Most communications teams see the value of data, but it can be difficult to know where to start. The experts at a recent PR360 panel explain how data is helping them to better understand the terrain they’re operating within, and how it’s improving their creative ideas.
1. Set the right objectives. This is usually best achieved by making sure they link back to the business’ wider objectives. As Derya Filiz, head of external communications at Anchor, says, everything the communications team does should relate back to the company, which helps demonstrate the team’s value to leadership. Finding the right metrics that chime with them is critical. “How can we report in a way that’s easy to understand for the C-suite? The CEO and board prioritise different things – our CEO is a numbers person – so how can we communicate in a way that works for them?”
2. Use data to build confidence in your decisions. Paul Quigley, chief executive and co-founder at NewsWhip, advises using data to better understand the terrain your campaign or business is operating within, which helps lead to better outcomes. He points to the example of the team at Ford. They spotted some organic conversation resonating about people using their hybrid trucks as generators during the 2021 Texas snow storm. Using NewsWhip, they were able to predict its impact and step in to help amplify the message — thereby helping the community and reinforcing their brand. Organisations can also track which media picked up a story, and eventually start to understand how long a news cycle will last.
3. Keep things simple. As Filiz says, this makes it easier for your audience to digest. “Our biggest learning is to keep it simple. You can get really swamped by figures, graphs, pie charts... Data is one thing, but our role is to translate that into something that’s understandable, but which also lands with the person you’re trying to communicate with.”