Last year, Google users around the world asked ‘why?’ more than ever before.
"Why is it called COVID-19?” "Why is everyone buying toilet paper?” "Why is Australia on fire?” "Why is there a coin shortage?”
This makes sense, of course: in a year filled with so much of the seemingly inexplicable, people wanted answers. From the devastating pandemic to the port explosion in Beirut, to countless other unusual and extraordinary occurrences, people had a strong desire to make sense of the unprecedented events happening all over the globe.
But this trend toward asking ‘why?’ also hints at a larger, more interesting shift in online behavior—that, in addition to seeking out information and entertainment, people are looking for deeper understanding of the world around them. In an era when an unparalleled, infinite amount of knowledge is readily available at our fingertips—and when there’s enough content out there to entertain us for the rest of our lives—the answer to every ‘what?’ and ‘how?’ and ‘who?’ and ‘where?’ can be found effortlessly, and in a million different iterations. In other words, information is easy to attain. What’s more difficult to achieve in this information era—and, therefore, more valuable—is insight. Understanding. Context.
For businesses everywhere, the lesson is clear: it’s no longer enough for you to merely inform and entertain your stakeholders. You need to be going deeper. But how does this lesson translate into action?
For one, it means doing more with your content and data. For the most part, businesses today understand that content and data can add value to the customer experience. Whether through reports, white papers, blog content, social media posts, or multimedia, brands are going above and beyond to give consumers something more. But are they going far enough?
If the data you offer up to consumers is little more than facts, figures, and statistics, it may certainly be interesting—but it might not be very insightful. The truth is that, in an era of big data, numbers can be found everywhere: statistics and figures are easy to come by. What’s more difficult to find are intelligent analyses of this data. You might, for example, observe an increase in social media commerce, but why? Why are consumers suddenly more willing and eager to shop via Instagram? And why is this important for brands? How can they leverage this kind of insight in a meaningful way? And what does it really mean? The increase in social media commerce itself—that is, the information—is noteworthy, but it doesn’t tell a complete story. And that’s what people are looking for: a coherent, compelling narrative.
Turning data into understanding requires strong critical thinking skills—but it also requires strong data. That’s why agencies like VMLY&R Amman are investing in robust data resources like the Global Web Index. With the Global Web Index, VMLY&R Amman has been able to transform huge amounts of data into actionable, insightful analysis and understanding—in a way that adds incredible value to its clients. As a result, the agency has been able to expand its reach and operations considerably, acquiring several new, high-profile local and regional clients.
Wavemaker Amman is another agency that is cleverly employing data and strategic thinking to add value to its clients. The company’s proprietary global audience technology allows Wavemaker to analyze complex consumer data in a way that’s designed to derive real, meaningful, valuable insights—which ultimately allows its clients to maximize the ROI of their media spending like never before.
But content and data aren’t the only areas where brands need to be providing answers to why-oriented questions: perhaps more importantly, it means doing a more comprehensive job of explaining your brand’s values and actions. Stakeholders want to know more than what you believe in and what you stand for: they want to understand your rationale for these beliefs. They want to get to the very core of your values: how did you arrive at those values? What’s the story behind them? Why do you believe what you believe?
Establishing these kinds of values early on can be extremely beneficial. When marketing communication agency Wunderman Amman helps new brands establish their corporate identities—or when they’re helping long-time clients reinvigorate their operations through rebranding—they’re constantly working to build a strong, resonant narrative that gives customers an answer to every ‘why.’ The agency engages in rigorous branding exercises that go far deeper than creating an eye-catching logo or a clever slogan. Why did you use those colors? Why did you choose those particular words? At the heart of every decision is a rationale that cuts to the core of the client’s identity. Everything is careful, deliberate, and—most importantly—meaningful.
And if your company is engaging in new projects, launching new products or services, or entering new markets or verticals, explaining ‘why’ is also crucial: what needs are you trying to meet? What opportunities are you looking to leverage? What goals are you aiming to achieve? Why do you do what you do?
But even if you’re not looking to rebrand your entire business or introduce new products and services, your communication efforts still need to be aligned and unified in ways that demonstrate coherence and meaning. Once again, the importance of a consistent narrative comes into play. That’s one of the reasons why MENACOM Jordan has established a centralized strategic planning department, building a team of experts who can provide integrated communication planning services for the group’s clients. This allows MENACOM’s clients to benefit from more holistic strategic insights, so that they can communicate their answers to ‘why’ more purposefully and uniformly.
Of course, it’s still important to keep your customers, employees, and partners informed about what you’re doing—but if you’re not getting strategic about explaining why, then your stakeholders are going to be left wanting. In the information era, the way to distinguish yourself is by being able to provide understanding. Ultimately, answering ‘why’ means telling your whole story, in a way that connects and resonates with your audience.