I recently attended the Marketing Week Data Storytelling Awards and to be honest there seemed to be a consensus that telling a story with your data is difficult to pull off. The right skills are not abundant in our industry, so there is a great demand on the type of people who can translate insight into business benefit.
Data analysis and interpretation sitting next to creativity and business acumen was deemed to be a unicorn; something that simply does not exist. But surely we can learn, practice and change the way that we approach our communications strategies?
It’s just a question of starting to understand our own capabilities and what we are good at, develop new skills and adapt. It is not too late, we don’t always need to recruit one person to do everything; we can identify skills and nurture existing talent in our teams.
Remember ten years ago, there were no such things as social media managers or CRM managers. What were they doing before that and how did those roles come about?
Change is inevitable and we should embrace it to stay ahead of the curve, adding value for our customers. Organisations have shifting strategic demands and it is vital that you can adapt to the “new” strategy, update your skills and embrace the technologies that can help you achieve your goals.
So this year when thinking about your plans for 2016, try something different. Try to paint a picture with your plan and embrace the diversity of analysis, creativity, technology and business.
The art of storytelling, whether customer profile, insight or your brand, is something everyone can connect to, be that your respective teams, the board or your customers. When planning to communicate to the rest of the business what you want to do, why not take a different approach – get creative and start to tell the story of your 2016 plan from your customers’ perspective.
Here are a few storytelling tips to get you started:
“As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster” … choose a good opening and make sure that you are clear about your narrative to set the scene for your strategy.
“You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? Then who the hell else are you talking to…..you talkin’ to me? Well I’m the only one here” … challenge what you think you know about your brand and your customers.
“Wilson!”… if Tom Hanks can bring a volleyball character to life so viewers are emotionally connected, then you can too with your customer data.
“The first rule of fight club”…make sure you have some key phrases that stand out and are consistent through your story that reinforce your messaging.
“Did Obi Wan tell you about your father? He told me you killed him. No I am your father”…add some surprises that keep your customers excited.
“The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works”…it’s all about ROI, but balance this with customer experience and long-term brand building.
“If you build it, he will come”….be clear on what experience your technology is going to give your customer and what improvement this will deliver to you as an organisation.
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it”…build some urgency around the importance of the delivery of your plan.
“Every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings”…end on the positive outcomes that your plan will deliver
An approach similar to the above should hopefully lead to a Hollywood ending, rather than a boardroom horror show, where no one is happy.
Guy Milsom is business development manager at Occam – a St Ives Group company