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Using data to create brands

Data has come a long way from being humble servants of quantitative information and numeric predictions. It will not be wrong to say that the science has swiftly turned into an art with major firms looking to employ its various facets into their marketing strategies. Analytics, big data are just some of the ways in which data has become entrenched in every business function. It is not just consumer driven firms that are looking to understand their audience through data. Even industrial firms with business clients are using data management techniques to get target their consumers. However, consumer reach is a very small portion of how data can help a firm. It would not be wrong to say that it can actually help create and sustain an entire brand and the gamut of activities it encompasses.

From the scoreboard to the storyboard

Data-driven content has markedly changed the way a brand communicates with its audience. While rhetoric and impact are still important, people also want facts. They want an emotional connection that also appeals to their intellectual side. Some of the best marketing campaigns have a component of both information and entertainment. Simply put, data becomes the anchor that attracts the consumer and distinguishes you from the market. Similarly, marketers should use data to link the consumer’s needs with its product. One might argue that the collection of information for market research is a fundamental concept and is nothing new. While data collection is certainly not a novel idea, it is worth noting that its scale, usage and even reason has undergone a change. Data was traditionally used to find the ‘what’ which was to determine what product the market needed. As our market grows and consumers become more informed, the emphasis has shifted to ‘why’ which aims at determining the latent need of the consumer’s preferences. Thus allowing marketers to cut through the noise to get their message across to the intended audience.

Data is not just historic numbers

As our data collection and utilization gains more sophistication, we have several branches of data like behavioral data, consumer analytics. These help you understand the elusive consumer’s black box that motivates the product from ideation to launch. It enables you to gain a deeper understanding of the market’s preferences and allows you to find the perfect way to plug the gaps in the market. While methods like market surveys and test marketing are not new, we certainly see an exponential rise in the quantum of data available. With a large part of the population going online, marketers are able to reach a larger part of the audience. With consumer analytics, firms are able to streamline their after-sales process with real-time information about their experiences. This also leads to better utilization of resources and cuts down on costs arising out of duplication.

Numbers don’t lie

It is one thing for a brand to use data to make the product decisions behind the curtain but we see that numbers can also be effective as a storytelling tool. Brands that use data to anchor their message usually have a much better chance of recall. Airbnb and Google are textbook examples of how data and brand identity can merge to form a powerful message. In 2016, Google created a small film that showed the top searches of the year. The impact of the message was felt across the world and the ad ranked in the top 1% of all ads tested that year. This is a perfect example to show how data can be used to identify the pulse of the audience. This kind of approach uses data from the audience and connects it to the brand to create a storyline. Undoubtedly, it will have a more enduring impact on the audience as they are a part of the process and will find something that resonates with them.

Use data wisely

Leveraging data to its maximum potential seems to be one of the greatest challenges that firms face. If used correctly, it can have an impact on everything from product idea to promotion to after-sales services. All these activities ultimately go into building the brand identity over time. With technological disruption impacting all industries, we see a rise in the use of data as a primary asset in decision making. In fact, there are entire businesses centered around the use of data such as dating apps like Tinder that use your personal data like location and preferences to match you. Similarly, delivery apps that use your location data and past preferences to come up with recommendations. In both cases, data is being used to further create a personalized experience for the consumers. Hence, data affects not just the messaging but the entire range of activities that define the consumer’s interaction with the brand. It is no surprise that data has opened a world of opportunities for the marketers to reach out to their audience. However, understanding data remains both a science and art that requires a concentrated approach towards it. Simply put, to get the right answers, you must ask the right questions. Most firms have integrated data in their operations and are utilizing it for original stories. For example, Spotify releases data on its listener’s playlists to create stories around its insights. In 2017, they released data on the playlists of the colleges across the US and stated that Penn State had the most number of ‘party playlists’. Such consumer-driven storylines have a greater impact in bonding the user further to the brand. The all-pervasive data has even become a staple at non-technical firms that are using to create a stronger brand. Data not only gives you insight into the consumer’s minds, it also helps you improve upon your internal operations. The data-driven insight may not be completely foolproof but we can agree that it does help light a path for the firm towards better decisions. Whether it is clarity in a message or flawless customer service, data can be an asset towards the building of a brand.


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