What is Data Storytelling?
Telling a story with numbers? It may sound strange, but your data insights can inspire a marketing narrative that touches your audience and motivates them to act. Data storytelling is a way to effectively communicate information to a specific audience through a compelling narrative.
Data storytelling is comprised of three main components: data, narrative, and visualizations. Through narrative and visualizations, data insights are put into context for your audience, better understood by your audience, and more likely to inspire action from your audience.
Your data will dictate the direction of your narrative. Is there something you want to prove or disprove to your audience? A point or message you would like to back with numbers? The first part of data storytelling is, of course, collecting the objective data needed to prove or disprove your theory. After gathering and analyzing your data, you will then be able to define the purpose and direction of your story and choose a compelling perspective.
Data can often be abstract and difficult to understand. A verbal, written, or visual narrative—the storyline—is created to simplify complicated data insights and effectively communicate them to your audience in a clear, memorable way. Stories provide a human touch to your data. Your data points become characters with their own voice and stories to tell.
While factual information has its place, narrative elements add living, breathing dimension to your data insights. As a result, your audience can see themselves reflected in your story and connect on an emotional level to the challenges and solutions presented. They can empathize with the pain points or challenges presented and are more invested when your products or services are discussed as a solution.
What actions would you like your audience to take after encountering your data story? This answer needs to be in the forefront as you craft your storyline. Just like any good story, your data narrative will need a beginning, middle, and end—preferably with actionable insights and key takeaways that help your audience with their decision-making process. A good rule of thumb is to begin with a question and end with an insight.
The visualization tools your business uses to display your data narrative will play an important role in determining how receptive your audience will be. Visualization tools, such as videos, infographics, photography, animation, illustration, charts, or graphs, make complex data more digestible and compelling to your audience. It will help your audience see, interact with, and better understand your data in an approachable and engaging way.
Why is Data Storytelling Powerful?
Spreadsheets or stories? As a society, we have a natural preference for stories over numbers. If you want to get into your audience’s head and convey a message in a way they understand, stories are the way to go. Stories engage multiple parts of our brains and unlock an emotional response—something pure numbers cannot do. Evoking an emotional response empowers your marketing message to be remembered and acted upon.
Stories make information more memorable, persuasive, and engaging for audiences. Data stories simplify complicated information, so an audience can more readily understand it, engage with the content, and quickly make a confident decision based on the information.
A common example of data storytelling that you have likely encountered is a road safety video. Whether it is about wearing your seatbelt or not texting and driving, these videos will often present tragic real-life scenarios to bring increased awareness. This is much more memorable and compelling than listing statistics or percentages alone.
Tell a Story with Your Data
Would your business like to craft a compelling data narrative that inspires your audience to action? Contact Sun Sign Designs to discuss data storytelling in more depth and what it can do for your business.