Best Use of Visuals

MasterCard shows it’s mastered memorable, informative visual elements on its intranet

 MasterCard used powerful new visual practices on its intranet: thumbnail photos for almost every paragraph in its executive blogs, and infographics that make “boring” stories readable.

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MasterCard has been experimenting in employee communications for at least the last half-decade, trying to make unpromising story material interesting and readable through photos, infographics, and a hybrid form that combines graphics and text in an infographic-like style. The approach succeeded so well in these departures from intranet routine that it’s won MasterCard the “Best Use of Visuals” category in Ragan’s 2015 Intranet Awards. 

Let’s look at these departures one by one:

  • Photos: MC’s decision to commit to a 50-50 balance between visuals and text is nowhere better illustrated than in a blog by an MC exec who attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Almost every paragraph is accompanied by an uncaptioned thumbnail photo of famous and not-so-famous conference attendees talking at parties or outside in front of the Alps. The lack of captions doesn’t frustrate or irritate the reader; on the contrary, it draws him or her into the blog text.
  • Infographics: We’ve all yawned our way through articles like “Four big sales wins for Wee Widgets in last six months.” How do you deal with the boredom inherent in such stories? Make infographics like the ones MasterCard has designed. One example is titled “Loyalty Solutions AP 1st Anniversary: 12 Great Things We Achieved in the Last 12 Months.” Every element in this infographic is interesting and memorable. A map of Australasia anchors the infographic and supplies proof that MC is an important global innovator.
  • Text-Infographic Hybrid: Here’s how to make a humdrum “How to set up the mobile browser app of our intranet on your smartphone” story pleasant, fast, and profitable to read: Combine arresting, bold graphic elements with text cut to the bone in a box. This hybrid form increased readership of the text article, “MC Central Is Mobile,” and the subsequent downloads of the AIRWATCH browser. “MC Central Is Mobile” got 2,200 page views, 144 percent more than the 900 average page views for news articles.

Congratulations are in order for MasterCard staffers Elyse Cuttler, Susan Warner, Mary Lester, Valerie Gross-Manca, Ryan Erenhouse, and Arsalan Danish! 



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