Tag Archives: storytelling

Data to See: A Design Approach to Data Visualization & Storytelling

As a fan of the arts, my mother instilled in me a love for poetry, literature, arts and drama, overall the ability to tell a story that resonates on a deep level. It’s the presence of those universal, humanistic properties, those boiled down to the core or gist that really get us and that we really get.

I think this early understanding fueled my ability to write poetry and later on in life, as a marketer, tweets. In the past year, I’ve become fascinated with the appeal of the visual web and experiment on Instagram, often posting powerful images with very little text, sometimes 1-3 words and/or hashtags and nothing else to see what sort of resonance they receive.

While researching data visualization tools and tactics, I came across this free film by Edward Tufte, and while its a few years old, I think it’s definitely worth watching for those interested in further developing their visual data narrative skills and thinking conceptually with the mind and empathy of a trained designer or artist:

Inge Druckrey: Teaching to See from Edward Tufte on Vimeo.


Valerie RussoFormerly a senior copy editor at Thomson Reuters, a research editor at AOL,  and a senior web publicist at Hachette Book GroupValerie M. Russo is editor at large of The Front End of Innovation BlogThe Market Research Event BlogThe World Future Trends Tumblr, the Digital Impact Blog, and also blogs at Literanista.net. She is the innovation lead and senior social media strategist for the Marketing and Business Strategy Division of the Institute for International Research, an Informa LLC., and her poetry was published in Regrets Only on sale at the MOMA Gift Shop. Her background is in Anthropology and English Literature. You can reach her at vrusso@iirusa.com or @Literanista.

Top 10 Jonah Berger Inspirations at FOCI14

Jonah Berger, and his latest book, ‘Contagious:
Why Things Catch On
‘ was one of our keynotes today at FOCI14. Not to be too
much of a fangirl, but Jonah is the speaker I was most eager to see at FOCI14.  

Following are my top 10 quotes from his presentation (and picking
only ten was hard!):

How tasty are your messages? More like broccoli
or more like a cheeseburger? And can we make our messages tastier?

‘Word of mouth generates more than twice the
sales of advertising,’ a famous McKinsey & Company quote. And if we want to
understand WOM, we have to understand why things catch on (thus his book).

A book publisher sent him 2 copies of a book
that they wanted him to recommend to his students. They said, here is a copy for
you to review, and please share the second copy with another person you may know
who might enjoy it. So they basically enlisted him to help with WOM: they knew
he would be likely to be connected to other qualified people. Jonah describes
this (positively) as a marketing ‘hack.’

7% of all WOM is online. Yes, 7%. Most WOM is
offline. It’s more important to understand why people share, not how they

6 key attributes to getting things shared/spread/WOM:
Social Currency, Triggered, Emotion, Public, Practical Value, Stories. 

‘Secrets’ knowing things others don’t know is a
form of social currency. People like to share inside information. Making people feel like insiders:
powerful motivator of preference, WOM Story of the ‘secret’ bar in NYC that is
always booked (I found an article about PDT: link).

How did a company get 200M views of a video
about blenders? They blended an iPhone. The key: Surprising, Novel, or Interesting.
(WillitBlend.com) A totally mundane product’a blender’and sales went up over
700%. (doing something crazy just for crazy is not effective/doing something
crazy that is on point, that is effective)

Kit Kat sales down, so they launch a campaign to
associate it with break time. Break time was a good choice to associate with
because break time happens frequently. It’s a trigger.

‘Social proof’: in a strange city, you pick a crowded
restaurant (not an empty one)’you see the other people as a signal of
information. If we can’t see what people are doing, we can’t use it as a
signal. So how do we make the private public? A restaurant can have a big window
so you can see the crowd.  (Apple made their
headphones white’it became a signal. Easier to see, easier to imitate.) What
can you do to make your private public?

Good stories are ‘Trojan horse stories’. They
have a hidden message.  Subway’s Jarrod
story: tells us you can eat their sandwiches and be healthy.

