InsPiRing Infographics

Consuming infographics is addictive.
Go on Bet you can’t view just one – (thank you 1980s Lay’s potato chip commercial.) How to Use Corona

Ironically, as companies and marketers embrace infographics as a way to bash through information clutter, our digital landscape has become over-saturated with data visualizations. The plethora of infographics, as well as their quality,  is problematic.

So what makes a good infographic? In my strategic PR communication class this week, Eugene-based illustrator and graphic designer Rob Nance, who has designed infographics for the likes of Microsoft, shared his top tips with students.  What I found most interesting – aside from the fact that he uses a PC not a Mac (vindication!) – is how he defines an infographic:

“A functional visual representation of data that effectively communicates the message that the data supports.” (italics his)

In PR, it’s not enough to create just a clever design. If you want your infographic to insPiRe, you need to need your data visualization to support your message.

With that in mind, I’m asking my students in their blog posts next week to share the infographics they created for our class. They’ll tell what drew them to their topic, how they researched the data and their top three to five tips for creating a successful infographic. Hopefully, you’ll be insPiRed by it.

Until then, here’s some insPiRation for this week:

Crisis communications… nonprofits… tourism
Something is Rotten in the State of Denmark (Coyle Communications)
Let’s advance the story beyond the giraffe killing at the Copenhagen Zoo: how would you go on the offensive if you had a zoo for a client? Because you know every major newspaper in the world is planning a Sunday special on zoo herd culling.

Technology & brand image management…
Google’s “Glasshole” Guide to Google Glass (What Not To Do) (DailyTech)
Google’s marketing strategy for Google Glass requires an image management strategy. Discuss!

Politics… crisis communications… image management…
Obama Ambassador Nominees Prompt An Uproar With Bungled Answers, Lack of Ties (The Washington Post)
How could the administration have prevented this image crisis? Given the historical context cited in this article is the flap a big deal or not?

Social media & branding…
Twilight of the Brands (The New Yorker)
The author argues that the Internet has made brands fragile.  It may be good for consumers, but is it good for PR practitioners? Why or why not?

Branding… corporate social responsibility… consumers
A Big Bet on Gluten-Free (The New York Times)
What does it say about the power of consumers when companies jump on the gluten-free bandwagon despite the relatively few numbers of people who truly can’t tolerate gluten?

Social media & learning & impact on society
Oregon Study: Imitation Is Flattery, But It Limits Analytical Thinking (
A study done right here at UO suggests social networks help people find solutions but limit analytical thinking. Is social media making us dumber?

Humor & branding
Vanilla Ice Goes Ninja, Reveals Radical TMNT Mac and Cheese (Mashable)
(I couldn’t resist including this.) What demographic is Kraft trying to reach with this ad?

Fashion… crisis communications… Twitter… Olympics…
Under Armour’s Olympic-Sized Attempt at Damage Control (PR Newser)
Will Under Armour’s response to criticism about its speed skating suits backfire?

Olympics… branding… tourism… event planning
The Branding of the Olympics (Grantland)
The 1984 Summer Games changed marketing and event planning for major events forever. What are the pros and cons?

Social media & advertising & humor
Chipotle’s ‘Farmed and Dangerous’: Entertainment or Marketing Propaganda? (Time)
The chain’s new online TV series challenges traditional marketing and advertising strategies. What do you think about the company’s plan: crafty/entertaining/exploitative? Will it work?

Facebook… global technology trends…investor relations…
Facebook Looks to Become Big Fish in Another Big Pond (The New York Times)
What do differences in technology trends around the world mean for social media companies? Is Facebook’s move a good one?

Images courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons


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