Infographics Inside the Organization

by · July 25, 20120 comments

In many ways, using infographics to communicate with internal stakeholders serves the same purpose as using them in a content marketing capacity with external audiences. They get people’s attention, help simplify complex ideas, and embed understanding.

Infographics are becoming a mainstream marketing communication tool, thanks in part to the exposure they have gained across social media channels. But has this digital exposure increased adoption of information design as a tool for internal communication, education, and decision-making?

INTERNAL ADOPTION OF INFOGRAPHICS

Although not as popular as content marketing infographics targeted at external audiences, data visuals and information designs created to communicate with employees are slowly being adopted by organizations.

Joe Pulizzi from the Content Marketing Institute agrees that infographics are being used primarily for external communication, but he sees some internal crossover starting to take place.

“Clients are becoming interested in hosting infographics for employee training and education on their internal blogs and intranets, seeking to provide information similar to those posters you would see in many manufacturing facilities.”

Because of their high shareability quotient, organizations hope that infographics can facilitate more rapid dissemination of important information compared to traditional ways of transferring knowledge such as text laden documents.

David Armano, EVP of Global Innovation and Integration at Edelman, shares an example that highlights the power of infographics in helping spread information across an organization.

“We created a cool visual analytics report for one of our technology clients that was very different from the static dashboards they were accustomed to seeing. The information was consumed by almost every department as the report went viral across the organization.”

In addition to creating internal information design solutions for clients, Edelman is committed to embracing the use of infographics and the development of visual literacy initiatives within the organization. Armano cites the evolution of the agency’s premier intellectual property asset, the Edelman Trust Barometer, as an example, stating that recent iterations have become much more visual and have evolved to include a number of infographic elements. In addition, the firm’s own internal social media education program, BELT, also reflects this commitment to visual learning. Many of the training modules are very visual, using infographics to complement text.

This internal infographic created by Jack Hudson and INT Works for Channel 4 in London UK helps employees understand how the company operates. To view the full size design visit http://bit.ly/LTJUEu

INTERNAL COMMUNICATION OPPORTUNITIES

There are a number of different ways to use infographics to communicate with employees, management, and other stakeholders within your organization:

Decision-Making

  • Use infographics to present comparative lists and to highlight pros and cons. Visual elements make it easier for people to compare and make choices.
  • Use information design to expose data patterns and relationships. Visualizing data enables employees to analyze reports more effectively.
  • Use infographics in situations where there is not a lot of time to interpret information and where prompt decision-making is required. Infographics help employees digest and understand information quickly and easily.
  • Use infographics to visualize important strategic documents, reports, and plans.

Training

  • Embed infographics into employee training manuals and guides to make them easier to consume and understand.
  • Use infographics to create sets of training cards that can be distributed to employees as a reference tool or used by managers in workshops and training sessions.
  • Place large infographics in highly trafficked areas in your organization to offer visual reminders of important ideas, processes, or policies.

Exchanging Ideas

  • Use infographics to disseminate important information. Because they are unique and get shared readily, infographics help embed knowledge across the organization.
  • Use information design to communicate in diverse internal environments where language or education barriers may exist. Infographics are a universal communication tool that makes it easier to deliver information with less likelihood of misunderstanding.
  • Use infographics in meetings and presentations. Visualizations can help employees digest and understand information within condensed periods of time, making it easier to communicate takeaways and next steps more effectively.
  • Use infographics in situations where you need buy-in. Infographics facilitate quicker consumption and comprehension of ideas and concepts, making it easier to garner support and obtain consensus from your audience.

Have you seen infographics used effectively inside your organization? What are some other ways organizations can use information visualization with internal audiences? The comments are yours.

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This is the third post in a 4-part series covering some of the themes included in The Power of Infographics: Using Pictures to Communicate and Connect with Your Audiences – my new book now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Que and Indigo. For a chance to win a FREE copy drop by the Power of Infographics Facebook page and vote for your favourite image in the infographic tug of war (Contest expires 11:59pm PST July 24, 2012).

 

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About Mark Smiciklas

Mark Smiciklas

Mark Smiciklas is a Digital Strategist, author and President of Intersection Consulting; a Vancouver based digital marketing agency that teaches organizations how to leverage the dynamics of the web to achieve business goals. Mark is also the managing editor at Solopreneur.ca and is an established marketing and social media practitioner recognized for his visual thinking and practical strategic approach. You can connect with him on Google+.

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