Why storytelling is so powerful in this digital era

Monday, July 24, 2017

Ashley Fell is a social researcher, keynote speaker and head of Communications at McCrindle. In her recent TED talk on The Visual Mind; Why storytelling is so powerful in this digital era, Ashley elaborates on the power of stories on our mind, and how to use them to communicate data-rich stories.

Communication has never been as important as it is today, because so much of our world is changing. We live in a world where our learning has changed. Where our interaction and how we ‘share’ has changed. Where even the concept of a story, has changed.

We are living in an age of digital disruption, in what we call 'the great screenage'. Where we now spend more time on our devices, than we ever have before. 

We live in technologically integrated times, where our attention spans are short. In times of message saturation and information overload, if you have important data to communicate, it is harder than ever to cut through the noise. 

The key to unlocking effective cut-through, is in an understanding of how the brain works.

For we know the brain is wired to processes visual imagery. When we look at how the brain retains information, words are processed by our short term memory, whereas visuals go directly into our long-term memory where they are indelibly etched.

And so the key is to present information in a way that appeals to the visual mind.

When we communicate data, our job is to move from the complex to the simple. Because the brain is more naturally wired to engage with the human, with the relatable, with a story than with just data, information and complexity alone. 

And when we think about engaging stories, whether they be novels, infographics or songs, they always have the four I’s.

Great stories create interest and capture our attention. Great stories instruct and communicate meaning. Great stories involve us. And importantly, a great story inspires. It connects not just with the eyes of the head but with the eyes of the heart.

We know the mind looks for direction and coherency. It doesn’t respond to ambiguity. And so as researchers, we navigate spreadsheets and find the intrigue and interest in the data. We fill in the blanks and communicate through the use of infographics and visualised presentations. We believe research is at its best, when it tells a story. 

When we think about visuals that create interest and engage our minds, there are three key elements.

The first is colour. Our eyes and our minds are drawn to colour. The second is picture. The content of the visual. And the third is movement. Motion and movement attract and retain our attention. That is why YouTube is so popular. For why would we read it, when we can watch it?

And so when you next have a story to tell, remember that the mind responds to visuals. That we are wired to engage and retain information visually. And that creating interest ad intrigue, especially when you are communicating data, has never been more important than in the great screenage we are living in today. 


Ashley Fell is a social researcher, TEDx speaker and Head of Communications at the internationally recognised McCrindle. As a trends analyst and media commentator she understands how to effectively communicate across diverse audiences.

From her experience in managing media relations, social media platforms and content creation, Ashley advises on how to achieve cut through in message-saturated times. She is an expert in how to communicate across generational barriers.

Download Ashley's Professional Speakers Pack here and see the McCrindle Speakers professional presenter showreel here

Contact us today to book Ashley for your next event. 

Welcome to Australia Street 2017

Monday, July 03, 2017

If you lived on an average sized street in Australia comprised of 100 households, and these households were exactly representative of the Australian population, did you know that in a year, your street would see 1.2 marriages, 1.7 deaths and 3.3 births? These 100 households comprise 260 people, 49 dogs and 39 cats! There are 180 cars owned on the street, which each drive, on average, 14,000 kilometres each year.

We are delighted to present the brand new Australia Street infographic based on the just-released census data.

Welcome to Australia Street.

About Research Visualisation

In a world of big data, we’re for visual data. We believe in the democratisation of information, and that research should be accessible to everyone, not just to the stats junkies. 

We’re passionate about turning tables into visuals, data into videos and reports into presentations. As researchers, we understand the methods, but we’re also designers and we know what will communicate, and how to best engage. 

Whether you’re looking to conduct research from scratch, or if you have existing data that you want to bring to life – get in touch with the McCrindle team.

Welcome to our blog...

We have a passion for research that tells a story, that can be presented visually, that brings about change and improves organisations. And we hope these resources help you know the times.

