You’ve probably heard countless times that a picture is worth a thousand words. But how often have you actually heeded that advice and opted for a picture instead of a paragraph to create powerful messages for your organization? By choosing words over images are you creating an unintentional blind spot in your messaging? What can communicators – usually hired for our excellent writing skills – learn about using visuals?
To answer these questions we recently held a webinar, Avoiding the Blind Spot: Telling Your Story With Pictures. During the webinar Liz Banse and Scott Miller of Resource Media shared the neuroscience behind image processing, strategies for effectively communicating using photos and video, examples of extraordinary visual storytelling and practical, low-cost tips for better visual communications.
Guest Post: Mitch Hurst
In what’s been referred to by The New York Times as a “saucy” new marketing campaign, Chicago’s venerable NPR affiliate is pushing procreative sex. Advertisements plastered around the area, including on the sides of buses, are asking Chicagoans to “do it for the city” and “make babies today” in an effort to create a new generation of WBEZ listeners.
Like much of old media public radio knows it desperately needs to appeal to a new generation of potential listeners who have a smorgasbord of options that were unavailable to their parents and grandparent. If you believe WBEZ’s marketing department, the campaign is satire, designed to be provocative and grab attention. That it did, in a “what the hell were they thinking” sort of way.
For the second installment in our Science of Communication speaker series, co-sponsored by the Communications Network and Spitfire Strategies, Harvard behavioral economist Sendhil Mullainathan proved why when he talks, you should listen.
Mullainathan, whose work touches on how people’s brains process messages, has a sobering message for those of us whose jobs depend on getting people to listen, pay attention and–most important of all–act on what they’re hearing.
Guest Post: Suzanne Samuel
When Kaiser Permanente Northern California created its In-Kind Communications Program, the intention was clear. By providing communications consulting, communications products (like videos, brochures, and websites) and capacity-building training to our grantees from within our own offices, we would contribute to the success and long-term stability of our grantees. The pleasant surprise was how the In-Kind Program improved our own communications practice, often in striking ways.
A More Strategic Approach
Kaiser Permanente’s Community Benefit Program is a direct extension of our organization’s 65-year-old mission: to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. Because we are both a health plan and a care provider, we are able to go beyond traditional corporate philanthropy to pair grant funding with shared expertise: medical research, clinical best practices—and communications products and consulting.
For many years we had offered communications support to a handful of Northern California community organizations each year, using an ad hoc approach. Grantees would inquire about Kaiser Permanente’s ability to provide a specific product (like a brochure or video), and the requests were handled on a case-by-case basis.
A Quick Word With… is our ongoing series in which Communications Network members from a range of organizations tell us about themselves, their work and where they draw their inspiration. This installment features Christie McElhinney, vice president of communications and public affairs, The Colorado Trust.
A recent communications success you are particularly proud of?
The Colorado Health Access Survey. Staff from our communications, evaluation/research and program areas collaborated to develop this long-term strategy to support our state’s most extensive survey of health coverage, access and utilization, coupled with a robust communications strategy. Already the CHAS is becoming well known, and the data widely used by many.
When you were 13 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Wait, I was once 13? I vacillated between a ballerina and an attorney. I spent many years dancing, became a paralegal and made the obvious transition to philanthropic communications.
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