How Data Can Inform Better Creative

Man working at a creative office using his computer and people moving at the background

By Lia Cattassini, Strategy Director at Tribal Worldwide

Back in 2014, when I was working in Brazil, every other brand wanted to create something unique to communicate with Brazilians during the World Cup. All the strategists at the agency gathered together to find insights and understand the relationship Brazilians have with the event. One of my teammates showed us a Google Trends graph with two terms and their volumes of search in the past years. The terms were ‘Sex’ and ‘World Cup’.

We all know that ‘Sex’ is commonly searched online worldwide, that the number of searches is relatively consistent across the year – and usually higher than the interest for ‘World Cup’”. Although the overall interest for ‘sex’ doesn’t diminish during the World Cup, the interest in football peaks every four years, surpassing the interest for ‘sex’.

That little piece of data showed us how obsessed Brazilians can be with the World Cup, but as interesting as this insight can be, transforming it into something creative is what makes a difference in advertising.

I’ve always seen data as raw human behaviour. How people navigate your website, what kind of words they search for to reach your brand and even the time of the day they are interacting most with your content can provide insights on how to communicate with customers and better meet their needs.

Rather than being the enemy of creativity, data has revolutionised creative campaigns – providing far more informative insights on the consumer and their quirks in behaviour than creatives might expect.

Take car advertising – we all recognise the TV advertising classic image of a shiny new car effortlessly driving around an exotic location, or styled in a futuristic dark studio. But data also shows that buyers spend more time looking at images of the inside before buying, and advertising doesn’t focus on that enough.

In fact, when I was working with Fiat, we were able to access insights on how consumers actually configure vehicles, and specific car models. We found that online shoppers view cars from the inside out, and depending on the level of internal technology, they could even dismiss the design of the outside.

Paying attention to that information and the data report can help us navigate the sea of sameness we see in some industries, disrupt the norm and find something a little bit more interesting (and relevant) to talk about. This is the rewarding challenge of being a strategist: to encourage creative teams to make the most of the right information and approach, while balancing the impact on creative thinking.

When fighting for attention has become harder than ever, data is our best ally to supercharge creative thinking. In fact, last year, McKinsey found that businesses that have successfully integrated creativity and analytics have grown twice as fast as those that haven’t. Perhaps it’s time to abandon the classic image of the car, and with the help of the data team, make the most of facts and figures to reconfigure automotive advertising for a new generation of consumers.