Benchmarking data can be used for purposes that range from providing end users with valuable KPI’s to developing advocacy initiatives. Your organization’s data is meaningful and tells a unique and interesting story about your membership and industry. Often, the focus is on the end user and their use of study data to understand their place among their peers, but your organization can and should be using your data to tell its own story.
Infographics are a great way to utilize your benchmarking data to illustrate a point while simultaneously building audience engagement. Creating infographics from your benchmarking study is an easy method of communicating data visually, with the added benefit of spurring conversation and spreading important information virally online.
WHAT IS AN INFOGRAPHIC?
Infographics, or the idea of what we see today as an online infographic, have been around since the 17th century when astronomer Christoph Scheiner utilized hand-drawn graphics to represent the rotation patterns of the sun in his scientific textbook. The idea of those early sketches eventually evolved into more complex forms of data visualization, including charts and graphs.
Today's infographics are a form of data visualization that use elements such as graphs, pictures, icons and diagrams to represent information or data elements. Used online and in print format for posters and handouts, many infographics use creative or artistic representations that reinforce the sponsoring organization's branding or feature a prominent message.
WHO USES INFOGRAPHICS AND WHY?
Research into data recall has demonstrated that 90 percent of the information people remember is based on visual impact. The creative nature of infographics can be used to create an impact on a reader, whether for brand-building or to convey a dramatic message about data. For this reason, infographics have been recognized as an effective marketing tool that can be used by many types of organizations.
Businesses, associations, advocacy groups and research organizations create infographics to enhance message delivery of their data to their audience. The “cartoonesque” and graphical nature of an infographic makes it a highly memorable and therefore effective tool for data visualization. In addition, online infographics are well recognized for their ability to encourage interaction with an audience.
WHAT KIND OF DATA CAN/SHOULD INFOGRAPHICS REPRESENT?
Infographics are unique storytelling devices. Data is only as useful as the story it tells, which is why a great infographic will answer questions or present a problem that the reader is confronting. Any kind of data set can be used to communicate your organization’s story with an infographic.
Depending on the type of benchmarking studies conducted and available data, you can opt for an infographic design that tells the story of your users (informational) or one that examines notable similarities and differences (compare and contrast). In cases where a single data point is remarkable, the infographic can feature just that point illustrated with dramatic graphics, fonts and charts. If your study provides great data on many unlike items, these can be showcased together with a theme of coordinating pictorial elements that represent the KPI’s.
The most important thing to remember when you create your infographic is to keep it simple. Data should be summarized into small, digestible chunks that readers can quickly review and understand. Unless your audience is highly educated, default to a reading level similar to that of newspapers (5th-7th grade literacy) to ensure that the story is clearly communicated. Infographics should be clear and concise; if the reader needs to zoom in to read a chart legend or data point, reconsider the presentation to a more direct one.
HOW DO I BUILD AN INFOGRAPHIC?
There are many online tools available that can create a great infographic even if you are not a graphic designer. Most of these tools use a WYSIWYG interface that allow for customization of colors, icons and other elements. All of them offer free versions, with enhanced features that can be accessed for a monthly fee.
Our top preferred tools include:
If you aren’t confident in your design skills, infographics can also be created by graphic designers using professional and online tools. One online tool that can connect you with an infographic design professional is Visual.ly, which provides creative services in addition to their online tool. You can view portfolio samples, connect with and hire a designer through their service.
Infographics are a powerful way to deliver a message. By engaging the reader and involving them in your story, your infographic can leverage your benchmarking study data into memorable and actionable information. With today’s online tools, any organization can take data visualization to the next level to create a viral means to communicate news, influence purchasing decisions or enact industry change.