Why We Love Infographics

By Kelly Gerrish

In the last few years infographics have become one of the most popular forms of online content. Google searches on the word alone increased by 800% between 2010 and 2012. But why are they so popular?

Information overload
The always available nature of social media means people are constantly receiving, analysing, sharing and creating new information. In fact, the amount of information that we create and store doubles every two years, making it increasingly difficult for things to grab and retain our attention. No one has the time or desire to read through reams of plain text to try and understand it.  Information needs to be presented in a unique and memorable way. Infographics allow information to be displayed in a concise and visually appealing package, so people can digest your content before you start to lose their attention.

Decreasing attention spans
The average human being has an attention span of just seven seconds – one second less than the much maligned goldfish. 90% of the information that our brains receive is processed visually, making it more likely to stay in our long-term memory. With the constant hustle and bustle of modern life, it’s little wonder we are drawn to infographics – visual information captures our attention far better than written text.

Easy to share
They say a picture is worth a thousand words and this has never been truer than with infographics. In fact, people are 44% more likely to interact with a brand who posts images on social media. If you want your audience to share content with their networks, interesting infographics give them something to tweet about. Viral marketing gives great visibility, boosting brand awareness.
This great infographic shows just why our brains crave this kind of visual presentation.

Do you use infographics in your business? Share your personal favourites with us below.

Fancy a Coffee?

By Kelly Gerrish

On Friday 26 September, people across the country will be getting together with friends and colleagues for coffee and cake – all in the name of Macmillan Cancer Support.
Coffee morning
The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning is a great excuse to take some time out of your day to raise some money for a good cause. Just ask your guests to make a donation for the coffee and cake you serve. It could not be easier. Coffee break are two little words that everyone loves to hear, so why not invite the whole office?

It really doesn’t matter how simple or fancy you make it. Whether it’s steaming mugs and biscuits, or homemade cakes and your best china, the only thing that really matters is knowing that each bite or sip is helping someone affected by cancer.

Cancer is the toughest fight most of us will ever face. The money raised at coffee mornings helps make sure no one has to face cancer alone, from the moment they’re diagnosed, through treatment and beyond.

Last year 154,000 people signed up, raising a record £20 million. This year it’s hoped that figure will be even bigger.

If your office is anything like ours, your colleagues won’t be able to resist a slice of cake! Plus there’s no need to feel guilty about those extra calories – they’re for charity after all! We’ll be joining in at right on the line.coffee cup

You may already have received one of our free coffee cups so why not use it to help Macmillan be there for more people living with cancer? Stick the kettle on and make time for a treat this Friday.

Scottish Vote Could Flag Change

By Kelly Gerrish

Used in all manner of ways to proclaim our Britishness, the Union Flag as we know it could be about to change.

It might sound unlikely but this could be the case should Scotland vote “yes” when the referendum question is put to them on September 18: “Should Scotland be an independent country?” If that were to happen, the iconic red, white and blue Union Flag we all know would effectively become obsolete. Think Ginger Spice’s Union Jack dress without the blue.

The British flag can be traced back to the union of Scotland and England in 1606 when King James VI of Scotland became James II of England. The union of the two realms was marked symbolically by merging the English and Scottish flags. So the red cross of St George was placed on the Saltire of Scotland, the St Andrew’s cross of white diagonals on a blue background.

Following the union of Britain and Ireland in 1801, the St Patrick’s cross of Ireland, red diagonals on a white background, were further blended into the mix.

But if the union is dissolved by a “yes” vote in the referendum, where does that leave the Union Flag? The College of Arms, the official register for coats of arms, has said that technically, the British flag would not have to change if the queen remained the head of state of an independent Scotland. But given what it represents would no longer exist, the British flag might be re-designed to remove the Scottish element. And surely if Scotland comes out of the flag, Wales would have to be added in. The global impact this could have is immeasurable, when you consider the other countries who feature our red, white and blue on their own national flag (Australia and New Zealand to name just two) and the ensigns flown by vessels and aircraft of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories.

