Abandon Ship
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SHIPOLOGY ends Tuesday at midnight. Great reaction so far. People have been asking what you get for £1000… well basically you get everything others would get plus I’ll travel to wherever you are and do a full wall mural for yourself or business… so yeah. If you like that kinda thing 🤷🏼♂️ – or you can sign up for an amount less then that. £1+ makes you a member! 🤘🏼
Dundee clothing brand Abandon Ship Apparel demonstrate the power of visual storytelling. Communicating through art and illustration, the brand share their story across their social channels, inspiring and influencing their customers. Richard and Amanda’s latest venture, Oh Hello Vintage is another great example. The vibrant shopfront, combined with Richard’s murals and typography bring the brand to life and infuse the street with colour.
Case Study 3: Agency of None
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Local designers Agency of None use the art of storytelling in a fun and playful way. They’ve given their website a personality, bringing it to life and creating a unique brand experience for users. They’re a great example for the creative possibilities of storytelling for business. The brand’s portfolio is like a collection of short stories and they’re quirky, creative use of storytelling has won them multiple exciting projects with the likes of V&A Dundee.
The Main Takeaway
Overall, storytelling gives you the unique opportunity to tell your customers why you do what you. This why is what your customers are investing in, it forms the very heart of your brand stories. By harnessing the art of storytelling for business, you can share your passion with your audience and foster truly meaningful connections.