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Infographic: Your Go-to Guide to Mastering Visual Magic

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Infographic: Your Go-to Guide to Mastering Visual Magic

Let’s cut to the chase. When it comes to your corporate comms, visual content is a winner.

It cuts through the chatter faster than a rocket full of monkeys. But why? What makes it so digestible? What are the key components of quality visual content? And what can we do to make sure it hits the spot?

We took part in a Newsweaver webinar where we shared our thoughts and some top takeaways on creating quality visual content and in particular, the invincible infographic. It was a rather popular one too, with over 1400 communicators registering to listen in.

PRACTICAL ADVICE AND KEY TAKEAWAYS

The webinar explored the benefits of taking a visual approach to communications, the science behind it and how to create great visual content. We’ve summarised those points for you in this article as well as creating a nifty little infographic to accompany it. You can also tune in to the recording for some great examples, suggestions, template ideas and a Q&A session with the comms community.

Read on to discover:

  • Why visual communication is crucial and how it supports engagement
  • Practical tips for creating powerful visual content
  • Some simple tools to create your own striking visuals
  • The key features of an awesome infographic

THE SCIENCE BEHIND VISUAL COMMS

Humans are hardwired to process visuals. They’re so much simpler than text-based comms so we absorb them much more quickly. Without them we’re missing a massive opportunity to communicate information.

For all you number loving folk out there…

  • Humans process visuals 60,000 times faster than text
  • Almost 50% of the brain is involved in visual processing
  • 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual
  • 65% of us are visual learners

That final point is of particular interest because in internal comms we’re often communicating something that people need to learn – perhaps a change in process or the way we need to work. Without visuals, we’re making it much harder for two thirds of our people to understand what we’re trying to convey.

Many social media channels we now use are built solely on visual content like Instagram for example. On social media, visual content really is the head honcho. In fact, research from Adobe found that posts containing an image had engagement rates over 600% higher than text only posts.

Did you know that infographics are three times more likely to be shared on social media than any other type of content? That’s because we’re programmed to absorb visual information. Hopefully by now, you’re getting the gist…. Visuals rock. And as internal communicators, we’re in a prime position to grab the attention of our employees with novel, unique and noticeable comms, engaging our people in a deeper, more impactful way.

FOUR COMPONENTS OF A GREAT INFOGRAPHIC

When crafted correctly, infographics provide the perfect platform to draw the audience in, presenting a topline flavour of the data that lies beneath and encouraging people to explore the deeper story. Before you begin, consider these four crucial components:

1 – A great story
You don’t need to include chapter and verse in your infographic, just have a defined back-story that your audience can go on to explore. Use your infographic to draw attention to your topic, be that a change programme, employee survey results or a business performance update.

2 – Compelling content 
Once your story is in place you can distil it into compelling content that’s relevant and well-written. Grab the opportunity to do something different and add an interesting twist by stepping away from the corporate tone and tying the language up with your strong theme.

While not cast in stone, consider these seven elements of a well-built infographic structure:

  1. Heading – grab interest
  2. A strong intro – draw them in
  3. Stats and figures – set the scene and back up your argument
  4. 8 to 12 clear and concise points that outline your reason WHY
  5. A strong conclusion
  6. Hat tip your sources
  7. A call to action – what do you want them to do?

3 – A strong theme
‘Creativity is the power to connect the seemingly unconnected’

We love this quote because it demonstrates this point perfectly. As we touched on in point two, come up with a creative theme that ties in with your story. Avoid the obvious and add something fresh and appealing. Be brave, be bold and above all, be unpredictable.

4 – Shareability
This is all about communicating information so make it super easy to pass on. Create bite sized chunks of your infographic for people to share, paying particular attention to the format here – make sure it fits with your existing content.

DOING IT YOURSELF

Now we’re not suggesting that creating impactful visual comms is easy, far from it. And as an agency that specialises in making mundane comms marvellous, we’re happy to help. However, if you’re the creative type and would like to create your own infographics from scratch, there are plenty of super smart apps out there – PiktochartCerosCanva and Venngage are some of the best. And it’s worth checking out their blogs too – they’re jam-packed full of useful articles and practical resources.

