Craft a Compelling Story

In the high-tech today, there is no shortage of information. Studies have shown that the greater problem today is a lack of attention to absorb all the information that we come into contact with daily.

According to research, the typical social media user comes across 285 pieces of content daily, which equates to roughly 54,000 words (about half a fiction novel), 1000 links, and more than seven hours of videos.

How then do we catch the attention of our audience, given all the noise and competition for attention? Perhaps the answer is found in history.

Since ancient times, humans have been communicating using pictures and stories. Cavemen used cave drawings as a form of communication, and our grandparents, and their grandparents, their grandparents before that, passed down stories.

Even now, we can apply these age-old practices in the form of visual storytelling, by understanding the audience, designing your visual message, and telling a compelling story.

Before you can tell a visual story, you need to first know who your audience is and how they think. What are their worries? What are their bugbears? What do they need? What resonates with them?

Knowing your audience is key to designing and telling your story. In the recent US election race, Donald Trump saw a large neglected group of white middle class voters who were growing increasingly disenchanted with their economic woes.

He was quick to grab this niche audience, and the story that he has been telling is aligned with their worries. He promise to improve their economic situation. Whether or not he can achieve it, he definitely has displayed a good understanding of his audience, and how to get their buy-in.

Humans are visual creatures, we comprehend messages more quickly when they are presented in a picture than in text, even if we do not realise it. Google recently found that users develop opinons on a brand and its products based on visual design factors within 50 milliseconds.

This applies to any message that you are trying to tell. It is not possible to complete the study of all the technical aspects of design, but we can make a significant improvement in our presentations and posts by applying basic best practices, like infographics.

Finally, whether you deliver the story in person or post your visual online, both the graphic and the narrative should be a compelling story, not a boring factual report.

Stories are about hope, the journey from less-than-ideal situation to a better future. Stories are about the tension between these two states, the demons that have to be fought along the way, and the rich emotions that accompany the process: the anxiety of waiting, an exhilarating triumph, the grief of a hero's death.

But be warned - if you are presenting your company's financial report, we should recommend sticking to Microsoft Excel and a factual presentation of the statistics. It is, after all, about using the right tool for the job.

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Ben Lee
Group Director
CEA Licence No.:
L3010794B / R028158E
+(65) 8288 3501