Our Social Media Sites

Facebook | McCrindle Research Social Media YouTube | McCrindle Research Social Media Twitter | McCrindle Research Social Media Flickr | McCrindle Research Social Media Pinterest | McCrindle Research Social Media Google Plus | McCrindle Research Social Media LinkedIn | McCrindle Research Social Media Mark McCrindle Slideshare

Last 150 Articles


criminal marriage generational trends speakers offenders millennials faux-cilising social analysis 1980 shifts New Zeland belief NEETs public holiday equip REIV Conference communication anzac food bank publication child care SMART forum storytelling Willowdale JOMO Research Director post rationalism daily telegraph buildings change not-for-profit mover and shaker wealth and income Aussies business performance goal research on coffee low density donation future 1968 Sydney population Lower Hunter social issues research visualisation mobile internet optimistic royal family Mount Annan-Currant Hill Valentine’s Day census religion royal influence families conference speaker parenting engage Mark McCrindle tattoos Australia Day 2017 McCrindle Speakers darwin waverton sydney metro train follow 40 million priorities trend tuesday Merry Christmas ideas university degree Generation Y population map Social Trend award winner participants food Andrew Duffin Royals responsive Queensland: QLD couple high density living social lives Myth data visualisation unaffordable quote ferry the hills crime mccrindle research ultimo demography culture panel mccrinlde politics australian real estate relational group public speaker survey design Canberra work South Australia brand New South Wales youth unemployment young people focus group winter blues commuters presentation wellbeing The ABC of XYZ emerging generations young australians financial fears entrepreneur geomapping royal baby population travelling hornsby aged care leader Real Estate Institute of Victoria land of the middle class in depth interviews government school Financial Planning Association of Australia investor etiquette Australian schools Channel 7 business index retirement NBRS faux-ciliser rain work mates FPA experience slideshare ACF2017 kate middleton cultural diveristy rule keeper WA faith wage 10 years mccrindle house owning a home urban living cooking FOMO fresh ABS community event CBD litter future of work renter of the future apartments report survey Sydney Hills Business Chamber mythbusting the average aussie CPI Melbourne baby boom infographics cloudy days debt Tasmania twentyseventeen Gen X employmee economy holidays pharmacies conferences social commentary tips poor know the times media activity christian faux-cilise January 26th real high density apartments research services states Christchurch national crime rates Netflix chairty cica SA sydney speaker wedding facts recap social shifts millenials rise of local Channel Seven Word Up home weekly earnings safe Northern Beaches business investing ACF17 healthy future volunteers brands social enquiry sector forecasting Australian Population James Ward video trend sydneysiders New Zealand financial professional speaker world student tv pyrmont collaboration gen alpha Macquarie University middle class repayments Love global generations program in the media group session socialising easy rider define Res Vis social parents volunteering data school satisfaction affordable growing population workshop keynote teachers going out Cobbitty-Leppington The Daily Edition google stats VET sector 2016 census results children jobs of the future study sydneycity Hunter Valley employment hopes friendship Hornsby Shire Council DIY new office volunteer cartodb data victoria household award Sydney’s south west Australia Day Do It Yourself workplace christmas internships trades resilience dreaming professional presenters employmer dessert choice workers authenticity mentor environmental scanning newspaper NBRS Architecture demographics trends analyst entrepreneurs of today optus screenagers pharmacy ageing schools students deloitte property market charities coffee lovers aged care puzzle the hills shire meals social impact princess charlotte Adelaide sunburnt country Geoff Brailey forecast sports australian communities trends report workforce population milestone food insecurity house price rise future of education breakfast optus my business awards wealth distribution culturally diverse mccrindle in the media crows nest hobart annual income selfie house prices rising house prices alpha youth moreton bay earning trends neutral bay sector wide study Work place local community Vocational education keynote speaker wolloomooloo employers identity manly challenge not for profit research australians staying home more apartment hello fresh suburbs leadership workshop Australian Bureau of Statistics speajer community engagement events home ownership innovative Research Executive generation alpha learning Deaths social researchers suburban living cash Real Estate ease of travel housing trends Jura Australia population growth Australian Communities Trends career paying to work new york times urban System's Architect research data rental stress the changing face of cold state ACT typical australian SMSF TAS the lucky country public speaking bondi skills leadership fears speakers pack tertiary education