How data and storytelling work together

How data and storytelling work togetherWalk down any street in the UK, and we can see the intelligent use of big data by consumers. It might be following a map, price checking a product or ‘googling’ the answer to a question from their everyday conversation.
Consumers know there is an excess of information available to them to answer their needs, but do not feel the need to collect and scrutinise reams of data; they are getting to the point quickly, simply and speedily. They start with the end goal in mind.
This is the mindset that we need to employ when looking at big data analysis; a single minded approach to extracting the useful and actionable insights from the terabytes of data available.
Before committing to any big data analysis, however, organisations should ask themselves are they clear on what goals they are trying to reach? And in order to answer that they need a clear customer and business strategy. Why? Well it’s clarity of purpose that informs the questions to ask in order for any analysis, and especially big data analysis, to be effective.
Without that, however sophisticated the analytical dashboard or however fast the analysis can be produced, there is a danger of a plethora of charts and bar graphs, with chief executives and marketing directors taking comfort in the latest dashboard they have been handed. But in reality, very little real and actionable insight for a business to enact.
Brands can become bogged-down in the visualisation of data analysis, when the key aim of the exercise is to extract the information that identifies and informs the activities that will really make a difference to the overall success of the business. And, at the heart of this success, will be using big data to deliver a benefit, not just to the business, but importantly also to the customer.
The companies which will win when it comes to big data analysis have a clear strategy in place and the right people to identify the questions to be asked, to extract the best insights. Big data analysis is not just a way of understanding your numbers, but a way of telling your brand story and placing customers at the heart of that. It’s a successful formula that Amazon and Google have been building on for years.
Brand storytelling is essentially communicating. It’s something we do every day, whether we are conscious of it or not. From an email, to a body posture, we are constantly communicating to those around us and every moment is an opportunity to tell our story.
Using big data analysis to tell your brand’s story is something that any brand can do, so long as they have a little creative spark and some sound knowledge of how to interpret the results. By looking at how your consumers think, feel and interact with your brand, you can tap into something and forge an emotive connection that will carry your brand to the front of mind in the consideration process, making your brand memorable for all the right reasons.
Insights gleaned from effective big data analysis, guided by clear customer and business strategy, and combined with the practice of storytelling, is a powerful way for any brand to make its data work harder and smarter; delivering creative marketing to consumers that will build desire and respect for your brand.

Liz Barnsdale is managing director of AIS London

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