We are often asked to explain the reasons for the success of explainer videos and infographics as tools of Content Marketing. We usually reply to the question with another question: of the five senses which would you least like to loose? Sight, people reply spontaneously. Everyone, without exception, gives this same answer. This gives us an idea of just how important images are to us; we cannot tolerate the idea of losing our capacity for sight. This is because our eyes are an extensión of our brain. 70% of our sensory receptors are found in the eyes. An enormous part of our brain, almost 50%, is devoted to the processing of visual images (Marieb, E. N. & Hoehn, K. (2007). Human Anatomy & Physiology 7th Edition, Pearson International Edition).
Even so, paradoxically many people still don’t seem to realise the power that images have. For example, in the making of presentations. We live in such an intellect centered civilisation (if we may be permitted the expression) that we tend to overestimate the value of everything, like words, that calls on our ability to reason, and underestimate that which is directed at perception, intuition or emotion, like images. An enormous mistake!
The power of images
Do you remember this image?
A single image is able to tell a complex story. That is to say, it allows you to conceptualise. A single image has the capacity to suggest something which not even a thousand words could convey. It can inspire. An image remains imprinted on our memory.
An image such as this
Is the nearest approximation to the “thing” it describes, while the words
caballo лошадь horse 馬 cheval
can never be more than artificial instruments which we have had to learn.
The German psychologist Rudolph Arnheim had already pointed this out in the 60’s in his theory of visual thinking (Arnheim, Rudolph. Visual Thinking. Berkeley: University of California Press) and it is more relevant than ever in an image saturated world in which it is vital to draw peoples’ attention in order to facilitate the interiorization of YOUR message.
Images are more efficient and more interesting.
A 1986 study, sponsored by 3M at the University of Minnesota (D. Davies, D. and R. Bathurst, The Telling Image The Changing Balance between Pictures and Words in a Technological Age. Oxford University Press) found that presenters who used visual support are 43% more efficient at convincing members of the public. Nothing pleases the brain more than understanding things.
Images have impact, are recalled and stimulate interest. Words alone require more effort, are harder to recall and are ultimately boring … zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
For all these reasons extremely visual Content Marketing tools like explainer videos and infographics are gaining popularity in the 2.0 web. One small aside: in the last 5 years the number of searches in Google Trends for the term “infographics” has shown this evolution. This is evidence for the interest it has awakened.
So, enough of words. For the time being we’ll leave you with an explainer video of The Visual Speech Company which illustrates what we have outlined above: