It sounds like an oxymoron.
Words constitute an element of writing.
Visuals deliver the ultimate “short cut” in communications.
You never hear someone say, “A word is worth a thousand pictures.”
Yet, business communicators can absolutely depend on words to carry a visual. Given that the vast majority of PR professionals hold mass communications or English or journalism degrees as opposed to MFAs, developing visuals can make one feel like the proverbial fish out of water. Words offer a way to push into visual storytelling from a point of expertise.
Here’s an example of using words in a visual medium – in this case SlideShare, which in the right hands can become a poor man’s video.
You can see how words drive this brand story with the graphics in a supporting role even though the reader consumes each slide like a visual (i.e., fast).
Rather than the typical customer case study that has the vendor shouting, “Me, me, me … and don’t forget about me,” this narrative takes on the shape of the classic story arc: the customer (and product) overcomes an unexpected disaster and somehow, someway, course corrects. BTW this is a true story (Facebook is often overlooked as a source for customer storytelling).
Like the Vanity Fair infographic that made fun of TED talks – OK, the infographic shreds the very pretentiousness of TED – this creative starts with words followed by the graphic design. Such an approach feels more intuitive to communicators.
In short, the beauty of words can be visual or visual-like, bringing a fresh dimension to brand storytelling.