We’ve stopped what we are doing and creating your personalized BrandZ™ report, which will appear in your inbox soon.

Data Driven Brand Building

Alexandra Beneville

Managing Director

Wunderman Thompson


Data Driven Brand Building

“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” -Jeff Bezos

But how do you know what they are saying? And about that room - how you even know where to find it? Answering these questions leads us to data – and specifically, how data can play a crucial role in brand-building. Data fuels insights into how consumers think about your brand, and why they may engage or disconnect.

Today, we have access to a greater volume and variety of data than ever before: from owned channels to social listening, online marketplace reviews to category review sites, data allows brands to build much clearer pictures of their place in the world and within the lives of target consumers.

Consumers increasingly want brands to show a deep understanding of people’s needs and expectations. Converting data into insights, and then using those insights to support brand-building activities, are both critical steps toward accomplishing this goal.

Shaping the brand story

A brand story is the heart of a brand. It is a passionate narrative of what a brand is, what it means and why it matters. The brand story should motivate internal stakeholders like marketing teams and sales teams, and excite external stakeholders like target consumers. It should be relevant and believable – and confirmed as such using ample evidence.

Collecting data from forums external to the brand can show how the brand story is resonating in the real world. Data can show how the brand story is being evolved, retold, and shared in consumers’ own words. This feedback can be used to check the health of a brand, but it can also help a brand team refine a brand story for greater relevance and impact.

A wonderful example of using data to support a brand story is the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. This 200-year-old dictionary is relevant and alive in a digital age thanks to its engagement on social channels. Merriam-Webster fuels its relevancy by using data and insights on word searches, language evolution, and word usage (especially with respect to trending topics) to feed Merriam-Webster’s social content and connect with linguaphiles around the world.

Finding the elusive ‘Right place, right time’

Every brand tries to engage with the “right message at the right place and the right time.” But too often customer insights are incomplete or not specific enough to truly reach and engage in a meaningful way, time, and place. Data exists by the ton, to be sure, but it has to be intelligently used to become insight. Behavior, attitudes, needs, and consumption data can be aggregated and analyzed to build a detailed customer engagement map. This map is a comprehensive and usable view of every consumer experience, and it allows for specific alignment of messaging and reach to arrive at the best opportunities for engagement.

Customer engagement maps also make it easier for a brand to adapt and evolve its communications with consumers over time in a relevant and personalized way. This engagement is critical as marketing increasingly shifts to a model of greater accountability. Work that demonstrates effectiveness in clear and tangible ways is now the expectation. If communications are strong enough and well targeted enough, brand building can happen along the entire engagement pathway, with opportunity to build brand love at all points from first sight to checkout click.

Keeping the brand alive

New data equals new ideas. Where is your brand going? What functionality does it require? How will it evolve to maintain relevance? Data can help answer these questions and the process doesn’t have to be laborious. Take Tesla, for example. The company has a strong R&D team, but many ideas for new functionalities come from the car company’s Twitter account, where Tesla owners send tweets suggesting new features or upgrades. Every Tweet represents a direct engagement from a valued Tesla owner, and a valuable piece of data.