How your marketing strategy can benefit from using comics

Comic books are awesome – everyone read them as a kid, some of us still do, and increasingly more marketing specialists use them nowadays for advertising.

If you have never heard of this before you will probably be taken aback and brush it off as an ineffective (and fairly odd) content strategy. Although this type of promotion is not something you typically see on billboards or signs, comics are an insanely profitable industry, and using them in marketing is a growing and surprisingly effective trend. 

Why you should strengthen your brand with storytelling

It is true; comics are not your usual go-to marketing tool. It is, however, unparalleled when it comes to telling a story and connecting the customer with the people behind your business. Every brand needs a powerful core message and a compelling backstory that doesn’t sound like a dull sales pitch, but rather has life and passion behind it – something that will make it memorable and even inspiring to your clients. In addition to their renaissance in pop culture, comics are also being heavily employed in marketing strategies, and with astounding results when done right. If you are looking to expand your business and attract new customers or you are interested in making your brand more approachable and customer-friendly, this is an excellent strategy to use.

Persuasive, engaging storytelling is critical to a successful marketing campaign. Your consumer base cannot (and will not) connect with a brand that is not dynamic or one that lacks a personality or purpose. Without these elements, your brand lacks a hook to draw people into what you’re attempting to communicate, sell, or teach. Yet, with the implementation of tried-and-true storytelling techniques using comics, you can practically breathe life into your company and give customers a definite character to relate to.
Here are some ideas about the first pieces of your storytelling puzzle you should focus on:

  • How did your company come to be? 
  • Why did you and your colleagues decide to start your company?
  • Why do your company, products, and services matter?

PlayKFC – Kentucky Fried Comic

Remember how you felt when you read through comics as a kid (or even now, in adulthood!). Each turn of the page offered a new piece of adventure. There was no telling if, in the next moment, you might be surprised, inspired, enamored, or filled with hysterical laughter. This is nothing short of the experience you should be bringing to your customers when working comics into your marketing strategy.

Now, no one is expecting you to attain Marvel- or DC-level storytelling and character development. (Don’t hold yourself to unrealistic standards!) Instead, your comic strips, per se, should be uniquely you.

By creating a robust, believable narrative that illustrates the crucial storytelling elements listed above, you will expand your consumer reach and increase your revenue. The key to this profitable and communicative boost is the nurturing of empathetic feelings in your consumer base.

“Empathy” is not always associated with negative emotions. Instead, it is the general human capacity to perceive and understand others’ feelings. According to the 2016 Global Empathy Index data, there is an 80% positive correlation between profitability and a company’s ability to effectively stir up empathy in its target audience.

In this digital age, people are starved for human connection and experience. Art – especially an art style held so close to many of our nostalgic hearts – is the window into that human experience, even in the digital sphere. The demand for this is ever-increasing, and it shows. Businesses that came in at the top of the 2016 Index earned 50% more revenue than those at the bottom. These statistics illustrate that not only is being “nice” to customers a necessity of strong commercial performance but so is the demonstration of genuine humanity at the core of the business.

Comics for manuals and e-books

How comics help you stand out

The key element that makes comics unique and persuasive is creativity. In today’s society you see ads anywhere you go (even when you are chilling at home browsing online sites), and it seems like everyone is trying to sell you something. The reason why comics are not a safe bet, but certainly a high-potential bet is that they bring something entirely different to the table – diversity. You have a lot more room for imagination, ingenuity, and originality when you are using a creative visual medium and do not forget the viral potential of this form of art. Maybe you would be surprised that many senior managers in conservative industries enjoy this kind of communication!

It has long been known that imagery is an incomparably powerful tool in marketing. Photos and videos, no matter how short or long, invigorate your platform. They avoid the pervasive (and annoying) air of aggressive advertising and provide an entertaining, inviting experience for your audience.

Yet, these effects aren’t as superficial as giving your audience something to “like” or see as “pretty.” Research has shown that you can use significant psychological influences to your advantage and set yourself far ahead of your competitors regarding customer engagement. 

In the words of Alan Branthwaite, Director of CRAM International, imagery has “the capacity to transcend the boundary between the outside world and what is happening inside us.” By introducing comics into your marketing strategy, you not only pull on your audience’s nostalgic heartstrings but offer a medium that allows you to communicate on a deeply personal level. Effective use of comic imagery for your business can:

Improve your audience’s memory of your brand: Associating visual comic storytelling with your brand makes it easier to recall, making your prospects more inclined to seek your services and products when the need arises.

Generate positive feelings of your brand in your audience: This is especially important in building empathy within your company. Show your audience you understand their challenges and that your company offers solutions by illustrating their possible struggles using your comic characters.

Break down barriers to challenge topics: Careful use of imagery in this regard can show your customers that you genuinely care about their experiences and that your company aims to improve their quality of life. Businesses that operate in the self-help industry, for example, can especially capitalize on this, as comic artistry can inspire improvement in “self-beliefs,” and induce feelings of relaxation and empowerment. 

Comic art is the perfect medium to produce these psychological impacts. It can be especially useful in digital spaces where, again, a human element is uniquely lacking. For this reason, the use of comics in social media marketing campaigns and blogs can be just the ingredient you need to power up your business and outperform competitors in your sector. 

The human brain is better suited to take in and retain information from images as opposed to text. Because of this, social media marketing generates about 2.3 times more engagement when centered on visual rather than text-based experiences. The famous, bright color palettes that many comics are known for can also prove to be a highly influential component in your business’s marketing performance. Images with bright coloration and the following traits are “liked” significantly more often than others:

  • Clarity
  • Liveliness
  • Ingenuity

The Spirit of BACARDÍ — A Graphic Novel

Lastly, comics are almost always used to distribute a message. This message may be as simple as teaching the audience about “good” and “evil.” Or, in your company’s case, communicating to your customers why your products and services are necessary, and desirable, along with all the crucial points discussed at the beginning of this article. Fortunately, comics offer an easy method of integrating this message, which is essentially the call to action, as the stories are made up of an exposition, conflict, and resolution. 

Consider the resolution you are encouraging your audience to subscribe to. Remember the psychological power that imagery, specifically comic storytelling, holds. Determine which elements you want to capitalize on, and have your media team start from there. You will see your customer engagement and loyalty flourish in no time at all because you chose to rely on a medium we all knew and loved growing up: comics.

Take this into consideration:

– Comics disarm sensitive topics,
– Suspend disbelief,
– Have significant alignment properties.

When you should rely on it for advertising

Even if you are not sold on the benefits of using comics (at least experimentally) for marketing, there is a situation where this type of publicity will do wonders for your business. Moreover, that is if you have to convey a more complex message to your clients. What I mean by this is: that maybe you have an inspiring backstory, but it would be too tedious if put into words or there’s a long, complicated tutorial you want to share, but it would require a high attention span and too much time to read. These are just two examples. The bottom line is, that you might need to market technical details, unsexy ideas, or stories that need a visual outlet to be impactful. Moreover, you are not sure how to proceed to get your message across. So, instead of limiting your ideas within the confines of bland text, you should absolutely give comics a try and translate them into a visual medium that will guarantee to garner more attention and shares.

Are you curious how a comic can boost your business?