The Brand Story on Display
The old adage is “Show, don’t tell.”
It works for playwrights, math teachers, mimes and marketers. Brand story sharing has been a part of the marketing mix for a while now. (We call it brand storymaking.) What’s new is the way brands are presenting their stories – visually.
(And yes, I see the irony of making a case for visual storytelling using words. So let me make the movie.)
Visual storytelling is the result of content marketing crashing into brand journalism, fusing together, jumping the median and then, in a shower of sparks, careening into storymaking. No one gets hurt, and a powerful marketing tool emerges from the dust. (And scene.)
The brand story is more than what a marketer tells shoppers. The true tale is what those shoppers believe about the brand based on signals and cues. Visuals deliver strong signals.
Social media has been a tremendous tool for retail marketers to share their stories visually. FlipBook serves as a seasonal lookbook, collections are previewed on Instagram and Pinterest is every shopper’s wish list and catalogue.
But the sharing shouldn’t end with social media. Smart retail marketers bring visual storytelling into the store. Signage and display executed through the lens of visual storytelling is a potent, shopper-connecting tool.
In-store displays should further the brand narrative, creating focal points for the story, filling in the blanks and drawing the shopper in. When the visual story is not continued in the physical store, a major opportunity is lost.
What are the elements of meaningful in-store visual storytelling?
A clear brand story is required before any display is created. It’s hard to tell the story if you don’t know it.
A unique, true voice will differentiate the brand and add substance to the story. Instead of speaking in their own voice and hoping that customers will like them, some brands try to copy the customer’s voice in an attempt to please them. The result is too easy to reject.
Literally display emotional honesty and authenticity. Have a personality and a point of view, and don’t be afraid to show them.
Have a beginning and a middle. Let the shopper continue the story as she sees it.
Go into detail to demonstrate the story. An in-store display can offer layer upon layer of backstory and foreshadowing. Draw the shopper into the story; urge her closer.