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Why Visuals Are So Important

Posted by on November 4, 2010

In my opinion effective visuals are one of the greatest assets that a consultant possesses.  However, we’re not just talking about pretty pictures, heck any designer can come up with pretty pictures.  What I’m talking about is a way to visualize information in a simple way that makes sense to the client.  I recently saw Dan Roam, author of “Back of the Napkin,” speak at a conference in San Francisco, and his whole basic premise for his keynote was that,

“the person who makes the best images wins (or gets the budget).”

In Dan’s example for the power of visualizations he talked about the new 787 Dreamliner that is being built by Boeing.  The parts of the aircraft are being built all around the world in multiple countries and languages, yet somehow when all the pieces come together, they fit.  Why?  Because of visual data and information that people can look at, these images transcend language and words and allow for a greater understanding of whatever is being discussed.  I wholeheartedly agree.  In fact I have found that the use of visuals in blog posts, presentations, reports, and pretty much anything I do, always makes things easier.  I just wrote a post for Social Media Examiner on Social CRM using a few visuals (and also eliminated the jargon) and every single comment I received on that post was all about how much “this made sense,” “was easy to understand,” and “how great the images are.”

Peter Block who is perhaps one of the most famous management consultants today said:

“Concentrate on the visual impact of your format and how easy it is to understand.”

Again, I’m not talking about putting together visuals just for the sake of putting them together, I’m talking about effective visuals that convey a message, tell a story, and allow anyone to understand what you’re talking about.  The new Chess Media Group site has a lot of visuals on it depicting our client and strategic methodology.  The Social CRM process diagram that Chess Media Group created is perhaps the most widely circulated and used Social CRM image today, why?  Because we took a concept and an idea that people didn’t fully understand and explained it in a simple to understand way that anyone can understand.

Going forward we’re going to get even more involved with visuals!

So why am I so crazy about visuals?  Well, a few reasons actually, visuals:

  • convey a message in an easy way
  • transcend language barriers
  • provide a good summary of information, data, and concepts
  • support information, data, and concepts
  • take less time to understand and read through
  • are simple
  • test your ability to breakdown concepts into a simple easy to understand way
  • are creative
  • humans are visual beings and most of the information we consume and interpret is visual
  • are crucial for concepts such as “social CRM” and “social business” which are still amorphous and hard to grasp for many
  • and more and more and more