How to tell your story, without saying a word

We use images to tell a story in just about every part of everyday life; think children’s picture books, road signs or even emojis. Sometimes the purpose of that is to get a message across quickly. Sometimes it’s to help build meaning or association. And sometimes, it’s to create an emotional connection or response.

Take brands, for instance. You might learn a lot from a page-long description of a chocolate brand. But you’re far more likely to buy that brand if you see an advert showing two friends sharing a laugh – and the chocolate – on their lunch break. What you’re really buying is the moment, as well as the values that brand stands for. Relationships, fun, and relaxing. It’s a simple technique, but choosing the right images can really help you build positive brand association and better connect with your audience.
So what exactly are the right images and how should you use them?

It’s a good question – and it’s not always straightforward. NZ Story has put together a few handy tips to help you get the most out of images.

  1. Consider your audience
    Sometimes what you don’t show is just as insightful as what you do. An image of a beautiful landscape, for instance, might make your audience think you’re from a place with not many people and not much to do. That might be fine if you run a yoga retreat, but probably not if you’re a tourist operator.
  2. Grow perceptions
    If you show people images that reinforce their expectations, you’re not adding any new value. Instead, choose images that might surprise and delight people. If you’re a cheese manufacturer, for example, why not showcase a cheeseboard at a fine-dining restaurant, rather than an image of cows in a paddock?
  3. Quality over quantity
    When people think of your product or service, chances are you want them to think ‘quality’. So you should be using images that back that up. A few great quality images are much more powerful than a whole collection of average ones.
  4. People like people
    It might seem obvious, but people connect with images of other people, whether that’s those who make your product or those who enjoy it. It’s also important to keep your target market in mind – who would they want to see?


NZ Story has a Toolkit that contains a whole host of quality images that can be used by NZ business – just like the one above. Check them out here.

Published winter 2017.

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