Thank you Jonah!!!!
This post was written by Kathryn Korostoff. Kathryn is currently the President of Research Rockstar, the only independent company dedicated to market research training (online and in-person).  Prior to Research Rockstar, Kathryn completed the transition of Sage Research’an agency that she led for 13 years’to its new parent company, Chadwick Martin Bailey. Over the past 25 years, she has directed more than 600 primary market research projects and published over 100 bylined articles in various magazines, including Quirk’s Marketing Research Review and the MRA’s Alert! Magazine. She also currently serves as President for the MRA’s New England chapter.   KKorostoff@ResearchRockstar.com, 508.691.6004 ext 705, @ResearchRocks. She offers a gift to her new FOCI friends here: LINK.

Create Authentic Brand Identities Through Storytelling

Photo by paul bica

I believe in the power of storytelling and you should too. Why?

There are many examples of how great storytelling evokes emotion, which causes your customers to take action. Here are just a few that I’ve written about recently:

Ready to learn more? Here are some key resources to help you get started:

If creating authentic brand identities through storytelling sounds intriguing to you, be sure to join Daryl Travis, CEO for Brandtrust, at the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit this week in Miami, Florida as he presents “Using Emotional Energy to Make Your Customer Experience Programs Easier, Faster and Smarter.”

There’s still time to register! Go to www.iirusa.com/totalcustomer for details.Stay connected with TCEL:

  • twitter.com/TotalCustomer #TCEL14
  • linkedin.com/Total Customer Experience Leaders
  • facebook.com/TotalCustomer

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC is an Accredited Business Communicator specializing in corporate communication best practices. Connect with Peggy on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and on her website at www.starrybluebrilliance.com.

    How to Recognize Your Employees through Storytelling

    Photo by paul bica

    “People may take a job for more money, but they often leave it for more recognition.” – Dr. Bob Nelson, best-selling author and motivational speaker

    According to Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit (TCEL) session speaker Janet LeBlanc, “Customer-centric companies know how important it is to reward and recognize their employees.” Creating a relevant story with the employee at the center of the recognition goes a long way to unlock higher performance and engagement.

    A story that lacks a unique perspective will create the opposite effect as described in “How to Ruin an Employee’s Big Moment” by Jeff Haden.

    Great recognition uses great storytelling as its foundation. Learn how to effectively recognize your employees in “Transforming Company Culture through Storytelling” by Darcy Jacobsen.

    Join me in Miami next week (April 9-11) for TCEL and hear more about employee recognition from Janet LeBlanc during her session, “Employee Recognition Programs Energize and Strengthen Customer-Centric Organizations.”

    To learn more about the event and register, go to http://www.iirusa.com/totalcustomer.

    Stay connected with TCEL:

    • twitter.com/TotalCustomer #TCEL14
    • linkedin.com/Total Customer Experience Leaders
    • facebook.com/TotalCustomer

    Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC is an Accredited Business Communicator specializing in corporate communication best practices. Connect with Peggy on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and on her website at www.starrybluebrilliance.com.

      How to Create an Emotional Customer Experience

      ‘Let’s not forget that the little emotions are the great captains of our lives and we obey them without realizing it.’ ‘ Vincent Van Gogh, highly influential post-Impressionist artist

      Great storytelling evokes emotion. Using the power of storytelling, you can create emotionally compelling videos with equally compelling messages that will continue to resonate with your employees and customers and build brand loyalty.
      This video is one of the best examples of storytelling I’ve seen posted on www.publicwords.com. If the video doesn’t appear below, you can view it at http://youtu.be/7s22HX18wDY

      This post also provides tips on how to recreate the same ‘magic’ for your videos.

      Here are two articles from www.ragan.com to help get you started on creating videos to engage your employees, who are the ‘key to delivering your customer’s experience,’ according to Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit (TCEL) keynote speaker Peter Neill, Former Chief Customer Officer, Level 3 Communications:

      Want to hear more from Peter on customer experience in person? Join him at Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit 2014 in Miami in April. To learn more about the event and register, go to www.iirusa.com/totalcustomer
      Stay connected with TCEL:
      • twitter.com/TotalCustomer #TCEL14
      • linkedin.com/Total Customer Experience Leaders
      • facebook.com/TotalCustomer
      Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC is an Accredited Business Communicator specializing in corporate communication best practices. Connect with Peggy on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and on her website at www.starrybluebrilliance.com.

