A Picture Paints a Thousand Numbers


There are some lucky minds among us, who can scan a spreadsheet and immediately pick out a meaningful pattern from the data dump. Most of us aren’t so lucky. And so, we’ve developed some techniques, to hep us visualise what those numbers might be saying – the pie chart and the bar chart are two of our closest friends in the world of media.

The pie chart and the bar chart might have packed a punch in their time – when research was a new and heady invention for our industry. Those were the days before we had monthly brand trackers, quarterly review phone books and surveys so long, that no one ever gets through a genuine analysis of all the results, before it’s out of date.

Media, arguably more that most other marketing disciplines, is drowning in information saturation. We are data rich but insight poor.

However, we are now on the precipice of Data 2.0, where increasingly the days of our good old friends, the pie chart and the bar chart, may soon be numbered. There are people out there, on our own shores, championing the “art of visualisation”. I just became acquainted with Ed Fidgeon-Kavanagh this week (via Piaras Kelly).

On our part in OMD, we are fighting the good fight, winning some battles, losing others but always trying to put an emphasis on useful meaning over a deck of charts, storytelling over powerpoint death, and insight over information.

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