Data Storyteller - Tamanna Bajaj

It’s no secret – data storytelling is a marketing gold for any brand. In the digital age, where we are constantly confronted with a million numbers we can barely comprehend or attach context to, data storytelling turns numerical values into compelling narratives that become the core foundation of the decision-making process, reveal interesting patterns and trends, and ultimately enrich our understanding of the world. Or a brand’s audience, to be specific.

Data storytelling blends hard data and human emotive communication, enabling marketing professionals and brands to find their right audience and pinpoint effective strategies for reaching them. When raw numbers are transformed into insights with real meanings – like a consumer survey that goes far beyond demographics, uncovering interests, attitudes, and motivations – they unlock innovations and business strategies that have otherwise been impossible to conceive.

To Tamanna Bajaj, who joined Vero as the regional director of data and insights in November, data has never been more powerful and essential. The intense competition among brands vying for the same markets and the ever-changing consumer demands have emphasized the crucial role of insights in the dynamic interplay between consumer understanding and industry leadership.

With a background in engineering, data analytics, artificial intelligence, urban science, and policy planning, Tamanna embodies Vero’s forward-thinking approach to data and insights. Tamanna is now leading a team of data miners and consultants for Insights IQ, helping empower our partner clients with in-depth analysis of their brand’s reputation across various vital metrics, including social media sentiment, media coverage, and customer feedback.

In a recent conversation with Tamanna, she delves into the intricacies of data storytelling, unveiling its transformative impact on shaping brand narratives and translating audience insights into powerful strategies that resonate at the core of meaningful connections.

What sparked your interest in data and analytics?  

When I saw the potential of how powerful data could be when harnessed in the right way, I was really drawn to it. Data proves indispensable to any industry – it has now become a survival tool. Every business in every sector recognizes the pivotal role of strategically harnessed data. And as a practitioner, data allows me to explore different tools and subjects and not be confined to a single realm or discipline.

And I have always been interested in mysteries and solving problems and when I was young, I wanted to be a detective. In my opinion, being a data analyst is like being a detective. You have to solve a mystery by digging through the data and unraveling clues. It’s like solving a puzzle to extract the best insights and takeaways.

What’s the most complicated aspect of data and insights?  

Data cleaning is always tricky. Data comes in many forms, often it can be in its raw, unfiltered form. often in its raw, unfiltered state. To derive the necessary insights, the imperative initial step involves meticulously cleaning the data. This can be a tedious process and, at times, manual. But it is also a very crucial step because it ensures the results are accurate and redundant data is filtered out.

You call yourself a “data storyteller.” How do you transform complicated numbers into a story? 

Yes, Data Storytelling is almost like combining scientific methods with artistic ones, almost like painting a picture for the audience using statistics and numbers. It involves approaching data as a journey, exploring the fundamental questions of Who? What? When? Where? and How? We guide our client or the audience through this journey, unraveling the narrative that the data inherently holds.

Visualizations, such as charts, graphs, and maps, play a crucial role in data storytelling. They help illustrate data trends, comparisons, and relationships in a way that is easily understandable even by those who don’t have technical backgrounds. Thoughtfully designed visualizations elevate the storytelling experience and ensure that the information is delivered with utmost clarity and precision. Most importantly, data storytelling is about inspiring action – whether it’s formulating a new product concept, orchestrating a strategic approach to branding, or sparking innovative campaigns.

In what ways do data and insights contribute to the decision-making process of a brand or business?

Data serves as a crucial asset for brands seeking to enhance their decision-making processes. It enables a comprehensive understanding of various facets, such as customer interests, through demographic insights and the perception of the brand through social listening—evaluating brand awareness and sentiment.

For instance, brands leverage customer data to delineate segments based on demographics, behavior, or preferences. This segmentation facilitates targeted marketing campaigns, allowing, let’s say, a clothing brand to customize its advertising for young adults, families, and seniors based on their distinct preferences. This strategic use of data ensures informed decision-making and the optimization of marketing efforts

Is a baseline understanding of data and insights common knowledge among the new generation of workforce, and how imperative is upskilling in this domain? 

Undoubtedly, data has become ubiquitous – it is everywhere and is used in different ways. Companies today, regardless of what industry they’re in, are undergoing a massive digital transformation, and there’s increasing recognition of data as a strategic asset that enhances operational efficiency, fosters innovation and leads to sustainable growth.

This paradigm shift signifies that companies are actively seeking a workforce equipped with an integral skill set for analyzing and interpreting data.  Professionals – new and seasoned – need to know that data literacy is now critical for career growth, and it might soon become a strict pre-requisite to any job. In the years to come, we will be confronted with new technologies, intelligent machines, and algorithms that will require adeptness in data-related competencies. Fortunately, plenty of tools and resources are available for upskilling, ensuring that we stay prepared and relevant in this modern professional landscape.