The ability to tell a compelling story was and always remains a talent capable of influencing people. Stories are remembered, appeal to our emotions, and inspire us to act. The ability to come up with and competently present a fascinating story based on data for organizations, potential customers, partners, and colleagues is a vital skill worth learning.
Even though a stereotype about the contradiction of the work of the right and left hemispheres has been embedded in our minds since childhood, data and storytelling get along well together and help marketing specialists reach unprecedented heights. According to McKinsey’s research, those who leverage data and storytelling together can increase revenue at twice the rate of those who separate the numbers and ideas.
Previously, brands needed the help of talented creatives to build such stories, but with the increase of information and data, it has become much easier to create. Understanding how the data and storytelling can round each other out is the initial step in building more meaningful and impactful stories for your business.
To tell a meaningful analytical story, you need an idea. Once you have it, you need to consider the characteristics of the audience and the tasks you set for yourself. Why should they be interested in the results you have obtained? What motivates them? And most importantly, what further actions do you recommend them to take?
After carefully studying the audience and goals, it is necessary to explore the available data to make your story exciting and convincing. And even considering that your main task is to influence the audience, try to be as objective as possible in your analysis.
Storytelling based on data is multiple processes of analyzing data from different points of view, experimenting, studying conclusions, and testing alternative theories. Analytical stories visually demonstrate measurement, proportions, comparisons, trends, and connections, providing the reader with the context in a narrative format.
Today, the content is generated based on the actual needs and requests of the audience. You may have a fantastic idea, but before moving forward with execution, it is still necessary to look at the data available for your topic and related to your target audience.
Implement a social listening strategy to find out what people say about your brand, catch the topics of interest, and forecast trends within your followers. Vista Social’s listening tools will help to build a deeper understanding of your audience and stay a step ahead.
Companies are already generating a considerable amount of data that, if used correctly, can tell an impressive and, most importantly, unique story.
What data can your company use to create stories that will meet all the logical requirements of successful storytelling?
Note that accurate data may be interesting to readers, but it often requires a higher degree of attention from them. Interesting stories leave a stronger impression than dry statistics, and therefore we remember them more easily. The basic principle of data-driven storytelling is what exactly you, as a storyteller, interpret for your audience. Make your message simple, focus on the essential things in the story, and most importantly, emphasize the human aspect.
Here are a few ways to tell a data-driven story:
Storytelling is the basis of Airbnb marketing. Marketing messages pay special attention to the community and the traditions of local hospitality. In addition, Airbnb is famous for the creative use of user data — the service turns them into stories.
For example, once they provided the number of travelers who spent New Year’s Eve in rented housing with the help of the service worldwide. Moreover, they mentioned the most popular city on New Year’s Eve.
Airbnb’s stories constantly resonate with their audience, bringing into their lives what is important to them — new experiences.
Spotify constantly collects data on which songs, playlists, and artists are chosen by their users. This information is combined with data on the location and demography of listeners. This is how the original content for the Spotify Insights blog turns out.
A few years ago, Spotify presented a study on how and what kind of music American college and university students listen to. The study was presented in the form of an interactive landing page. Original stories based on unique data, to which no one else has access, help stand out from competitors.
The US-based online real estate market Zillow has data on millions of homes. This information includes the cost and footage and, for example, aerial photographs.
Once, on the eve of Halloween, Zillow compiled a rating of the 20 best cities for trick or treating – a traditional holiday fun. The rating was based on data on house prices, their proximity to each other, and the crime rate over the past ten years. The rating was accompanied by an infographic.
The company decided to build a story around hugs. Huggies tried to deliver the main idea that a child should not be left without hugs. The company used data from more than 600 studies that proved that hugs “strengthen the immune system of children, prevent diseases, and improve brain development.” No need to say that the level of customer engagement was three times higher than the industry average.
The undisputed master of data-driven storytelling is, of course, Google. The search engine registers billions of search queries daily. This data is used to create a story based on which Google makes its advertising campaign that resonates with the audience personally. At the same time, the viewers have the feeling that they are a part of a big event.
As we stand poised to enter 2022, no one responds to the calls “Buy! Buy it!” but people still believe in sincere stories. Consequently, they can be a more effective sales tool than aggressive marketing with a direct purchase message. Data-driven storytelling is an effective tool that can turn your clients into active followers or even brand advocates. However, to achieve this, it is necessary to use knowledge of classical psychology and such a modern approach as working with data.
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