Wikipedia characterizes the “Millennial” generation as including individuals born between the early 1980s, continuing until the early 2000s. Millennials are a population of young men and women raised alongside the internet, developing and maturing with the technology. Millennials are digitally-native, narcissistic, and anxiety-ridden.
I should know; I am one.
I was born in 1994, and cannot remember a time when there was not a computer in my household. On September 11th 2001, I was only in the second grade. I remember my mom purchasing her first cell phone. I remember making my first MySpace page (without parental permission) in 2006. I can learn the ins and outs of any social media site in minutes. I’ve been taking selfies for years. I know very little about financial data.
Infographics and Financial Data
Much of the financial data I encounter is confusing, dense, and maddeningly boring. (We millennials are noted for our shortened attention spans, after all.) When it comes to understanding information dealing with loans, investments, or credit, it helps to have the data visualized. Infographics are not only eye-catching and aesthetically pleasing, but they render information in a way which is understandable; perfect for those of us who were raised doing much of our learning using the internet.
Infographics can and should be utilized by asset managers, especially on social media. Clients of all ages can appreciate how infographics alleviate the task of understanding facts and figures. When scrolling down one’s Facebook or Twitter feed, for example, an individual is more likely to pay attention to and absorb information displayed on a colorful infographic with descriptive pictures as opposed to long paragraphs of data. Social media sites like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, after all, are platforms designed with the affordance of easily displaying and sharing pictures. Asset managers are encouraged to use these affordances to their advantage.
Social Media and Asset Managers
It is no secret that millennials are the kings and queens of social media. According to a 2013 study by Pew Research Center, 90% of internet users aged 18-29 use some form of social networking. Asset managers who do not have a social media presence, therefore, are ignoring a huge population of possible clientele. At the bare minimum, a firm should have one (or all) of the following: a LinkedIn Company Page, Twitter account(s), and possibly a Facebook company page. The more social media sites that are utilized by a firm, the more digital engagement you will be likely to receive. Marketing to a younger demographic is essential, as the millennial generation begins to enter the work force. As a millennial, I can assure you, social media is an integral part to how my generation consumes news, advertising, and how we provide (valuable) feedback to companies.
To elaborate: I stay up to date on current events through CNN’s mobile app, Facebook’s trending stories sidebar, or Vice News’ homepage. I communicate with peers about assignments through various messenger apps and sites. I am notified about what my favorite musicians and politicians are up to through their social media profiles. Much of my shopping and banking is done online.
It is crucial, therefore, that asset managers maintain an active and organized online presence (whether it be a web page, social media site, or both). Creating a Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter account for your firm is a great start. But, if you want to draw in clients from a specifically younger demographic, posting content (such as infographics) to your social media sties will be a great help. By doing this, you will have not only better informed clientele, but demonstrate that you value their feedback through active engagement. In addition, social media is free marketing! Maintaining a social media presence can help you acquire new, younger clients.
The rest of this post will provide examples of firms and financial companies who are using social media infographics to their advantage.
Schroders Investment Management tweets infographics on a regular basis that are crisp, thematic, and most importantly, instructive.
— Schroders US (@SchrodersUS) February 29, 2016
— Schroders US (@SchrodersUS) February 3, 2016
JP Morgan Chase & Co. should be praised for the variety of infographics they utilize. While there is not an abundance of infographics on their social media sites, the ones JP Morgan use are informative and display a range of stylistic elements including variations in color, images, and the amount of data displayed. In addition, they use these images to market their hashtags.
— J.P. Morgan (@jpmorgan) February 9, 2016
Wells Fargo Asset Management’s infographics are mostly graphs and charts. While these infographics are good at visualizing data, they still take time to analyze and understand. However, the graphs quickly convey general trends. Wells Fargo uses their graphs to “advertise” their posts which discuss the figures displayed.
— Wells Fargo AssetMgt (@WFAssetMgmt) March 1, 2016
Citi’s infographics lack a presence on Facebook, but have a pretty good selection on Twitter. As you can see, the infographics do not convey a lot of information, but have a simple, streamlined design. This, along with the short captions help to make the info clearly interpretable. These infographics lack artistic sophistication, yet succeed in transferring facts and figures.
— Citi (@Citi) February 2, 2016
— Citi (@Citi) January 27, 2016
Bank of America Merrill Lynch does not have an abundance of infographics on their Twitter – instead, they have many sophisticated and informative videos. However, every once in a while, they will post an infographic which excels in creativity. Unlike some of the other examples we’ve looked at, the design for their videos and infographics are more artistically driven (color-coding, symbolic visualizations).
— Merrill Lynch (@MerrillLynch) February 10, 2016
— Merrill Lynch (@MerrillLynch) January 7, 2016
State Street does not utilize graphics so much for the displaying of information, but instead pair short fact phrases with graphic design. By tweeting these images, they succeed in disrupting the monotony of their Twitter feed. However, State Street’s images are not quickly digestible. Some examples are provided below. State Street also displays infographics once in a while in the form of line graphs, which are more understandable.
— State Street (@StateStreet) December 7, 2015
T. Rowe Price is one of the more active producers of infographics on their Twitter (not so much on their Facebook). T. Rowe Price produces a simplistic infographic about once a week. Their infographics typically display one statistic, and are quick and easy to understand. A great marketing strategy they use is that their infographics prompt viewers to visit their website and read blog posts.
— T. Rowe Price (@TRowePrice) March 2, 2016
— T. Rowe Price (@TRowePrice) February 26, 2016
Close Brothers Asset Management feature great infographics not only on their Twitter page, but also on their LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great resource for asset managers who want to market their brand and network with clients, as well as share infographics like the ones below. LinkedIn also provides a more personal experience on a platform which encourages new connections.
— Close Brothers AM (@CloseBrothersAM) March 7, 2016
Tweet us your thoughts on these companies and their use of infographics. Which company do you think displays their data the most clearly? The most artistically? Are there any firms whose infographics are deserving of a shout-out that we missed? Let us know! Your feedback is important to us.