At Pirelli, innovation has always meant not only adopting new technologies and designing new tyres, but also communicating in all new ways, telling stories that inform others of the many facets of the company and of the group. This is why Pirelli decided to tell these stories with the help of infographics, using images not only in the motorsports that are a distinctive feature of our world, but also in our financial reporting. While it takes specialist financial skills to prepare the financial statements, it also takes skill to know how to communicate this data in a simple, effective manner. And nothing is simpler or more effective than an image.
But why the infographic specifically? Nowadays, visual communication is the new frontier of communication, and using shapes and colours to convey information regarding complex issues and processes is the best way to capture the attention of readers who have limited time available and who—naturally enough—can grasp visual content more easily than the written word.
With the help of images, even a reader without specific expertise on a given topic can understand better and more quickly the meaning of difficult concepts such as financial data. This is because our brains can more easily process visual content than the written word. In addition, encapsulating a mass of information and transforming that data into a simpler, more visual tool facilitates communication and enables the reader to make better use of that content. On social networks, too, images attract more attention than text, so it is more likely that someone will share an infographic of the quarterly results of a corporation than a text explaining those same numbers. It’s no coincidence that, two years ago, the SEC approved the use of Facebook and Twitter for company disclosures, saying, “We appreciate the value and prevalence of social media channels in contemporary market communications, and the commission supports companies seeking new ways to communicate.”
For many years now, infographics have been used by companies both in Italy and abroad to market new products or complex services, to communicate about company processes, to make it easier to understand the environmental impact of those processes, or to visualise online data.
Although the use of infographics to explain financial data is somewhat new, Pirelli has been using them for years to share information about Formula 1® racing. And sharing is the operative word given that this vehicle has seen a great deal of success in social media, with a vast number of users sharing Pirelli infographics online at the end of each race. In 2015, the number of impressions on the Pirelli Motorsports Twitter account increased by 250% over 2014, and this was largely due to the use of infographics as well as to the very nature of Formula 1®. In a world in which it is essential to have constant control over the current situation, infographics become an invaluable tool for the end user as well as for journalists and for the teams’ press offices, in that they can easily compare data, view performance numbers, and compare and contrast the race times and driver performance.
With the help of data visualisation—a new discipline that helps find the best way to display data for the end user—infographics that were once just “static”, and so suited to publication on paper, are rapidly evolving into forms of interactive communication more suited to the web and to mobile devices.
These infographics that Pirelli has been providing have paved the way for more innovation to come, and both traditional and digital media outlets are showing their appreciation for this clear, transparent approach.