A WORD ON IMAGE LIBRARIES

We operate in the real world and we understand that budget and time won’t always allow you to create bespoke imagery. We’re not huge fans of stock images although we agree that there is a place for them. But take care. Be smart with the choices you make and use a good degree of common sense. Look for the ones that offer illustrations and chop them around (or get a great agency to do it for you), it doesn’t always have to be expensive, you can achieve a lot without spending too much money.

HINTS AND TIPS

We’d like to summarise some of the points above as well as offer our own unique take on crafting the perfect visual content. So here’s a list of useful hints and tips for you to take away…

Story and content

  • Be clear about what you’re saying
  • Keep things simple
  • Avoid text and information overload
  • Go beyond statistics and data – insights and opinion from individuals add massive credibility
  • Use metaphors or comparisons
  • Add personality

Creative and design

  • Think about format – where will it be shared?
  • Choose colours and typography wisely – consider illustration and imagery
  • Create assets you can reuse/repurpose like animations or handouts – make the most of your efforts!
  • Use metaphors or comparisons
  • Be bold – it’s an opportunity to make your comms stand out

Other thoughts

  • Have a clear end goal – know what you’re looking to achieve
  • Don’t forget ‘search’ criteria and your intranet
  • Upload a transcript or synopsis as ‘real’ text
  • Think about distribution early in the process – what channels will be used to share the infographic?
  • People love lists and numbers – 10 things you need to know about…’ makes a great headline
  • Choose a quirky illustration style
  • Use humour – make them smile

AND FINALLY…

In the unlikely event that you needed a little more convincing about the epic power of visual content…

‘People remember 10% of what they hear, 20% of what they read, and 80% of what they see.’

Go make it marvellous!

“The guys at Alive understand the complexities of our business which means we don’t need to explain the detail of every project or design piece – they’re already on it, which keeps things moving and delivers the results we need.”

Emily Stoten — Head of Marketing, Selecta

“I feel like they own and care for the project as much as we do! I would not use anyone else for my creative work and think Alive is ahead of the game.”

Jo Hobbs — Communications Manager

“Thanks for all your help. We are delighted with the campaign, both in terms of the creativity and messaging but also the thought taken over the rollout of the materials. All looks absolutely fabulous!”

Sarah Crowdy — Campaign and Media Officer Communications, South East Water

“We went to ‘Alive’ for ideas on how to run a specific employee program in Europe. Alan and his team were brilliant in coming up with fresh, creative and practical approaches. The team took charge and executed brilliantly. We are pleased with the progress made so far and hope to have the same level of partnership and commitment going forward.”

Sobha Varghese — Tata Consultancy Services

“So glad that we chose Alive to create our new website. As well as taking the time to get the visual side of our requirement right, they worked with us to understand us, our business and our clients and reflect this across the site. We loved their flexible approach, which, coupled with the right level of challenge has replaced our old, clunky site with one we can be proud of. ”

Victoria Ford — Perago

“Alive were there to help when we were working every hour to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. They gave us the creativity, ideas and support we needed to deliver campaigns which empowered our residents in the most difficult time most of us have ever seen, personally and professionally. The team understood what we needed, worked closely with us and delivered fast without any compromise on quality. Working with Alive has been a joy in the darkest of times and I have no doubt will have helped to save lives. Thanks team x”

Julie Odams, Assistant Director of Communications & Customers — Derbyshire County Council

“Each time I work with the team, I am always stunned at the effort and creativity that goes into each detail and am always eager for the end result. The team is extremely accommodating and always provide a fresh approach to our projects that elevates our communications materials!”

Alana Khaytin, Communications Specialist — Braskem America

“If you are looking to improve creativity and build teamwork, I highly recommend a session like this for your team. No matter where you are in your creativity journey, a workshop like this can give your team a boost of energy and ideas to invigorate their creative thinking.”

Amy Lilja, IC Manager — Hennepin Healthcare

“This is brilliant. I wanted to give my heartfelt thanks to all of the team who worked on this. You all understood exactly what we wanted to communicate and why, and then managed to do it in a way that was far better than anything I could have imagined. I’m a bit choked up to be honest!”

