Storytelling Through BI: Making Sense of Complex Data

"Be interested, not interesting, or else the audience will never take it in."

Says Peter Guber, CEO of Mandalay Entertainment.


you're a sales manager presenting your team's performance over the last quarter to your company's board of directors. You have a lot of data to share, including revenue numbers, customer demographics, and product sales by region.

Previously, you presented this data in a traditional, text-heavy format that left your audience bored and disengaged. But this time, you decide to try something different. You use data storytelling to turn your data into a compelling narrative that captivates your audience.

Step 1: You start with a visually stunning chart that shows the company's revenue growth over the last five years. 

This chart by Grow’s BI reporting tools immediately captures the board's attention and sets the stage for the rest of your presentation.  

Step 2: Next, you use customer demographics data to create a persona of your typical customer, including their age, income, and buying habits. You weave this persona throughout your presentation, using it to explain key data points and paint a picture of your target audience.

Step 3: Finally, you use regional sales data to tell a story about a successful new product launch in one of your key markets. You show how sales skyrocketed after the launch and how the success of this product can be replicated in other regions.

Using data storytelling, you've transformed a dry, boring presentation into a captivating narrative that engages your audience and makes complex data accessible. The board is impressed with your insights and excited to see how they can use this information to drive business growth. 

The Power of Storytelling

Storytelling is an age-old tradition that has been used to share information and entertain people for centuries. However, it is also a powerful tool in the business world. By using storytelling in BI, businesses can turn complex data into a meaningful story that anyone can easily understand. Storytelling can help businesses:

  • Simplify complex information
  • Engage stakeholders
  • Build emotional connections with customers
  • Create a sense of urgency
  • Drive desired outcomes

Only a handful of Business Intelligence reporting tools can help, and Grow is one of them.

What are some best practices for Storytelling?

Through BI To effectively tell a story with data, businesses should follow these best practices:  

  1. Define your audience: A study by Microsoft found that personalizing content based on audience insights can lead to a 45% increase in engagement. To define your audience for data storytelling, you can use techniques like persona development, which involves creating fictional representations of your target audience based on research and data. 

By developing personas, Grow dashboard can better understand their audience's pain points, motivations, and goals, and tailor their data stories accordingly. 

Grow's interactive Business Intelligence reporting tools and customizable dashboards also allow audiences to explore the data and ask their own questions, which can help businesses better understand their audience's needs and interests. By analyzing audience interactions with the reports, companies can refine their reporting and better tailor it to their audience's needs.

Keep it simple: When it comes to storytelling with data, less is often more. Users only read about 20% of the text on a page. If you overwhelm your audience with too much information, they are less likely to remember it. Focus on the key takeaways and simplify the data to make it more digestible.

  1. Use visuals: A data visualization tool using high-quality charts and graphs can help businesses identify correlations between different data sets, allowing them to make more informed decisions. Simplifying and visualizing data has never been easier, Grow’s BI reporting tools use charts, graphs, and other visual aids to tell your powerful story with data. Adding visuals to a presentation can increase the audience's retention of the information presented by up to 400%.
  1. Use a narrative arc: Research has shown that narratives activate cognitive and emotional processes that help people process and remember information better than non-narrative formats. Infact, people were 22 times more likely to remember a fact when it was presented in the context of a story.

Furthermore, a narrative arc can help businesses guide their audience to a desired conclusion or call to action. 

With Grow's business analytics tools, businesses can access real-time data to support their narrative arc. This means that they can create a story that is relevant and up-to-date, which is critical for engaging audiences and motivating them to take action. By framing the data in the context of a story, companies can create an emotional connection with their audience and motivate them to take action.

Closing Words

Ready to join the ranks of satisfied Grow users and start simplifying complex data with powerful data storytelling? Partner Grow's Business Intelligence reporting suite and business analytics tools today and start easing complex data for your end-users using powerful visualizations and real-time reporting capabilities. You can also read our reviews at Grow Reviews from Verified Users Capterra and and start driving better outcomes with your data!

With our easy-to-use interface and advanced customization options, you can create compelling data-driven stories that engage stakeholders and drive desired outcomes. Take the opportunity to transform your data into actionable insights and see what Grow BI reporting tools can do for your business - try reporting Grow’s way!

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