With the staggering amount of data in use today, it’s no wonder that business leaders are increasingly harnessing its power to develop meaningful insights and make informed decisions. According to a survey by Deloitte, organizations that make use of data for decision-making are twice as likely to exceed their business goals and outperform their competitors. One method to derive the most actionable insights: data storytelling.
Data storytelling is a powerful tool that allows you to present data to help your audience easily understand it. Many organizations still rely on intuition rather than on utilizing data for decision-making. To become a data-driven organization, it’s essential to understand what data storytelling is and how to use it to benefit your business.
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What Is Data Storytelling?
Data storytelling is a method of effectively communicating data insights with the help of narratives and data visualizations to provide key insights for businesses and inspire customer actions. It has the power to emotionally influence people, engage potential customers, and build loyalty.
Data storytelling helps businesses win their audience’s trust by connecting the facts backed by research with their real life. It can also help the audience bridge the gap between the complex data and what really matters to them when they find a highly relatable story.
The Components of Data Storytelling
A powerful medium for transmitting information across large groups of audiences and engaging them, data storytelling can trigger a mindset favorable to businesses. Data storytelling involves three elements: data, visualization, and narrative.
- Data is the foundation of storytelling; therefore, a thorough analysis of comprehensive, accurate, and up-to-date data is essential to developing a story. The use of innovative data analytics tools and algorithms helps businesses derive valuable statistics and insights.
- Visualization helps organizations present the extracted data in an easily understandable and attractive way. Visualization can engage the audience effectively and enables businesses to find the trends and patterns hidden in the datasets, and it helps them to make data-driven business decisions. The data insights can be visualized in different forms, including charts, diagrams, infographics, tables, and more.
- Narrative is a significant part of storytelling, and it supports visualization. The narrative part help organizations highlight the key elements in their data, like KPIs, metrics, etc. The storyteller uses simple language to narrate the story so that it’s easy to understand and accelerates the decision-making process.
How to Tell an Influential Data Story
Data storytelling allows organizations to communicate with internal and external audiences and inspire them to make good business decisions. Follow the below steps to tell a story with data:
- Identify story: The first step of telling an influential story is to uncover a story that can back up the evidence-based data insights. It can be related to identifying trends, correlations, comparisons, or data that surprises people.
- Know the target audience: Understanding the audience helps to create and share a story that’s relevant to them. It can also provide solutions to problems that they care about in real life.
- Build narrative: Once the storyteller has a clear understanding of the audience, it’s easy to build a narrative that makes them engage. When developing a narrative, try to include a suitable context, characters, a problem, and a solution.
- Use visual elements: Choose meaningful and powerful visual elements that support the narrative to make the audience clearly understand the story. Visualization will get the audience more engaged with the story.
Why Is Data Storytelling Important?
Data storytelling can be used for internal and external communication. When it comes to internal communication, organizations can use data storytelling based on the analysis of user data to encourage employees to improve products and services. If it’s used externally, data storytelling can inspire potential customers to buy products or services. Here are some key reasons data storytelling is crucial for organizations:
- Build trust: Building customers’ trust is not an easy task for organizations. This requires facts based on evidence that can also be presented in a way that is quickly understood. For example, Huggies, a global brand for baby diapers, used data storytelling through a campaign “No Baby Unhugged” and it brought a 30% increase in their sale.
- Engage audience: With data storytelling, people can relate the data insights to their real-life experiences. It helps them easily interpret the data insights and provides them with an unforgettable experience. Communicating through stories involves a human element, and it adds more value to the facts and figures. Huggies’ data storytelling campaign received a 300% higher engagement rate than the industry benchmarks, including more than two million likes, comments, re-tweets, and shares.
- Provide meaning and value: By incorporating data storytelling into the organization’s data strategy, companies can position themselves as trusted. Valuable content may also provide insights rather than knowledge that can influence decision-making and trigger customer actions. Assigning meaningful context to data provides clarity and connects the dots between the facts and figures. For example, Huggies’ campaign educated moms on the importance of skin-to-skin hugs for babies.
- Data versatility: Organizations can make use of various formats of data, including infographics, reports, articles, and more. Data can also be repurposed and reused, and they can create the story for every piece of content.
Become a Data-Driven Organization
Nurturing a data-driven culture is crucial for organizations to be competitive in the world economy. However, companies rarely invest in developing a data-driven culture due to the expense. Organizations must foster a culture that positions data at the center of their business strategy to become data-driven.
Here are some strategies to become a data-driven organization:
- Invest in data: Invest in collecting, processing, and analyzing data without worrying if it can pay off immediately. Collect data from all possible sources and organize them to extract insights that help in the decision-making process. Allow data analysts to assign a context to the facts and figures that may increase the value of data insights. Although investing in data may be a little expensive, it can provide long-term benefits for organizations.
- Data-driven decision-making: Companies can derive trends and patterns hidden in the datasets and use these data insights to guide business decisions that align with specific goals and objectives. Modern analytical tools like interactive dashboards help organizations follow data-driven business decisions.
- Data accessibility: Accurate data can be accessed from top management to the bottom line without any interruption. It helps organizations break down data barriers and establishes an environment that can foster data-driven decisions. Providing employees with data analysis tools with built-in analyzing capabilities also helps organizations to become data-driven.
- Educate everyone: To develop a data-driven culture, organizations make an effort to train all their employees to use data. Data storytelling is one of the best options to make employees use and interpret data. It enables the translation of data insights into stories that employees can relate to the given metrics and KPIs and improves productivity accordingly.
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