The Power of Visual Storytelling by Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio

Visual storytelling is hot right now.

But for some, creating visuals for the web can be intimidating. Do I need an expensive camera? Do I need Photoshop? Do I need to outsource the creation of all my graphics?

Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio answer those questions (and more) in their book, The Power of Visual Storytelling. It’s the definitive primer on all things visual, and it’s a must-read for those who are trying to stand out on social media.

Here’s what you need to know about the book…


In their book, Ekaterina and Jessica address the following quesitons:

  • What are the different types of visual assets (e.g. photographs, user-generated images, photo collages, infographics, memes, etc.)?
  • How do I design eye-catching digital assets?
  • How do I tell a different story on each of the social media platforms? Specifically, the duo gives tips for producing content on:
    • Pinterest
    • YouTube
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Instagram
    • Tumblr
    • Vine
    • SlideShare
    • Google+
  • How does visual storytelling relate to key business objectives?
  • How do I conduct an audit of my visual content?
  • What is real-time marketing? And what is the role of visual in real-time marketing?

Key Quotes

To give you the flavor of the book, here are a few quotes:

1. “Being human means feeling more like a friend than a corporate entity. A friend has a personality, values the relationship, shares experiences, and understands when to listen, when to be serious, and when to have fun.”

2. “Research indicates that consumer interest in visual content isn’t necessarily just a preference; it’s actually easier and faster for humans to process.”

3. “Different cultures, and even different demographics, will process symbols differently.”

4. “Gone are the days when it’s okay to spray the same piece of content across multiple platforms.”

5. “Each social network has its own character and audience.”

6. Pinterest: “It’s all about translation: finding ways to appeal to Pinterest users, even if you don’t think your brand is a natural fit for the site.

7. YouTube: “Add value and entertain. People come to YouTube to be entertained. They don’t want sales pitches.”

8. Facebook: “Don’t worry too much about using professional photographs–a photo taken on a smartphone by a fan can sometimes tell a better story than a professional marketing shoot.”

For more tips, you’ll have to buy the book. Sorry, we can’t give away all of Ekaterina and Jessica’s secrets. 🙂

Wish List

Choosing material for books is hard. Authors of how-to books cannot include everything in one tome, lest they want to write something as long as War and Peace.

I get that. But if I had my druthers, I would have wanted more information on the following subjects:

1. Visual storytelling beyond social media channels

The book focuses primarily on telling stories on social media channels. While social media is all the rage right now, it is important to recognize that marketers tell stories on other platforms.

For instance, I would have welcomed some tips on using visual assets in blogging.

Or what about some tips for website design?

As Ekaterina and Jessica point out in their book, “46.1% of people say a website’s design is the number one criterion for discerning the credibility of a company.”

Given that stat, it would have been nice to hear more about the ways in which visual storytelling can enhance a website’s credibility.

2. Cultural differences

Ekaterina and Jessica acknowledge that different cultures process visual symbols differently. However, the authors do not delve into these cultural differences in their book. If readers are interested in this topic, they will have to do some research on their own.

To supplement the book, I did some research on color theory. As you can imagine, the meaning of colors vary from culture to culture and from demographic to demographic. To give you an example, let’s look at the color orange.

According to the Wagner Color Research Institute, orange denotes cheapness.

As the story goes, Wagner told Wienerschnitzel, a hot dog chain, to add orange to their logo. The color would convey the message that the chain sold inexpensive hot dogs. After the change in color, Wienerschnitzel reported a 7% increase in sales.

But here’s the thing: The Wagner Color Research Institute was focused on American audiences. Try telling a practitioner of Hinduism in India that orange is associated with cheapness. Their sacred color is orange. Or what about the Dutch? The color of the Dutch royal family is orange. For them, orange is not a sign of cheapness.

So, as we design visual assets, we have to know our audience. The way I perceive a color may not be the same way that you perceive a color, for what is one person’s shoddiness is another person’s sacred.

Recommended for…

The Power of Visual Storytelling is not a book for professional photographers or for experienced social media marketers. But I would recommend the book for:

  • Those who are beginning to incorporate visual assets into their marketing mix.
  • Those who are trying to create visual content cheaply.
  • Those who are looking for image applications to play with–Several chapters include suggested apps.
  • Those who are trying to determine which social media platforms are best for their companies.
  • Those who love marketing stats–Each chapter is replete with numbers.

Buy It Here

You can buy the paperback version of The Power of Visual Storytelling on Amazon, as well as the Kindle version.

Your Take

If you’ve read The Power of Visual Storytelling, leave a comment below. I’d love to know what you thought of the book.


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