Visual Communication Planning: Making It Poetic

NOTHING makes you see it better than a picture. It is said a picture speaks a thousand words. It’s simple really. A picture has a certainly immediacy to it, an appeal that strikes the senses whether you like it or not. Visuals  immensely aid the communication process from advertising, marketing to branding. But can visuals be used in establishing a communication strategy and activities. Certainly. According to consultant Tony Buzan, the brain thinks organically in terms of an idea and associations. Using visuals in the planning process can help to leverage this innate brain capacity.

First, it takes understanding the stakes at hand, i.e., making it all poetry, so to speak. Ultimately, the purpose of communication planning and strategizing is to build a visual, concept or idea that is clear, consistent, and vivid enough to influence a change process of some sort. Visual communication planning simply taps into the power of recursive thinking to unlock the full potential of the communication process.  It involves gathering and compiling visual explanations and illustrations of both the process and intended outputs of each stage of the communication flow. This needs evidence and practicality.

Simply put, it should culminate in a visual discourse that should have the same immediate impact on the senses as much as a picture. A successfully executed visual communication plan must not only speak a thousand words, the thousand words it speaks must be coherent and in line with the overall objectives of a given project or institution. The visuals should be able to be subjected to a monitoring and evaluation process that guarantees that energies invested in the communicative process can lead to anticipated results.  The visuals must therefore support the communicative goals otherwise the entire exercise will be in vain.

The core of visual communication planning is to break the communication process into its parts while ensuring that the parts will in the final analysis fit well together to construct a broad visual that frames the issue at hand and identifies the pathway that needs to be traversed to ensure that communicative goals are met. A visual communication plan must tell a story. That narrative must be simple and straight to the point that actors across the board will be able to appreciate it as well as implement it. Visual communication planning must not be seen to be rocket science. It is not and should not be.

Rather, it consists of employing tools that are known to effective, in particular visuals, for the purposes of communicating broader objectives and goals. A visual has the power to traverse time and space through sparking the imagination. It is that power which must be harnessed for purposes of ensuring the effectiveness of the communicative process. At its most basic, the visual communication planning process must be creative and discursive. If done properly, visual communication planning can lead to innovation and change. It can unlock latent creative juices within the critical actors that will contribute to the success of a communication plan within an organization.

That’s why visual communication planning can make poetry out of the communicative process. And it should. After all communication is an art. A context map can help to define the existing scenario. Visual planning should enable one to see the bigger picture, and assist in defining the best path to reach goals and objectives.

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