During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the whole world relied on consistent and accurate updates regarding the spread and severity of the virus. The distillation of unbiased and trustworthy information was — and continues to be — essential to global health.
Data visualizations (e.g., infographics, charts, whitepapers) quickly became the preferred method for sharing information. With the deluge of daily data about the virus, people struggled to understand whom to trust and where to turn for accurate and up-to-date information.
When people found those trusted media sources, sorting through the massive amount of data and information released each day was still a challenge. This is where the value of infographics quickly became apparent. “Flattening the curve,” COVID-19 “waves,” and “spikes” in cases became the common language used to describe trends — etymology derived from graphic representations.
Even as the world reopens, curves flatten, and vaccines are distributed, presenting understandable data has become critical in the never-ending battle to gain and maintain consumer trust.
The Dark Side of Data Visualization
Just as well-executed data visualization can improve trust, misused data can destroy it. When agencies gather information and use it for veiled purposes, this erodes the consumer-brand trust relationship for their clients.
In the long run, the obfuscation of data usage tarnishes reputations and gives customers pause. According to Deloitte’s 2021 Global Marketing Trends report, 1 in 4 consumers stopped buying from brands that appeared to use the findings and circumstances of the pandemic to further their self-interest.
Successful brands understand the importance of transparency and avoiding distortion when sharing data. Clarity, precision, and efficiency are key to helping agencies visualize data and pushing their clients one step closer to information equity. The end goal should be for all consumers to have access to fair and unbiased information.
Visualize Data and Build Stronger Bonds
Data visualization is a valuable tool in creating and retaining trust between brands and consumers. Below are three ways your agency can improve its clients’ relationships with customers via data visualization.
Authenticity goes a long way in a media- and advertising-driven world. Showing your clients that you want to provide them with transparent and informative data makes that rapport stronger.
Visual data shows purpose, encourages comparison, and makes complex behaviors and statistics relatable. The more closely the visualization aligns with the statistical and verbal descriptions of a data set, the better. Audiences respond to context, and visualizing data helps tell a story.
Inform and Guide Decision-Makers
No matter their role, agency leaders need data to be reliable, concise, and actionable. According to a Forrester Research study, data-driven companies are growing at an average rate of about 30% annually. Data-driven visualizations can help demonstrate thought leadership and guide the decision-making process.
Strengthen Connections With Interactive Data
When you allow customers to interact with data visualizations directly, you provide extra value by enabling them to surface the insights they find most useful. Users can input personal data to generate customized outcomes, pinpointing whatever context they want. This personalized experience establishes a trust bond by literally “giving back” by engaging users with tailored content meant to accomplish their goals and objectives.
Whether it’s the CDC tracking COVID-19 cases or The New York Times monitoring climate change, successful companies know how to cull the data that matters to their audiences — and serve that information up in a compelling, easily digestible format.
COVID-19 generated growth in information design by offering a way to visualize and understand the impact of the virus across the world. It was an inflection point that moved the needle dramatically in how society values data visualization.
In this era of big data, people are struggling to gain a foothold on trust. Successful agencies realize that the strategic use of data visualization can improve customer relationships and strengthen bonds, even in a post-pandemic world.