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Big Thick Data. Connecting to humans in a data-driven world

We all know about Big Data, the multi-billion dollar industry of high-volume, high-velocity information mined for quantitative insights. But, what about Thick Data; human-based insights garnered through one-on-one interactions.

As Big Data looks at the whole, Thick Data looks at the individual and delves far beyond numbers and algorithms. Thick Data helps us understand why things are the way they are. It provides behaviour-based data points that give us unrivalled insight into human attitudes, actions and emotions. It’s powerful qualitative information that can unlock new ways for brands to connect with the people who buy their products. It can map out emergent human dynamics and trends. It can make brands matter.

It’s easy to disregard Thick Data because it’s not quantifiable in a traditional sense. But that is where its raw power lies. Thick Data allows you to research in an unencumbered space, one free from parameters designed to deliver the data you are looking for. It allows for free exploration, which often reveals uncommon solutions to common problems.

Melody Ndlovu, research specialist at 34° says, “We cannot forget the importance of the human in everything we do. Too often we rely on desktop research and data but there is so much more. Human insights open up a whole new world of creativity because they touch on being human and what that actually means.”

Nando’s is a great case study for Thick Data as they use it to tap into authentic human truths and use insights to create distinctive campaigns that resonate with people.

Lego is another great example of a business that looked at how people use its products to move from a failing toy brand to a market leader.

Then you have Spotify’s stellar campaign ‘Thanks 2016, it’s been weird’ that used Big Data and human truths to tell real user stories.

At 34° we propagate the value of the human connection and use Thick Data to drive and shape our decisions. To do this we turn to our street-smart tools 34° Families, 34° Chats, The Council of Women and The Council of Gents, to keep us honest amidst the Big Data onslaught. 34° Families immerse us in the realities of the everyday South African family. 34° Chats allow us to become a part of social interactions amongst a group of familiar people. And The Councils transport us into the social space where we can kindle organic conversations.

As the industry throws itself into the wake of Big Data it’s up to us as brand custodians to maintain a healthy balance. Because Big Data will tell us that you read this article, but Thick Data will tell us what it made you think, what it made you do, and how it made you feel.

34° is an independent marketing agency that delivers effective solutions to unlock better business outcomes for brands.