Why Storytelling is an Essential Skill in Today’s Data-Driven World
I recently stumbled across an article on the Entrepreneur entitled “5 Reasons Why Nobody Cares About Your Big Idea” written by Dan Blacharski (full article here). It’s a short and sweet marketing piece about how storytelling can make or break your big idea.
If I had to pick a favorite concept that I took away from my time in business school, it would be that a great idea with terrible presentation will fail. But, a bad idea with outstanding presentation might actually succeed. And a great idea with excellent presentation will win. So, here’s the takeaway: just because you have the best idea ever does not mean it will succeed on its own. In reality, it’s dependent on your ability to tell an enticing story that sells your idea.
Blacharksi explains the leverage that storytelling has on entrepreneurship in the first line of his article. “Entrepreneurship is about big ideas, but the problem that most entrepreneurs face is that there is always someone else around the corner with a bigger idea. The good news is that you don’t always have to have the biggest idea to win. What you do need however, is the ability to tell a story.”
This notion of storytelling clearly controls a significant amount of power over the success of your idea. This same concept can be applied to the market research industry and in particular, data presentation. You can collect loads of survey data and pull intriguing insights from it. But in order for those insights to make an impact, you must be able to successfully present them. Otherwise, those ground breaking insights that your team spent time and money on won’t deliver the impact you hoped for.
“So why doesn’t anybody listen to your Big Idea? It’s Big, and it’s Great, and it will change the world as we know it. But you’re relying on the wrong people to get your message out. ‘Having a big voice means not just being part of the industry – it means defining it,’ said David Schutzman, president of David Schutzman Marketing.”
Let’s compare Blacharski’s and Schutzman’s concept to data visualization. Instead of a person’s voice, data visualization uses charts and graphs as a medium for communication. And throwing a combination of complex charts and graphs at your client or management team does not help get your message across. The right kind of visualization is crucial to your story. Infographic storytelling is becoming the modern way to present data in a captivating and easy-to-understand format. As it continues to grow in popularity, more and more market researchers are agreeing that engaging visuals and infographic storytelling are changing the game.
So, why is storytelling an essential skill? In general, it’s the bridge from ideas to success. In marketing, it’s the bridge from ideas and products to sales. And in market research, it’s the bridge from insights to action, impact, and change. In today’s world, we are constantly surrounded by data. Learning how to interpret, present, and ultimately tell a compelling story with that data is a key factor to success.
We’d welcome a conversation about how you can have greater impact by telling your data’s story.