Why do some businesses invest so much time, money and research into visual communication?
They do that because they understand human nature.
They know that we are hard-wired to ‘read’ pictures rather than words. That is how our brain works. Using visualization to synthesize ideas is not only an effective medium, it is exactly the type of communication our brains crave.
Long before we read the words on a website, it is the image that attracts our attention and impels us to engage with the content.
Ninety percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual and our brains process visuals much faster than text.
One of the reasons we can so quickly interpret images is because we decipher image elements simultaneously. We actively and automatically seek out patterns and the relationships among objects and components of that which we look at. This helps us understand concepts quickly and effortlessly.
Language however, is decoded in a linear, sequential manner taking more time to process.
Visual communication is therefore an effective way of presenting complex information and ideas as well as emotionally loaded concepts such as values. Visual communication simplifies thoughts that are dense and difficult to analyse.
Once we have read a piece of text, the words are processed by our short-term memory which can only accommodate seven to eight bits of information at a time. Images, on the other hand, go directly into our long-term memory where they are stored.
On seeing new images, our brains retrieve information from our long-term memory and rapidly connect the new information with the information already stored, cementing the concept in the brain.
“… unless our words, concepts, ideas are hooked onto an image, they will go in one ear, sail through the brain, and go out the other ear.” - Dr. Lynell Burmark, Ph.D. Associate at the Thornburg Center for Professional Development.
Most importantly, images speak to us on an emotional or affective level. Visual stimulation has always helped us remember vital information that we need for survival. There is a reason why the optic nerves are directly connected to our kinaesthetic sense at the base of the skull – it is predominantly the information our brain receives from our eyes that result in the decision to fight, flee or negotiate.
In the light of our neurobiological make-up, the benefits of visual communication for businesses lie in its ability to appeal to our senses and emotions, to encourage comprehension and to retain information
If visual communication is that powerful and effective, it stands to reason that a visual strategy for your business is vital.
Jeff Bullas, international author, blogger, strategist and speaker agrees. According to him:
- Articles with images get 94% more total views
- When you including a photo and a video in a press release, views increase by over 45%
- 60% of consumers are more likely to consider or contact a business when an image shows up in local search results
- On an ecommerce site, 67% of consumers say the quality of a product image is “very important” in selecting and purchasing a product.
- In fact they indicate that the quality of a products image is more important than product-specific information (63%), a long description (54%) and ratings and reviews (53%).
- Engagement rate on Facebook for photos averages 0.37% where text only is 0.27%,that is a 37% higher level of engagement for photos over text.
What these statistics tell us is that consumers want to learn about your business, you service, your products in a visual way that engage, inform and entertain.
When next you have to find images for your website or other marketing material, instead of using Images merely for decoration or ways to break reams of text, harness the power of visual communication.
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