The Four Principles of Visual Storytelling Every Marketer Needs to Know

Lessons from Dove, Lean In, Honey Maid By NewsCred

June 10, 2014, 8:34 AM EDT

We all witnessed the power that images have on social media, and research shows that over 40 percent of users are more likely to engage with brands that post pictures. As a result, today’s marketers are learning to be sophisticated visual thinkers.

NewsCred and Getty Images teamed up to create “The Power of Visual Storytelling,” a guide for marketers that outlines four main principles of visual media—authenticity, sensory, archetype, relevancy. Each principle is illustrated by a brand case study explaining how companies including Dove and Lean In have put these principles to use, complete with lessons and takeaways.

We've put together an overview of these four principles and case studies below. You can also get the full text of the guide here:

1. Authenticity: Dove shows the meaning of real beauty
In the age of the selfie, people want something that speaks to them personally—real, candid moments from everyday life. Authentic marketing taps into the passions and emotions of an audience, turning them into eager creatives and advocates of the story you’re trying to tell. Also, users clicking on photos of real-life people are twice as likely to convert to a sale. Few brands have been able to master the art of authenticity like Dove. What started with a simple bar of soap has transformed into a brand bent on revolutionizing the way women perceive beauty and themselves. Learn more about Dove’s use of authenticity.

2. Sensory: Squarespace creates images people can touch
We live in an age of information overload, yet our senses still yearn for stimulation. When we feel fascinated and inspired, we want to share the feeling with others. The website-building platform Squarespace does a fantastic job at engaging all the senses in its new campaign, titled “Details.” A video features tactile close-ups and stunning sound bytes of scenes of water flowing over purple cauliflower, mascara-clad batting eyelashes, and reverberating bass strings. The viewer is shown how gorgeous it all looks on each separate Squarespace site. Check out the ways that Squarespace creates great visual ads.

3. Archetype: Lean In transforms the possibilities for modern women
Archetypes have been used as the main elements of storytelling since the beginning of civilization. Through understanding the archetypal stories that shape our culture and values, brands can create more engaging content and better connect with their audiences. The Lean In movement is making serious waves when it comes to constructing the image of the modern woman. Partnering with Getty Images, aims to create a library of images that empower women to take on the future at their fullest potential, instead of using visuals to assign them the same roles they’ve had to play for centuries. Explore the ways that Lean In uses archetypes in its content.

4. Relevancy: Honey Maid celebrates the contemporary family
We happen to be living through one of the most exciting eras of history, and nothing reminds us more of this than a powerful visual. That’s why it’s vital to stay ahead of the crowd by delivering localized content in real-time. Take Honey Maid’s most recent campaign, for instance. The once old-fashioned graham cracker brand succeeded in placing itself at the forefront of one of the country’s most compelling topics: the evolving definition of family. See how Honey Maid creates relevant content with images and artwork.

How can incorporating these four visual storytelling techniques create an emotional and visceral connection between your brand and your audience? To learn more read “The Power of Visual Storytelling”: