There are a lot of different ideas out there on what makes a good infographic. However, regardless of what philosophy you ascribe too, there are a few key points that should always be kept in mind if the goal of the infographic is to sell something.
1) Focus on the core points you want to make
The goal of an inforgraphic is to distill a significant amount of information into a simple visual that allows the viewer to quickly understand your intent and the key takeaway of your message without having to do a lot of reading.
2) Include distinctive information
If the goal of the infographic is to convince the reader that the idea or solution being sold is better than the alternative, then make sure the infographic calls out whatever is distinctive about your idea or solution. Otherwise, why should a viewer give it a second chance?
3) Make it clear to a reader of average education
If one looks at the 2009 Census Data, 85% of adults in the United States have at least a high school diploma or GED and 28% have at least a bachelor’s degree, 32% have an associates degree and approximately 60% have 1 or more years of college education without a degree. This says that if the goal is the population at large, you at least want it understandable by someone with only some college, and if the target audience is a professional in the workplace, you may not be safe in assuming your audience will have at least an associate’s degree, depending on the type of professional you are seeking. (If you are targeting doctors, lawyers, engineers, scientists, etc., then you can probably safely assume at least an associate’s degree, but if you are targeting sales, marketing, procurement or operations personnel, where a decade in the trenches is often more valuable than a degree at many companies, you may not be able to make such an assumption.)
In addition to these key points, Sourcing Innovation would also argue that, if you are trying to sell something, then an organization should be careful that they
4) Do Not Oversell the Idea or the Solution
Case in point, here in the great white north, Nova Scotia Business Inc. just released an infographic trying to promote our 360-degree defence and military expertise and our unique ability to support research and development for land, air, and sea projects — being home to 40% of all Canada’s military assets, 65 boat building yards and 26 regional ports (including the Port of Halifax which is situated in the second largest natural harbour in the world and capable of expanding to handle more capacity than any East Coast port if the demand is there), and over 80 defence and aerospace firms including 6 of the top industry leaders.
All of this is true, and Halifax offers, in not just Sourcing Innovation’s view*, an average company the greatest logistics potential of any city in North America right now (especially with CN putting in direct lines to a number of North East and Central US distribution hubs with transit times of only 2 to 3 days) as well as the greatest potential for building new commercial and defence products that capitalize on our world leading expertise in sonar, hydrodynamics, and navigation technology. However, instead of focussing on the huge, untapped potential sitting in the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) right now, Nova Scotia Business Inc. in their latest infographic decided to focus front-and-center on the fact that our defence sector generates $1.5 Billion a Year in revenue. So what? The GDP of Canada is about 1.8 Trillion. This means our defence sector contributes less than a paltry 0.1% to the economy from a GDP perspective while the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) area across all sectors contributes about 20% of Canada’s GDP which means that, using industry averages**, it’s defence sector contributes at least 1.2% of Canada’s GDP. In other words, not only would the GTA defence sector contribution break into the full percentile range, but it would be more than ten times Halifax’s contribution. In this light, the HRM looks pretty shoddy, even though it likely represents the greatest potential in all of North America for may of your Supply Chain projects. There’s a reason that Horses for Sources just called Nova Scotia the greatest nearshore location of all.
* More in our next post!
** Overall defence sector in Canada accounts for about 6% of GDP as per a recent AIAC study.