By Katie McKee

In a world of emojis, icons and quick-use graphic design tools, do communicators really need words to convey a message and hook an audience?

To answer that, we must ask someone who knows the biz inside and out – from graphic design and communication to strategy and branding.

Naturally, we turned to Yvonne Tocquigny, a nationally respected branding specialist, recently named by FierceCMO to its annual list of Women to Watch in B2B Marketing. She was the founder and CEO of Tocquigny, an internationally recognized digital marketing firm, until selling the company in 2015 to Archer Malmo. Yvonne is also a founding partner and mentor for The Capital Factory, an Austin incubator for startup companies that draws business talent from across the country. Today, Yvonne works with large and small companies to create memorable messages and get them into market through her new firm, Yvonne Tocquigny Branding.

Yvonne learned early in her career to flex with the industry. At age 24, she held her first job as a graphic designer. After working there some time, Yvonne went on vacation and returned to find that the company had folded. It was time for change.

That lesson gave her an advantage as she began freelancing, then grew to a firm of over 125 employees at its peak.

“The strongest brands come from the expression of an idea, and you don’t get ideas with just pictures,” she wrote. “You have to have words. There’s a lot of conflict now about whether we really need words or not. Well, yes. We need the ideas. The ideas can be expressed visually, but need words for support.”

It’s a strategy similar to Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle. In Yvonne’s formula, first, you need an idea articulated with words; followed by a design. The mistake many brands make is beginning with a design, and then trying to manufacture an idea and words to accompany it. That simply doesn’t work, Yvonne says.

“I think that the ideas and words makes a message more memorable,” she said. “If you see something that’s pleasing and beautiful in a design, you may like it, but you may not remember it in a way that provides the result the brand is looking for. But if you give a person an idea and a few words attached to that beautiful design, then it’s memorable. What we’re trying to do is create a memory.”

As communicators adjust to the changes spurred by modern technology, Yvonne expects to see people innovate — giving us visual surprises that aren’t in a pre-designed template yet and break through the clutter.

Join Yvonne Tocquigny at WCA’s annual Get Smart conference on Friday, Oct. 27 for her keynote presentation, “Our Industrial Evolution: Who Need Words?”

Program At-A-Glance

12:30 – 1:15 p.m. Registration and Informational Tables

1:15 – 2:30 p.m. Welcome and Keynote Address

2:30 – 5:30 p.m. Interactive State-of-the-Art Sessions by Industry Leaders

5:30 – 8:00 p.m. After-Event Happy Hour

Register today to learn just how easy it is to grab your audience’s attention with a few tips and tricks to get you speaking visually.

Connect with Yvonne Tocquigny