“AND, BUT…THEREFORE: Every story can be reduced to this single structure.”
– Randy Olson
Pay attention to your side hustles as that’s where your BIG STORY is waiting!
Hi, I’m Shlomi Ron, co-founder, and CEO at the Visual Storytelling Institute. This is an important lesson I learned from my journey. For over 20 years I have been working in various digital marketing roles on the agency and client sides for Fortune 100/500 brands such as American Express, Nokia, and IBM. Working with major brands allowed me to hone my experience on large scale with diverse audiences and global budgets.
All along, I was nursing my side passion for visual media. I am a great believer that sometimes you need to experience the world through different cultural lenses, and that’s when I started taking Italian language classes on the weekend, just for fun. As I moved up the levels, we ditched the textbooks and watched classic Italian films and discussed them in Italian. That drove my interest later to start cafePellicola.com a blog dedicated to fine Italian cinema. I also ran mini-film festivals in San Diego and New York where I curated the films, introduced them and ran a post-screening Q&A.
I also help to manage the estate of video artist Buky Schwartz (my father-in-law) who was one of the early pioneers of video art. His video art is shown in major museums and galleries worldwide and found in private and public collections like the Whitney, Guggenheim and The Smithsonian. His first video installation Painted Projections (1977) was acquired three years ago by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and was part of an exhibit Watch This! Revelations in Media Art.
When I headed digital marketing at SiriusDecisions (B2B research and advisory firm), I was involved in managing the digital strategy for the annual summit. One of my rewarding experiences was to mount a giant 26’ x 13’ interactive social media LED display that generated 374% increase in conversation as attendees flocked around as if it was a “digital altar.”
So after I relocated from New York to Miami, I figured it’s time to start applying my rich corporate experience and start my own business initiative. My fresh experience at producing that interactive social media wall and seeing the visual storytelling impact it created on audiences, drove my decision to launch overlooks.TV with the goal of producing interactive video walls for richer brand experiences.
I had a mild response as people didn’t quite get the impact of a virtual dialog between stories the audience experience offline and the ability to broadcast them in real-time on a large display for everybody to see.
I didn’t give up as I knew the power of visual storytelling is there, I could sense it, I just needed to redefine its scope.
That’s when I started listening to storytelling podcasts and read related books. I realized the problem I am trying to solve is much bigger and universal than the temporary wow effect of social media walls.
The reality is that most businesses today are struggling to get their voices heard. Driven by the large adoption of broadband Internet access, the emergence of social media networks and versatile mobile devices, audiences and brands have the same tools to create organic content. The result is mind-boggling; audiences today are overwhelmed with over 5 billion daily content pieces (LinkedIn), while their attention span has been rapidly splintered into million other distractions.
The stakes are high; 70% of venture-backed companies are failing, and less than 1% have a chance of becoming a unicorn (CB insights). The number 1 reason for this staggering failure rate is – “No Market Need” (42%). In other words, businesses fail because they don’t have a vetted business story that cuts through the clutter.
Moreover, paid advertising has experienced challenges with ad blocking adoption growing by 41% YoY (Adobe). Online ad fraud, cost advertisers $19 billion in 2018, representing 9% of total digital advertising spend – according to Juniper Research.
As a result, in recent years businesses are shifting more toward visual storytelling. This critical next-generation marketing discipline is anchored on two foundations: 1) The effectiveness of visual content over text, through the rapid growth of video and photo sharing, infographics and data visualization, and new technologies including virtual, augmented, and mixed reality; and 2) the timeless power of storytelling to develop emotional and authentic empathy with content-overwhelmed audiences.
Therefore, to address the growing communication noise and audiences’ digital fatigue, I launched the Visual Storytelling Institute (VSI) as the only think tank dedicated to Visual Storytelling in the context of marketing, leveraging 2 native mechanisms we all possess: 1) The human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text. And 2) 9 out of 10 people respond better to information packaged as stories than facts and stats.
The magic happens the moment your brand story becomes your customer’s personal story. In this sense, we’re a story-mirroring company that improves people’s lives and just happens to make brand narratives and videos.
What we Do
The Visual Storytelling Institute (VSI) is the primary think tank that brings the gospel of visual storytelling from the world of art into marketing. We help forward-thinking business leaders who want to rise above the communication noise – that costs the U.S. economy $900 billion a year – with an artistic approach to connect better with their audiences and grow their companies faster.
Our core services include:
The Power of Visual Storytelling
Innate effectiveness of visual content
Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster
than text by the human brain and
90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual
The rise of the``Visual Web``
71% of users are now accessing social
media from a mobile device, which unleashes
massive content production and consumption
People respond better to visual content
Viewers are 85% more likely to
purchase a product after
watching a product video.
(source: Internet Retailer).