In a world where we are bombarded by information, targeted by mass media and social networks, what can we do to make our message heard? How can healthcare, DTC and consumer marketers dimensionalize communications in a way that draws attention and focuses learning to important information and messaging?
Data visualization provides an increasingly powerful means to not only communicate information clearly and effectively, but the wise will consider it critical to help position their companies and brands in digital marketing today.
As outlined by FFunction in it's report 'Data Visualization: How To Position Your Company in Digital Marketing', "The power of visualizations comes from the fact that they stimulate the brain in a different way, by focusing attention on the sensorial and rational sides simultaneously. They act as a discovery game that incites one to focus on the displayed information that might otherwise be left unnoticed."
This is further supported by Dr. John Medina in his work, Brain Rules: Rule#10 Vision Trumps All Other Senses.
Other recent articles: Ad Age Digital's Why Data Visualization is About To Become Very Important for Your Brand by Oren Frank, AdWeek's: Seeing is Believing by Bob Greenwood and NYTimes: When The Data Stuts Its Self by Natasha Singer provide additional support for this growing field.
One has only to watch the animated statistics -developed by Dr. Rosling and Gapminder- to show the disparities in health and wealth around the world to see the power of advanced animation visualization to help viewers spot trends on their own. Dr. Rosling's video clip from the BBC on health and wealth statistics has been viewed more than four million times on YouTube.
As Natasha Singer writes, "Visual analytics play off the idea that the brain is more attracted to and able to process dynamic images than long lists of numbers. But the goal of information visualization is not simply to represent millions of bits of data as illustrations. It is to prompt visceral comprehension, moments of insight that make viewers want to learn more."
"The purpose of visualization is insight, not pictures", says Ben Shneiderman, founding director of the Human-computer Interaction Laboratory at the University of Maryland.
The growing field of 'data visualization' (DaViz), beyond its original roots in academia and science, has implications for companies, governments, marketers, agencies...For just about anybody who wants to convey huge amounts of information in visual, interactive displays.
- Can data itself become an asset of a brand and a pillar to visually enhance the brand's story? Can DaViz even suggest a new product idea?
- Can DaViz help garner attention and encourage learning and action? Should it be included in every new creative brief to act as a strong reminder for creative exploration?
- What opportunities can DaViz offer for pharma companies as they think about how to most clearly communicate and motivate consumers, doctors and even sales people? For example, could 'tree mapping' offer unique ways to more clearly communicate and motivate sales reps?
- Does DaViz offer unique opportunities to create next generation dashboards that can help consumers better understand lots of data and increase positive behavior? e.g.: making sense of daily blood sugar scores, exercise regimens, cholesterol numbers etc.
But like anything, there are benefits and risks. With Data Visualization, customers can become more engaged when visuals help them filter information and allow them to make discoveries on their own.
On the risk side, Professor Shneiderman warns that tools as powerful as visualization have the potential to mislead, or confuse consumers. And privacy implications can arise as increasing amounts of personal, medical, financial data... become widely accessible, searchable and viewable.[via NYTimes article]
But given how our digital society is evolving, with data being produced at an exceptional rate, I think it is undeniable that DaViz will become increasingly important to each and every marketer and business person today. It is poised to become an important element of brand marketing going forward.
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Illustrations: 1) The World of Data, Oliver Munday for GOOD.is, October, 2010; published by A Lapierre and S Pierre 11 25 2010, Data Visualization- How to Position Your Company in Digital Marketing. 2) What is Data Visualization? Infographic explaining data visualization, visually. See below.
Yesterday, I posted my key takeaways from last week's FDA advisory meeting for Social Media and Internet Marketing #fdasm ("Ask Not What Social Media Can Do For You"). Today, I'm providing food for thought for how presenters can improve their impact with an FDA advisory board. This is based on watching the 77 presentations last week, and having recently participated in the FDA Risk Communications Advisory Meeting this past February.
Building on a previous post: "Pharma: No More Bullets Please", here are seven points that can help improve your next presentation to an FDA advisory committee. (These tips will also apply to other important upcoming presentations)
1. Build your story around data. FDA is a data driven entity-it's in their bones. A story without data reference simply lacks punch for any FDA advisory board. It's the "reasons to believe" so essential to any communication.
2. Don't just repeat what FDA already knows; provide clear recommendation(s) including potential solutions, guidelines or unique construct(s) that can help with advancing policy. If FDA is holding the advisory meeting, it means that they largely recognize, and hopefully understand, much of the background and problem, and are looking for ways to move learning and policy forward. Data that leads to a concrete construct is the perfect combination. See if your solution can't work to sell a dream-that can help FDA take a step closer to its mission of better patient education and health.
3. An FDA advisory board is made up of people and people respond best to a good story. We can take some lessons from Steve Jobs, one of the great presenters. Introduce an antagonist. Every presentation is a theatrical experience: "Every great drama has a hero and a villain." Steve Jobs explains the problem and leads the way for the hero...Create a common enemy... lead with a strong beginning, middle and end. (If you haven't watched ABC's video: The Secrets of Steve Jobs, you may want to take a few minutes to do so here).
Spend the time upfront to think about how your data and expertise can lend themselves to a unique and compelling story that the FDA will thank you for. And of course, it goes without saying, that your story must answer their needs and not yours. If you honestly can't answer why the FDA should want to listen to you, don't present!