Sarah Wright, Head of Communications and Campaigns — NEA

“This looks amazing - brought a smile to my face scrolling through it :-)”

Jack Ford, Head of Marketing — streamGO

“We have worked with Alan, Caroline and the wider Alive With Ideas team for many years. In that time, they have provided a dedicated service that is second to none. We appreciate their attention to detail and creative approach to bringing our brand, communications and stories to life. And would recommend them to anyone looking for creative communications support.”

Georgia Beech — Internal Communications Specialist, Ocado Group

“I think the team have done such a brilliant job, particularly with responding to our requests. It's one of the best mental health videos I've ever seen. Very proud to be associated with your exemplary work. Thank you so much.”

Dr Anna Batho — Clinical Psychologist – Critical Care, UCLH

“Love it. I will pass to the boss, but I think it's awesome.”

Matt Fletcher — Met Police

“We worked with the team at Alive to create our staff recognition video.
At a time like this, its never been more important to share the amazing work that our staff have done and continue to do on a daily basis under very difficult circumstances. We wanted to shout about this and recognise that when the time came, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue stepped up to the plate. We didn’t want an ordinary thank you post on social media or a basic email sent out internally, we wanted something special. Enter Alive. ”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“The (Alive) team were able to creatively pull together and document (in just over 2minutes) everything our service has achieved over the last few months, from thousands of prescriptions deliveries to hundreds of phone calls made to the vulnerable. The final product was so powerful and reflective of what our service has and continues to achieve. It couldn’t have been better received within the service – thanks Alive for once again helping us to communicate our vision!’”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire & Rescue

“Boom!
Thank you so much. Incredible work done at incredible speed by incredible people.
Outstanding work as ever and what a turnaround. As for the concepts – wow. These are that good it would be an insult to describe them as just good. It’s a joke, quite frankly. This is exactly the Alive effect I was after. Right now I feel like I am living in an Alive With Ideas wonderland. Thank you!”

Jack Grasby, Campaigns Manager — SYFR

“Our company is fun, we have great brands, but most importantly we’re all about our people – and I wanted an agency who would understand that and help us bring it to life through our website and other comms. Straight away I felt that Alive ‘got’ us and provided the creative inspiration exactly where we needed it, as well as the technical expertise to deliver a well-functioning website.”

Keren McCarron, Head of Corporate Affairs & Communications — KP Snacks

“Alive were professional, friendly and great to work with. Most importantly they were creative, helping us to bring an extremely important safety campaign to life.”

Jack Grasby — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“Alive helped us create a video of our response to the floods of winter 2019. Our Chief Officer received messages from all round the country praising us for it and was really pleased with both the video and the response to it.”

Alexander Mills, Communications Manager — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“I have worked with Alive with Ideas for many years now and they are by far the best Ideas and design company I have ever worked with (I’d even go as far as to say the best company of any sort that I’ve ever worked with). They are an incredibly talented and creative team, who are normal human beings, completely grounded, totally down to earth, approachable, friendly and an overall joy to work with.”

Steph Tranter, Hybrid Exec Coach & Psychologist — StephTranter.com

“Alive are unique in how much they deeply listen and invest in you and your ideas. I have not come across a company that listens as much as they do to ensure your needs are understood and met (actually - they always exceed my needs and expectations). Everyone I recommend Alive to has an equally brilliant experience. When you work with Alive, you are not only getting some genius creativity brought into your life, you are also hanging out with some of the best examples of human beings I’ve ever known.”

Steph Tranter, Hybrid Exec Coach & Psychologist — StephTranter.com

“What I really appreciate about Alive is that they work with us as partners, and care as much about getting it right for our patients as we do.”

Sara Langston, Patient Engagement & Marketing Manager — italk

“We got 'Alive' involved to help us shift mindsets across our organisation and they delivered! Using simple, clear and creative ideas the team have delivered us a campaign which has seen a dramatic increase in idea sharing and development. They’ve also played a significant role in creating a culture of shared success. I wouldn’t hesitate to work with again, in fact, we already are!”

Gavin Buckle — B&Q