Bringing data to life.
Each second, more data crosses the internet than was stored on the entire worldwide web just 20 years ago. Our thirst for data has become insatiable, with 2.5 quintillion bytes created each day. Yet, we are also inundated with data. We collectively create 500 million tweets and watch 5 billion YouTube videos daily. We receive notifications as billions of emails and texts are delivered, all while Internet of Things (IoT) devices and artificial intelligence (AI) transform entire industries—with more data. No wonder our attention spans are exponentially shorter than they’ve ever been.
As a business, there are valuable stories buried in your data. Stories that, told in the right way, demonstrate what makes you unique in the marketplace, and drive awareness, preference and equity for your brand. So how do we, as marketers, make our stories stand out in a loud and crowded market? How do we capture interest? How can we connect with our target audience, and serve them a data-driven story that is quick and easy to digest.
When we combine trusted data with brand-driven storytelling, we create data visualizations that are compelling and impactful. Visual representations make it easy for your data-inundated audiences to consume your insights—capturing their attention in a competitive market.
What is data visualization?
A data visualization can range from the way you present a single statistic in a piece of collateral, to an animated video that tells a unique story, to a fully designed user experience with animations that activate as you scroll—and anything in between. But let’s back up and talk about what it does.
A data visualization takes a data set, and creates an abstract representation of it—ideally in a way that makes it easy to engage with and understand. It takes complex information and breaks it down in a way that brings power and meaning to the data, creating a relationship between the data and the audience, and opening a channel of communication.
Consider the 1933 redesign of the London Tube Map. By focusing the design on making it simpler and less stressful to navigate the subway system, they transformed an accurate, yet difficult-to-parse map overlay into a graphic and easy-to-follow schematic that benefitted society and became the model for representing subway systems globally.
How can data visualization serve your brand?
Research has given us a much better understanding of how our brains work. Studies show that human brains have difficulty comprehending numbers over five without creating some sort of abstraction that makes it easier for us to understand the number. If I ask you how long 100 yards is, do you picture a football field? This is your brain abstracting 100 yards. And we seem to like football as a relatable metaphor—we also describe large areas in terms of football fields.
Since large numbers are so difficult to comprehend in any meaningful way, and many of the most useful data sets contain massive amounts of valuable data, data visualization has become a vital resource in your brand toolkit. Simplified data visualizations bring clear value to the brand—clearly and efficiently sharing important information that helps decision-makers to understand difficult concepts, identify patterns, make better-informed decisions, and turn to your brand for its expertise.
How do you ensure your data visualization is successful?
True success is measured by its ability to make an insight quick and easy to understand, with a surprising quality that elevates the experience for the audience. Your visualization needs to stimulate engagement in a way that makes sense—for the story you’re telling, for the reader, and for your brand. This means that it’s essential to establish a brand-led and well-crafted approach to data visualization as part of your brand platform. In the same way that you want your customers to have a consistent experience of your brand whether they attend a webinar, follow you on social media, or sit with you for a sales presentation, you want to serve them data in a way that reflects their experience of your brand. It needs to be easy for them to understand what the data means, and align with your brand and its purpose.
If your organization stands out due to your extensive experience and expertise, for instance, then the way you share your data insights should mirror the way you work with your customers—advisory, hands-on, and engaging with them in a way that shows you understand their challenges and aspirations.
When it comes time to work with a partner to create your data visualization, here are the key things you should keep in mind:
Define a clear purpose
What is the key idea you want the reader to take away from your piece?
Know your audience
Deliver the right message to them based on where they are in the customer journey.
Use visual elements to make the data meaningful
Consider the type of data you need to convey, to whom you are conveying it, and the key insight you want them to take away.
Keep it logical and organized
Good design disappears into the background while making the insights easy to grasp.
Make it inclusive
People cannot interpret data they cannot see. For visuals, consider colours, contrast, scale, and type size—ensure you meet latest accessibility guidelines. For content, write for understanding.
Don’t distort the data
As marketers, we want to lead the audience to certain conclusions while making a persuasive argument, however, we need to avoid distorting the data to suit our narrative.
Develop a consistent, brand-led approach
In the same way that your visual identity helps customers identify your brand in a crowded market, a consistent approach to data visualization that aligns with the brand is essential to establishing your brand and data as identifiable and trustworthy.