According to a recent Forbes Insight survey, 97% of executives believe analytics is necessary for a company’s success, but only 11% of organizations actually use analytics to market to consumers. Data-based brand storytelling is a powerful (but underutilized) method of marketing because 70% of consumers say they prefer to learn about a company through content.
To learn more, check out the infographic below, created by Ohio University’s Online Master of Business Analytics program.
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<p style="clear:both;margin-bottom:20px;"><a href="https://onlinemasters.ohio.edu/blog/storytelling-with-data/" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/utep-uploads/wp-content/uploads/sparkle-box/2021/02/05110201/OU-MBAn-2020-Q4-Infographic-How-Companies-Used-Data-to-Tell-the-Story-of-Their-Brand-v2-01.png" alt="How six companies used data to tell their brand stories." style="max-width:100%;" /></a></p><p style="clear:both;margin-bottom:20px;"><a href="https://onlinemasters.ohio.edu" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">Ohio University </a></p>
Telling Stories with Data
Data storytelling is the practice of combining data visualization with a brand-specific narrative that resonates with customers to market a brand or product. It uses graphics to display data and make it easier to understand. By creating data visualizations and narratives to tell a brand’s story, companies create connections with their customers.
Benefits of Using Data Storytelling in Marketing
Data storytelling gives meaning and value to a company’s products and/or services because it makes the company’s message stick. The versatile marketing engages an audience more than plain data would. By communicating with its customers, a company can craft a positive image of itself and gain credibility.
How to Market a Company Using Data Storytelling
Deciding how to market a company with data storytelling entails a few key steps. A company should choose the right subject to focus on and emphasize with its storytelling. Once it has chosen a subject, the company should make sure its data is credible. To engage the audience, the company should craft an interesting and enlightening narrative, incorporating well-designed data visualizations.
6 Examples of Great Data Storytelling
Here are six brands that have successfully utilized data storytelling to create engaging, memorable, and lucrative marketing campaigns.
For the past decade, Google’s annual Year in Search campaign has used search data to create a 1.5- to 3-minute video showcasing the year’s most popular search terms. The short length makes it easier for the audience to digest. Google features the most popular searches and who is searching them, making sure to highlight heartwarming news stories. This approach creates a positive association with the brand and links the positive events with using Google. The data analyzed for this campaign is visualized in a way that connects with the audience.
2. Johns Hopkins University
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Johns Hopkins University has gathered the most current data to create a real-time dashboard that displays easily digestible information. The online dashboard features animated videos, interactive maps, and widgets that are constantly updated. This website demonstrates Johns Hopkins’ dedication to health care and social responsibility. It also shows how technology and innovation are being used to improve health care and combat the virus. Serving as a destination for current information, the esteemed institution draws attention to itself and engages a wider audience.
3. National Geographic
In 2019, National Geographic created The Atlas of Moons, an interactive online guide that uses data visualization to enable both subscribers and non-subscribers to move through space. This online guide provides a new access point to the print magazine, using data to create a connection between readers and science. It implements data visualizations that require interaction, encouraging users to spend more time on the National Geographic website and allowing users to easily subscribe to the magazine.
Refinery 29 focused on body shaming and the accurate representation of women in its 2018 campaign The 67% Collection. Celebrating women while the #MeToo movement was gaining mainstream attention provided both the campaign and the movement with positive publicity. Refinery 29 partnered with Getty Images, a well-known company, to expand its reach and hired models who accurately resembled the average American woman to show the company’s commitment to maintaining its values.
Spotify gathers user data to create an annual “Wrapped” slideshow of users’ listening history, including their favorite genres, songs, and artists. The campaign uses this slideshow to tell stories about customers that also tells a story about the brand. To generate anticipation, Spotify advertises its Wrapped campaign publicly. The combination of data visualization and brand storytelling allows the company to show off its success and engage its audience. Spotify also uses data to select advertisements for its users and personalize the user experience. It creates ads based on more general data to foster connections between users.
In 2016, Whirlpool launched its Care Counts campaign to put washers and dryers into public schools after the company found out that 4,000 students were dropping out of school each year because they didn’t have clean clothing. They used that data to tell a story about the brand’s values, highlighting the company’s philanthropic efforts. This campaign demonstrated its commitment to doing good. Installing washers and dryers in schools led to higher graduation rates, proving that Whirlpool’s efforts did well. Whirlpool used data that showed its products contributed to a better world to create a video about the power of clean clothing. By linking good acts with clean clothing, it bathed itself and its products in a favorable light.
Data storytelling is an effective marketing technique because it humanizes a brand by combining a customer-focused narrative with an engaging visual. By merging data and human connection, a company can create an enlightening, memorable, and engaging image of itself.
AList, “On Brand: Spotify’s Danielle Lee Discusses Data Storytelling”
Column Five Media, “Why Data Visualization + Data Storytelling Is Marketing Gold”
Content Marketing Institute, “Data-Driven Brand Storytelling: 6 Steps to a Credible Story”
Creative Insights, Refinery29: No Apologies
Forbes, “How Data Helps Brands Tell Stories and Connect with Customers”
Global Web Index, “10 Examples of Brand Storytelling (with Data) That Hit the Mark”
Johns Hopkins, Coronavirus Dashboard
National Geographic, The Atlas of Moons
Rock Content, “Data Storytelling: What It Is and How to Use It”
Vertical-Leap, “What Is Data Storytelling? Plus 5 Great Examples”
Visme, “The 25 Best Data Visualizations of 2020”
Whirlpool, Care Counts