By Jasper Cicero

To gauge public awareness of and attitudes toward Capital Area Special Olympics of Louisiana (CASOL), Elevate Communications determined that the most efficient method to reach a large amount of people and gather quality data would be to create and disseminate a survey. We created this survey in Qualtrics, an online survey service. Qualtrics took care of scoring the surveys and providing us with boring bar graphs of the data. However, we wanted to find a better way to explain the results of our survey to both our client and the class.

To do this, we created an infographic to provide a better visual representation of our data. In the article “9 Ways That PR Pros Can Capitalize on Infographics” Karl Gude, the director of information graphics at Newsweek for 10 years, says that infographics can be used to visually aid research on a press release or any other form of communication.

To better express the findings of our research, we decided to design an infographic. There are various ways of creating infographics and rather than using a paid offline software such as Adobe Photoshop but we wanted to explore free online ways of creating this content. Using the free online software Canva, we designed the info graphic below, which shows a visual representation of the demographics section of our research. Canva provides free access to many graphic elements. Most of the icons that the Elevate team used in our infographic were free Canva elements. Canva is also useful in the sense that users can import and upload their own png and jpeg images.

WalkerSands Communications is a firm that takes pride in their infographic designs. On their infographic page, WalkerSands states, “Infographics can be used as a valuable tool to help tell your story across bought, earned and owned media.” Stories are definitely told better when accompanied by visuals, and our team believes it is important to tell CASOL’s story with a visual element.

The goal of the infographic was to create a visually appealing way of showing the findings of our research. From the top, the first noticeable element is the state of Louisiana. In our research, we found that 95% of participants were Louisiana residents. This was the highest percentage out of all of the results and it was important to have the Louisiana state layer as the biggest visual element on the infographic. For the second image of Louisiana, we used an image that highlighted the location of East Baton Rouge Parish to show the client how close our audience was to the capital area. One of the biggest problems that our organization faces is the differentiation between Capital Area Special Olympics of Louisiana and the statewide Special Olympics of Louisiana organization. We found in our research that 78% of participants live in one of the six capital area parishes and that 92% of participants live in East Baton Rouge Parish.

Moving down the infographic, we used different sized graphic elements of the male and female gender to show higher female participation (80%) compared to male participation (17%). For the next three findings on the infographic, we wanted to use a banner graphic to show how high these percentages were. The banner look is reminiscent of a sports team’s championship banner. The middle section of the infographic is where the most icons are used. We used a book for the completed college statistic, a graduation cap for the bachelor’s degree statistic, a briefcase for the employment statistic and a big red “X” for the unemployment statistic. Each of these icons is free from the Canva application. Finally, the second largest section of the infographic is the statistics on religion. We found that 44% of our participants are Catholic and 34% are Christian. These numbers are huge, and we wanted to express the importance of this statistic with a large cross icon. When identifying our target audience and key publics, you can easily look at the top and bottom of the infographic and conclude that they are most likely a Louisiana resident with strong religious background.

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The infographic gave us a visual representation of the research we conducted, but it still was not specific and clear enough to show our key public. We wanted to create a simple visual representation of our key public, and with Jensen’s suggestion “Maggie” was created. “Maggie” is a mother of two (or more) children, age 25-50, has an average yearly income of $45,000 or more, has a strong religious background, is a capital area resident and has at least a bachelor’s degree. “Maggie” is our ideal key public and we were able to represent her in a simple and visually appealing way.

Maggie1

Works Cited

Infographics & Data-Driven PR Campaigns. (n.d.). Retrieved October 28, 2015, from http://www.walkersands.com/Infographics-and-Data-Driven-PR-Campaigns

9 Ways That PR Pros Can Capitalize on Infographics – PR News. (n.d.). Retrieved October 28, 2015, from http://www.prnewsonline.com/water-cooler/2013/03/04/7-infographic-styles-you-can-create-in-house/
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