Comic books, cartoons, and visuals are all powerful tools for telling the story of your company whether it’s a new strategy, new ideas, or conveying culture. Yet leaders tend to dismiss those tools as childish and inappropriate for their business.

Visual communication or visual storytelling can be critical in helping business leaders connect their people to the company’s strategies and objectives by painting a clear picture of what outcomes the organization wants to see. And that yields results.

Let’s look at whiteboard presentations as one example of visual storytelling.  Recent research by Aberdeen Group found that 53% of best-in-class companies identified creating more meaningful conversations as a top priority for increasing and sustaining revenue in an uncertain economy. The firm found that conducting an interactive whiteboard conversation (as opposed to a static presentation) leads to a 50% higher lead-conversion rate, 29% shorter time to productivity, and 15% average shorter sales cycle – helping to combat the meaningful conversation problem among businesses.

Why does using visuals in corporate training or business communications work so well? 1) The majority of people are visual leaders (65%, according to the Visual Teaching Alliance) and the human brain processes visual information about 60,000 times faster than text. 2) Images can be powerful and are more likely to stay with an audience. 3) People associate images with information and emotions.

So what’s the case for using storytelling? The human mind processes information faster and better when in it is in the form of something memorable and cohesive, like a story. Think about the recent proliferation of infographics – combining extensive amounts of data (which can be difficult for people to process and remember when on its own) with pictures or graphs. By associating the data with memorable images (very frequently in comic or cartoon format), people are able to retain that information much better.


January 31, 2013