A couple weeks ago, I posted the following visual (prompted by a question that came up at a recent workshop), along with the challenge to come up with a better way to show this data.
Big thanks to everyone who spent time with this data and shared what they came up with (see full original post, plus comments linking to reader solutions here).
I found myself with some unexpected free time this afternoon (that hasn't been happening so much lately!) and spent a bit of it playing around with this data. There were a couple challenges I was looking to address in my solution:
- First, the inclusion of Unaided Awareness. I can understand why it's important, but it doesn't seem to quite fit with the other categories, as many of the reader comments pointed out. Rather than complicate my visual with it, I omitted it entirely. Perhaps it belongs on another page of the deck that walks through this data?
- The other challenge from my perspective is that the remaining categories are each a sort of subset of the prior category: those who prefer a given brand are a sub-portion of those who would consider the brand, which is a sub-portion of those who are aware of the brand. I think this means that it doesn't make sense to stack the bars, or to compare only a single category at a time across the different brands as some of the user makeovers suggested.
For me, the goal here is to get a quick visual understanding of how the three categories for OUR COMPANY compare to various competitors, as well as how the three categories compare to each other. The goal is for our bars to be big to the right. There are many competitors with bigger bars than ours. But the ratio of Consider to Aware is actually pretty good for us (better than many competitors). Here is how I chose to visualize this data:
It isn't particularly creative. But perhaps it doesn't need to be. In the original visual, the two main things I wanted to change were 1) the idea that you should compare only downward - the layout of the original charts left me wanting to compare competitor A to E to H (first column), whereas really I should be comparing OUR COMPANY to each of the various competitors (not only those within the same column); and 2) center aligning the bars as is done in the original makes the relative values hard to compare, so I wanted to align each element to a single baseline to allow for easier comparison both within a specific brand as well as across the brands.
To those who read this blog regularly, my choice of a horizontal bar chart here probably isn't a surprise. I use them a lot. I use them a lot because I think they are easy to read. Note that this example isn't totally complete - there's still a story to be woven around this data to make it relevant to our audience. Given that I've anonymized the example so much here, I decided to focus just on the data viz in this case.
I think this works here. What do you think?
In case you're interested, the Excel file for the above visual can be downloaded here.