Data-led storytelling: A strategy you can count on when building brand awareness and credibility

When you want to tell a powerful story that truly resonates with your target audience, numbers can speak louder than words.

In an increasingly data-driven world, an ever-growing number of brands are using figures to craft compelling narratives that drive awareness and build credibility, across avenues ranging from unique media stories to tailored social media campaigns.

Most businesses have the ability to utilise data to tell their story. Many are sitting on a wealth of data, which comes from sources such as customer surveys, dashboards, CRMs, transactional behaviour and online tracking.

The challenge is to take this data and turn it into a story that is easy to understand, engaging and in line with your business objectives, whether that’s supporting a capital raise or amping up your business development efforts.

Here are some important points to consider when creating and telling a story with data.

Know your audience

Before you start telling any story, it’s imperative you identify your target audience. Keep in mind that some stories will be relevant to all stakeholders, while others may be more nuanced with a specific focus, such as new customer acquisition.

Who is it you need to speak to? Perhaps it’s a certain demographic you haven’t previously focused on where there’s an opportunity to increase sales, or key decision makers in an industry or sector where you want to increase your brand awareness.

Your target audience is the group of people you want to be receptive to the data-driven story you are building. Think about what story is going to resonate with them and the data you need to build out this narrative.

Define your goal

Do you need to capture the attention of consumers? Do you want greater engagement on social media? Do you want to drive societal change? Are you seeking to become a thought leader in your industry through a sustained media campaign? Or, are you simply looking to solve a business challenge in the pursuit of greater revenue?

Prior to deep diving into your data, you should determine what you hope to achieve from using numbers to tell a story. To ensure you get return on your efforts, it’s imperative your goal aligns with your marketing strategy and overall business objective.

Don’t forget to look at the story your data is telling you. While your business objective may be to build up a teen market, the data may show you that more than half your customers are aged in their 30s, which means you would need to revisit your objective.

Pinpoint the right data

Firstly, you need to ensure your business is set up to seek, collect and analyse the data you need.

This means tracking the behaviour and/or sentiments of your clientele through platforms such as CRMs and Google analytics.

Once you have your audience and goal in mind, dive into your data. Find the numbers to create a story that is relevant to your audience and helps achieve your objectives.

Don’t worry if you are struggling to pinpoint the numbers that matter. If you suspect there is a trend or a story there, you can always do your own research. You can do this by creating a customer survey with questions tailored to generate the data you are after, or even a sentiment index that takes the pulse of your industry by bringing into focus the most pressing current challenges from as many stakeholders as possible.

Analyse and translate

Data can be complex. To tell your story effectively, you need to be able to explain what it’s saying in a manner that is compelling and easily understood.

First, crunch the numbers broadly to see what behaviours, trends or insights your data uncovers.

Then, pull out the key figures and contextualise them by framing a clear storyline that shows your audience what the data means and why it’s important and relevant to them. Your storyline needs to be persuasive, yet relatively simple for people to follow.  

Bring your data to life

So, you’ve identified your data and shaped your narrative – now it’s time to communicate it.

Consider what channels are best to deploy your data-led story. This includes, but is by no means limited to, social media platforms, blog posts, reports, EDMs, advertising and traditional media.

When telling your story, it’s not just the where but also the how that’s important. Visual representations of key figures, such as graphs and colourful graphics, will bring your data to life by making the key figures easier to comprehend. After all, nobody wants to sit there deciphering tables full of numbers!

Amplify your data

When it comes to data-led storytelling, the old saying a cat has nine lives is something you should also keep in mind. In other words, your data can be used time and time again to drive home the messaging you want to communicate. For example, a dataset can be used to create a branded report, which you can use to generate media coverage. This same data set can also be used to write multiple blogs for your website, to feed into thought leadership opportunities across your industry or even to drive a sustained social media campaign focused on customer and consumer awareness.

Not sure how to leverage data to drive awareness and credibility for your brand? Our team are masters at creating compelling data-led stories. Get in touch with us today to discover how we can help.

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