Getting your message across

The Bermuda Democratic Alliance released their economic platform today and while they get points for effort do they seem to miss the mark in a number of areas?  Unfortunately their actual platform document (aside from the link on their website not supporting Chrome) doesn’t contain the solutions they outline in their press conference speech.  The formatting and design of the document is quite appealing and gets off to a good start but unfortunately some of the graphics are not very clear.

Let’s take the following page as an example.


The concept is a good one, show our debt and show how our government is overspending.  Unfortunately the execution of it is less obvious.  There is only a subtle difference in the size of the expenses arrow vs. the income arrow.  Are they also trying to imply that expenses are rising and income is falling?  It’s not obvious.  This understates the severity of the situation. 

Subsequently the stick figures with $25k listed next to them looks more like they’re cheering as having received $25k rather than what the fine print outlines that we’re all about $25k in debt. 

A clearer illustration of our debt, expenses and income would have helped alongside a picture clearly depicting the severity of the burden we face.  Ie, a google search for “clipart person carrying burden” reveals this image which can be purchased in multiple sizes for less than $5.

man carrying the load  Would it have been more illustrative to have put a big dollarsign on the box with an arrow to it outlining the $25k of debt per person with the hill being climbed labeled as “Government overspend”. 

That’s just one example of many possibilities.  When trying to get a message across to people it’s important to note that you only have a matter of seconds to capture their attention.  Subsequently most people don’t have the background to know what you’re trying to say.  To many people $850 million is a meaningless number.  It’s big, but many don’t truly appreciate how big. 

It’s important to put things into a context that people can readily appreciate.  Let’s say government in 12 years in power has accumulated $850 million in debt (not entirely sure what the actual number is).  Equate that to affordable homes at $500k apiece by taking a clipart picture of a home like the one below and put $500k in place of the “For sale”.

Real Estate Clip Art House 1 Royalty Free Stock PhotographyThen show what $850 million worth of affordable homes looks like by drawing out 1700 of them below the larger home image.  Suggest this is how many affordable homes we could have bought with what we’ve already spent in debt and ask how many affordable homes we’ve actually gotten?

There’s value in simplifying a message so that it can be consumed as fast and as easily as possible.    It means people will get it.  Unfortunately if you don’t, there will be a lot of people left scratching their heads wondering what you were trying to say.

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6 thoughts on “Getting your message across

  1. very well illustrated…’s a pity the BDA don’t have someone of your talent in their PR/marketing dept

  2. $850 million in dept and $500, 000 homes are apples and oranges. The debt and affordable housing are two seperate issues. They can be related but your just slinging mud once again at the BDA

  3. Clearly you’re right rummy. Why should I ever question BDA’s approach? Instead I should drop everything, say only good things and become a card carrying yes man.

  4. I’m not right Denis. Those are my opinions and may vary and differ from yours.
    You don’t have to “drop everything”. I imagine you feel the frustration as well as others but your background in numbers is clouding it.
    As for “card carrying” that means nothing to me. Maybe too you. I carried the UBP card and the PLP card but I was never a “yes man”. And to this date I still have back stabbing via the net by many in high UBP positions who work and do research for Government under the PLP umbrella. As for the PLP, Jennifer and I socialised quite often and screamed and bitched at each other. She never treated me as most think she did. We were friends and I always thought that she did have the best interest of the community and island in her works but I know of certain things and never brought them up. We all change and I must say from research she…………
    Now where was I.
    Oh yeah….. Why not comment on a card carrying UBP or a card carrying PLP. Why not.
    You have a good voice but I can tell it is not being heard and that is the substance of your reply.
    Have a great day and thanks again for the priviliage of using your site.

  5. Rummy,
    My frustration is not getting constructive feedback.
    I thrive on feedback because I want to improve. However often times you douse your feedback in riddles to which only you know the meaning and thus I have no clue what you’re saying.
    Feel welcome to criticize me, hell, I want more criticism and feel I don’t get enough. However, make it in means that I can understand and appreciate the point your making along with a suggestion for how I can improve.
    Accusing me of slinging mud without any examples isn’t very illustrative. Tear my writing apart like I do to others. If I make a personal attack, call me on it with an example. Same with grammar errors, call me on it. If you think my logic is flawed, point it out and suggest how it should be revised. I welcome it.
    However, if I can’t interpret what you’re trying to explain to me with regards to the faults with my piece then it’s frustrating. I want to improve, I want feedback and I want criticism but if I can’t figure out the feedback you’re giving then I largely question whether I’m wasting my time.

  6. Your basically frustrated as you have just said.
    “I want to improve”.
    No need. You already do a good job but the “frustraion” part takes over because youy think you have to prove your knowledge and feelings.
    Your wrong and that is why the local blogs and forums are filled with the same 9 people who know everything about everything yet they hide in a closet with their friends and actually believe that they have the power.
    Bullshit. Thats why their investments et al are not where some may expect.
    Don’t worry about spelling mistakes. I make them all the time. Does that mean something to others? Are you challenged when you stand before a group and say ” FOR SAIL”….?
    Read what I wrote before accusing me of of things.
    As for wasting your time I think your not and many of your posts are spot on but we “MUST” if possible, sort the wheat from the chaff or else we get what we have today.
    That last comment is not a riddle or whatever. It’s a fact.
    Opinions are like the Tourism Ministers Budget and his new Airline comming next month “EwartMoscow” if he can cut a deal with ‘Starlin Air’.
    Gotta run….pick up the letters of the floor from my spall chack ting. So much four goin two Vitney Hinstatute.

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