      Live from #MediaInsight: The Impact of Technology: Tales From the Consumer Electronics Show

      Lori Schwartz, Tech Catalyst and Principal, WORLD OF SCHWARTZ, Managing Partner, STORYTECH

      Technology is all about a good story.  

      Growth is exponential, and if you don’t move fast you are on the path to doom.  

      20,000 new products debut at CES.  Here are some key trends:

      1. The Future of Cloud Base Entertainment: Business are meeting in the cloud due to sharing services – there are new opportunities for business who would have never worked together in the past to team up.  There is disruption within disruption in today’s digital world – everything is changing constantly.  

      2. Changing Channels: Content Disruption, Bundling, and the “Plussing” of Services: In 2013, overall 5 million homes had cut the cord.  “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” won an Emmy by taking the “Pride and Prejudice” novel and applying it to today’s Millennials via a web series – which in turn gave people a chance to buy products from the series via online channels.  

      3. Islands in the Stream: Brands need to understand all of the little bits of consumers.  We share information in countless ways – you can tell Facebook that you have a back ache or Tweet that you went to the gym – and synthesizing this information is crucial to understanding the full picture.  This also ties into the Internet of Things – where objects will work together to get smarter and provide a more connected experience without humans being involved at all.  

      4. The Roar of the Crowd: The role of the audience has never been so big.  It’s a time of “hyper-personalization.”  

      5. Whose Brand is it Anyway?: Polaroid, for example, had to figure out how to adapt their brand for today’s world.  Enter the Socialmatic: http://www.social-matic.com/site/

      At CES this year robots were huge – they are changing how we do business in a very real way.  Science-fiction is coming true.  

      iBeacon: Bluetooth and GPS mix to know who you are and send relevant information straight to your phone.  This is already at certain subway stations in NYC, and will be everywhere very soon.  

      Ben Proctor is Insights Strategist at Miner & Co. Studio, a New York-based consultancy

      Let Me Tell You A Story

      Today’s post comes from TMRE Guest Blogger, Katie Clark. She is also known as @InsightsGal on Twitter and is a client-side market researcher, project manager, and social media maven.   

      At the company where I work, a large part of our business is B2B tradeshows.  At the end of each tradeshow (and after the results of our post-show evaluations come in), our market research team collaborates with our marketing data team to produce a presentation/report. Yes, currently it really is a presentation-slash-report’that’s part of this story.

      There is so much data that comes out of both departments after an event…and of course teams that manage the events have key questions about the performance of their product.  Over time, our presentation/reports have grown, and grown, and grown’and grown. 

      So, now, in the scant hour that we have for our presentation meeting, we are subjecting our audience to a LOT of data.  That takes a lot of stamina to listen to and digest.  A presentation that has come out of a great collaboration between teams has essentially become one big cumbersome report.   

      And you know what? Along the way we lost the story.

      In research, we all work in data-rich environments.  There is so much to analyze and so much to share…it takes a lot of skill to hone that down into something more palatable AND focus on the story you’re actually trying to tell.  Because if you focus on the story, the data will help you tell it without a ‘data dump’ taking over the talk entirely. As the brilliant Cole Nussbaumer says:  ‘Any data you show has to be part of a story.’ 

      Are we all natural storytellers? No. If you’re not a natural storyteller (many of us aren’t) it’s a skill like any other that needs to be nurtured.  Where to start?

      Check out a video encore of Jonah Sachs’ TMRE 2012 talk on ‘Winning the Story Wars‘ that we shared on the blog recently.

      Watch one of the Jedi masters of storytelling, Nancy Duarte, speak on ‘The Secret Structure of Great Talks.’

