If you spend any time around The A Group, you’ll hear us talk about the power and importance of telling a story as an organization. While the idea of story excites most, actually figuring out what your story is, unlocking it and harnessing it for greater reach is, well, an entirely different story.

But what if we told you your story was right at your fingertips, and there’s one place where it’s being told with such clarity that you might be overlooking it altogether? That place is your data.

Though there is certainly a technical side to collecting and analyzing data, data isn’t just numbers; it’s people – your people. It’s their age, their gender, their marital status, their income, their behavior, their interests, their lifestyle. And when you figure out how to intersect your product, your brand or your cause with key elements of your people’s lives, you’ve created an undeniable, meaningful story.

Here are three ways your data will help you discover your story:

Your data is a narrative.

While at first glance story feels emotional and data feels more pragmatic, data is actually a detailed snapshot of your customers, who they are, what they care about, what motivates them, how they live and what they want. Underneath the numbers, demographics, behavior and frequency are patterns that tell you what makes your people tick and the role you play in their lives.

Your data is truth.

People believe all kinds of stories that are not true. From fairy tales to folklore to political rhetoric, many stories in our world are there for the making. But when it comes to businesses and organizations, telling a good story isn’t enough; you must tell a TRUE story -- and that truth lies in your data.

Seek out the authentic story your customers are telling, so that the story you create will match the experience of your audience. Your story is not fiction and it’s not an autobiography; it’s written by those living it, and any disconnect between what you say and reality puts you at risk of losing trust.

Your data is a road map.

Your data story isn’t just informational; it’s actionable. By understanding who you are and who your audience is, you can figure out exactly how to reach them AND how to reach more like them. Data helps you move away from taking a shotgun approach and instead gives you a more focused approach to who you target and how you build your brand.

We’ll have more on this topic in our next post about how to tell your story now that you’ve discovered it, but if we had to leave you with one tip for now, it would be to look for any holes in your data. Figure out what you’re missing or not collecting and start now. It’s never too late to start gathering the information you need to discover your story.

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