With the 2016 Presidential Election campaigning underway, it’s no doubt that each candidate is eager to communicate their message to voters. Every candidate has a plan – a very complex plan – it has to be if they want to run an entire country. But in order for a candidate to be elected President of the United States, that multi-page blueprint must resonate with the general public. More importantly, this year, that plan must also stand out from 19 other presidential candidates.
With such steep competition and a crowded stage, how does a presidential candidate stand out and effectively convey their campaign message? Some have tried viral videos, such as Making Machine-Gun Bacon with Ted Cruz. Others have tried outspoken statements and dramatic ploys to attract the media…ahem Donald Trump. The real question is, has any candidate successfully communicated their campaign message to America with these strategies?
Each time a presidential election rolls around the media jumps in to aid the American people with cheat sheets and articles that read “What You Need to Know About the Presidential Election.” However, each candidate has a website devoted to their campaign, each candidate tours the country for months advocating for their plan and each candidate makes endless media appearances for the purpose of communicating their message. So why is it that the general population still needs the assistance of the media to tell them what they need to know? This is what we would call a PR fail in our industry – numerous campaigns still managing to leave a target audience uninformed.
There is one communication tool that appears to be overlooked by the 2016 presidential candidates, and no it’s not social media, nor viral videos, it’s infographics. While many say a picture is worth a thousand words, we like to say an infographic is worth a thousand words.
Infographics not only have the natural capacity to go viral, the visual portrayal of information offers a plethora of positive properties. Search Engine Journal highlights just a few of the many reasons why infographics are so effective:
- 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual
- Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text
- People remember 80 percent of what they see and do, in comparison to remembering just 20 percent of what they read and 10 percent of what they hear.
- Infographics are 30 times more likely to be read than a text article
Infographics are effective at communicating information to an audience, specifically complex information. So, how should the presidential candidates be utilizing this valuable communication tool?
Provide a road map
To start, candidates should be leveraging infographics to provide voters a roadmap of their plan. With so many topics to cover how can anyone keep track? Let’s be honest, very few people are going to look up all 19 candidates, read through every page on their website and take note of what they like and don’t. As important as the presidential election is, nobody has time for that. However, a candidate that creates an infographic that clearly outlines their initiatives and provides color regarding key points is much more likely to resonate with the general public. And chances are it will make its way around the Internet with little to no help from the candidate’s campaign team. People love their social media and they love sharing valuable resources with friends and loved ones.
Highlight important stats
There are so many numbers and statistics being thrown around during the presidential election, many feel as if they go in one ear and out the other. An infographic is a great way for candidates to clearly define where they stand on an issue right now and how they aim to solve it in the future. For instance, one of Hillary Clinton’s initiatives is to focus on the cost of college and student loan debts. An infographic would be an impactful way to show where current college costs stand, how many people are affected by student loan debt and to what extent; and to then show the degree of impact her initiative will have in changing those numbers. This is where visuals are key – they make the numbers sink in.
Break down the budget
Budget is always a point of conversation. Even more so is where a candidate plans on receiving funding for their proposals. While some may not wish for everyone to have a clear picture, in PR we believe it pays to be transparent. Breaking down the budget and sources of funding in an infographic that uses charts and color coded figures is a simple way to ensure the average American can fully grasp the information. And isn’t doing what’s best for the American people supposed to be the intention of all 19 candidates in the first place?
For candidates running in the 2016 Presidential Election, connecting with the American people is key to succeeding. While infographics may not be part of the traditional campaign toolbox – they should be. Infographics are a useful communication tool that effectively communicate plain text information through impactful visuals. Not only will infographics resonate with the general public, they’re likely to go viral.
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