A picture paints a thousand words… how to use images to communicate

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A picture paints a thousand words… how to use images to communicate

Like many internal communications professionals, I’ve often been asked over the years to help combat the complexity of company strategies and communicate them in an engaging way.

This week I came across a fantastic example of how to do exactly that thanks to Melcrum’s Strategic Communication Management magazine and their article on the power of images to communicate complex information.

You can read the full article here, but in a nutshell it features two visual thinking maps for Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and global engineering group GKN that were developed by a Brand Engagement agency from Bristol, UK, called Home.

Simon Hardaker, Director, Group employee communications at GKN is quoted in Strategic Communication Management magazine saying their need for visual thinking methods came from the implementation of the company strategy, which needed to be shared globally with employees.

He says: “From the outset, I felt we needed people to visalise what the strategy was. In some ways, our strategy is simple, but in other ways our employees couldn’t see how different pieces and processes in the organisation joined together. We felt a visual thinking method would help employees retain the message because we planned for it not only to describe the strategy but for it also to be possible – just by loking at it – to link the various component parts.”

How do you know if visual thinking is right for your company?
These top 10 tips were highlighted in the Strategic Communication Management article and I thought I’d share them here:

10 steps to using visual thinking

1. Decide if visual thinking is appropriate for the message

2. Sit down with stakeholders and talk about what’s important for them

3. Collate the relevant information

4. Edit and decide what parts must be kept in with help from team

5. Decide what visual thinking method you’d like to use

6. Create the graphic

7. Test it on a focus group

8. Use results to refine

9. Create a user guide with talking notes for managers

10.Consider enlisting the help of an external agency for additional expertise.

Did it work?
GKN used the process to communicate strategy across the organisation with impressive results as 92% of employees surveyed said that they now understood the big picture strategy.

You can read the whole story in SCM here. Have you come across something that you think would be good to share with other comms professionals or would you like to write a guest post for my blog? I’m always on the look out for fresh ideas and content, so do get in touch with your suggestions. Thanks as ever for stopping by.

Post author: Rachel Miller

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