A picture is worth a thousand words.
This well-known idiom dates back to the early 1900s, although it remains uncertain whether it originated with an advertising executive or a newspaper editor. In the early 1970s, singer/songwriter David Gates borrowed the sentiment for his band Bread’s massive hit, “If (A Picture Paints a Thousand Words).” Regardless of who coined the phrase or where we’ve encounter it, the meaning is clear: Painting a picture in someone’s mind is a highly effective means of telling a story, conveying a message, and evoking emotion.
Effective marketing involves an element of storytelling. Think of the ads that capture your attention and draw you in. Whether on television, in print, or delivered via social media, chances are they all have one thing in common – they tell a story. A dad delivers driving advice to his little girl, seat-belted into the driver’s seat of the family Subaru. Over the course of the 30-second spot, she segues into a teenager, takes the keys and backs out of the driveway. An ad for veterinary joint health supplement Cosequin features a young girl coaxing her new puppy up the stairs. He struggles, but eventually makes it. As the narrator speaks, the dog and his girl grow older. By the ad’s close, the girl returns from college to be greeted by the same dog, who romps down the stairs into her embrace.
Today’s consumers respond to a narrative that evokes emotion. Nowhere is this truer than in financial services. The peace of mind gained from picturing themselves financially secure and pursuing their dreams of buying a home, planning for retirement, or putting their kids through college IS worth a thousand words. But let’s be honest. Consumers have a virtually unlimited choice of financial products and services to choose from. Storytelling is the key to making your marketing efforts rise above the noise and help them envision how your offering will transform their lives. It’s the difference between talking to customers and connecting with them.
On your website, in advertising, and through your public relations initiatives, always seek to incorporate storytelling into your marketing efforts and paint a picture your customers won’t soon forget.