Although not a new concept, storytelling is quickly becoming one of the most effective ways to engage consumers.

  • Storytelling with data can combine two opposing worlds: the creative and the formulaic.
  • This method effectively combines emotive communication with raw consumer data.
  • Marketers are now looking further into the insights of their consumers to shape their storytelling into a more personalised experience, with the hope that it will resonate more with their demographic.

72% of marketers consider data analysis to be the most important skill for their organisation to acquire over the next two years.”

What is data storytelling?

Data storytelling can shape a unique brand experience and help create an impactful marketing campaign, as it presents an opportunity for brands to captivate their audience in a more focused way. This form of storytelling is about creating connections, with data as its guide.

The data that marketers are now gathering goes beyond simply grouping demographics by age, wage, or gender. They are researching further into interests, attitudes, motivations, and perceptions. Companies that adopt this method of storytelling will bring their brand experience to life for target audiences.

According to Amazon, their recommendation algorithm saw a 29% increase in sales, as this utilises a more personalised marketing approach. The benefit of using a more unique approach per consumer through data storytelling does not just improve trust towards a brand, but can also increase sales.

“[Consumers] want to grasp your values and your commitment to excellence; be inspired and intrigued. Storytelling is the most powerful way to convey these ideas.” Mark Truby, CCO, Ford.

Why is it so effective?

Storytelling allows brands to stand out:

Not only are consumers overwhelmed by the amount of content published every day, but companies are also faced with high volumes of content from their competition, brands are in a constant battle for attention and recognition from their audiences. Additionally, a lot of this content is either recycled or even copied, so how can brands hope to connect with target audiences through all of this?

For example, WordPress (blog site) alone has 70 million new posts each month. When this is coupled with the number of devices and platforms at a consumers disposal, it comes as no surprise that brands are struggling to stand out amongst this never-ending stream of content.

As a result, consumers are less interested in content that is not relevant to them, instead, they are searching for more original content. Consumers can read any amount of information given the time, but they will only connect to, and feel stories.

Of course, attempting to always create unique content is a great challenge for brands, but this is where data storytelling comes in, it can engage audiences on a more personal level, for a longer period of time.

Stories are humanising:

Storytelling is now at the heart of modern marketing. In a survey carried out by Global Web Index, they found that a third of internet users worldwide would promote a brand they love. This identifies a clear connection between humans and emotive advertising, which is often triggered by authentic storytelling.

Storytelling is, and always has been, part of the human experience, it is the way children learn and the way adults learn to rationalise. Across the evolution of advertising, there is a noticeable move away from explanatory messaging and in its place, a development of data shaped stories that connect on an emotional level with consumers.

The Lloyds television advert aired in the 1980s (clip below), plainly states the practical benefits of becoming a Lloyds customer - “making it easier to get at your money.” A previous article, with data collected by the CLICKON Social Labs, ‘Are Customers More Than The Product They Buy?’, states that doing this alone is not enough, every customer will have an emotional factor that contributes to their purchasing decision.

A more recent advert by Lloyds, released in 2018, is more obviously driven by emotion through the use of music and beautiful scenery, with the intent of provoking emotions of familiarity and security. This advert tells a story of familial relationships and friendships, that create a sense of security for viewers, encouraging long-term brand connections between the company and consumer. An effective final touch is the altered last line, “Lloyds bank, by your side”. So, unlike the 1980s advert, they are offering consumers the opportunity for a more emotional connection.

Marketers have the opportunity to take their storytelling to the next level, through the vast amount of data they can access. With a deeper understanding of their target audience and their interests, motivations, and behaviour, they can form conversations that will resonate to them on a more personal level.

In a market where consumers are exposed to more content than they can handle, and with increasingly high expectations for that content, personalised advertising through the use of data is something brands should capitalise on in order to stand out from the masses.

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