HolyCow is a full service visual communications agency, formed in 2003, that brings business stories to life across all platforms. Using a mix of animation, motion graphics and video, the company helps drive its clients’ business objectives through memorable visual communication that engages and activates audiences.

In today’s fast-paced global and multicultural business environment, companies must use visual solutions to communicate effectively. Over recent years, visual communication has been increasingly adopted beyond advertising and some of our clients including Alexander Forbes, HP and Absa Investments have witnessed the value that it provides due to its powerful ability to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of communication, both internally and externally.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, can you imagine what a moving picture is worth? This is what drives our visual approach utilising animation, motion graphics and video to bring business information to life. Companies are seeing remarkable success with this approach, especially in the presentation environment where they need a competitive edge in communicating their credentials, products and services.

This is regardless of whether it’s a presentation to five people in a boardroom or 500 people at a conference or road show. Visual communication has the ability to achieve what other forms of communication cannot. It’s a well documented fact that audiences remember and retain a lot more of what they see as opposed to what they hear. In fact, studies have shown that people only remember 10% of what they hear, 30% of what they read, but about 80% of what they see and do.

Since audiences are bombarded with masses of content on a daily basis, we make it our job to ensure our clients distinguish themselves in this excess. We do this by translating content into striking visuals that are impactful and memorable. Many of our clients, especially those in IT and financial services often have a need to summarize complex information and represent it in a format that is memorable.

To address this, we create info graphics, where information is literally brought to life with animation and iconography. The information tells a story rather than just imparting the facts. The visual graphics bridge the gap between ‘up in the air’ business ideas and tangible visuals that audiences identify with. Once an audience identifies with the message you are trying to bring across to them, an instant connection is created and the message becomes so relevant that it resonates with your client creating a powerful memory.

The information overload has given rise to a strong trend in visual communication – simplicity – which informs our creative approach. The ‘less is more’ method has never been more applicable and so we work with our clients to help them refine vast amounts of information into its core elements so we can represent these in a powerful visual format that speaks to their audience.

Today, it’s more important than ever to engage an audience immediately. Think about when you visit a website. How many times have you closed the page when the site doesn’t download quickly enough? The same is true in the presentation arena. An audience makes up its mind in the first minute whether or not they’re going to listen to you. If you don’t create a connection with them upfront, you never will.

Recognising this need, we developed the MOODSETTER, a presentation tool using animation and graphics to set the mood and grab the audience in 30 seconds. Since its media agnostic, our clients say it’s the best marketing money they’ve ever spent. Besides using it in the boardroom to drive new business, the MOODSETTER is being utilised for event media, online and internally to engage audiences.

Another area where our clients are reaping the benefits of visual communication is in the engineering and energy sectors where animation helps the audience understand complex processes. Instead of having to hard sell and go into lengthy explanations about the advantages of a particular solution or product, the visuals do the work for the presenter. The idea is not to replace the presenter though, but rather empower them with visual aids that do justice to the company’s value proposition.

Uptake of visual communication is also increasing significantly among companies with sales teams who need to shorten the sales cycle. Often, sales people are selling highly complex, technically advanced solutions that just confuse customers resulting in them not understanding the capabilities of the product and the benefit that it can offer. On the flip side, sales people are often feeling frustrated by walking away without achieving the sales that they were hoping for. By using visual tools, the ability to effectively communicate a business solution increases understanding and buy-in from a busy decision maker, which holds a huge amount of value.

Within the organisation itself, visual communication is used to increase efficiency and productivity. For example, if there’s a new project internally, it stands a much better chance of success wheneveryone is on-board quickly and all understand the plan. Visual communication helps companies achieve this. Another area within organisations where visuals must be used is induction programmes. New employees will relate a lot more strongly to an organisation’s culture, mission and vision when they feel that a company makes a concerted effort to engage with them at the outset.

By using a mix of visual and other communication tools to create this connection, employees are far more likely to be convinced that they’ve made the right choice to join the company and as a result feel more committed to stay.

Looking ahead, companies cannot afford to leave visual communication out of their below-the-line marketing mix. Sophisticated visual tools are already becoming common practice and within the next five years, they will be seen in much the same way as having a website is seen today – a ‘must have’ for any company that wants to be taken seriously. With email technology on the brink of being able to embed video within an email and bandwidth becoming cheaper and faster, the domain of visual communication is about to enter a new era.

Leave a Reply