How Infographics Can Work for ‘Boring’ Businesses
From a marketing point of view, there are two sorts of businesses in the world: exciting ones and boring ones.
Exciting businesses almost market themselves. Think new movies, candy, plane tickets, luxury cars and women's fashion. Boring businesses specialize in topics most people don't know or care about, like plumbing, insurance and loans.
If your business is boring, it's tempting to hope that a colorful infographic will spice things up. But if your infographic is just as boring as your industry, then you're only wasting your time. Here are a few examples of ways to get around your dull subject matter and produce something exciting.
1. Stay on topic, but don't promote yourself: ionSwipes, Your Dirty Habits Make Me Sick. ionSwipes sells antibacterial wipes that leave a layer of silver, copper and zinc to kill germs. Instead of focusing on the science behind its product, the company's infographic shows how germ-riddled our world is. Sixteen percent of cell phones have poop on them? Office desks are 400 times dirtier than a toilet seat? You'll find yourself wishing you had an ionSwipe, but there isn't a single mention of the product until the very end.
2. Create reference material: loans.org, Where Are Payday Loans Banned? When your subject is boring and controversial, the way payday loans are, it's a bad idea to try to defend your product. Does anyone remember those pro high fructose corn syrup commercials? An infographic titled Why You Should Take Out a Payday Loan Today! would be just as bad. At the same time, you can't go around bashing your product either. Instead, go neutral. We found that our FAQ article was being linked to from articles on payday loan legislation. People don't have time to weed through payday loan laws in every state, so having all the major laws in one place is a great help.
3. Not every infographic has to be full of statistics: Leeds Building Society, Strangest Things Found in New Homes. The typical infographic is a wall of pie charts, bar graphs, line graphs and percentages. This can work, but Leeds Building Society, which offers mortgage and investment tools, realized no one really needs to see a bar graph of the average ages of first-time homebuyers. Its infographic is based purely on anecdotes of what people have found in their new homes. It's simple, well executed and very funny. Apparently Brits tend to find coffins when they move in.
4. Be relevant: Rehabs.com, What If Barbie Were Real. There's nothing funny about eating disorders, which is an easy subject to cover distastefully. At the same time, it's fascinating to know that it would literally be impossible to find a woman with the same chest to waist ratio as a Barbie doll. The site recommends rehab clinics, but by focusing on Barbie as a symbol of negative body image standards, its infographic is very relevant for women who played with Barbie dolls as kids, the same women who may be facing body issues today.
5. Be controversial: Shift Insurance, Are Women Bad Drivers? Yes, ignore what I just said. Sometimes it pays to challenge the status quo. How many guys have said men are superior behind the wheel? It's an idea that plays into gender stereotypes and sexism, two extremely touchy subjects. By challenging the idea that women are bad drivers (and most of the facts in the infographic point that way), the infographic is saying something that goes against "common" knowledge.