After an extensive search through consulting sites and industry related sites, as well as searches related to B2B companies that are demonstrating excellence in the area of visual storytelling, data on the best practices related to visual storytelling for B2B brands was not found in the public domain. However, several useful insights on the various types of visual elements that are being used successfully, as well as examples of companies that are doing it well were found, and have been included as helpful findings.
Visual Interactive Content
- It has been found that visual interactive content results in a 70% conversion rate. Therefore, if the goal is to move people along the sales funnel, this type of content should be considered.
- One example of interactive visual content is this animated ebook produced by NASDAQ. Why does it work? Because it allows NASDAQ to highlight what they feel are the most important points, while allowing customers who want more detail to easily get it. Killer Visual Strategies also recommends ebooks when companies have a large amount of data to share.
- Hubspot offers a Website Grader which allows potential customers to see how their website is performing. One of the keys to the success Hubspot is having with the tool for lead generation, is the fact that it requires minimal effort on the part of the customer; only a website address and email needs to be entered in order to receive valuable results.
- The two types of interactive content that has been found to be most popular with viewers are interactive infographics and interactive videos.
- According to Ceros, the best practices for creating interactive infographics include having solid data, knowing what the story is, having a visual theme, and adding depth through examples, analogies, quotes, and/or commentary.
- Other types of interactive content include calculators, self-evaluators, surveys, and quizzes.
Types of Visual Storytelling
- According to OnmiKick, visual storytelling can include photos, memes, GIFs, custom illustrations, charts/graphs, videos, animations, and infographics.
- This article on Gartner's blog shows the difference between simply using a graphic and using a graphic that also tells a story.
- As described below in the research strategy outline, the examples being included here are those that were highlighted by at least two marketing experts or consulting firms as being an example of excellency in visual digital storytelling for B2B brands.
- This video for HP called The Wolf focuses on the importance of printer security. While this is from 2017, other videos have been produced more recently. Zoominfo and Digital Authority Partners both liked the approach because the company was able to make a dry topic engaging.
- Cisco has used several visual storytelling strategies that have been effective and engaging, including The Network Effect which was highlighted by Telepathy, and a graphic novel that was highlighted by Digital Authority Partners.
- Deloitte was also highlighted for two different visual storytelling strategies. This video uses a slick, brand centric approach, while this one takes a bold stand that got noticed by customers.
We began our research for best practices related to B2B companies using visual design in their storytelling on the websites of consulting firms with an expertise in visual storytelling such as Killer Visual Strategies, Gartner, and Digital Authority Partners. While all of these resources gave suggestions on how B2B companies can use visual storytelling to promote their brand and sales, there was nothing to indicate these were best practices. Additionally, there was no consistency across the practices being recommended, which would have allowed us to make an informed assumption that those practices repeated by several sources could be considered best practices. Our next strategy was to look for B2B companies that had been recognized for excellence in visual storytelling. Our hope was that we would find several companies that had been highlighted by multiple firms, which would allow us to make the assumption that the practices being implemented by those companies were likely best practices. We did find some B2B companies that were featured in multiple articles for their excellence in visual storytelling. General Electric was mentioned for their excellent use of their Instagram page by Zoominfo, Telepathy, and Digital Authority Partners; Deloitte was featured by Digital Authority and Xeim Econsultancy; IBM was featured by Vidyard and Zoominfo; Cisco was featured by Digital Authority, Telepathy, and Zoominfo; HP was featured by Zoominfo and Digital Authority; and Salesforce was featured by Telepathy and Zoominfo. Although we found many examples of great B2B visual storytelling highlighted by two to three companies, this was not enough data to make the assumption that the practices utilized by these companies are considered best practices.
While our strategies described above did not allow us to definitively find any best practices for visual storytelling by B2B brands, we were able to find several excellent examples that were utilized to provide helpful findings.