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Visual Storytelling for Business: Why You Need This?

Wojtek Jeżowski

March 13, 2024

Table of Content

OK, stop the train. What is visual storytelling to begin with? Why you should use visual storytelling in your marketing and why is video the ultimate visual content type to do it? 

Visual storytelling is a powerful marketing tool: it can be a valuable ally supporting your B2B marketing efforts, a crucial part of a modern business' content marketing strategy and a great addition to the sales process.

You can use visual content such as high quality images, videos or other visual elements to feature customer stories and testimonials, present use cases for your products reinforced with statistics and figures, create narratives comparing the previous state of “before” and the benefits of “after,” as well as scenarios where specific problems were successfully addressed and resolved.

You can even craft a compelling origin story of your company or illustrate product creation. And all of this is packaged in a short, accessible, and emotionally engaging format that is easy for viewers to ingest.

TL;DR - it's a great way to show off that your business is awesome and why. And do it in a way that engages your target audiences at an emotional level.

Why we need storytelling in business?

But you might wonder… why should a serious company from, let's say, the B2B tech sector, even bother with creating visual stories at all? 

Let's start with the fact that tech purchases are incredibly complex and difficult (as stated by 77% of B2B buyers) and waste an immense amount of time to finalize. On average, the process of a new IT purchase takes an astounding 16.3 months. 

Small wonder then, that half of the tech buyers base their purchase decision-making process on product demos and vendor product websites (58% and 51%, respectively). 

You should also better take into account that the majority of B2B buyers are currently under the age of 40, and as such, they are twice as likely to discover a product while searching online, on their own. 

And you bet that for most of them, 70% of Millenials and 78% of GenZ buyers, visual formats such as product videos are an important part of their decision-making process.

So... It seems the only way a vendor can affect the "self-served" part of the buying process and capture the target audience's attention is to deliver content that not only has a clear brand identity, tells a consistent brand story but also is visually appealing to the potential customers or website visitors.

So how does visual storytelling fit into this picture?

Visual media, such as videos are at the sweet point, covering all those bases, as their goal is to make the features and benefits of your company’s service or product clear and tangible to the prospective customer. They also allow to simplify complex concepts and present them in visually appealing way. Thanks to visual storytelling, customers will better understand and remember the key points your company is trying to make.

Companies make good use of this format to quickly and effectively show off an amazing job they’ve done providing a product or solution to their business customers, using a compelling narrative. 

Why is visual storytelling effective?

We live in a visually oriented society, there’s no doubt about it. Visual content and interactive content, such as videos assist the buyers’ decision-making process in a comfortable and accessible way, as expected by the largest customer group. 

Case studies were at the top of B2B buyer preference in recent years (50%), and the single best way for a company to build trust with those buyers (42%). And video is decisively the preferred format of millennial and younger B2B buyers. 

So, instead of forcing them to pour through tons of dry and boring static content - and losing them along the way - your company can instead choose to evoke emotions, stand out among your peers, and build on commonalities you have with the customers by crafting a compelling story. This in turn will easily convert into trust and purchase decisions later on.

Sounds awesome, we’re doing it then! But… how exactly should we go on about it?

You need to put yourself into the mindset of a campsite fireplace storyteller. Yes, really.

Visual storytelling strategies: how successful brands use visual storytelling to create captivating videos

Great visual stories should without a doubt feature a recognizable brand identity, deliver educational content, like your product's features and, ideally, show how you can help your potential customers or how you helped some previous ones. However, they also have to convey your marketing message and explain often complex concepts in an engaging, interesting way. This is what instantly separates them from the droves of boring “here’s a list of our options and features” videos out there. 

Here are a couple of our favorite examples of brands that effectively use visual storytelling techniques in their marketing strategies to craft compelling stories.