      Immerse yourself at #TMRE13 in the many sessions that have a storytelling aspect to them, including: 

      -A pre-conference storytelling workshop on Sunday 10/20 hosted by Emmy-nominated country music songwriters

      -Conducting The Symphony Of Brand Development: Immerse Your Audience In The Story presented by E&J Gallo Winery

      -Using Brand Data (Media Mix Analysis, Brand  Tracking Studies, Etc.) To Tell Your Brand Story presented by StubHub

      -Principles of Visual Storytelling presented by Vital Findings

      So, back to my story. 

      What are we doing about the presentation/report?  We’re talking to our customers to learn what makes the most sense for them, we’re investigating what should go into actual reports versus the presentation (should it be a ‘slideument‘?) , we’re also prepping some fun exercises like an immersion room full of the slides that our key constituents can walk around with sticky notes and comment on.

      But at the top of our list? Honing the storytelling skills of our teams to ensure that the story doesn’t get lost in a sea of data. 


      More about Katie: Based in Portland, Maine, Katie is the Senior Research Manager at Diversified Business Communications, managing a team of skilled researchers busy gleaning insights for products around the globe. She has worked with companies large and small in industries such as software, seafood, fragrance and entertainment to help companies move their business forward supported by actionable insights derived from market research. She loves to find the story in the numbers and is passionate about bringing the ‘Voice of the Customer’ inside the organization. Active on social media as @InsightsGal, Katie actively tweets and blogs about the market research industry. The opinions expressed here are her own and not those of her employer.

      TMRE’12 Video Encore Presentation: Jonah Sachs on Winning the Story Wars

      Everyone in marketing is shouting ‘TELL STORIES!’ in perfect unison from their various feeds. But what is a good story? And how can you make yours great?

      Jonah Sachs, Author of Winning the Story Wars and Co-Founder & Creative Director at Free Range Studios, gave a keynote address at the Market Research Event (TMRE) Conference in 2012 on Winning the Story Wars.

      Viral storyteller Jonah Sachs (Story of Stuff, The Meatrix) covered 50 years of Jedi Mind Tricks (how business masters push products and ideas, and why their tricks are failing you now); Freaks, Cheats and Familiars (how our brains are hardwired to remember stories that reflect ancient patterns); and the Digitoral Era (how to transform your stories for massive resonance in today’s digital-oral tradition).

      Sachs sourced age-old and cutting edge wisdom, delivering insights from advertising history, evolutionary biology, psychology, and comparative mythology- equipping you to apply timeless truths for story contagion and breakthrough brands.

      We invite you to sign-up for access to view this complimentary, full-length session here. Bonus: you will also have access to additional 2012 videos and the Market Research Event 2012 Executive Summary when you register.

      TMRE: The Proof is in the Pudding

      We’ve been telling you from the start, TMRE 2013 is the year NOT to miss. From the
      180+ rarely seen speakers, 130+ content driven sessions, 100+ cutting edge exhibitors
      to the 1200+ attendees,  60% of which are client side, TMRE truly is more
      than just an event, it’s a game changer.

      But don’t take our word for it, it’s important to hear feedback check out what
      your peers have to say about their experience at TMRE as well as why they are
      excited for this year’s upcoming experience:

