How to turn data into influence

By: Simon White

Account director and senior PR consultant Simon White explores how you can start mining your data for the amazing stories.

Data is powerful

2.5 quintillion bytes of data is created every day. 90% percent of the world’s data was created in the last two years. And every two years, the volume of data across the world doubles in size.

Data is everywhere and it’s everywhere in business too. Whether you are actively using data to improve processes or using it to manage finance or resources, data has become part of day-to-day life for most businesses.

But there is a hidden value to data that most businesses don’t consider that could give you an edge over your competitors. Data can also be used to tell compelling stories that showcase your expertise to potential customers.

You won’t be the first to have missed the opportunity. Even communications professionals are guilty of shying away from numbers and many see communications and data analytics as two opposite or even opposing disciplines. On the one side creativity, on the other logic.

But by bringing the two together, you can do powerful things. In fact, you may be sitting on a goldmine of untapped potential.

So why is data such a powerful communications tool?

If you want to change how people behave and the decisions they make, be it to switch products or adopt new business practices, you need to appeal to both emotions and reason. Combining creativity and data achieves this

In short, narrative + analytics = influence.

Traffic analysis
Blockchain data block
Data visualisation

And in a more practical sense journalists are crying out for original data to create unique stories, and your data contains insights only you can provide. Companies that are willing to share their data in creative ways can put themselves at the centre of the media narrative as experts and influencers.

Here is how to get started:

  1. Audit your data. Are you producing reports? Do you have data about trends or the price of materials?
  2. Look for the unique and the unusual. Think about data that you might have that tells a story about your sector. If you sell bricks to housebuilders, your business data can say a lot about the health of the housebuilding industry.
  3. Explore Open data: There are loads of publicly available data sets from the government and other sources which you can use for inspiration. Do you have any data that can enhance industry wide or topical data sets?
  4. Keep it simple. Look for simple statistics that tell a big story. Have you seen a big rise in demand for a particular product or service? What could this tell us about shifting market trends?
  5. Visualise. Visualising your data is the best way to showcase the insights you can provide without scaring people off. Think of ways you could display your data insights in graphs and infographics. A picture tells a thousand words and the companies that do this best are the ones who make the most impact with their data.

Finally make sure your team is using the latest software to make the most of your data. You may be underestimating what Excel can do in 2024 – many of the analytics and visualisation functions that once seemed inaccessible are now automated. Meanwhile AI is now massively reducing the time it takes to analyse and sort data.Your goals should be to balance calls to emotion with logical analysis to create credible, impactful stories that demonstrate your expertise and knowledge of your sector.

At LMC we are establishing a data team to bring together PR, analytics and visualisation to maximise the potential impact of our clients' data.

Do you have a project you want to talk to us about?

LMC is a PR and communications consultancy on a mission to help our clients change the construction, property and built environment sectors for the better.

Using our specialist knowledge and skills, we help clients to achieve their change agenda, building their reputation and profile around the topics that matter most.

If you need help to meet your ambitions and make a difference, please get in touch for an informal discussion about how we can help.