Telling Meaningful Stories 101: Storytelling through Numbers

Numbers are crucial for any business. Company profits can rise and fall according to the slightest change in observable metrics. Why? Because numbers help build credibility, set goals, and advertise achievements. They are how a business communicates with its investors and stockholders. But numbers are also useful in talking with regular consumers and other audiences. 

 

Provide Context

To normal people, the rise of a restaurant brand’s working capital by 10 percent means nothing. But the company’s stockholders understand what that signifies because they know the context. Providing that same context will make it easier for others to understand. For example, the rise in working capital can be due to the successful implementation of streamlined procedures that enable more people to be served during the lunch rush    

 
Provide Context | Storytelling through Numbers

Provide Context | Storytelling through Numbers

 

 

Adapt to the Audience

Numbers are constant – but they can easily be translated to various figures to fit different audiences. In other words, share the number that makes the most sense to your audience. The aforementioned 10 percent increase might matter to investors but consumers might understand the number better if presented as their meals comes to the table a minute faster. Also, be as concrete and as relevant to your audience as much as possible. A 10MB increase in internet speed means nothing unless you say how many movies it can download in an hour.

Additional 10MBPS | Adapt to the Audience

Additional 10MBPS | Adapt to the Audience

10MBPS can Download | Adapt to the Audience

10MBPS can Download | Adapt to the Audience

 

Use Examples and Scenarios

Examples and scenarios help numbers get contextualized further. It elaborates their meaning and directs it to the audience. In the restaurant example, faster meals equal better service that attracts more people and profit to the brand.

Customer Served Today | Use Examples and Scenarios
Faster Customer Served Today | Use Examples and Scenarios

 

Create Emotional Impact

Utilized with care, numbers can be pregnant with emotion. And emotions are critical in moving people. This can be seen often in news stories that declare numbers of victims of a tragedy and the amount of people willing to help the victims. Use numbers to provoke an emotional reaction.

Understand Repercussions and Consequences

Numbers can signify an opportunity – or a threat. Always try to understand how your audience will be affected by it and use figures that are more likely to push your audience to then direction you desire. If you want an immediate action in your marketing materials that utilize numbers, remember to add a call to action. 

Remember the Rule of Two

When there are too many important numbers, people’s eyes tend to glaze over. Only use one or two key figures that illustrate your point. Keep things simple and lean on only a few key indicators to avoid alienating your audience.

 
Remember the Rule of Two
 

 

Numbers aren’t intimidating. Used well, they can articulate your message better than words.

There are countless ways to tell a story. Subscribe to M2Comms to learn the other ways to share your tale!