Power Essay by Fusion5’s Samran Waheed: When Art Meets Science.

By Samran Waheed, Head of Planning, Fusion5

We have become data junkies, using analytics to concoct our next move. But if your data is not used as a driver for change in every aspect of your business, then you are wasting your time. The true-life purpose of data is not just to quantify your reach (engagement). It’s supposed to affirm that actually innovation is not just a passing fad, but a driving force for survival.

Widespread access to technology has afforded companies the ability to gather data from every single person interacting with their brand, or not, for that matter. We have all sat through meetings where well-designed reports are flaunted in view to affirm to stakeholders that consumer engagement is indeed in check.

Name your fix. Impressions? Clicks? Comments? Views, maybe?

Surely reading engagement reports can be quite captivating, but what good is this data if it is not processed, interpreted, harnessed and ultimately responded to with eloquence. 

A checklist for you 

  What are you making of your brand engagement data? 

  How are the findings informing your future game? 

  Is it helping you increase your brand strength? 

  Are you leveraging it to tap into ever-changing consumer trends? In real-time? 

  And, also, are you benchmarking your findings against global megatrends?

Your ability to leverage data is your fighting chance at safeguarding the demand for your brand amongst your future customers: those pesky, high-maintenance; Generation Z-ers.

This calls for versatility. To reach the point where art meets science, and data analysts are called upon to channel the mind of a creative director, the flair of a rock star and the elegance of a dancer, to plug into Gen Z-ers’ ever-fluctuating perspective. 

Gen Z are informed and opinionated. They need their brands to have a personal relevance to them and form a deep connection with what you are trying to sell. They do not take anything at face value and will ask the prodding questions of ‘how?’, ‘why?’ and ‘to what extent?’ 

With 78 per cent of Generation Z out seeking authenticity in the brands that communicate with them (according to marketing consultancy Impact), brands are required not only to engage with consumer, but to bond with them.

Gen Z-ers’ senses are constantly connected to the digital world. No wonder they are longing for
a deeper connection – cyber-connection, that is Infusing passion and creativity into your response to data insights and findings is your path to capturing the attention of Gen Z, or any other future generation for that matter, and reaping the benefits of reinforcing brand equity while boosting business profits. 

Irrespective of the task at hand or the generation you are targeting, consumption habits are changing, daily. But fret not, for data provides an access point – a passageway, if you like – to the heart of the conversations and the avenues where you have a vested interest. The trick is to establish
a genuine connection while maintaining your own unique voice and perspective, which communicate to your audiences that you sincerely “get them”.  Which brings us back to our guards standing at
the data helm, decoding the incoming signals and making sense out of them. 

Are you sure you have the right gatekeepers in place? You need to be on the lookout for four factors that will be integral to your success and must be followed to help you translate data into valuable connections. The ingredients of your winning mix are experience, passion, artistry and innovation. 

The late Albert Einstein stated: “The greatest scientists are artists as well.” Mixing in the four success ingredients of data management is artistry at its finest and will revolutionise your customer experience. 

Let’s put this in perspective. Several global brands have been fortunate to assign the right people to
the task. An example that comes to mind is the success of the violently popular Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). IT experts from the industry were able to take data and statistics and turn the UFC into an international culture – a revolution. They successfully penetrated the MENA market, as demonstrated by the recent UFC 242 that took place in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi. The explosive growth of the UFC is a direct result of their crackdown on the use of data, and the results speak for themselves. The UFC is now the face (albeit a bruised one) of best-practice data harvesting in action.

Consider data as an opportunity to drive you and your team to raise your brand to its highest potential, while generously presenting you with the clues needed to keep it there. 

The question is: Are you going to work with people who are bold or settle for those seeking
the safe, tried and tested route?