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New solution in the "Age of Advertising Resistance"...

New solution in the "Age of Advertising Resistance"...

January 05, 2012

Blame it on the dumbing-down of America. Blame it on the fact we're inundated with thousands of ads every day and never pay any attention. (Average person gets over 3,000 per day).

Or blame it on the fact that we're so busy that we want everything within seconds and the less thought required, the better.

Whatever the reason, we're quickly moving from an age of information to an age of graphics. Images, illustrations, videos and graphic novels are the new tools that are grabbing the attention of your hungry fish. And if you're not using these new tools someone else will and will get your customers before you do.

In fact, we have lots of great examples to share but you won't believe what one pool cover company did to tell its story.

What better way than to show the strength and durability of a pool cover than to show a live African elephant walking on it?! I love it!

Here's the question: How can you turn your ideas into compelling images that will grab your audience and stick with them? For most it's hard. But it's actually much easier'if you follow the following steps I'm about to share...

Let's say for example you sell pool covers. You can go on and on about how safe and sturdy the covers are, how they're made of the most durable mesh on the market, how they won't rip or tear even when thousands of pounds of pressure per square inch are applied to them. You can even impress customers with your engineering studies. Yawn'

Or you can just be quiet and let 'Bubbles' tell the story. That's exactly what Loop-Loc did. To prove just how safe and strong the company's pool covers are, they had a genuine African elephant named 'Bubbles' walk on the pool cover!

It's a great image! An elephant walking on a pool cover! Just that image alone in a 30-second video told the story. Look, an image is worth a thousand words. To help you, we've prepared a new tool, the Graphic Story Launcher: Brainstorming Ideas to Turn Your Ideas into a Graphic Story. GO HERE to get yours now.

Using just drawings and a narrated video you can take complicated topics and explain them in short, easy to follow snippets, just as commoncraft.com did in this video, Cloud Computing in Plain-English.

Another great example is the videos you can find on CommonCraft.com. In just 2-3 minutes, these short, creative videos explain how things work such as the stock market, insurance, computer software, cloud computing, etc.

Simply by using hand-drawn figures and drawings, viewers can easily follow along. What may take hours to explain may take only minutes using this low-tech video technique. Simple is the new sophisticated.

Tell someone about the nutritional dangers of eating popcorn and soda and you won't get much of a reaction. But if you SHOW someone that a popcorn and soda is the nutritional equivalent of eating 3 McDonald's Quarter Pounders topped off with 12 pats of butter you'll get someone's attention as the Center for Science in the Public Interest learned.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest discovered firsthand how images can tell a story. Concerned about the calories and high levels of saturated fat in movie theater popcorn they couldn't get any media attention exposing the results of its study.

That is, until they compared a medium bag of popcorn and soda from Regal Theatres to the nutritional equivalent of eating 'three McDonald's Quarter Pounders with 12 pats of butter while watching a movie.' Yuck!

Soon the New York Times, USA Today and all the major networks were running the story. Why? Because they had an image that told the story in a compelling way.

And of course we all know just how powerful videos on YouTube can be, which I've talked about quite a bit already in this space. But here's a genre you may not have heard much about that illustrates (pardon the pun!) my point: graphic novels.

Graphic novels, such as this latest one, the Zen of Steve Jobs, is the latest tool businesses are using to cut through the clutter and grab people's attention. The story illustrates how Steve Jobs' spiritual quest helped him turnaround Apple after returning to the company that fired him in the 1980s.

What were once mostly stories of Superman and Batman and of pulp fiction, graphic novels are now beginning to find a home for readers on handheld iPads, iPhones, Kindles, Nooks and in paperback. The latest? Forbes just published a 're-imigination' of the late Steve Jobs' spiritual quest in the 1980s before returning from exile to lead Apple on its dramatic turnaround in the graphic novel, The Zen of Steve Jobs.

Other graphic novel titles now out include traditional best-sellers such as Sun Tzu's The Art of War, Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich, Tom Hopkins' How to Master the Art of Selling and Chris Anderson's The Long Tail among others.

