Friendship Elephants + Visual Storytelling

Visual storytelling is an art form that can draw attention to something seemingly unrelated in a really unique and eye-catching way. For example in this story, we’re highlighting the Santa Fe Museum of Folk Art by showcasing two palm elephants that I bought while on a girl’s weekend with my best friend.

This photo story came to creation organically, (just two girls needing some friendship elephants after a trip to the museum, duh!) but then, using my marketing brain here, I decided that it could be used to tell an even bigger story about how to use guerrilla marketing and visual storytelling to show a personal experience. Using visual storytelling also allows your marketing to remain authentic and show personality.

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Stories like these could be used to creatively market so many types of businesses, groups, organizations and events. Art galleries, museums, libraries, retail stores, restaurants, nonprofit organizations, yoga studios, theater companies, workshops, events, you name it, could all benefit from a visual storytelling campaign via their websites as well as social media. Not seeing it yet? Here are some examples:

Library/Bookstore – Photos of books at the places they describe such as Little House on the Prairie standing in deep grass with the sky above or Scarlet Letter laying in crimson velvet from the fabric store.

Yoga Studios – Photos of unique yoga poses at totally unexpected places. Think: median on a busy city street, in front of public art, government buildings, a bar, an ice cream shop?

Real Estate Agents – Photos of “a day in the life” glossing nothing over. Perhaps show the hard work, the mud you had to step in to get to the house, abstracts of funny decor in homes, pics of the gorgeous potential home, and happy clients jumping in the air with you at the end.

…for example.

The goal these days with marketing is to do things the opposite way that everyone else is. Visual storytelling allows your marketing to be unique

So, it began went I went to Santa Fe with one of my very best friends. We are soul sisters and pretty much agree on most things including how to have a good time! On this particular day, we were browsing around at the eccentric (and amazing!) Museum of International Folk Art. If you haven’t been, it is definitely work a look-see if you are visiting the area. It’s hard to describe, but in the words of the museum overseer to us that day:

Museum Staff: “Girls, put your rollerskates on!” It was awesome.

So, off we went. It was a blast. But this article is about the end of the visit. In the gift shop, which by the way, which was one of the coolest gift shops we’d ever seen, we decided to look for friendship bracelets to commemorate our amazing trip together.

Being the weirdos that we are, we decided that friendship elephants were a much better idea. Done! We left with these two incredible elephants.

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Do you think the museum gift shop employees ever find out where the art that visitors purchase ends up? Probably not! So, we put together the story of what happened AFTER the elephants left the museum, all set in visual storytelling.

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Had this been a story written internally or had they any clue what I was up to creating this “contemporary folk art project,” I would have included information about the beginnings of palm art, the areas and peoples that created them, and showcased an exhibit within the museum. It could also be used in preparation of announcing a new or visiting exhibit.

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This project was to commemorate the incredible experience at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, a ridiculously fun time with my best friend, and to show how to use a unique medium to bring attention to your cause, organization or business.

“You can make art anywhere!” – Kim Johnson, Faceted Media

I also encourage you to be a human in your marketing! Have fun, make jokes, don’t be so serious or standard in your marketing (no one will remember it and you’ll hate creating it anyway). Have an idea you think others will laugh at? That’s probably your best one. 

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Thanks for reading! And, make sure to get yourself down to the International Museum of Folk Art. It explores word religions, art, includes interactivity, and one of the most unbelievable collection of unique miniatures. I spent hours in there imagining what each scene would be like if it came alive. You’ll have to see it in person to really experience the art here. The characters just look like they could start walking and talking to each other if given the chance. …next project!