It’s About What it MEANS.
January 25, 2009

superstock_261-218Finding statistics to add to your presentation is always good. Statistics are credible and sound smart. They are also boring and for the most part meaningless. Obviously, statistics mean something, but not for the majority of people who look at them. Given time to sit down with numbers and a chart we could certainly extract the significance of the data. But in a presentation there isn’t the time and your point usually is not the data alone but the meaning of the data.

You are responsible for the meaning, for seeing through all the charts and numbers and presenting to the audince what it means to them. There are all sorts of techniques for this. However, the technique is there to help deliver your meaning. Techniques are not a substitute for your own work of making statistics meaningful.

Nothing is more concrete that seeing someone put this into practice. BMW is introducing two new diesel powered cars to North America. While diesel fuel has come along way in the past 25 years it has only gained traction in Europe with the help of tax incentives. In North America though the image of dirty, noisy, smelly diesel trucks are emblazoned into our brains. So BMW has a teaching job in front of them. You can imagine the marketing department sitting down with all this data about diesel vs. gasoline and trying to figure out what to do with it.

Message: diesel is more efficient and better for the environment than gasoline. True or not, that is their message. Fortunately, their new spots are an excellent example of extracting meaning from statistics/science.

BMW Commerical #1 (Scales)

BMW Commerical #2 (Flick)

BMW Commerical #3 (Baloons)