office opening happiness village perth World Water Day Gen Y REIV National Conference brisbane Assistant Store Manager list teleworking increasing densification tableau case study engagement careers logan capital city McCridle customer marketing economic the australian dream lalor park travel census results Australian Home gig google for education staying in infographic baby boomers collaborative Western Australia social life local communities Performance Sentiment Index shopper's pick income Kirsten Brewer commuting cost weather wages thrive school students teacher baby names australia report online Tuesday Trend sentiments market research social commentator sunny days trends of 2017 giving click showreel royal social researcher sustainable Tuesday Trends average sydneysider demographer earnings teach wealth inequality office Mark McCrindle in the media EFF domestic family high density hunger changing face of sydney HSC local property renting Scouts students Australian Families learner Jura Coffee woolworths balance jobs hills snapshot Business analysis work from home generation innovation society research report energy marriages bus city product Australian Dream finance urban taskforce omnibus researcher meetings qualitative research divorce rate Financial Planning Week supply and demand housing affordability shopping centre plans donate lifestyle earn community workplace culture research national private wealth visual townhouses cancelling plans Christmas presents grandparents winter debate men speaker professional financial future christianity census 2016 communities residents Territory wealth and income distribution moderators guide nfp australian community trends report narcissism not for profit Financial Planning Association February 16 cancelling event eliane miles ashley fell blaxland money aussie culture rich intern ACF gig economy 24,000,000 presentations Australian demographics charity sector wide educhat acf15 Lower Hunter Region baby name predictions VIC dream 2014 communicate data analyst Sydney keynote speaker work-life Engineering Manager medicine 2020 Australia street curiosity father's day future proofing dreams cancel plans clothing news ashley mckenzie Sydney event mortgage Christmas season unemployment NSW census data focus groups PSI demographic transformations socialites growth Christmas lunch grave decision financial dreams VET Northern beaches Event marrickville media commentary millionth 2015 ACT Report resource Maxim Accounting Births easter Australian communities motivate national wealth cultural diversity education research poker master society trends vegetarian personal growth spirituality bureau demographic trends purpose the great screenage internship 2016 Generation X Wellington monarchy futurist IT Specialists Northern Territory shbc financial planning vegemite Caregiver 2012 long weekend university census fail sydneysider social change GPO church commute australia global technology language personalities statistics huffington post affordability salary overcast australian 2013 graphs mateship care support visualisation eliane thought leadership communications NT SRE generations average Australian baby name trends rent Crime Rates 1975 entertainment education women growth of sydney transport social research future proof toys learn living younger generations baby names report proactive conference goals Queensland mccrindle tea NFP event TED TEDx coffee Kiwi housing growth australian social research shopping consumer Australian community trends capital cities daily commute housing market organisational culture global financial crisis area schools casual friends Elderslie-Harrington park year 7 teaching Wagga Wagga budget gen z megatrends 1994 insight emerging technologies wealth emerging trends professional development public transport consumerism Education Future Forum summer baby gender water TDE Hills Shire Council interactive greatness generation Z Bathburst urban living index holiday investment volunteering house price ipswich menai education future report suburb impact networking potts point seasons social trends digital Australian Census 2016 census TED talk non profit training "know the times" high school education future hills shire Northern Beaches Christian School builders research pack Australian Trends ageing population celebration screenage relevant micro apartments names ACF 2016 professional services #censusfail contiki social media online shopping who is generation z gold coast mining boom Aussie media financial independence media release cars organisations outsourcing office space infographic wall life world youth day educated entrepreneurial What is food insecurity? cost of living staff sydney hills live the dream trends of 2016 mythbusters micro housing Duchess of Cambridge environment households tuesday insights Australians average aussie education sector tea Skilling Charlotte small business property price sydney event Population Clock dare to dream conference presentation English year 12 story norwest results 23 million brand experience australian communities forum analysis baby name prince george demographic 24 million ethnography car home owner Wodonga DESTEL mother's day 2017 social analyst spend stay home baby names learning styles future-proof sun divorce future of shopping