Abraham Lincoln Proved the Power of Visual Marketing

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“Four score and 7 years ago…”

Those historical words have been reprinted and shared for over 150 years. But by President Abraham Lincoln’s own admission, the Gettysburg Address dismisses the use of words.

I’m not joking. Here’s an excerpt:

“The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here…”

Abraham Lincoln didn’t simply dismiss his tapestry for the English language, he simply preferred visuals.

I’ll prove it to you in a moment. But first, let’s take a peek at the foundation of communication, stories, words and visuals.

Related: Dusty Folwarczny Empowers Businesses to Visually Communicate By Putting Ideas to Life

Visual communication

Our mind thinks in pictures. Even when you read these words, several translations are happening that don’t occur with a video. With words, our brains have to transpose the letters into words and the words into pictures.

Pink elephant.

The letters P, I, N and K instantly create a word, and that word creates the actual color in your mind, as does the word “elephant”.

That translation between symbols, words and pictures appears to happen instantly. However, there are milliseconds (ms) that occur between the time the reflection of the words on your screen translates into that cute pink pachyderm.

Years ago, we were a more patient species. We mailed letters, drove across the country to see loved ones, cooked our food and shared lively family meals that could last for hours.

Today, instant messaging, jet travel and Uber Eats dominate our lifestyle. We are not only moving faster, but we also expect faster.

Communicating visually in today’s world is not simply a good idea. It’s vital.

Speed matters

That old printing press just can’t keep up. Yet, we still depend on the written word and the translation that must occur in our heads to communicate with one another. It’s not that slow, of course. Reading and comprehending a 25-word sentence requires only a few seconds. If that sentence was visually communicated with an image, the processing time in our old noggin’ is much quicker.

Related: 5 Reasons You Need Video in Your Marketing Strategy

The case of Abraham Lincoln

In a well-documented case in 1861, President Abraham Lincoln became fixated with a map. This map was about three feet in length and was etched with greyscale shading. The gradients reflected the number of slaves who lived in each county.

It was said that Lincoln studied the map frequently. It’s even featured in the background of a portrait of Lincoln. The map was powerful because it gave him an instant, visual overview of a divided country.

Related: 8 U.S. Presidents Who Started as Entrepreneurs

Video as a powerful visual, explained

It’s a fact that we comprehend visuals more quickly than text. As an example, here’s an eight-step process that explores how you can use video to your advantage:

  1. Vlog. Create a video blog. Pictures are nice, but a video is better. In fact, raw video of marketers simply conversing often outperforms slick expensively produced content.
  2. Transcribe. Convert the video to text and publish the transcription on YouTube. You can put the transcripts in the transcript section and add annotations and some of the copy in the description.
  3. Edit. Revise your transcription so it reads well. If you don’t edit it, it is unlikely to read well.
  4. Syndicate. Share your video on multiple platforms for extra reach. If you want to stick it to the man and move away from YouTube, share your video on Vimeo, Daily Motion and dozens of other channels to give yourself an extra boost.
  5. Rip. Strip the audio from your video and post on platforms like Spotify and iTunes. The explosion of audio learning, like live streaming, is in the double digits. All content providers should include audio with their content plan.
  6. Thumbnail. Create a high-impact visual for your video. YouTube selects a still image from the middle of your video, so you may end up showcasing your yawn if you leave it to the platform.
  7. Live. Broadcasting your video live has a more powerful SEO reach. At first, going “live” may seem a bit scary. There is no ability to edit, and most people tend to drone on. Keep it to the point and you’ll be rewarded with raving fans and potential clients.
  8. 360-degree content. Virtual reality may not be a fad. According to Kioskd, 360-degree panorama mobile ad units are 35 times more effective than their traditional display counterparts.

Honest Abe was known for his wisdom and healing of a broken nation. His map story was merely a breadcrumb on the road to a visually communicative world. While your words and copy are not unimportant, be sure to add visuals to your content, book and marketing strategies.

You have only a few milliseconds to make a first impression. Use them well.

Related: 4 Leadership Lessons From Abraham Lincoln


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