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Using Data to Create Distinctive Social Markings

Some interesting stories are beginning to be told through data and infographics. Microsoft ( Foursquare and Old Spice have all put some useful examples together recently.

The great patrons of this art are likely to be the corporations who, just like those of the Renaissance, have the means and the desire to develop their social profile using new technology.

Visceral Business, the social business development business I lead, is developing customised data dashboards using the look and feel of each brand we work with, including Macmillan Cancer Support and Caf‚ Direct. As the power of data, especially open data, becomes more recognised and appreciated, the opportunity is opening up to elevate public data storytelling into a form of cultural art.

Over time, competitive pressure has demanded that brands have embarked on a journey to develop an individual look and feel, to be more recognizable, distinctive and preferred.

Today it doesn’t matter where you’re a large corporate or a company of one, if you are actively social then it follows that you have a digital footprint, and it follows then that footprint should have some clear markings that create a trail, that leave a clue as to who you are as a distinctive organisation of value.

Our online social environment is often regarded as primarily a technical and digital phenomenon, but if we dig a little deeper what we realize what we connect with in social communities in actual fact is our authentic selves and each other’s native spirit, our signatures, and how well these are brought to life visually.

Data visualization and story telling are both very powerful ways to articulate social identity, and this seems like the time be looking at data visualizations that take data closer to art.

For example, Novo Nordisk’s done a great job of telling it’s story online in its integrated Annual Report ( but the great content isn’t being brought to life with animated datasets, a visual story, interactivity and rich media communicating the social dynamic of the business in its own particular way.

For food and FMCG brands for example, the opportunity is to tell useful data stories about food provenance and product journeys as part of being a sustainable brand, again in their own visual and verbal style.

The nature of many datasets today is one where the ability to customize information so that it’s part of an organisations collective graphical, verbal and behavioural identity is missing and tools are largely proprietary. This is something we’re seeking to address.

Social brands communicate best when they have clear and recognizable cultural watermarks They need their art to be seen as well as their output to be engaging. As data journalism comes more adopted, this is a big opportunity for future forward developers.

The challenge is on now to see who will tell the best stories for social organizations by blending data with visual art.

We believe this opportunity to tell visceral stories is the way to develop more effective brand communication and social organizational involvement.

As Steve Moore has described it (, convening, curating and narrating the progress of the collectively smart social organization, and telling stories about the net worth within the network, and doing it your way, this all a part of who you are if you are a social organization.

We’re looking for developers who can collaborate with us on developing powerful data stories for brands. We think that’s one way we can help the artistry of how social organizations develop. So if you’re interested in being a part of it, we’d love to hear from you [mailto:].


Founder – Visceral Business