The Flag Institute has been inundated with proposed redesigns, with some suggesting that the red Welsh dragon should be added, or the black-and-yellow flag of the Welsh patron saint, St. David.

With this in mind, we have designed our own new Union Flag, adding elements of the Welsh national flag – the field of green and white that lies behind the red dragon. Let us know what you think or send us your own.

union_flag_sans_scotland

Ice Bucket Challenge – Fad or Future?

By Kelly Gerrish

The ice bucket challenge has certainly made a splash on social media in recent weeks. Scroll down your Facebook newsfeed and you can bet most of the updates are people throwing freezing cold buckets of water over their heads in the name of charity. Global celebrities including David Beckham, Will Smith and even Kermit the Frog have got involved. But as the ice starts to melt, does it represent the future of fundraising, or is it simply a damp squib?

Originating in the US for the ALS Association, the UK version has so far raised £3.2m for Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA) and a further £3m for Macmillan Cancer Support. Such is the impact on charity coffers that the ALS Association even tried to trademark the term ‘ice bucket challenge’ to stop other charities piggybacking on it.

It’s clear the craze will make a huge difference to any charity’s ability to fund research and provide care to sufferers. But like all fads, its popularity will eventually wane. The real challenge comes with making the initial splash last through long term relationships and increased awareness.

Charities can’t expect fundraising and awareness levels to stay at the peak level of a viral campaign but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try and engage with these new donors. If they can convert even a small percentage into regular donations, the ice bucket challenge will have had a lasting impact.

Just adding people to a mailing list won’t work with people that come in through a viral campaign. Charities need to be smarter with their follow-up marketing to keep these new donors engaged, showing them they’re part of a bigger picture. Social media is key to this, maybe sharing stories and videos on the difference their donation will make.

So what does the future hold? The emergence of the no makeup selfie and ice bucket challenge in the last six months suggest viral campaigns are becoming an increasingly popular way to raise funds. With this in mind, charities need to become more responsive in their marketing approach to enable them to spot an opportunity and maximise potential.

The challenge lies in creating a campaign that is so unique to one charity, it couldn’t be for anyone else. According to a recent survey, 56% of people who took part in the ice bucket challenge didn’t know what it was for and therefore didn’t donate. Agile marketing teams should look to create an event that personifies what the cause is all about to ensure maximum benefit.

What’s in a Name?

By Kelly Gerrish

Traditional names are falling out of fashion as British parents turn to increasingly quirky choices to help their children stand out from the crowd, 2013’s figures from the Office for National Statistics show.

While the top five for boys and girls remains largely unchanged, the influence of popular culture has brought some colourful additions.

baby_names

Girls

Amelia was the top girls’ name for the third year in a row, being joined in the top five by Olivia, Emily, Ava and Isla. A shift away from more traditional choices has seen Angel and Miley move ahead of Rachel and Jennifer. There were even three girls called Disney. Girls are most likely to have a unique name, with 35,000 different girls’ names registered in 2013 compared to 27,000 for boys.

Boys

After two years of royalty at number one, Oliver has stolen Harry’s crown as the most popular moniker for boys. But the Royal effect has not disappeared – Harry, William and George all feature in the top 10. The royal birth in July 2013 means Prince George’s full impact won’t be seen until next year. Our tastes appear to be heading decidedly more upmarket with names such as Oscar, Hugo and Theodore surging up the rankings.

Popular culture

Our Netflix obsession has seen a revival in character names such as Game Of Thrones Khaleesi, Daenerys, Theon and Tyrion, and Breaking Bad’s Walter and Skyler.

Film franchises have also sparked the imagination of some parents with Marvel inspired Loki and Thor both featuring. The wizard world of Harry Potter clearly still has some influence as three girls were named Bellatrix. The most obvious cultural reference is the appearance of 18 girls named Renesmee, a name which was made up by author Stephenie Meyer for her Twilight books.

Does your name feature in the top 100? And if not, is that a good thing?