4. If you've read point #3, and you are telling a good story from the FDA's perspective, and not your own, then you know that this presentation is NOT a sales call or another Biz Development opportunity! Keep your presentation focused on fueling the FDA's learning and research for developing healthcare policy. In other words, add value or die! (not literally of course)
5. Think about "Twitter-friendly headlines". Give your key solution a simple name and a short and concise descriptive headline or sound bite e.g. macbookair-"The Worlds's Thinnest Notebook". Two examples from #fdasm might be Rohit Bhargava of Oglivy 360 with his 3 C's for defining when a pharmaco is responsible for content, or Wendy Blackburn with her Rx Risk red button.
6. Use slides to help reinforce your points, but only if slides are simple and readable! The experts recommend practicing Zen like simplicity - ‘the elimination of clutter'. (From my own experience, I know it's easier said than done.) Unfortunately, more presenters than I can count, including many agency ‘communication experts', used slides that were difficult to read, packed with too much data to take in or read, and too many competing points. If you have to apologize about a slide, fix it BEFORE the presentation! Your written submission is the place for all the data specifics and detail-- not your ten minute presentation and slide support.
7. Relentless practice. It's the only way to connect with your audience and speak most confidently. The best presenters in the world NEVER skip this step, and spend just as much time rehearsing as creating (maybe more). Just watch any Ted presentation...
If you haven't watched Pixels and Pills interview with Tom Abrams, presiding officer of the FDA advisory meeting, watch his video. It will reinforce many of the points above.
Our EXCLUSIVE Interview with Thomas Abrams at the FDA Hearings from Zemoga on Vimeo.
Importantly, if you presented at last week's FDA social media hearing, thank you. There were many excellent presentations that were spot on. Please consider these suggestions as potential input for your next presentation...
Looking to stay current with the latest happenings on FDASM? Visit www.fdasm.com, created by Ignite Health.
This week, I came across two presentations that made me stop and refocus my thoughts on writing and delivering effective and engaging presentations. The first was a terrific five minute video interview of author Carmine Gallo (The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience) outlining the 5 points he attributes to Steve Job's incredible success as one of today's most engaging speakers. The second was the announcement that "Health Care Napkins", created by Dan Roam with Tony Jones, was the winner of the "World's Best Presentation 2009" by Slideshare.net and Business Week.
click on image to watch video on ABC
The 5 Techniques that help make Steve Jobs a truly great presenter:
1. Introduce an antagonist. Every presentation is a theatrical experience: "Every great drama has a hero and a villain." Steve Jobs explains the problem and leads the way for the hero...
2. Twitter-friendly headlines. Each Apple product has a simple name and a short and concise descriptive headline or sound bite e.g. macbookair-"The World's Thinnest Notebook"
3. Sell dreams--not computer hardware, or a product. Jobs sells ‘transformative experiences'-what is it about our product that will change someone's life?
4. Practice Zen like simplicity-‘the elimination of clutter'. You won't see bullet points. You won't see many words.
5. Relentless Practice. Practice. And More Practice.
Here's the winning slide presentation by Dan Roam: Health Reform on the back of the napkin style.
You won't see traditional bullets or heavy text. You will see a great story unfold with interesting visuals and devices to engage the reader.
Dan Roam's lesson to us all:
There is no such thing as boring knowledge.
There are only boring ways to present it.
Two Great Books on Presentations
Having sat through many a ‘boring' PowerPoint and podium presentation, and having done my own share of, what we at BMS used to fondly refer to as, ‘deck a day' PowerPoint presentations for Sr. Management, requiring an abundance of time internally-focused vs. externally or customer- focused, I have become a huge fan of Garr Reynold's Presentation Zen and Nancy Duarte ‘s Slide:ology. Both books are excellent sources for kinder, simpler, and more visually pleasing presentations-and did I mention more engaging and effective? Both start with the objective and the story you want to tell; both encourage planning and storyboarding to get it right.
Common themes for better PowerPoint presentations:
1. Start with the end in mind; what is the story that you want to tell?
2. Know your audience-what is important to them?
3. Outline your content; sketch out objectives and ideas in pen and paper. Plan in ‘analog', with no use of technology-storyboard the presentation
4. Have a sound, clear structure throughout (this is more than an agenda page up front)
5. Be vigilant about clarity of message-- only one idea to a slide
6. Put yourself in the shoes of the audience and ask "so what?"...if it's not relevant, cut...
7. Bring each point to life. This means minimal use of bullets and copy, and heavy use of visuals, photography and color (If you have charts of data, you might consider handing this information out separately at the end of the presentation...)
8. Good presentations include stories. The best presenters illustrate their points with the use of stories, most often personal ones.
9. Keep it simple, but not simplistic
10. The more you are on top of the material- the design, flow and rehearsal, the more success.
Pharma: Just Say No To More Bullets!
Now is the time for Pharma to rethink how we present information to colleagues, partners, physicians, customers, government. By taking a few lessons from these experts, more time thinking about how to craft content and message, Pharma can begin to tell more engaging and effective stories that the audience may actually want to listen to, learn from, and take action.
Won't you join me in saying NO to more bullets, and YES to initiating a new way to communicate?
Additional Helpful Links:
Presentation I did to FDA Risk Communication Advisory Committee: Considering Neuroscience to Improve Communications
Sample Slides By Garr Reynolds
Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas On Presentation Design and Delivery
Think Like a Designer
Ten Reasons Presentations Will Make It Big in 2009 -#2 Speakers