What is your favourite bit of trivia?

Take a second to think about why you know that little piece of information.

I’m guessing that it came from a story.

Did you know that we are 22 times more likely to remember a story than a plain old fact?

I’m in this business because of stories, so when I’m asked to interpret or help bring one to life, I get warm and fuzzy feelings. I’m not fussy either. As long as there’s a beginning middle and an end, I’m interested I want to get storyboarding.

At Union, we’ve illustrated stories about kids, hidden islands, secret tombs, going to the movies and how machines work.

But what about marketing stories? We were wondering about it, trying to figure out how storyboarding could help marketing agencies get their research and ideas across to their clients in a way that made sense to the client when out of the blue two different agencies approached us to do two very different types of storyboards.

One was to show the agencies idea for a new customer journey through the YYC Airport. And the other was to act as training visuals to explain how Alberta Treasury Branch – a local bank – works with its customers behind the scenes.

So the first question you might have is why not use photos? Why would you use storyboarding for these ideas instead of photographing them? Wouldn’t it look more realistic and create buy-in.

I say… No chance.

Let’s look at why storyboarding for the YYC airport first was a good idea first.

In this case, you have a lot of exciting ideas that the agency is proposing. Ideas about everything from how the airport greets patrons to how family members are taken care of when waiting for their loved ones to visit.

YYC Customer Journey The Jacksons Storyboard

As you can see. There would be a lot of models required for this type of work. You need the families and the airport employees, and then you need to costume them up and provide props and close down entire sections of the airport. It’s a logistical nightmare. You even need an aeroplane.

YYC Customer Journey Sandeep Storyboarding

And here’s the real kicker. If the Airport didn’t like it, you’ve just blown a massive extent of your delivery budget.

YYC Customer Journey Abigail Storyboarding

Instead, the agency hired somebody (Union Illustration Co.) who’s got a knack for telling visual stories and explained what they were looking for. We drew it up and if the airport made a few changes and then socialised the ideas around their organisation. For a fraction of the cost and no anxiety.

Storyboarding for training at the bank

Well unless you’re using your employees, you’ve got to hire all those models and create a space to take all the photos. In this case, you probably don’t want to use employee, because they come and go. But your training will be around for years.

If you want the training to stick you should use art as well because photos are prolific and we’ve seen a million of them. You’re not going to associate a particular lesson with a photograph but you will with an illustration. Illustrations cut right to the point and give us exactly what we need to see.

Alberta Treasury Branch Onboard Storyboarding 02

In the end, your client needs to feel the emotions of the customer or the trainee. To be put in their shoes and go along for the ride – before the ride is real. The best way to do this is to tell a story and support it with visuals.

If you ask me a lot more strategic planning would have more successful outcomes if companies used storytelling and storyboards as a way to rehearse and practice their ideas before fully implementing them. We’d create empathy in management and employees before we forced our customers down a jungle path.

Alberta Treasury Branch Deepen Storyboarding 03

Adobe has created a strong case for the use of storyboards in User Experience design on their blog. They cover everything from what a storyboard is to how to develop your own stories. You should check it out.

If you have any questions about how we can help you with your companies storytelling needs feel free to contact us. We’ll help you design a user experience your customers will love.

Michael Grills

Author Michael Grills

Michael Grills is an Illustrator, Artist and Designer working internationally at Union Illustration Co. from Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

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