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Let’s Get Visual

by Cheryl Gale, Guest Blogger
Managing Partner and Co-founder, March Communications

As PR professional for 20 years in both the U.S. and European markets, I’ve had the fortune to experience many media trends that have come and gone and come back again. Just last month I had the opportunity to learn about one of the newest trends: data visualization.

We hosted an internal training session with media guru, Sam Whitmore, and he spoke about data visualization being one of the most recent advancements in publishing as the Web continues to turn in to a broadcast medium. Sam spoke about how widespread the incorporation of intelligently designed graphics, charts, pictures and videos will become, or are already becoming.  Publications such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal are already using data visualization tactics to appeal to their audiences.

According to a recent article in the Boston Globe, Fidelity Investments and Liberty Mutual are the first Boston businesses to “bring their marketing muscle” to the iPad.  When users flip through Time magazine on the iPad, they’ll see Fidelity and Liberty’s interactive advertisements on the screen.  Johnny Diaz, writer at the Globe, reports, “At a time when companies are competing for people’s attention through the Web and cable television, marketers increasingly are looking for new ways to plug their clients’ products, and they see huge potential in the iPad.”

There is a unique opportunity for PR to evolve its role in content creation and further encroach on the advertising industry — PR people have the right skills and are better placed to guide clients in this area than advertising agencies.

There has been a lot of hot air about how PR is dead and is unable to adapt to the new digital media landscape. The issue is not that traditional media is dying; it is that media is diversifying in terms of content type and distribution platform. This means there are greater opportunities for good PR programs to influence audiences and this will see PR take a much bigger slice of the marketing pie in the years ahead.

There’s no doubt that data visualization will be an increasing trend, as it is already becoming more and more noticeable in today’s most popular media. But along with this trend comes an important skill that many PR professionals will need to learn and incorporate into their campaigns.

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