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. 


Design Your “Book Cover”

By: Nickie Harber-Frankart

One recent morning, I sat down to eat my breakfast with my iPad propped up in front and my Twitter feed up on the screen, when TED Talks, The Hilarious, Profound Design Philosophy of Chip Kidd, caught my eye.

One tap and there I was watching Chip Kidd take the stage and launch into a silly dance move. He did this to get the audience’s attention. He also did it because he was wearing a wireless headset and said he felt like Lady Gaga wearing, as he called it, a ‘skanky mic.’ I laughed. The audience laughed. Immediately he had my full attention.

Kidd went on to talk about his experience designing book jackets, using humor to make an important point about the nature of his work as an interpreter and translator of stories. My favorite of his analogies—book covers as haiku poems, containing few words and images to create interest and impressions that provide insight into bigger discoveries.

In business, many organizations succeed in telling their stories, but others fail because the message on the surface or “cover” is not clear. Often they try to put everything on the cover, use too few words, or confuse the message on the cover to the contents of the story.

So, what’s your story and how do you create the right “cover” message?

In my experience, data and information gathering is much like reading a book. It tells the full story about the product, service or organization for which you are trying to formulate a message. As Kidd describes in his Talk, you cannot design a cover before reading the text. Conduct a thorough analysis of your target audience, key features or benefits, and other information before you start designing the “cover.”

Next, interpret the story by translating the results of the analysis into meaningful knowledge. This requires discerning what’s important and relevant to your target customers. By “reading the story,” you can uncover patterns and key themes to put on the cover.

Finally, choose images and/or words that portray the essence of the story and speak to your target audience. You wouldn’t use a funny drawing to illustrate the cover of an economics textbook, nor would you use a complex chart on the cover of a children’s book.  Consider your audience and essence of the story, and design the message to match both.

Designing the right “cover” pertains to every touch point and communication with your customers. Treat every impression as an opportunity to tell your story, and always look for ways to be a better interpreter and translator.

©OrangeBoy, Inc. 2012