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I was looking for data on how many infographics get produced every year. I couldn’t find any. The numbers that I did see looked like they were pulled out from thin air. So that becomes useless. But, considering that we see a lot of infographics today, let’s just say – there are a lot of them being produced every year, maybe even every day. Infographics are getting widely popular as a medium to deliver (sometimes) serious data that will capture the attention of the 8 year old in all of us. Bright colors, bigger text and lots of data attract our curiosity to those long and elegantly (mostly) designed graphic files.

For those of you who are still scratching your heads wondering what info on graphics am I talking about – I am referring to information graphics (long for, infographics). They are visual representations of information (data/knowledge). They have been around for a long time but the recent popularity of those brightly-lit charts has been propelled by tech-invasion meets graphic-design. There is data all around us and there are people with attention spans of a skink. Add to that, being bombarded by a million messages at once doesn’t make it any easier. We don’t get enough time to keep our attention on something to assimilate what we see.

So coming back to the infographics, I personally love them. It adds up to my “take the message out” concept. It’s creative. And it’s meant to be fresh every time. It helps convert a chunk of text into something that we can comprehend easily. It makes representation easy with explanation included.

Infographics are used for various purposes. Some of the most popular and viral infographics are the ones that involved technology, politics and lot of social. People use them to communicate a story. And that story can be anything. It could be a social cause or it could be about you. I tried creating a infograph resume, when I was in Dubai recently, for the fun of it. See below.

Ashish-Kuriakose-Infograph-Resume-NPRLF

But I don’t think anyone outside my friend circle was impressed. So I figure my friends were only being nice. Thanks guys! ;-)

There is one thing I have against infographics – they can be so time-consuming to produce. But once they are done, they become a good information source for some time. Though their expiry dates do seem longer than those of texty pages.

Some of the few rules when working on infographics:

  1. Do not start with the graphics.
  2. Stick to the data. Sift. Sift. Sift through the data.
  3. Find the story (in that data). Think why would people want to go through that infographic.

More rules:
4. Don’t clutter. Stay lite.
5. Stick to a color scheme. But stray, if necessary.
6. Think graphic, not text. Think larger.

I recently created an infographic for a company I was trying out for. I got the idea from their ‘about’ page which was too texty for me. And they had some great data points to highlight. See below.

redington-gulf-infographic

This infographic was created for Redington Gulf – for demo purposes only. Not for commercial use.

I had great fun building the infographic. I think it took me around 2 days to build and it taught me a lot about the whole process – data collection, proofing, design and presentation. At the end of the day, it helped me have some great conversations inside that organization.

Would I recommend building an infographic? In one word, yes. But the challenge is being different, unique in a world that sees at least one new infographic every day. But wait, you don’t have to worry about that. The correct question is – how many infographics is your audience seeing? Chances are they see one every week or month. Building your story in graphical format helps them connect the dots from screen to mind.

If you want to share your infographic idea, please comment here. Or send me an email or tweet me – @ashed.

In India, we have had our green and white revolutions. We are having our high-tech revolution. They are also trying for a tiger-striped revolution.

I think it is time for India to have a marketing revolution. As I make this statement, I acknowledge that, as a country, we have some great companies, products and services. We are also known for great  creatives and campaigns. But I am not referring to the few who are successful or to a particular function within marketing but to the general attitude towards marketing (and how that can apply to our everyday, sometimes personal, life).

The reasons why I think we need a marketing revolution are plenty and just to list a few:

  • Everybody seems to be doing the tried and tested. Nothing new!
  • Involvement (at different levels) seems to be at an all-time low.
  • Poorly executed marketing strategies (not just flyers, but the whole works sometimes)

Continue Reading…

Much has been said about the new Old Spice “the man your man should smell like” commercials and Isaiah Mustafa, the ridiculously handsome guy whose random rambles got viral on the Internet. The result: you see an old brand reinvent itself and put themselves in people’s thoughts.

The commercials were originally launched in the US around the Super Bowl last February. But the best part of this campaign is that they did not stop with the commercials. Some weeks ago, Old Spice responded to “the Internet” – questions or comments people left on any social media – YouTube, Twitter, blogs. They were the common everyday people and the commercially successful or maybe we should call them “socially popular” people/brands like Starbucks, Kevin Rose, Alyssa Milano. He even responded to his own daughter on one of his videos.

I didn’t hear anybody in India refer to the commercial much. In fact, most of time I mentioned the commercials to my friends and family, they were like “really?, what’s that all about? Old Spice?!” But since this was done on the Internet, it became close to a worldwide phenomenon. It generated a lot of activity online with networks and blogs covering them. Bloggers and marketers were all ga-ga about how Old Spice reinvented themselves.

The first question I had in my mind was, “What are these guys up to?” I mean, this is Old Spice we are talking about. The last time I used an Old Spice product was over 15 years. But here they are – new, refreshing and funny too.

Mashable brought out some stats:

  • Number of videos made: 180+
  • Number of video views: 5.9 million
  • Number of comments: 22,500

(Mashable.com, July 15, 2010)

If you think about it, Old Spice just made some advertisements. But the real difference they made were the personal video responses. Social media is all about making conversation and they did exactly that.

Here are some good reads on the topic:
How the Old Spice videos were made
Lessons for small businesses from Old Spice

I am not going to talk about what marketing lessons we can learn from this campaign or how the right mix of creativity, humor and timing can help in your social media strategy. I just wanted to share this with you, in case you are one of the remaining 6+ billion people in this world who haven’t seen this yet.

Did this interest you? What did you think of the campaign?

hyundai-assurance-adNow that’s one brand I would never expect to win something like that. I have seen Hyundai ever since I was in school and it has always been a Korean car company. And we were told that “Korean car companies do not make good cars”.

But lot has changed over the years. They made better cars. They made better noise. From the Indian perspective, they entered the Indian market and are doing quite well. September 2009 saw record sales for Hyundai with a 25% YOY growth. And now they seem to be doing well in other markets, especially the US market which has been dominated by Japanese brands. You can read more about it here.

Here are the Hyundai Assurance ads that made them quite popular during the economic recession. You can hear the voice-over say, “Now finance or lease any new Hyundai, and if you lose your income in the next year, you can return it. That’s the Hyundai Assurance. An automaker that’s got your back. Now isn’t that a nice change?”

Very few brands actually looked recession in the face and made something of it. Congrats Hyundai!

Limited Editions & Low Price

November 4, 2009 — 1 Comment

seth-godin-boxed-set-limited-edition-saleIt always works. At least, most of the time I have seen it.

This time, it is Seth Godin’s (wooden) boxed set of five books with a special gift at $64. He says it would cost $100 to buy the books separately from the bookstore.

There are going to be only 800 boxes sold. And when this post goes public, it is already come down to 41 boxes. And it has only been three hours since he made this post.

I wonder if I can sell software like this! :)

Just read The Best and Worst Logo Remakes of the Century and UnderConsideration’s Brand New blog. They give a comparison-commentary about the changes that have taken place in some of the most well known brands around the globe.

Reminds me of what my Brand Management professor said a couple of years back – “It is not the consumers who get tired of the brand image or marketing message but the marketers.” Marketers spend so much time with their brand – they think even their audience is getting tired of it. They could not be more wrong!

As a marketer, I admit, one should be aware of the signs when the branding goes bad or needs a little shine. But change, for the sake of change, may not be the best decision for a brand. After all, it disrupts the very essence that branding is supposed to establish – trust. When a consumer sees a brand he trusts, he is comfortable. Don’t take that away from him!