When the British nurse Florence Nightingale sat down to study the mortality rates of soldiers fighting in the Crimean War in the 1850s, she made a worrying observation: rather than losing their lives on the battlefield, an alarming number of young men were dying in hospitals from preventable diseases caused by poor sanitary conditions.
So, to convince her government to invest in better conditions at the front, she began using reliable data to build a strong and emotionally compelling story. She drew diagrams and penned well-worded arguments, she linked volumes, trends, times and outcomes, and she constructed a powerful and convincing narrative. As a result, she won both the hearts and minds of those in power.
It seems this early use of data-linked storytelling was a key driver of awareness and policy change in the mid-19th century. It’s even more valuable in today’s digital, data-drenched world. For modern-day organisations, in particular, data-driven storytelling can inspire confidence from employees, partners, and the general public – and bring important messages to life.
Data doesn’t have to be boring
Today’s organisations often spend big on data analysis. But are they leveraging this data in their storytelling as well as they could do? Often, the feeling is that the data and communications worlds should be kept separate, and that – bottom line – words and numbers simply don’t mix.
However, data doesn’t have to be boring. As Ms Nightingale discovered, if used intelligently, data can give your message a strong backbone and help engage your audience in what you’re trying to say. This involves using statistics in a way that’s easily digestible and resonates with the recipient. Whether through a graph, a comparison of different indicators, or simply a well-worded fact, data can engage, inspire and convince.
Of course, being able to convince customers, shareholders and other stakeholders is especially useful in business. Data can help you to communicate your company’s place within the wider industry landscape. For example, how are things changing, and how are you adapting to those changes?
Ultimately, it’s easy to say you know you what you’re doing. And you might think you’re on the right path, but do the numbers support the story you’re spinning? After all, how strong is a story really going to be if we don’t believe it?
At Baxter Lawley Communications, our team of native-English copywriters and communication specialists are experienced in helping businesses and organisations to tell convincing, data-driven stories. By combining our understanding of statistics and figures with our ear for a strong narrative storyline, we can ensure your communications have a lasting impact. Want to know more? Get in touch today!