Creating and Measuring Communication, Effectively

By: Nickie Harber-Frankart

We’re constantly looking for innovative ways translate data and information into interesting visualizations for our clients. There are many ways to accomplish this by using bar charts, gauges and graphs, but but I’ve recently found word clouds to be incredibly useful for analyzing text. provides text-based visualizations, using content pasted from articles, blogs, questions from surveys and more, making the top, most prominently used words in the text the largest in the cloud.

For fun, I entered the URL of our blog into Wordle.

Wordle Word Cloud

The prominent words were: interesting, experience, customer, approach, OrangeBoy, work, time, meetings, process, and so on—all of which explain our mission to help our clients become customer-centric organizations.

This exercise was a reminder about branding and creating effective messaging. It was also a lesson in content analytics.

  • Messaging should align with your target audience, as well as your organization’s mission, brand and personality. I was relieved to know that this was the case with our blog. However, it’s not uncommon to see misalignment. Often I hear clients say, I want our customers to know about XYZ, but it doesn’t align with customers’ needs or their behavior. Communication should relate to the core of what you do as an organization while meeting the needs of your customers. A good example is a library sending targeted email messages about early literacy programs to parents with small children who use the library.
  • Use multiple visualizations to tell the whole story. The blog publisher WordPress has a dashboard tool that displays visitation statistics, views, clicks, and popular pages and topics. Amidst all of this “raw” usage data, there are no metrics to describe the blog’s personality or common message themes. The word cloud helped uncover that. By using Wordle, I was able to visualize the messages we send to our readers and understand commonly used words that describe our blog’s personality as it relates to our brand. In other words, multiple data visualizations resulted in a well-rounded story about messaging and its impact on behavior.

I encourage you to think about your messages and use analytics in a similar way. The next time you craft a message to your customers think about how it aligns with their needs and your organization’s brand and mission. Then, consider the best way to measure the impact of that message, effectively.

OrangeBoy works with organizations to uncover valuable insights about customers and the markets they serve. Insights lead to innovative solutions. OrangeBoy helps clients create personalized customer experiences and communications to achieve measurable results. 


Leave the Camera at Home

By: Sandy Swanson

You may remember when taking photos was a big deal. The cameras were relatively inexpensive, but the film and processing added up. You had to think long and hard about what was photo-worthy. Today, not so much.

In fact, we are bombarded with images on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, websites, blogs, and e-mail that we seemingly document everything we do in our daily lives. Forget about taking a few snapshots on family vacation in Yosemite. Now, we capture everything. Look at this beautiful buffet table. How about a picture of my salmon entree? Maybe a fun shot of a co-worker who laughed so hard coffee ran out of her nose?

Don’t get me wrong. Digital photography is convenient, and the accessibility of a camera built into my phone has been handy many times. Instant photos also make it fun to share experiences with those who cannot be there in person.

I sometimes wonder, though, if we’ve created a culture where we are focusing too much on the photo opportunity—in essence, staging the activity rather than enjoying the moment. I have witnessed this at several weddings I’ve attended in recent years. The bride and groom are so busy posing for pictures that they miss the celebration.

I think this speaks to a key theme from our blog post two weeks ago, “what you pay attention to determines what you miss,” but it also speaks to the importance of editing, and the editing process. Where do we draw the line? Has it become necessary to share everything in our lives with the rest of the world? How much is too much?

In the business world, I think the same questions apply, especially when it comes to communication and delivering meaningful content our customers. So, before you send your next email, or even consider uploading your next photo to Facebook, consider the application, importance, and consequences of what you share.

  • Application. If you are taking a photo, what purpose does that photo have and what do you plan to do with it? Think about its best use and application and how it helps tell your story.
  • Importance. How important is this to share with others? How does this post, photo or other content help fulfill a client or customer need, or a friend’s curiosity? Will it help a customer use our products or services better? Think about how to capture the true meaning or purpose of the post in as little words or photos as possible to make your point.
  • Consequence. It is always important to think about the consequences of everything you write about or capture in a photo. Think about it. Would you want your next photo or post to appear on the front page of tomorrow’s newspaper? If not, consider editing or when in doubt, leave the camera at home.

©OrangeBoy, Inc. 2012