Not Just the Facts: Infuse Life Into Your Data
Expand your brandís reach with creatively
presented research data.
By Alessia Kirkland
usually present research data in the same old way ó a boring report format. A
standard report works for the true believers, people who are vested in the
mission of your organization and are willing to read through lists of data. However,
you need something more inventive, if you want to expand your brandís reach.
AM&Pís Annual Meeting session, "Not Just the Facts: How to Use Research
Data to Tell Your Brandís Story,Ē Jaime Andriopoulos, senior director of strategy at
Imagination, and Cyndee Miller, editorial director at Imagination, provided a
behind-the-scenes view of the four-step process they used to build a narrative
around a workforce survey for the National Restaurant Association Educational
Foundation (NRAEF) to engage the entire restaurant industry, not just the true
1. Strategize: Develop the program vision.
The first task
was to establish NRAEFís goals for the project. What was the association hoping
to achieve? NRAEF decided it wanted to: (1) Position restaurants as an industry
of opportunity, (2) reach out to new audiences across multiple channels, (3) bring
a voice and personality to the data, and (4) extend the life of the data.
Next, the team
developed a Content Ecosysytem. Everything related to the project lived within
a content hub created for the campaign, which included: (1) a research report,
for people who wanted all the data/details; (2) a print magazine, for people who
preferred pictures with explanations; and (3) an infographic series, for those
who preferred the story within the graphics.
They also identified
the key players on the project: (1) NRAEF; (2) PR agency, to hire paid
bloggers; (3) social media agency, to hire paid celebrity bloggers; (4) content
marketing agency; and (5) the National Restaurant Association (NRA), their
2. Create: Execute the vision.
Andriopoulos and Miller used a process called "ideationĒ
to create the editorial and design concepts for the magazine and infographics. First,
they worked with NRAEF to decide on the tone and voice. They then created Q&As,
articles, and profiles to take the place of straight data. For the
infographics, they combed through the data for the best stories to tell. Next
they established the look with colors, fonts, images, pie charts, and bar
charts. Once everything was in place, they made sure to get it right with multiple
rounds of manuscript review, fact checking, and layout review.
The end result
was Advance magazine ó bringing research
to life with personal stories, instead of conveying it in a traditional/boring data
format. Advance was a full-fledged
magazine with nameplate, TOC, presidentís letter, and most important, a feature
well with stories that hit home about a high-growth industry.
3. Distribute: Get it out there.
NRAEF used a
combination of paid bloggers and celebrity social sponsors to put out the
message. The bloggers and celebrities used their own voice, but wrote NRAEF
content. They then used content syndication to drive traffic.
4. Measure: Did this work?
The project was
a huge success. Through the creation of a magazine, infographics, content hub,
and paid media, Imagination and NRAEF gave life and color to research data that
proved restaurants are an industry of opportunity. They received a positive
buzz throughout the industry, numerous requests for additional copies, and
noted an increase in donor interest.
There were also
a few lessons learned/recommendations from NRAEFís experience:
important to establish an internal approval process and engage potential
(2) You should
also plan far ahead to ensure thereís
communications support to keep the momentum going and establish a print
the end of the talk, Andriopoulos
and Miller gave the audience one final piece of
advice: "Donít be afraid to blow things up and look at things through a
Alessia Kirkland is
creative director, Optics & Photonics News, for the Optical Society (OSA)
and a member of the AM&P Annual Meeting Committee. Association Media &
Publishing sincerely thanks her for doing such a terrific job capturing the
essence of this session for our members who were unable to attend.