Inward Investment Marketing: Are Your Location Infographics Excellent, or Irrelevant?

Thursday 17 September 2015
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Copyright (c) Clarity, 2014 

Infographics - graphic representations of information and data - are everywhere these days, nowhere more so than in the field of Inward Investment Marketing.

And there's a very good reason for this. The purpose of infographics is to communicate information and data quickly and clearly - and Inward Investment Marketing is all about demonstrating to investing companies that your location profile (often demonstrated through data) aligns with their business needs.

The Problem with Inward Investment Infographics

But there's a problem with the way infographics are typically applied in the area of inward investment promotion. Frequently, they fail to communicate location information and data accurately, reliably or clearly. Creative graphics might be used to represent (for example) industry sectors (test tubes or gears), property (offices or industrial sheds) or workers (in suits or high-vis vests). But all too often the numbers (data) accompanying the images are:

Irrelevant: because they don't align with the factors businesses are really likely to evaluate

Misleading: because they've been heavily spun to look better, or even made up!

Unreliable: because there's no source referencing to show where they came from, and why businesses should trust them

Do Infographics Really Matter Anyway?

(Surely infographics are just there to brighten up a web page or brochure, and to sell your location with figures that look good...)

The answer is yes, they matter a lot - if we're serious about effective inward investment promotion and the best possible use of our marketing budgets. Businesses planning relocations or expansions need reliable location data, and the more accessible we can make it, the better. When investment promotion agencies (or site marketers) present data in ways that are irrelevant, misleading or unreliable, businesses simply look elsewhere - and the agencies in question fail to add value for their locations.

How to Create Excellent Inward Investment Infographics

The starting point for high-value, data-focused inward investment infographics has to be understanding the needs of investing businesses and identifying the trustworthy data that demonstrates how your location responds to those needs.

When it comes to data presentation, the latest 'live', interactive, online data visualisation techniques can deliver real value for investing businesses, and investment promotion agencies. Because they're linked to databases, the data displayed can be 100% accurate, and easily updated when new data is produced. Because they're interactive, more detailed numbers can be revealed by interacting with (e.g. clicking or tapping on) them, while maintaining an uncluttered design for the clear presentation of core information. In all cases, source-referencing, to show the validity of the data, is essential.

In this (Clarity) example, hover over the segments to reveal the specific numbers of workers in each workforce category.

This (Clarity) interactive bar chart clearly demonstates workforce advantages of 'Location Y'. Hovering over the bars reveal the accurate percentage figures for each workforce category.

When it comes to communicating 'softer', qualitative information or simple data, more creative, design-based infographics can be appropriate - to make the information clear, memorable and impactful.

Example 1 below (Clarity) communicates a key location benefit (low, stable corporate income tax rates) through a simple, powerful image that requires a moment's thought - thereby engaging the viewer.

Example 2 below (Clarity) shows a location's transport connectivity benefits in a simplified, graphic form - but close attention has been paid to accurately reflecting drive times and directions from the location being promoted.

Excellent Inward Investment Infographics - Guiding Principles

To sum up, we might say that infographics and data visualisations for inward investment promotion must be relevant, accurate, reliable, informative, valuable, clear and engaging. Above all, they must be created with the needs of investing businesses in mind, and communicate information and data that will help them to develop location business cases. And, we hope, to discover that your location is the right one for them!

Nick Smillie
MD, Clarity, Inward Investment Marketing

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