The combination and the impact of different communication measures - these are the two key aspects of our daily work. However, the conditions, challenges and purposes can differ greatly. Therefore, we have to reexamine which strategy is the most effective for each new client in the respective situation. To inform, to reason or to mobilize? The latter poses the highest demands. Here we want to achieve that the recipient actually acts upon our communication.

To accomplish this, we combine information and arguments and break down barriers at the same time. Experience has shown: the more difficult it is to reach a goal, the simpler the communication needs to be. After all, the messages must be understood.

Communication as a force for innovation

This is our understanding at ORCA van Loon Communications. Simple communication has the potential to make complex topics accessible, to convey solutions in a comprehensible way, and therefore foster real developments - innovations. But as it is often the case, "simple" is the hardest. The challenges and difficulties are multifarious.

We have to:

  • Condense information but always present it correctly and in a multifaceted way
  • Present complex topics in an understandable way that also makes them stand out in a flood of information
  • Show correlations in a simple yet serious and factual way
  • Respect customers' operating policies but proceed pragmatically at the same time
  • Visual stimuli can help to meet these demands

A (moving) picture says more than a thousand words

It is not for nothing that the phrase "A picture is worth a thousand words" has become part of our vocabulary. This phrase, originally coined at the beginning of the 20th century was already quoted by my grandfather and German PR pioneer Dr. Reiner Schulze van Loon My father Dietrich Schulze van Loon Loon is convinced of the visual potential as well and even takes it one step further: "If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a film is worth ten thousand words."

Indeed, moving images can make a big difference: they prompt and steer attention, transport a high density of information and simultaneously convey reality and authenticity. At the same time, they can trigger emotions that have a motivating effect and thus encourage action. By appealing to different regions of the brain, images are perceived a thousand times faster and have a significantly better chance of being remembered - this is called the Picture Superiority Effect.

Nevertheless, images and videos also reach their limits, for example when it comes to very abstract issues. This is where a mix of formats comes in handy and helps to create synergies.

Think big – but make it simple

A current prime example: the online reference tool "Mobilikon". A project we recently completed with the German Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community (BMI) and the German Federal Office for Building, Urban Research and Regional Planning:

The platform bundles various planning, legal and financial instruments as well as measures and assistance on the topic of mobility in rural areas. It also provides specific examples that can inspire communities, mobility representatives, and citizens.

After all, how can a community get a quick overview on whether or not a certain mobility solution from a community 600 kilometers away is a good fit for them? Through a film! This is why twelve animated and and live-action films have been created that present existing solutions in a condensed way and illustrate the complex relationships between equal living conditions, mobility and sustainability in a comprehensible manner.

But how is this supposed to work in a “simple” way? These three tips make a great basis for moving image communication:

  1. Work with metaphors: everyday examples give viewers an easy access to the topic, even if they are actually very complicated. Metaphors can be implemented linguistically, figuratively or both combined - depending on what suits the type of film.
  2. Reduce majorly: Good content will never cover all relevant topics. Films awake interest to read up on more detailed information. If you see them as door openers from the start, the end result will be simpler and better.
  3. Gripping introduction: the first few seconds often determine whether the finished film is ultimately going to be watched. This is why it's important to get straight to the point. The strongest image should appear in the beginning - even if it's just a preview.

This way, moving images can be a meaningful and a simple communication tool to encourage action: just make it simple.

 

The article also appeared in PR Journal

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