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Decision quality with storytelling: three brands share their experience
Insights-Driven Decisions 5 MIN READ

Decision quality with storytelling: three brands share their experience

by Elizabeth Morgan
5 MIN READ

If a decision-maker is faced with a contradiction between data and their gut feeling, what do they do?

According to EIU Research, 90% go with their gut.

That means despite today’s hypercompetitive data landscape constantly serving up information and giving us the power to make data-informed decisions, we’re still flying by the seat of our pants.

This is where storytelling comes in. When experts curate knowledge from multiple data sources into cohesive stories, they resolve the ambiguities that prevent decision-makers from working with evidence.

Market insights platforms deliver an easy way to tell these data-driven stories at scale.

With the right platform, experts can design and manage relevant, reliable storytelling zones, so stakeholders can easily digest insights and use them to make better decisions.

We were delighted to have executives from Philips, The Home Depot, and Colgate-Palmolive join us during our March 2021 Executives Roundtable, where they shared with us how they successfully curate exciting data-driven stories to inspire their stakeholders towards evidence-driven decision making.

Storytelling to engage business with insights at Philips

Philips’ business managers and insights pros are in pursuit of an ambitious target: to improve the lives of two billion people by the year 2025.

“This very ambitious goal puts a lot of pressure on the intelligence community to support business managers without overwhelming them with data,” said Tom Mostert, Head of Knowledge Management and Customer Insights at Philips. “We decided storytelling would be key to achieve the transition of data into action.”

Tom outlined Forrester’s three-part structure for effective storytelling. He said Philips’ insights community adopted Forrester’s storytelling framework as the foundation for curating their insights using “Eureka,” their Market Logic insights platform.

The insights community at Philips implements its storytelling framework with expert-curated knowledge zones and newsletters, explained Judith Suttrup, Market Insights and Analytics Manager at Philips.

Judith shared that almost right away “the knowledge zones got so popular that really soon we created different channels and different subsections for individual teams, connecting the dots and highlighting the most important insights.”

In addition to the knowledge zones, the insights team saves significant time and effort using Eureka’s newsletter feature to push curated content to over 3000 business users, a process that used to take the team far too many hours each week because the content was coming from multiple sources outside of the Eureka platform.

“What Market Logic helped us do was bring this together in one integration,” Judith explained.

For example, one of their Sleep Team’s data sources for their newsletter comes in the form of an email. Market Logic developed a backend integrator that automatically reads the email content and adds it to the platform, with each news item represented as an individual news feed on Eureka.

“This was something that previously would just get lost in emails or inboxes, but now it’s on Eureka, combined in one single newsletter seamlessly going out to the stakeholders,” Judith said.

Storytelling to make insights understandable and exciting at The Home Depot

For Brendan Baby, storytelling is critical to making insights and recommendations “approachable, palatable, understandable, and frankly, exciting for partners in the business.”

As Senior Director of Customer Experience, Strategy and Analytics, at The Home Depot, Brendan heads up the “Insights Depot,” their Market-Logic powered insights platform.

The Insights Depot allows the team to “tell stories and provide baselines of knowledge for everybody in the company,” whether that’s someone who’s new to the business or has just changed roles and needs to understand their new insights landscape, or a business manager who’s starting to think about new areas in their current role.

For example, Brendan said the team designed the “Pro” knowledge zone (the sub-contractor segment), where stakeholders can get grounded in the basics. This storytelling feature starts with a powerfully curated video on the Pro segment.

“It leaves you with an incredibly important feeling of what matters to Pro customers and what their struggles are, so when you look deeper in the data, it’s easier to understand where they’re spending their money, which categories are important, and how they choose one brand over another,” Brendan said.

Advancing meta-learnings with Col-Pal’s DIG Platform

At Colgate Palmolive, Christian Niederauer, Director of Strategic Insights & Consumer Affairs, Europe, says initial work on their award-winning DIG platform focused on consolidating a $300 million insights asset on the platform and integrating research workflows and DIY platforms like Toluna.

From this strong foundation, the team moved to leverage content with meta-learnings in three ways: desk research, storytelling with knowledge zones, and automated knowledge checks to drive awareness of past research and prevent duplicative projects.

Today, Christian said new desk research capabilities on the platform expedite insights delivery to support senior decision-makers.

“Recently, our CTO asked, ‘What do we know about the role product packaging can play in our future?’” Christian shared, “In the past, you’d respond by taking a meeting and presenting a nice document, but very often these presentations would get lost.

“Now it’s super easy to curate content on DIG and deliver the result not only to one specific person, but potentially others. You simply start with a title, enter your thoughts, pull in relevant sources from studies, secondary sources, single pages, and the result is a resource you can share, and that others can pass on.”

The use of knowledge zones on the DIG platform is also gaining momentum, where Christian said the number of curated stories published by the team has doubled in the last year. Going forward, Christian plans to extend the Home Care category story with content from finance and design teams for a complete one-stop-shop.

He also envisions developing knowledge zones on broader topics, including foresight, by working with an agile methodology. “We want to start with executive interviews to frame exactly what foresight means for our company and how insights can support this, and then gradually evolve a story from video to related studies to open dialogue with Q&A.”

Throughout the discussion, the four panellists engaged on topics including the business impact of their storytelling endeavours and tactics to keep stories up to date. For more information on storytelling, see Storytelling for decision quality at scale.

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