Most communications experts agree that 70-90% of communication is non-verbal. In face-to-face conversation, most communication comes through facial expressions, vocal tones, body language, and gestures. In remote communication, we need to make up for this difference.
This is where visual communication comes in. If you are trying to convey an idea, it’s best not to rely on words alone. When you use visual aids, it can convey a much clearer message.
The term “visual communication” sounds like boring marketer jargon. What it really means is using pictures to send a message. While most people use visual communication every day, most don’t understand its full potential. This article will detail how to use visual communication in your business effectively.
Table of Contents
An Overview of Visual Communication
Humans have been using images to communicate ideas since the dawn of civilization. When you walk down the street, you can probably see a couple of signs that use arrows or stick figures to convey a message. Visual communication is everywhere.
In a business context, visual communication is the art of using images to communicate concepts or data. Examples of visual communication for businesses include images, GIFs, graphs, infographics, screenshots, and PowerPoint presentations.
Services like yellowHEAD’s creative studio can make visual communication fun. Visual communication is a great way to enhance business relations by tapping into your creative side.
Visual communication is also extremely important in advertisements. Marketers rely mainly on visuals to create advertisements. Think about it: what makes you want to stop and look at an ad, its words, or its pictures?
Does Visual Communication Matter?
Yes! Pictures can help people understand things more than words alone. Visuals can help people understand the concepts behind words. This is especially important when marketing to a diverse audience.
Marketers are crazy about visuals. In a recent survey of marketers, 74% of markets surveyed said more than two-thirds of their content had a visual.
If you want to be effectively communicating, you need visuals!
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Applications of Visual Communication
There are a ton of examples where visual communication is very important. Visual communication can be used to upgrade any of the following.
1. Enhanced Advertisements
Let’s talk about the big one first: advertising! You cannot effectively advertise without visual communication. An eye-catching visual is what initially draws customers in. Then they read more about your product or service.
Who is your target demographic customer? Show them engaging with your brand. People need to see others like themselves using your product or service in your advertisements. That sends a message that they should use it too.
Visual communication can also be used to create viral advertising campaigns. Can your graphics department create funny memes of interesting infographics? People love to share those on social media. With visual communication, you can start a viral ad campaign.
Visual communication is the most important aspect of your advertisements. If you want an effective ad campaign, you need persuasive visuals.
2. Brand Communication
Think about your brand for a second. What qualities do you want to convey? Brands that want to promote a trustworthy image, like banks and insurance companies, often do so by using the color blue. Brands that want to imply they are active and exciting use red logos.
When you decide on a brand vibe, match the color story to that vibe. You want your visuals to create a cohesive story about your brand. People register visual input faster than they can read or listen. Show things about your brand before you tell customers what you’re about.
Good brand communication leads to better brand loyalty.
3. Create Vision Boards
Do you get inspired by your competition? Screenshot it! You can use that idea as a form of inspiration.
When you create a file of ideas you like, you create an image bank to turn to when you are creatively stuck. Sometimes deadlines come in faster than ideas do. It’s important to have something to draw from.
If you are working with a creative team, a vision board can help keep the team on brand. By establishing brand colors and aesthetics, teams can maintain a cohesive image. This also helps with your brand communication.
4. Streamline Employee Onboarding
Onboarding a new employee is difficult for everyone. Face-to-face training can be time-consuming. Many small businesses are remote these days.
From the employee’s perspective, onboarding is a lot to learn all at once. With videos and graphic training materials, new employees can learn at their own pace. It’s also handy to have an easy-to-access reference.
Visual communication can streamline the process of onboarding. Create a narrated screencast or training video for new employees. This way, you can ensure all new employees learn how to use your business’ programs. They also have the opportunity to rewatch the video if they need a refresher. It’s a win-win for everybody!
5. Record Progress
We all know that data doesn’t lie. Data also doesn’t make sense to everyone. Line graphs and pie charts are great ways to explain what numbers mean. Remember to give context with the chart.
An easy way to create a better visual presentation is to record a video narrating the graphs. By creating a narrated PowerPoint of data graphics, people have a better understanding of results. This is particularly helpful when communicating with different departments.
Remember: noted progress keeps employees motivated! Use visualized data on their personal progress reports. Employees need to know when they are doing well.
Tips to Become a Visual Communications Master
So now we know ways to use visual communication; let’s learn how to become a visual communication master.
1. Ask Your Marketing Department For Tips
You picked these people for a reason. Good markets have to be good at visual communication. If you are a manager or a small business owner, you might not know as much about visual communication as someone who studied it at University.
If you already have these people on your team, use them! Delegation is an important part of management. Ask your marketing team how you think the visual communication of your business can be improved.
2. Use Graphs and Infographics Whenever You Present Data
If you have employees with diverse skill sets, it is likely that your employees are different kinds of learners. Some people are more math-minded. Others have trouble understanding without a visual representation of what that data means.
To communicate important data to all employees, be sure always to include a graph. If you have a graphic design team, infographics are a great way to keep everyone on the same page.
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3. Use Powerpoints in Virtual Meetings
We may all be having a bit of Zoom fatigue, but virtual meetings are here to stay. Why? Because they have great opportunities for visual communication. Virtual meetings allow the leader to use slides and share screens with attendees. This can help show new employees how your business’ software works.
And let’s be honest, even the best employees forget things. The era of virtual meetings has a solution: record it! That way, if there’s an important detail that needs clarification, there’s a record. Recorded meetings are also a great way for employees who may have missed meetings to catch up.
4. Create Visual Training Materials Whenever Possible
If your training manual is text-only, it needs an update. A narrated screencast of the manual and showing the processes should be standard. Animated GIFs and videos are also helpful training materials.
It is also useful to have plenty of visuals in reference materials. Sometimes, employees need to brush up on style guides and operating procedures. By using visual aids, you can draw attention to the most important pieces of information.
Remember, your employees are diverse learners. Don’t expect them all to process information the same way. Training materials should have text, visual, and audio components. When you convey the same information in as many ways as possible, everyone gets on the same page.
5. Include Graphics and Screenshots in Emails
We all know and love email. Do you know what makes emails better? Visual communication! If you limit the amount of text in an email, you can show your employees which information is most important.
People also remember information better if it has a visual attached. If you’re sending your employees a lot of information, be sure to use visuals to help them recall.
Not only that, but screenshots are an effective way to avoid playing telephone. Avoid the he-said-she-said between departments. A picture is worth a thousand words, and a screenshot saves a lot of time.
We all have an intuitive sense of what visual communication is. We all have an artistic sense. When we apply the concepts of visual communication to our business, we can create more compelling advertisements, effectively communicate with teams, and build better business relations.
It is clear that in order to become a great communicator, one must master visual communications. Stop wasting time on miscommunications; become a visual communications master today!