What is Data Storytelling?

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What Is Data Storytelling?

What Is Data Storytelling? 366 222 Shlomi Ron

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when thinking about

“Visual Storytelling?”

If you’re likely thinking about compelling stories delivered through videos, photos, illustrations, and podcasts – you’re right.

But ever wondered what is data storytelling?

Guess what, raw data about user behavior visiting your website or sales forecast, could also serve as building blocks to tell a compelling visual story.

As such, data is nothing but the “digital footprints” (e.g., views, visits, clicks, cart abandonment, transactions, including social likes, comments, and followers) – left by the key characters in your story.

Be it your customers, employees, partners, and others.

The trouble is it’s too much!

We are all overwhelmed with big data coming at us from multiple sources complexity and formats.

By 2025, global data is expected to reach 180 zettabytes (Statista).

This data overload is overwhelming many people: 76% of U.S. respondents report increased daily stress, 35% say it hurts their work performance, and 30% feel it affects their job satisfaction, according to OpenText.

The challenge is making sense of these “mountains of data” and how to best present it to convey meaningful insights needed for making decisions.

When I used to work for IBM every time I needed reports I’d ask our Data Analytics team the questions I needed answers to.

3-4 days would pass until I received my reports.

These days, to make sense of your data fast, you only need to upload your raw data to your favorite AI chatbot ask your key questions and get an answer in seconds.

However, you must still figure out your narrative (big idea), and visualization strategy (e.g., representing the right data through graphs, charts, scatter plots, etc.).

What is Data Storytelling?

In short, you need a data storytelling strategy.

“Data storytelling is the ability to effectively communicate insights from a dataset using narratives and visualizations. It can be used to put data insights into context
for and inspire action from your audience.”
Harvard Business School

To help me unpack this important topic, in the latest Visual Storytelling Today podcast, I chat with David Smith, former Chief Data Officer at The Venture City.

“Data is where I find my purpose.” He says on his LinkedIn profile. I liked that.

We talked about his perspective on data storytelling, key use cases, illustrative examples, the process for developing data storytelling for founders or business execs, common misconceptions, the future ahead, his top 3 tips for brands that want to use data storytelling to maximize impact – and much more.

Watch the full video recording of this interview, including illustrative examples

Need a screenbreak?
You can also listen to the audio recording of this episode. Subscribe to the Visual Storytelling Today podcast on iTunesSpotify, and all other podcast networks.

What’s your data storytelling strategy?

What stories behind your numbers do you tell to drive change?

Shlomi Ron

Shlomi Ron is the founder and CEO of the Visual Storytelling Institute, a Miami-based think tank with a mission to bring the gospel of visual storytelling from the world of art to more human-centric and purpose-driven marketing. A digital marketing veteran with over 20 years of experience working both on the agency and brand sides for Fortune 100/500 brands such as Nokia, IBM, and American Express. He started VSI to combine his marketing expertise with his passion for visual stories stemming from his interests in classic Italian cinema and managing the estate of video art pioneer, Buky Schwartz. At VSI, he helps brands rise above the communication noise through visual storytelling consulting, training, and thought leadership. Select clients include Estée Lauder, Microsoft, and Cable & Wireless – to name a few. He currently teaches Brand Storytelling at the University of Miami’s Business School. Thought leader and speaker at key marketing conferences. He is also the host of the Visual Storytelling Today podcast, which ranks in the top 10 best business storytelling podcasts on the Web. His book: Total Acuity: Tales with Marketing Morals to Help You Create Richer Visual Brand Stories. Outside work, he is a nascent bread baker, The Moth fan, and longtime fedora wearer likely to jive with his classic Italian cinema interest.

All stories by: Shlomi Ron