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Need a Presentation With Punch? Think Visually

Jim Tincher Jim Tincher 05/28/2020

“All creativity should communicate in a nanosecond.”

So says George Lois, the “original Mad Man of Madison Avenue,” in his book, Damn Good Advice (for people with talent).

He’s talking about advertising, but his recommendation applies to any organizational communication – especially in customer experience.

There’s no time to waste

I’ve written about the power of visual communications before. In my blog post, Science Shows Why Your Customer Journey Maps Need to be Visual, I wrote about the “pictorial superiority effect,” which explains why visual items are easier to comprehend and recall. I also spoke on this in our webinar last week, Customer Journey Maps: The Top 10 Requirements. (Note: Do you have any idea how hard it is to say “pictorial superiority effect” multiple times in front of a live audience? I do…now.)

Nicole Newton and I also discuss this in our book, How Hard Is It to Be Your Customer? Using Journey Maps to Drive Customer-Focused Change, which includes an entire chapter on how to create the physical journey maps and stresses the importance of making them visually appealing. If you’re too strapped to buy the book, you can also read an interview with our graphic designer, Kris LaFavor, in this blog post on journey map design.

It’s about more than the map

Unfamiliar with Lois’s advice – and being less outrageous than he is – I’d been telling our team that the reader needs to understand the story within five seconds. Now I see we have to pick up the pace. (Sorry, Kris – we’re raising the bar even higher!)

Journey maps aren’t the only place where you need to make your point visually and quickly. We’ve interviewed about 70 CX pros so far this year, and one consistent finding is that most get very limited time in front of senior executives. When that happens, you need to bring your “A” game. Whether it’s a journey scorecard, a CX dashboard, or your report on customer needs, solid visuals are a must.

Good looks get second looks

In last week’s webinar (and the blog post it’s based on), the tenth requirement for journey maps is Ditch the PowerPoint. We compared some of the templates we found online with some example Heart of the Customer journey maps. Which ones do you think will attract your executives’ attention?

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In the first of our two maps, showing the journey of an agent selling an insurance plan, your eye is immediately drawn to the “mountain of pain” and the areas where the agent is most frustrated. Similarly, in High Maintenance Holly’s journey map, you can see that her entire experience is painful after an initial smooth start. That draws in the reader, who then discovers that the problems begin once she sets foot on hospital grounds, where she loses all control.

Don’t throw away your shot

For most of us in CX, we get limited opportunities to drive culture. Rather than using yet another bland PowerPoint presentation or a gussied up Excel document, take the time to make your story visually appealing, compelling, and clear. You probably do have more than a nanosecond to make your point…but perhaps not much.

Make every moment count.

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