Let’s be honest.
Nobody enjoys reading pages and pages of information about why people buy a certain salad dressing or choose soy milk over almond in their coffee. The difference in the very nature of data (structured, fact-based, and precise) and that of creativity (fluid, intuitive and whimsical) is at the crux of the issue. But as a creative-driven agency, we believe that data is instrumental to connecting with our community. If done the right way, data can fuel the creative process. So how can we marry the two to produce the best results for our brands?
Keep it Simple: Big data can be overwhelming. Break it down into digestible insights that are relevant to solving the business problem. Ask yourself if the data is really useful to the strategy and if it furthers the brand’s objectives. Be intentional about selecting which data to present. Finally, make it easy to connect the dots – and we don’t just mean on the graph.
Tell a Story: Every great movie consists of six key stages. There is a setup, a new situation, progress, complications and higher stakes, final push and the aftermath. If we can tell a story like this with data, we are more likely to keep our audience awake and listening. Turn boring data into a Broadway musical if you must.
Humanize the Data: Numbers and charts become more meaningful when we can see its impact on customer sentiment, opinions or behavior. A creative idea becomes more credible when we know it is based on reason. Data and creativity are not mutually exclusive. The iconic “Got Milk?” campaign was inspired by the insight that respondents in a focus group felt anxious about running out of milk when they needed it the most. The key is to find the human insight in data that resonates with your brand and audience.
Before you schedule your next brainstorm, try this simple reflection. Think: Can the data help us understand the competition? Does it reveal something new about the brand? What does it tell you about the consumer? Where does this fit into the culture? Restructure your presentation to answer these specific questions and see the love-hate relationship of data and creative change into a love-love one.