At the IBM Center for Applied Insights, we could probably create data visualizations, infographics, and datagrams in our sleep. Cloud Pacesetters? Marketing Scientists? Chief Information Security Officers? No problem. But this week, we faced an exciting new challenge. Along with our broader Market Insights team, we participated in “Hack Week”, a competition to create the best infographic for a great cause, the West Side Campaign Against Hunger (WSCAH).
A bit about the cause – West Side Campaign Against Hunger’s mission is to alleviate hunger and create a culture that promotes self-reliance and works for change. The WSCAH food pantry, located in New York City’s Upper West Side, is unique – it is a customer-choice, supermarket style pantry. Clients choose the food they need for themselves and their families and also volunteer at the pantry, creating a cooperative system. In 2013, WSCAH served 1 million meals to 115,000 people.
So how can IBM’s Market Insights function help this incredible organization? By using our expertise in two ways: to help the leaders sift through their data to identify key insights and to spread awareness among potential donors. At the Center for Applied Insights, we create infographics for all of our projects – people love to share them! But sharing information about an organization working to fight hunger is slightly different from illustrating the best practices of Chief Information Security Officers! A recent Center for Applied Insights blog post provided us with some great resources.
To create the winning infographic for WSCAH, we took the following steps:
- Identify the goal. Our original prompt was to simply provide information on WSCAH through an infographic. But this wasn’t specific enough; we needed a tangible goal. Speaking with members of the the organization, we learned their greatest pain point – receiving donations (only 15% of their income is from the government). With this, our goal was clear – to create an infographic to encourage donations.
- Tell a story. A bulleted list of stats? Not memorable. The story of three WSCAH clients, and how the organization has assisted them? That’s something you’ll remember. For the story thread, we followed an orange shopping cart (the organization’s logo) to describe the clients using the cart throughout the day.
- Extract key insights. The WSCAH team sent over a number of data files to us at IBM – with information on things like the client profile, number of households served, pounds of food, counseling provided, and yearly donations. With our team of data wizards, analysis was no problem. The key was sifting through the data to identify the data points that were the most compelling and supported our story.
- Play to emotions. With a topic like hunger, this isn’t difficult. (For something like cloud computing, a bit more difficult). We used terms like “neighbor”, “family”, and “contributing” to elicit emotions from whoever is viewing the infographic.
- Accurately represent the brand. Before embarking on the project, we worked to learn as much as we could about WSCAH. We watched this incredible video and others that featured WSCAH clients. We read their annual report, and combed through their data. Specifically through the videos, we were able to better understand their clients, and accurately represent them through our story. Visually, we incorporated the company logo and colors.
- Have a clear call to action. After finishing reading an infographic, there must be a clear “so what”? I’ve shared this powerful information, now what should you do? We make it clear what we want the reader to do – donate to this extraordinary organization.
Did this infographic inspire you to donate to West Side Campaign Against Hunger? You can donate here.