Thursday, March 8, 2012

A conversation on Marketing, PR, and infographics

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you've probably seen that I am critical of the way Marketing and PR professionals are taking over information graphics and misusing them. If you search for 'best infographics' in Google right now, you'll stumble upon pieces labeled as awesome and fantastic, but that rarely qualify as such if we analyze them as communication tools. They are not infographics, but colorful displays of random figures and facts.

Those 'infographics' have been designed to attract eyeballs with bells-and-whistles, not to improve understanding. In fact, if you read about the reasons why marketing gurus recommend using what they wrongly call 'infographics', you'll see that enlightening is not a priority. They should be designed because they are attractive and viral, they improve traffic and brand awareness, and they benefit search engine optimization. So much for noble goals as raising awareness of relevant issues.

You may reply: 'well, that's what Marketing is about', and I agree. I don't have anything against Marketing, quite the contrary. But the problem is that the growing popularity of that kind of shallow, simplistic displays —designed for impact, but not for depth— is harmful: they are picked by too many media executives that should know better as inspiration for what they publish in their newspapers and magazines. That's what worries me about them.

But I also believe Marketing and PR infographics can be much better than they are now on average. That's why I accepted to be interviewed by Angelo Fernando, a communication strategist, for a piece that has been just published in Communication World, the magazine of the International Association of Business Communicators. It's a sensible, well-written article (although I must admit I am not very fond of the examples provided). Angelo also interviewed Jason Lankow, from Column Five Media. I suggest you take a look at it: