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Business Marketing

The rise of visual storytelling in marketing

Thanks in part to visual social networks like Instagram, visual storytelling has gotten much more interesting and much more integral part of marketing for all types of businesses.

visual storytelling

visual storytelling

Visual storytelling goes beyond just status updates

Annual reports are supposed to be just the facts, right? Not anymore. Calgary Zoo has turned their annual report into a piece of digital art using the popular picture service, Instagram. Instagram is an online social photo sharing site with mobile applications for iTunes and Windows phones.

Calgary Zoo’s annual report uses 55 photos and includes a balance sheet and statement of revenues for 2012. Calgary Zoo had a record breaking 1.47 million visitors for the year and each photo includes details about the year’s successes. One image even lists all the individual donors for the year and their amounts. Other achievements included opening new exhibits, the down listing of swift foxes from endangered to threatened and status updates on various zoo projects.

Calgary Zoo’s not the only organization to jump on the digital marketing band wagon for annual reports. A growing trend in the last few years, many businesses are starting to realize annual reports offer a unique marketing opportunity. For example, at the 2012 Cannes International Festival of Creativity Austria Solar literally had judges walking outdoors to see the annual report. Austria Solar’s report was on a specially treated paper that would only react to sunlight to reveal the contents.

visual storytelling

Garnering positive attention

Marketers for these organizations have succeeded in garnering positive attention by taking the annual report and including professional creativity. However, it’s not all about show. These organizations report that their annual reports brought significant business. Warby Parker is an online retailer of eyewear based in New York, who recently created their annual report to be similar to a story. Director Tim Riley stated the report, which was well received by consumers, “generated our three highest consecutive sales days to date at that time… in mid-January when retail isn’t necessarily at its hottest.”

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The online report opens with a central popup saying, “Herein you’ll find detailed information about our accounting policies, followed by a terrifying array of charts. Just kidding. The annual report is our chance to sneak you inside Warby Parker headquarters and show you how it all goes down – bagels and bloopers included.” The report details a variety of information, including employee information and “fun facts.”

It’s clear digital marketing is revolutionizing the way businesses present information, especially when it is a series of dry facts.

Written By

Charity Kountz is an award-winning fiction and nonfiction author as well as a Realtor and certified Paralegal. Her writing has been featured in Coldwell Banker, iPhone Life, Strategy magazine, Duck Soup magazine, and more.

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