Crowdstrike: Troy

A great example is Crowdstrike’s “Troy".  It’s a simple ad, but it takes the premise of “cyber security” and “trojan” literally and turns it into an amusing spoof. All basic ingredients of a high-risk security event are represented - between the castle’s “firewall”, the employees eager to let the Trojan Horse in with its deadly payload “because they like horses” and the Crowdstrike expert who steps in, analyzes the threat and rejects it.

The company is well protected, the threat is gone. Instead of a thousand words, a brief and entertaining, memorable skit, truly fit for the digital age. 

Show, don’t tell is the most important visual storytelling principle. And bonus points if you make them laugh - they’re likely to show the video to others in the company!

Obviously, good visual content still has to contain clear brand identity and succinct brand message. That message doesn’t have to be spelled out, but it has to be clearly implied in the video’s narrative. 

In Crowdstrike’s case, the message is simple, yet so very effective - “When you’re vulnerable, we will step in and protect you from threats you would not recognize.” And that’s more than enough.

With both of the above, Crowdstrike have achieved something very important - they evoke emotions. The video reached out to our human side and made us concerned by the “enemies at the gate” and then grateful for Crowdstrike’s protection. Generally amused and joyful at the funny aspect of the sketch. It made us trust in Crowdstrike’s expertise and protection.

This emotional connection is essential in B2B marketing. Connecting emotionally with your audience, as LinkedIn research indicates, allows us to shape the audience’s reaction to our marketing campaigns. Should we fail to elicit any positive emotions ourselves, that void will be immediately and uncontrollably filled by other audience emotions - and with how high distrust, anxiety, and fear are running in society these days, they’re unlikely to be ones we’d wish for.

Salesforce: Pacific Clinics case study

As we mentioned before, case studies and success stories are a well-established industry standard and having good quality, visual case studies at the ready is also expected by potential clients of B2B vendors. It’s an easy way to convey what your service or product does for the clients and how it will assist them in their particular business cases.

However, a success story has to be your customer’s success story. Don’t talk about yourself; tell their brand's story, convey their brand's values. Humanize the interaction. Identify and present their pain points, and make it clear that you’re the one who understands what bothers them.

Depict a better world, one where all of their problems have solutions - even as you present them as well, there will be some challenges along the way. This loops back to the emotional connection again, making the customer hopeful. And then provide direct answers to their issues.

Check out how this Salesforce video achieves all of the above.

Seeing your company as the source of hope and resolution, freedom from the customers’ burdens, is extremely empowering to the viewers. Be their light at the end of the tunnel.

Adobe:  Acrobat's Got It marketing campaign

Your video should also clearly and concisely identify what we like to call “brand or product core differentiators.” In simple terms, show them why you’re special. What makes you stand out? Why should they pick you and not one of your competitors? 

Take a look at how Adobe has done it using captivating video content in their "Acrobat's Got It" marketing campaign:

Simple messaging, simple features - online connectivity and interaction, streamlining the most tedious aspects of office work - document signage and tracking paperwork. Recognizing that said physical paperwork is simply nailing you down to your desk in the work-from-home era - and that heartfelt joy and relief of the guy discovering he can work on the move now! If you do it well, your customers will self-identify with the characters and their problems (that's emotional connection, again), meaning your unique solutions will present themselves as personally relevant to their needs.

And that’s how you build brand loyalty and nail down a sale, my friends. I think I’ll have to go and upgrade my Acrobat subscription myself now.

Awesome, so we know the why and the how… But what do we stand to gain from all this effort?

What are the benefits of an effective visual storytelling strategy?

First of all, you get a foot in the door. According to Professor John Dawes of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, companies change the providers of their technological products and services, such as banking, telecommunications, software, and infrastructure, only every five years or so. This means that only 20% of companies a year, one in five, are in the market for your particular tech purchase at all. That’s barely 5% a quarter

You have to somehow get the full attention of your target audience - and spamming them with regular ads is not the way to do it. In fact, it's a great way to lose their interest and trust with too much "salesy" content.