They're easy to follow and usually only take about 20 minutes to read. Hollywood is taking notice too and in some cases graphic novels are the shortest path to production on the big screen.

Want to be surprised? Remember these movies: V is for Vendetta, 300, Wanted, Road to Perdition and Persepolis? All were graphic novels before they became Hollywood hits. It's easy for directors to see the potential in the movie because they already have a storyboard layed out in a picture format. So if you want to get your company into the movies, think graphic novel.

My good friend Shimon Apisdorf, the publisher at Levithan Press, is working on his first graphic novel right now and expects the genre to grow as more people turn to iPads, iPhones and Kindles to read books. The technology is perfectly suited for the image rich layout.

'Our mind is always creating mental images,' he says. 'And when you're taking in that information whether it's auditory or words on a page, you're creating a mental image and the imagery is part of the thinking process. When you make that step for people and if it's done effectively and you have right image for the right idea you immediately create a connection for someone.'

He admits it's not easy to do, but worth the extra effort. Turning an idea into an image or a series of images is tough. We have some brainstorming techniques that I'll share with you in a moment but one of Shimon's best suggestions is to compare and contrast ideas. When trying to convey an idea, think about showing the opposite.

For instance, the first book he authored is titled, Rosh Hashannah Yom Kippur Survival Kit, in which he explains the meaning of the two High Holy Day Services in an enjoyable and inspiring way for anyone to understand. But the image he printed on the cover is just the opposite because he says many people can't stand to go to the synagogue, they're clueless about what's going on and they want to head for the exit as fast as they can, which you can clearly see in the illustration. The title offers the solution, but the image shows the problem in an entertaining way. It's brilliant!

The biggest challenge, he says, is to simplify the idea you want to convey in the image. Don't try to do too much. Keep it simple.

SIMPLIFY, CODIFY, MULTIPLY: At Brand Launcher, we constantly try to convey our ideas into images because we learned a long time age that we can try and talk with clients until we're blue in the face, but if we give them an image of the idea, it clicks. Take our lead machine process. I can explain how each of the 7 steps work in relation to each other, or I could just show it to you. Which do you think will be more memorable?

We've even created our own comic strips to help tell a story. We're a big believer in the motto 'Ready, Fire, Aim' in which business owners should spend less time deciding how to roll-out the perfect product and instead launch a 'good enough' product and adjust along the way. Again, I can talk for hours about the benefits, but it's often more powerful for me to just show the comic strip we created. See for yourself'

Want to take a guess at which of our e-letters have been some of the most popular? Those in which we included the cartoons. It's no wonder that the cartoons in newspapers have been around so long and are still one of the most popular features of the papers.

Why are they so powerful? Because people think in terms of images, not words.

To get a complimentary copy of our new tool, the Graphic Story Launcher: Brainstorming Ideas to Turn Your Ideas into a Graphic Story, so you can get started right away, click on the image above. You'll also get the same resources we rely on at Brand Launcher to create our own images.

Last month, as many of us were opening our new toys (some higher tech than others!) did you notice the instructions? More instructions just rely on images today than ever before. Apple doesn't even include instructions -- just graphics. You just get a few images to show how to plug in the device to get started. Starting to see a trend?

What ideas can you translate into a compelling graphic that will resonate with your audience? What images come to mind? How can you simplify it?

Don't sweat it. We have a series of brainstorming exercises to help guide you through the process. We also have a list of resources to help you create your images. Don't get hung up on the artistic creation if you don't have the skills to do it. There are thousands of people who can help at minimal cost.

Pretend you can't speak or use words. Your job is turn your idea into an image or series of images that will grab someone's attention and get your message across in 2 seconds. If you don't, someone else will.

The kiss of death is obscurity; compelling graphics will keep you out of obscurity.

To get a complimentary copy of our new tool, the Graphic Story Launcher: Brainstorming Ideas to Turn Your Ideas into a Graphic Story, so you can get started right away GO HERE. You'll also get the same resources we rely on at Brand Launcher to create our own images. GO HERE to get your FREE tool now.

And if you need help turning your ideas into a graphic story give us a call at 410-235-7070.

Always taking you from where you are to where you want to go,


Jon Goldman President