10 million reasons and tips for stronger visual communications

By BBS Studio, part of Baldwin Boyle Shand

The average human brain receives around 10 million pieces of information every second from our visual senses. Our second busiest sense is touch, with around one million pieces per second, and we then use roughly one third of our brain power making sense of it all.

This in itself is a hefty case for strong visual communications but in our fast-paced, content heavy, multi-screening age with brands and businesses clambering for attention on new technologies, it’s never been more important.

With visuals now no longer an addition but cornerstone to communication efforts, BBS has launched our design arm BBS Studio to offer broader, more seamless communications solutions to help our clients gain cut-through.

Here are some of the key considerations for companies when they’re thinking about their next piece of communication.

Shaping first impressions

With today’s average human attention span somewhere between 8 and 10 seconds (around the same as a goldfish!), first impressions are critical.

To steal attention, visual communication should not only reflect the brand, business or person. It must go further. It must help inspire the audience, draw them in, and make them think about the content they’re consuming.

If you’re sharing a report, think of a snappy title, interesting cover and design theme. If you’re conveying an important company message, think about a video with an inspiring opening or make the first slide of a presentation memorable with a powerful image.

Keeping your audience entertained

Strong visual communications will not just help capture an audience, it will hold their attention.  Too often businesses make the mistake of only going halfway. They might create the clever visual theme or delivery method for a piece of communication but then fail to keep it interesting and it grows stale.

To avoid this you should do three things.

Firstly, look at every visual communication project as a story-telling exercise. You need a hook at the beginning, an interesting middle (with some surprising, intriguing, and dramatic elements) and a memorable end.

Next, you need to think about what formats will effectively bring your story to life. Do you need an infographic, a video, an electronic direct mailer – what’s fit for purpose?

Finally, change it up.  If you’re regularly communicating to the same audience in the same style with the same formats you’re likely to see declining interest over time. Don’t be afraid to do a little trial and error; strong measurement practices such as clicks and impressions will help you find out the best content that appeals most to your audience. 

Simplifying the complicated

Do you have a complex story to tell? Visual communications is your best friend.

While the infographic era has well and truly dawned there are many more visual communication tools and tricks that can help make a complex story simple, highlight key facts or figures or help land that key message.

A good approach when you have a project like this is to start with the basics and think about who your audience is and what you want them to think, feel and do.

Once you know this, pull apart your communication – how much text do you need to do justice to the content, what can you bring to life in interesting and visual ways, and what are the three things you want them to take away?

Helping your content live on

When you’ve invested a lot of time in creating a piece of communication, there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing its reach grow and grow. In today’s social world, the opportunities for content to live on are endless, and even within more niche audiences this should be a consideration.

Strong visual communication is an obvious aid to helping content be shared amongst secondary audiences and beyond – whether it’s a manager sharing a presentation with their team, a company referencing a visual from an interesting analyst report or branded content being shared among friends and family.

With the combination of strong content and powerful visuals the possibilities for your communications today are truly limitless.

This article is brought to you by BBS Studios based in Singapore – the visual communications arm of public relations agency Baldwin Boyle Shand.