Vr3: Reputation, Relationships, Results

Big Data, Betty White and Oreos

Strategic communications professionals who profess to blindly follow data might as well be blind.

Data is important – no question. As communicators, data informs and enlightens what we do. Our clients demand it and their bosses require it.

But data is really just that – data. Absent content and experience, it may or may not add value to the business objective you’re trying to achieve.

As a follow to my most recent post (“The key to using data … you”), I really enjoyed Adam Kleinberg’s editorial in the recent Advertising Age (February 26, 2013) titled, “Data-Driven Creative Equals Mediocre Creative.”

Well-written and fun, he makes some strong and valid (mostly) claims.

Basically, he sees a big difference between data and insight. He’s a creative. I’m a PR guy. I see a big difference between data and knowledge. Yeh, I know … tomato or tomatoe.

Anyway, he’s right-on when he writes, “And insight is vital. Sometimes data provides insight. Sometimes it provides confusion …  Insight is just as likely to come from the gut … than it is [to come from] some data analyst poring over reams of spreadsheets.”

He’s a bit strong on marketers and their quest for data to drive marketing decision-making. But, there is some truth to what he writes.

He said data didn’t tell anyone to hire Betty White to pitch Snickers in a Super Bowl ad (2010). I say that data never enabled Oreo’s to post their “You can dunk in the dark” Super Bowl slam dunk (2013) when the lights went out.

In these cases, I think good data – and maybe even big data – more than likely enabled smart and creative people to truly understand their brand promises and their customer base and, for them, “wrote-down” the inherent risk of associating with Betty White or winging-it for Oreo.

No matter how big “big data” gets, winning through communications needs us – smart people – with our experiences, instincts, knowledge and wisdom.

At Vehr Communications, we want as much data as we can ever get our hands on when working to help a client achieve a business objective; it informs how we think. We, along with our clients, ultimately decide what to do.

We like to be informed and enlightened by data, not blinded by it.


This entry was posted in Corporate Communications, Marketing Communications, Social Media, Vr3. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.