“People hear statistics, but they feel stories”- Brent Dykes, Forbes.com
The ability to outperform competitors requires companies to apply data insights to more decision-making that influences customer, business, and employee outcomes. Data-driven businesses pay off, yet most organisations do not balance their focus on data and technology capabilities with their focus on people and processes. If we do not make better decisions that matter, how can we justify continued investment in data and technology?
Extracting value from data is the most important yet elusive step after data collection. The numbers can hold a great deal of potential but without insights can it be translated to actionable steps or lead to desired business outcomes? Removing complexity and delivering data in a wide variety of ways can ensure key insights create a long-lasting impression. Communicating it effectively; telling the story of numbers is a struggle many individuals face.
Without context, support, collaboration, and guidance, how do we expect people to change their approach towards a process, regardless of their job title or level within the company? By 2025, Gartner predicts data stories will be the most widespread way of consuming analytics. Using the data storytelling approach businesses can show the heart behind the numbers or the business.
The stats packaged with an insightful data story can not only enhance the interpretation of the figures but also bring attention to why it matters. Looking at the website traffic report or social media engagement might make sense for the marketing team, but unless the team improves the communication of these insights, it will remain difficult to get a good insight-to-value conversion rate. To get everyone involved the data needs to be presented in a way that it bridges the gap between point A (where most the team members currently are) to point B where they start collaborating and contributing after understanding the how and why with the story.
Data storytelling is a structured approach for communicating insights and involves these three elements:
When all three are merged, you will have a powerful data story that can drive change in business. The narrative cannot be underestimated as it plays towards the emotional side of the brain. It pays dividends through persuasiveness, engagement, and memorability. Stories are what catch people’s attention.
You do not have to be a professional storyteller or designer to narrate or present a great data story. All you really need to do is listen to your audience to learn what matters most to them, whether the audience is internal or external. The key here is to understand the purpose of making the most of your analytics today.