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5 Essential Trends in Visual Storytelling

Visuals keep gaining popularity. From compelling images to data visualizations to virtual reality experiences, visual stories have become one of the most potent forms of communication. They are changing the way marketers persuade audiences with their messages. At a certain point, visual storytelling will be everywhere around us, as the advances in wearable tech and IoT are taking us to a more connected world. So, take a moment to read on the visual storytelling trends that will revolutionize visual marketing by blurring the line that divides fiction and reality.

1. Hyperreality

Visual storytelling appears that it will be more real than reality thanks to technologies like augmented and virtual reality. People call it “hyperreal” storytelling – when you can create stores that can appeal to more than one human sense. And due to the authenticity of these experiences, the technology has the power to trick both your body and mind into reacting as you’re living through the real story.

This hyperreality initiative was in some marketing campaigns in home improvement, travel, and automotive niche. For example, a travel agency from UK (Thomas Cook) has a campaign called “Try Before You Fly” that provided travel agents a virtual reality experience of specific trips. As for storytelling, users will be able to touch other characters, manipulate objects, and even affect the outcome of the story.

2. Ceaseless Stories

People want more and more stories, and their appetite has grown that it seems they don’t want them to end. This trend is expected to go as far as to give us stories that will be running alongside our lives, non-stop. If you decide to tune in at 3 AM, you may see your favorite character is out partying or sleeping and turning in the bed. We are already witnessing the growth in the popularity of Instagram and Facebook Live, as well as live streaming apps (such as Twitter’s Periscope). These apps allow people to interact with the celebrities they’re following in real time.

3. Brand Storytelling

There is less difference between filmmakers and brands when it comes to visual storytelling and virtual reality experiences. IKEA’s virtual reality experience, for example, allows users to interact with a virtual kitchen – walk around, change its look and feel, move objects, and open drawers. If you want to experience an air race simulation, you can check out Red Bull Air Race.

4. Connective Visual Storytelling

Whether fictitious or real, audiences that grew up with the Internet want to connect with other people, not just remain passive spectators. In the heart of many great stories were characters that are relatable and three-dimensional. But when it comes to storytelling, people want to relate to their favorite characters by walking in their shoes. Just connecting with them won’t be enough.

In 2016, Lionsgate has launched Nerve – Do You Dare – a VR experience that allows users to put themselves in a movie character’s shoes. They can experience some terrifying dares – hitching to a police car to take a speedy skateboard ride or crossing a ladder between two high-rises.

5. Storytelling for Social Impact

If you run a fund-raising organization and want to increase empathy for others, you can rely on visual storytelling. With nothing more than a VR helmet, you can have people experience what it’s like to live in a Syrian refugee camp, suffer from Parkinson’s, or live as a homeless person. This kind of visual storytelling has the most potential to impact the real world.

What can you, as a marketer, conclude from these five visual storytelling trends? Where to go with your content? Well, you should work to create material that is authentic, impactful, continuous, interactive, and immersive. Most of us don’t have the means to develop our VR experiences (yet), but these trends convey a clear message – the stories are becoming increasingly visual and enable us to communicate with believable characters and through alternate worlds. We’re already utilizing Instagram Stories for business, so you can imagine how captivating would be to empower your customers to enter an interactive and never-ending story.

The line between the real world and fiction will continue to blur, as well as those that separate entertainment and advertising, story, and game, and producer and user. When you manage to combine the power of visual content with the timeless need of storytelling, you get visual storytelling – one of the most potent forces that continues to shape the future of communication.

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