However, if you come at them with great visual storytelling techniques, done as the ones we’ve shown above, you stand to be one of the very few companies that will be recognized and get actual consideration. And as we know, this means you are halfway home already.

Once you have their attention and keep to what we’ve told you before, you will focus on them more than yourself, and thus, you will engage their emotions. With powerful and creative storytelling, you will be able to choose and shape the emotions the customer feels about your brand, product, and company instead of letting them fall where they may. In this way, you gain an exponential increase in how likable and trustworthy your company is to prospective buyers.

They will relate to the characters and the story, seeing themselves in the people you’ve previously helped - and thus recognizing you are well capable of solving their problems.

As this recognition dawns on them, you show that you recognize their particular pain points and already have solutions for them. You will be able to drive home your simple brand message and show off core differentiators, saying in effect, “We see you, and unlike all other companies, we can help you - just like we have already helped those people.” This makes your company unique in their eyes, further amplifying their awareness and trust in your particular technological solutions.

Dont's of effective visual business storytelling

OK, OK. So it’s all do this and do that. Surely, there are some don’ts as well?

But of course. 

First of all, you absolutely cannot be boring. It’s the bane of B2B marketing campaigns. Your visual storytelling strategy has to be top-notch, and while it might not be the most intuitive, it means Keep It Simple, Stupid. Do not overwhelm the audience with complex narratives.

Keep the length of your visual story down - do not lose the customer’s attention. The art is in honest simplicity. If GitHub can explain itself in under 3 minutes, you can as well.

Simplicity does not mean you can slack off on the production value and have your success story look like a dated testimonial from the early 2000s. One good avenue is animated video, just like GitHub above has done it. Another is good camera work, CGI, and/or hiring a high-tier actor like Squarespace has done with Adam Driver in their Singularity ad. 

Even when focusing on a single customer review, as Slack has, or doing the classic “expert talks” formats like TrendMicro has, you cannot forget good shots and lenses for that nice bokeh effect, emotionally appropriate color grading (e.g., warm for the feeling of security), CGI overlays with text and images, and so on. Animated or live-action, a lot can be achieved with simple means, but cinematic thought and expense have to go even into a simple case study video. 

It’s a bit of an extreme example, but this E3 Business Partner Testimonial in its original 144p glory may have been decent enough back in 2005, however the atrocious resolution and bitrate, the suffocating framing, and bland background of somebody’s garden window at home are not going to fly today. Spend the money, you’ll thank us later.

Lastly, don’t make a mistake and forget where in the sales funnel of the customer journey you intend to utilize this new video you're making. 

Visual storytelling at different stages of the sales process

Are you still at the "build brand awareness" stage, and that “foot in the door” aspect is most important to you, so you’re making a short and sweet “tech explainer”? 

Or are you at the consideration stage already, and what you need is more of a product demo, a behind-the-scenes, or an expert interview? Maybe even something long-form - and remember, in this world, that means anything above 10 minutes. 

You might also find yourself at the very bottom of the funnel, the decision stage. That’s the place for trust-building customer testimonials told by your existing clients and in-depth technological case studies, showing off the details of successful implementations.

If you mix those up and try to use a long, detailed story of an implementation at the awareness stage, you’re not getting any customer attention. However, using shallow teasers, too brief, and spoofy brand videos at the later stages can lose you ongoing consideration, as the customer will not feel treated seriously enough. 

Anyway, remember that leveraging storytelling for tech product launches is a must have! Click here and read the article.


All in all, it takes a lot of know-how and practice to get the hang of telling engaging stories, making compelling visual content and using it properly. Storytelling, empathy, cinematography, technological, and industry experience are all important ingredients in this potent mix.

Choosing a trusted partner like Black Rabbit skilled in visual storytelling can help your brand reach a wider audience,  explain your brand values or turn even the most complex ideas into compelling stories.

So come and see who we are, how we’ve done it before, and let us create something excellent for you.