4 tips for successful Data Storytelling

damien.carlhian@solution-bi.com Wed October 4, 2023

Raw data can be hard to understand, both for business departments and for senior executives.
With data storytelling, you can use your data to tell a story with pictures, making your message more clear, instructive, and persuasive.
So here are 4 tips to get started with data storytelling or take your work to the next level.


Tip 1: Lay the groundwork with data visualization

Data storytelling, “the art of telling a story through data,” is built on the graphic representation of data. Today, we are seeing an exploding volume and variety of data to be analyzed, and a need to make this data accessible to more users. Simple graphic representation just doesn’t cut it anymore. Data storytelling offers a solution for both these challenges. With data representation that is both interactive and personalized, to tell a story and guide users as they explore the data.

Check out this other article about the essential groundwork of data visualization before getting started in data storytelling..


Tip 2: Make users the focus of your data storytelling process

In any IT project, it is vital to understand the needs of the users. What data do they need? What questions are they trying to answer? With this knowledge, you can guide users as they explore the data, giving them what they need to work independently. With data selected and arranged based on their profile, that will attract and hold their attention more effectively. Although it can be tempting to give users as much data as possible, it's precisely this work to curate a useful selection of data that catches users’ attention.

For example, the finance department will be interested in visualizing data from revenue to impact on investments.
The marketing or sales team will be interested in recurring orders but also in the average consumer’s cart.
This way, each department has its own personalized gateway to a selection of useful, quickly accessible data.


Tip 3: Create emotion, a key ingredient in decision-making!

By using data to tell a story, you can appeal to the emotional side of your audience. In fact, the earliest adopters of “storytelling” concepts were marketing and communication departments. They made their messages resonate by translating the company’s data into a communication campaign aimed at customers.
Even within the company, raw data no longer cuts it. By creating an emotional connection before diving into the data, you can convince both employees and management, make them aware of the implications and motivate them to take action.

For example, in finance, storytelling gives life to numbers. In a 2020 Accenture study, 81% of CFOs already considered data storytelling a key skill to support their strategic analysis. Non-financial components can be included as an introduction to a financial presentation, to set the scene by outlining corporate culture, the global or local context or environmental issues.


Tip 4: Develop your data storytelling over time

As we've just seen, effective data storytelling is tailored to the user’s profile and type of connection. This means it is equally important to reassess these needs and uses regularly and adjust your data visualizations accordingly. In time, you may need to build a specific model for your business, or contract a data visualization specialist like Solution BI to help you.



In conclusion :

Data storytelling is an effective technique not only to enhance your analyses, but also to leave your users wanting to explore the data more. It is a useful educational tool to build your corporate data culture.

If you would like to learn more about our Data Visualization and data storytelling solutions, contact us here


On the same topic:

Data Visualization: 4 Steps to Start Off on the Right Foot

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