Thursday, April 1, 2010

Pictures can do more in PR

“Can you guys do something that is more than just having dummy cheque for pictorials”? Yesterday I had a candid conversation with my client and that’s how the story of using photography in PR came up.

It has been proven that human beings process visuals 66,000* times faster than text, this underlines the need for the public relations industry to bolster its already strong written and verbal skill with more visual communication techniques and ‘visual thinking’.

Together with the explosion of social media (and an ever-growing selection of visual channels, as well as the greater accessibility to technology that helps capture, create and share images (plus measure their success), the prospects for visual communication are greater than ever.

Without realizing it, visual communication and visual thinking is ubiquitous in our day-to-day lives.
And we don’t seem to give it much thought in the local PR scene instead we have adopted a dummy cheque and handshake presentation that is always plasted in our dailies on Mondays.

Traditionally, in PR and communications the trusted form of written communication has dominated, reports, press releases and presentations to name but a few. Yet studies show that 65 per cent of us are visual learners. Additionally, when words, images and colour are used together correctly, they can be a very persuasive mix.

Research indicates that:

• Pictures interact with text to produce levels of comprehension and memory that can exceed what is produced by text alone
• using visual aids during a presentation was found to be 43 per cent more persuasive than not using visual aids
• Besides improving readership by 40 per cent, colour also accelerates learning from 55 to 78 percent and comprehension by 73 per cent. Which leads me redefine visual thinking for PR practitioners

According to Robert Ng'ang'a one of the most in-depth creatives I have met, visual thinking is the innate ability to use our eyes and our mind’s eye to discover, develop and share ideas . From a communication perspective, visual thinking is the process of using pictures to help you solve problems (read clients), think about complex issues and communicate effectively.

So do you think PR practitioners need to embrace visual thinking?


Anonymous said...

PR companies definately need to embrace 'visual thinking' as you call it.

Also, they need to stop playing too safe and advice their clients accordingly with the times.

Stop being prisoners of the same old methods of doing things which are not necessarily effective- i understand at the end of the day the client is superior and you are walking the thin line of keeping/loosing the business.

Norman said...

PR companies have become the victims of non conformity in Kenya.Ten years ago we used to see dummy cheque pictorials in the newspaper...
Despite the fact that there clients are adopting new forms of communication and marketing...the advocates of new media (PR firms) are preaching water but drinking wine....

Philip said...

What about using cartoons and graphic illustrations?Apart from scientific writers.PR people tend to keep off graphs and tables when illustrating there stories.I think a bar graph showing the sales report of your organization can go an extra mile in getting the story published...

Miriam said...

@ Philip I bet illustrations would only do well for the Business Daily.....My two senses..

Anonymous said...

I like this story.......we are so plastered on press releases