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Fishing For Customers - Free Small Business Marketing and Advertising Tools, Tips, Articles, Strategies, and Advice. Fishing For Customers: More Words About Pictures

Sunday, November 19, 2006

More Words About Pictures

Last week, in The Worth of a Dali, I concluded:
“In a thousand words we can state the Pythagorean Theorem, The Lord´s Prayer, Archimedes Principle, The Ten Commandments, the Gettysburg address, Alfred Lord Tennison's Crossing The Bar, the Boy Scout Oath, the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, and still have 174 words left over.

“No, a picture is not worth a thousand words. It’s not even close.

“If your objective is persuasion, hire a copywriter.”
That posting prompted two responses, the first from Ken Dawson.
“I was reading the daily paper some weeks ago when I saw a picture of a beautiful beach: white sand stretching as far as the eye could see, green trees on the edges of the sand dunes, tusks of long sea grass scattered throughout. It was simply a beautiful crystal clear sea under a clear light blue sky.

“In this picture sat a man on a log, high in the sand dunes. He was just sitting and looking at this deserted beautiful New Zealand beach.

“Did it bring back memories? Yes, memories of the five years my wife and I spent at such a beach with our children.
“So, Chuck, sometimes yes. Sometimes a picture can be worth a 1,000 words.”

Ken Dawson
I have no doubt that the picture Ken described has great emotional value, and stirs powerful memories for him. I do doubt that I’d have the same reaction to looking at the same photo.

And yet, when Ken verbalized the scene, didn’t it become as real to you and me as it already was to Ken? In 121 words he managed to describe not only the composition of the photo, but also his emotional reaction to it, as well as the reason it affected him.

That’s powerful communication.

The other comment came from Angela Klein.
“Although you can use words to paint a vivid mental picture of things which have really happened as well as anything you can create in your mind, I’m finding it hard to imagine a picture being used to depict an accurate accounting of any event – real or imaginary.”

Angela Klein
Pets Best Insurance
I agree with Angela, but please don’t think I’m suggesting that illustration has no value. I’ve already stated “Visuals can be powerful in conveying very coarse, very raw emotion, but pictures can only reinforce the message already conveyed by the words.”

Since our objective in advertising our respective businesses is effective and persuasive communication, we should use every technique which will improve that communication.

Add photos, paintings, line drawings, cartoons or caricatures, charts, or any other visual which can make the story you’re telling that much more real in the minds of your readers.


  Blogger Ankesh Kothari said...

Hi Chuck,

Here is a quote I'd read sometime back:

"In 1985, after finding that pretty but unlabeled icons confused customers, the Apple Computer Human Interface Group adopted the motto, "A word is worth a thousand pictures," and a descriptive word or phrase was added beneath all Macintosh icons."


7:58 AM, November 28, 2006  

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