Communications: Importance of Visual Storytelling

Apr 22, 2014

In today’s social media-filled world of image-sharing networks like Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram, it is becoming increasingly essential that communications professionals master the art of creating stimulating visual content.

A picture is worth a thousand words – this is a truth the communications world has always known. So, what has changed? Well, online audiences are devouring visual content. A study by analytics firm Simply Measured shows that online users interact 12 times more with visual content by sharing, pinning, liking or retweeting as compared to text and link-based content. So while the written word is still and always will be rich in value, in certain environments in today’s ever evolving communications world, it just may not always suffice.

magic open book of fantasy stories

At Southwest Strategies, we understand that in addition to being an industry trend, imagery is also very often an indispensable part of our communications strategy. Given the complexity of several of our projects, visual storytelling becomes the answer for the communications challenges that we face daily. For example, how to communicate a highly complicated traffic control plan for a major construction project in an enticing, easy to digest format.

Truly successful storytelling offers value to the viewer. Whether it is a map, a fact sheet or branding materials, every communication initiative we face begs the question: does this create value for the recipient?

Below are a few examples of how we have fine-tuned the art of visual storytelling. Our graphics department is constantly taking on new challenges to construct visual materials that turn complex information into stimulating, attention-grabbing visuals.

Walmart: Fact Sheets
To communicate the benefits that come from new Walmart stores, Southwest Strategies designed a series of visual icons for Walmart including fact sheets, display boards and advertising. These icons have allowed us to quickly, easily and clearly show how Walmart is supporting the local community through jobs, sustainability initiatives, community giving and beyond.Walmart

Caltrans/SANDAG: DARmageddon
To communicate the full weekend closure of a major freeway in South San Diego County, Southwest Strategies developed the “DARmageddon” outreach campaign to capture the public’s attention and to play off the project’s purpose, to build a Direct Access Ramp, also called a DAR. Campaign success relied on a clear vision that included designing a logo, signage, online and print advertisements, and a website around the campaign theme. Sandag

Poseidon Water: The Carlsbad Desalination Project
Construction is underway for a new plant and 10-mile pipeline to distribute desalinated water to the County. Southwest Strategies often needs to provide highly complex project data and construction information to the public. In order to effectively communicate construction-related road closures, detours and other traffic information, SWS uses illustrated maps in construction notices to clearly demonstrate how the public may be impacted in an easy-to-understand visual format.


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