      “I’ve attended this conference (TMRE) many times, last
      year I tried a different conference and didn’t learn nearly as much – so I’m
      excited to be going back! Looking forward to learning all that’s new in the
      Market Research world!” – Sheila Dreyer Van Buskirk, Market Research
      and Competitive Intelligence Manager, GE Capital Retail Finance
      ‘TMRE is a staple conference/experience for our organization
      in knowledge sharing, networking, and innovation techniques, as well as sharing
      our own techniques, knowledge, and findings to the research community. TMRE is
      a huge asset to the Artist Analysis & Research Department at Universal
      Music Group.”- Alisa Olander, Artist Analysis & Research, Universal
      Music Group
      ‘I found The 2012 Market Research Event to be one of the
      most academically and technically stimulating conferences I’ve been to in quite
      some time.  Of particular interest was the “Storytelling” track
      as we have built our internal Insights Team around this premise.  The
      successful research professional of today must elevate their skill sets well
      beyond the traditional qualitative and quantitative analytics to include
      refined leadership skills, data visualization, and compelling storytelling. 
      Looking forward to TMRE 2013!”- Katie Ozdemir, Director, Consumer
      Insights, Universal Orlando Resort
      ‘Last year was my first ever TMRE conference and now it will
      always be a staple in my professional development schedule.  It’s the only
      place where you can interact and borrow market research ideas with peers from
      so many different industries.  Each session provides great takeaways that
      you can leverage in your day-to-day as well as insightful keynote speakers that
      prompt our community to think about the broader impact research has on the
      world.  For me, attending TMRE is my yearly reminder of why I love doing
      research.” - Kassandra M. Barnes, Research & Content Manager,
      ‘I’ve attended three TMRE events and will continue to attend
      because of the high quality presentations and networking opportunities. 
      There’s no better way to interact with market research professionals to learn
      about new techniques and approaches. I look forward to the next TMRE so that I
      can catch up with friends I’ve made at previous conferences, as well as make
      new connections.” – Todd Blickenstaff, Lexus Product Planning
      This year we couple best in class business cases with
      professional development sessions focusing on building skills like data
      visualization, story-telling and strategic thinking and transforming
      researchers into game changers. Download the brochure and see for yourself: http://bit.ly/14CW6wL
      Want to become a TMRE Ambassador?
      If you’re a loyal TMRE attendee and singing
      TMRE’s praises, we want to recognize and reward you, support your efforts and
      make your mission little easier and a lot more fun. By empowering our
      ambassadors with tools to spread the word about TMRE, you’ll be able to offer
      exclusive discounts to your contacts and rack up VIP experiences and other
      perks for yourself. TMRE ambassadors are an eclectic mix of past attendees,
      former speakers and long standing sponsors ‘ all those that know, trust and
      love the brand. To learn more, contact please contact Ali Saland at asaland@iirusa.com
      Make the choice the industry
      TRUSTS every year. Register today: http://bit.ly/14CW6wL
      October 21-23,
      Nashville, TN
      Mention code TMRE13LINK & Save 15% off the standard
      rate. Register today: http://bit.ly/14CW6wL
      The TMRE Team

      TMRE Now Accepting Submissions for Annual EXPLOR & NGMR Disruptive Innovator Awards

      Today’s technology landscape is more dynamic, fast-paced and
      entrepreneurial than ever before. For large and small companies everywhere,
      innovation is a continuum and successful companies innovate disruptively along
      the entire spectrum.
      Are you a disruptive innovator?
      This year, TMRE is proud to host two of the industry’s most
      prestigious awards this year – the annual EXPLOR
      award and the NGMR Disruptive Innovator Award
      . The EXPLOR award recognizes
      breakthrough innovation in technology as applied to market research.
      This year’s winner will receive a complimentary pass to TMRE
      and the opportunity to present the winning case study during the event. All
      entries must be received by August 30.
      In just a few months TMRE is
      putting its energy into protecting the science of understanding while
      translating insights into smart business decisions. As the market research
      industry faces the most dramatic change it has ever seen, TMRE will transform
      you into a hybrid researcher and strategic advisor.
      Time and time again, TMRE unites more than a thousand
      consumer insights executives with more than 65 percent from client side
      companies. Featuring more than 140 sessions and 175 speakers, it will be your
      most comprehensive research learning and networking experience of the year.
      In 2013, TMRE is focusing on elevating the researcher to a
      strategic, consultative leader. The 2013
       will be combining best in class business cases with
      professional development sessions on building skills like data visualization,
      story-telling and strategic thinking and transforming researchers into game
      To learn more about
      the EXPLOR award and the NGMR Disruptive Innovator Award, click here: http://bit.ly/13TAWsK  

      Amanda Ciccatelli,
      Social Media Strategist at IIR USA in New York City, has a background in
      digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business
      strategy, marketing, and technology. She previously worked at Technology
      Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and
      feature stories in the tech industry.  She can be reached
      at aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow her at @AmandaCicc.