1. Stir up those brave new worlds.
Sketch dreams of tomorrows the audience feels possessed to create and nurture. Vivid characters, action, tone and pacing—woven with prose, photographs, infographics and the like—liberate messages from the quicksand of blah-blah-blech and make them vital elements of a mind-and-heart-stirring celebration of, “Yes…this…THIS is what I want.”
2. Marry your images to equally visual language.
On your visual canvas, strive to paint a clear, compelling path; any words you add should motivate and guide, not toss up roadblocks and sinkholes. To stamp your message into viewers’ memories, marry eye-snaring imagery with captions, call-outs and labels that stimulate both the senses and emotions. Instead of droning, “Information about covered benefits, along with directions on enrollment, can be found on our corporate intranet under the tab, ‘Sure to Make You Snooze,’” body-check the reader out of her stupor: “Explore. Expand. Act. Select and shape your employment rewards on PeopleZone now!”
3. Become a lean, mean, action-driving machine.
Be ruthless—pare each story to the sparest mix of active-voice words and pictures. Each element must inform, guide and propel viewers toward a desired destination. For example, nudge and steer employees, step by step, through benefit enrollment, as though “assembling” a package. Nothing should serve only to fill space; no piece should add noise. Everything should get the person from point A, to point B, and via the shortest route possible.
4. Connect with fellow flawed-but-hopeful souls.
Odds are you share a species with most readers. Act like it. Liberate your company’s lore and dreams in a warts-and-freckles way and—surprise, surprise—you may happen upon another human or three inclined to warm to you and your message. Don’t be gloom-and-doom. Don’t be a polyanna. Just stay refreshingly, unabashedly and gloriously real.
5. Stand apart.
The world barrages your audience with stimuli—many of which sparkle and drip with star power and production mastery your corporate toolkit (and budget) can’t begin to touch. Your strongest chance to compete comes from offering the unique—an insight that reinvents a career; a hint that inspires a solution to a lingering nuisance; the trigger for an “a-ha” revolution. Relish and replicate your B-movie moments of magic.
is Chief Solutions Architect for Visual Congruence's clients. A 30-year veteran of corporate communications, Brian spent much of his early career in senior leadership positions with large HR consulting firms. He founded Visual Congruence in 2003.