The Art of Analytics: Deciphering Behaviors

In last week’s Art of Analytics post we talked about how an increase in data is not necessarily leading to an influx in useful information for businesses. This week we invite you to take a closer look into W2O Group’s use of analytics and what we can’t wait to offer clients soon.

 Deciphering Behaviors

What hasn’t changed over the past seven years?

Our commitment to ensuring data isn’t being used for data’s sake. Analytics needs to be tied to business objectives. Asking how a project gives us information to improve business results, strengthen relationships and influence stakeholder actions keeps us focused.

Our approach. Four guiding principles and questions consistently drive our work as the field of analytics diversifies:

  1. Clarity is key. What are we looking to answer? What are we solving for and why does it matter? How will that objective improve relationships with clients’ employees, partners and customers, and drive desired behaviors?
  2. Be agnostic. What is the combination of data (e.g. digital, traditional, government, etc.) that will be most beneficial for the objective? What data is most useful and relevant versus nice to have?
  3. Be inquisitive. What can we do to be proactively searching for an original, perhaps unexplored approach? How can we push beyond our initial thinking to stretch possibility into emerging strategies and tools?
  4. Be discerning. How can we ground exploration of interesting insights and information in the realism of the market and what is most actionable for the client? What’s the simple, human conclusion? What do we need to remember specifically about the client to guide our selection of data?

 Today’s interests. We work to help client-partners identify opportunities to grow the business through their role in the enterprise (such as, Communications, Marketing, Sales, Consumer Insights, and Human Resources). This often involves:

  • Identifying people who have influence and are vocal in spaces that clients and their key stakeholders operate in; monitoring and engaging them as part of a long-term strategy
  • Determining perception and sentiment around a client organization and what product or service they offer
  • Mapping and monitoring key conversations and topics relevant to the spaces clients want to enter and/or grow their share of voice in, specific topics of interest (such as Crisis), and the key audiences clients want to connect with

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Analytics in Action (an example). W2O Group colleagues recently completed a project for a leading pharmaceutical subsidiary that focuses on dermatological treatments. How could they better market one of their acne medications to their primary – often overgeneralized – demographic, teenagers? The team used social data to model real-world teenager behavior and drew corresponding insights. It revealed distinct personas, each with very different preferences and triggers. With deeper insight into this core demographic, the Client more specifically marketed to each of them, in personalized ways that closely spoke to the current reality they face (vs. historic ones).


Tomorrow’s needs. Working with client-partners, we continue to see that there is interest and need in improvement in three primary areas:

  1. Combining traditional data with government data and digital data – The converged movement can be bigger and better. It’s no longer enough to look at one form of research in a vacuum. Collectively looking at information that’s been available for years and overlaying it with digital analytics, for example, is only going to grow and improve.
  2. Visualization (or storytelling) of data beyond charts and graphs – There are great tools emerging that can be used to help make data significantly more human and digestible. More work can be done to tell clear, simple stories with data, that anyone and everyone can understand easily.
  3. Predictive analytics – We’re most jazzed about increasing clients’ ability to see and act on trends sooner – to help them get ahead of the curve so they can better serve and add value to their stakeholders. It’s not quite telling the future, but it’s close enough that we’re excited to get ahead of what’s next.

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We are fast at work addressing all three of these future needs in the space and can’t wait to continue to bring them to our client-partners.

As companies become even more digital and clearly technology-informed, we will continue to have more opportunities to explore on- and off-line interactions to help us get smarter about stakeholder perceptions (re: products, services, brands and companies) and their behaviors. It puts us in a confident position to build and manage relationships with them in authentic, mutually beneficial ways.

In our next Art of Analytics post, we’ll look at how we’re building the best team of analysts in the business to ensure quality and to perpetuate ingenuity.

This blog series was authored was by Meriel McCaffery, Corporate & Strategy Senior Manager and Abigail Rethore, Corporate & Strategy Group Director. It was made in Los Angeles, Austin, New York, and London with experience and insight from our colleagues Lucas Galan, Head of Analytics Productization; Meredith Owen, Analytics Director; Kelley Sternhagen, Analytics Director; and Paul Dyer, President of Analytics and Insights. Connect with them to learn more!

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