Building By The Numbers: When Analytics Tell A Brand Story

An enthusiast dressed as Gandalf from the fantasy novel “The Hobbit” by J. R. R. Tolkien Several hundred people arrived in the forest to re-enact the famous battle from Tolkien’s novel that was published for the first time in 1937. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)


“I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.” - J.R.R. Tolkien

When building a brand story, there are many parts that we often talk about – keywords, color schemes, emotional resonance and so forth. However, there’s another part that we do not often tie into brand-building and that is the analytics, the repeat patterns and the subtle trends of the way a product or products move in a brand.

This form of intelligence can help you build a strong brand using technology – to find a customer-friendly trend and build a story behind it. One of the masters of intelligent storytelling is J.R.R. Tolkien, so here are four ways to think about using an analytics tool such as Adobe Analytics as well as some of my favorite Tolkien quotes on how to transition data into insights to build your brand.

Hundreds of Czech enthusiasts re-enacted the Hobbit battle of men, elves and dwarves against goblins and wargs. (Photo by Matej Divizna/Getty Images)


1. Insights About Community Are Telling

“For even the wise, cannot see all ends.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

With any data, if there is no knowledge or end story you can pull from it, there’s no reason to digest it. Ian Gertler of Symplegades explains, “Today, it’s all about prescriptive analytics… This is the value of continuous intelligence, which Rita Sallam (research vice president at Gartner) calls both a grand challenge and a grand opportunity. A few years ago, analytics provided organizations with a competitive advantage. Going forward, failing to understand the people part of digital transformation will lead to the extinction of more companies.”

The people part of the brand story is one of the most crucial parts of building a brand story. Understanding the brand demographic’s journey through easily digestible charts and figures will help lead a brand to understanding and speaking to their customer base better.

James Loye as ‘Frodo’, right, and Malcolm Storry as ‘Gandalf’ perform in a scene set in ‘The Mines of Moria’ from the theatre show ‘Lord of the Rings’ at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)


2. Vanity Metrics Are Not Helpful

“Short cuts make long delays.” - J.R.R. Tolkien

The term “vanity metrics” deals with numbers that are intended to inflate an individual or brand’s ego. Often, these metrics are not as relevant to understanding your community and brand because they are artificially inflated – through frowned-upon purchases of followers and likes. It is a short cut to inflate a brand to make it look larger with a more devoted following then it has in reality.

Sarah Evans, PR professional and digital correspondent offers, “I have been privy to so many different analytics tools — partially because it’s a passion and because it’s part of my profession. Adobe solves so many problems on following the customer journey, true analytics. They’ve evolved past vanity metrics and harness the power of machine learning, AI and modern data analysis. I can’t wait to see what’s next.” It has been fascinating to see the increased use of AI in analytics tools to help predict where and why your customer base will make their next big decision.

Fans walk past huge Stone Troll figures from the Lord of the Rings at the Comic-Con preview night held at the San Diego Convention Center. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Invision/AP)

Denis Poroy/Invision/AP

3. Let Everyone Access The Data

“Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

As a marketing professional, I have seen customer and community data be siloed within a group of analysts who then sparingly dole it out (often for political reasons). Having a central hub that everyone can access is incredibly helpful so the entire company/organization can understand what is happening with the numbers and make a better team-based decision. Even a non-data driven employee can occasionally see a brand pattern that no one else has yet discovered.

Nait Gallego, Sr. Manager Web Development at Procore Technologies and a former Google Analytics user explains, “Ensuring optimal experiences, despite the medium, is a critical component to Procore website. Adobe Analytics gives us a more complete view of each customer and their journey on our web properties. We’re not only able to capture insights in real-time that matter to our bottom line, but also able to democratize that data across the organization.” Sharing data with everyone on the team (democratizing it) regardless of role will help all teams build a better brand story.

LEGO minifigure of Pippin, from the LEGO THE LORD OF THE RINGS collection launching in June, stands at attention in a building set recreating Middle-earth action (Jason DeCrow/AP Images for LEGO)


4. Track The Customer’s Journey From Beginning To End

As J.R.R. Tolkien once said, “ The road goes ever on and on.” The same is true for a customer journey with a brand – from brand awareness to landing page to (yay!) purchase. Thoroughly understanding the journey from beginning to end only helps a brand build a stronger story and purchasing funnel.

Joe Martin, VP of CloudApp offers, “The ability to connect a customers journey from blog visit, to email click through, to social engagement, to ad view, to ultimate purchase and post-purchase loyalty is really where the magic happens as a data scientist. Adobe Analytics with its machine learning, AI, and other modern data analysis tools are unmatched when it comes to capturing and delivering on this type of data and insight.  Kelly Hungerford, a MarTech leader, includes, “Move past web only tracking and look for integration of all online and offline touchpoints. Adobe Analytics offers far more in-depth tracking of custom events and conversion.” 

It is this knowledge of the beginning of a customer journey even from offline to an online context that will help grow a brand to better cater to and be in sync with their demographic.

Customer data and analytics is a deeply important part of a brand story. Allowing the data to be seen and understood across a brand, without vanity metrics or focusing only on a small portion of a customer journey will build a more fleshed-out and intelligent brand.

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