Ashish Tiwari, Head of Digital Marketing and PR at Hero Cycles shares his insights on how to weave stories into data to work The Magic of Data Driven Storytelling.
“Stories are what humans are been made up of; it is what gets you thinking and connects you with different people,” Ashish Tiwari, Head of Digital Marketing and PR, Hero Cycles.
According to him the best example of data driven storytelling is Coke happiness challenge. “If you look at the brand, what is it all about? It’s the aerated water that they are selling at the end of the day. There was no brand connect. But what they talked about in the campaign was sheer happiness. And this is possible when you use the right data mix,” he elucidated.
Weaving data into stories
At the initial stage of my career I was exposed to high technology and softwares. Then the entire challenge was how do you connect the data back to people and how do you create an environment where people will talk about your product. When you weave data into words, the reality lies in numbers. But if you want those numbers to form a bond with the audience, you need to weave those numbers into the form of a story- then you will have a much more impactful canvas to play around. The audience connect becomes much more important.
Data visualisation – the right way
Data visualisation is putting numbers into a format where you do not need to go about, put your own mathematics problem. Storytelling is putting a perspective on a canvas wherein you involve people. As a narrator you exactly know where you want the audience to reach, you have already decided the end point. Now you are taking them on a journey to reach to that goal. Data put in isolation means nothing. At the end of the day when you talk about 6,800 people it doesn’t mean anything. But when I tell you that 6,800 have been affected by a particular cause, suddenly it makes sense to you.
Either you want to reach out to social media audience, you put visualization in a format so that people can put up relativity to a data and the entire context to it.
Branded content and storytelling
Branded content is also about a story. The story is about your brand, if you want to create engagement then it’s a branded content.
At the end of the day storytelling is nothing but science or an art wherein you are taking audience on a journey.
The entire target of an advertising campaign is to create engagement. You want them to act on what you want them to. How will you get them to do so if they are not able to connect back to the people. A good advertising campaign is when you are able to reach upto the objective which you have set. By means of storytelling you are been able to get that action it is a successful campaign. Storytelling helps you in boardrooms as well as in the market.
Using data to make cycling better for Indians
What we are currently working on is assimilating data, whether you talk about the MTB Himalayas is all about hundred plus riders from 22 odd countries taking onto the Himalayas 580 kms in seven days. If I say that there are riders who are traversing from Shimla to Himalayas, nobody would connect. But when I put these numbers into perspective and weave a story together, it has to be a success.
Favourite storytelling campaigns
Coca Cola Happiness Machine
Samsung Technical School
Data Driven storytelling
If you don’t do data driven storytelling, than the content becomes very hypothetical; actionable stories need some data points for the people to anchor onto. The whole purpose of data led storytelling is you want people to carry back a message.
The story is all about the audience, it’s not about you neither the brand. You and me are just a narrator where you already know the pathway and just taking the consumers from point A to point B. Data helps you in achieving these milestones. If you don’t have proper data and statistics in place, you will not be able to get it right. Data is not available in open markets.
Today in the world of digital and social data has become in abundance. We as digital marketer are sinking into data. What we need to do is take a pause and a step back. Without numbers human beings cannot function. However, your data need to be laid down very well. You need to have your research done properly and connect the numbers to the relevance you are talking about. The Modi campaign was entirely data driven storytelling.
‘The Hero and Problem’ element of a storytelling campaign
In every story, there has to be a hero and a problem. Data driven storytelling doesn’t need an expert tool or any extraordinary knowledge.
What you need is basic knowledge of excel and you will be able to create your story beautifully. You need to know what is it that you are asking the data to tell you. I have always believed that ‘Numbers is a language of silence.’ They are trying to tell you what they contain among themselves. Getting the right data set is the basis for any data led storytelling. You might weave it into fascinating English or Hindi words but it won’t be the study people will invest their time in.
Ashish Tiwari, Head of Digital Marketing and PR at Hero Cycles was speaking at the live session of India’s first live conference SMLive 2018.