Sam Knowles: Inspiring Action Through Data-Backed Narratives
Sam Knowles
Sam Knowles

The digital age has transformed data into the lifeblood of every organization. It fuels decisions, strategies and innovation. Yet, a paradox persists. Despite the abundance of data, many businesses struggle to harness its true potential.

This is where experts like Sam KnowlesFounder & Chief Data Storyteller at Insight Agents—step in. With a keen understanding of human behavior and a knack for transforming complex data into compelling narratives, Sam is at the forefront of a revolution in data storytelling.

Sam is a visionary leader in the field of data storytelling. With a background in psychology and years of consultancy experience, Sam brings a unique blend of expertise to his role as Chief Data Storyteller. His mission is clear—to help organizations sound more human and connect with their audiences on a deeper level through storytelling.

The Art of Asking

Sam stands as a guiding force in the disruptive world of data-driven decision-making. He is dedicated to helping organizations of all shapes and sizes navigate the complexities of data usage. With a focus on transforming how businesses interact with data, Sam’s expertise spans across various facets, from refining the questions posed to extracting the most pertinent data, showcasing authentic human insights and ultimately crafting compelling narratives based on evidence.

Drawing from his extensive experience and the wealth of knowledge encapsulated in his books, Sam empowers organizations to harness the true potential of their data. He understands that the key lies in asking the right questions to elicit meaningful insights. By guiding his clients through this process, Sam facilitates a shift towards more informed decision-making rooted in data-driven narratives.

Where Data Meets Narrative

Founded in the U.K., Insight Agents is a consultancy firm that specializes in data storytelling. Led by Sam Knowles, the company helps organizations of all sizes and types leverage the power of data to craft engaging narratives that resonate with their audiences. Whether it’s businesses, charities, universities, or government departments, Insight Agents is dedicated to helping its clients communicate effectively through data-driven stories.

In December 2013, Sam embarked on a mission to revolutionize brand communication by founding Insight Agents. With a vision to help brands connect more authentically with their audiences, Insight Agents utilizes the principles and tools of strategic planning to craft compelling and distinctive narratives.

At the core of their approach lies an untiring commitment to analytical rigor and evidence-based storytelling. By delving deep into the data and insights available, Insight Agents reveals the “Golden Thread” that ties together every aspect of a brand’s communication strategy. This holistic approach ensures that every message resonates with authenticity and relevance in turn fostering deeper connections with consumers.

Backed by over 25 years of experience in multi-channel communications, Insight Agents’ consultants bring clarity and precision to their work. With a keen understanding of market dynamics and consumer behavior, they arm marketers with the insights and strategies needed to drive impactful action. Through their expertise, Insight Agents empowers brands to navigate the complexities of modern communication landscapes with confidence and purpose.

Crafting Compelling Narratives

Central to Sam’s work lies the intricate craft of data storytelling, a skill honed and refined through his acclaimed trilogy of books—‘Narrative by Numbers’ (2018), ‘How To Be Insightful’ (2020) and ‘Asking Smarter Questions’ (2022). Within these pages, Sam offers invaluable insights into the principles and practices of effective data storytelling while delving into the fundamental importance of asking smarter questions.

In Sam’s world, the building blocks of insight are data and information, which, when combined in novel ways, yield meaningful connections. By posing smarter questions, organizations foster collaboration and productivity, moving away from confrontation towards a more harmonious environment.

Moreover, Sam emphasizes the significance of sourcing genuine insights, which drive strategy and innovation. At the core of this process lies the STEP Prism of InsightTM—a model of insightful thinking designed to solve creative problems and propel organizations forward.

With the increasingly homogenous job market, Sam underscores the importance of two essential skills—interrogating data and using extracted insights to persuade others to act. He advocates for a fusion of analytics and storytelling, where the equation Analytics + Storytelling = Influence holds true. Through simple yet effective rules of data-driven storytelling, Sam equips individuals with the tools to create compelling, evidence-based narratives that captivate audiences and drive action.

Empowering Organizations

As Insight Agents continues to shape the domain of data storytelling, their impact extends beyond traditional consultancy projects. Through meticulously crafted training, coaching, and mentoring programs, Sam Knowles and his team are on a mission to empower individuals, teams, and entire organizations to harness the power of data-driven narratives.

Their online training course, aptly named Using Data Smarter,’ exemplifies their dedication to spreading knowledge and driving impact in the field of data storytelling. This comprehensive program, designed by Sam himself, offers a step-by-step system for mastering the art of highly effective data storytelling. Participants delve into the nuances of distinguishing between ‘good’ and ‘exceptional’ data storytelling, learning to transform insightful data into compelling narratives that resonate deeply with audiences. Through systematic guidance, they merge analytical rigor with storytelling finesse, unlocking the key to influence in the digital age.

Drawing from his extensive experience, Sam has developed a specific set of steps that form the backbone of the course curriculum. From asking smarter questions to deploying frameworks like the STEP Prism of Insight™, participants gain invaluable insights into constructing authentic and powerful stories rooted in data. The course caters to a diverse audience, including marketing agencies, corporations, professional services, and market researchers, all seeking to drive growth and deepen their understanding of their target audiences. With a comprehensive showcase of tools and templates, participants are equipped to navigate the complexities of data storytelling with confidence and precision.

In addition to training, Sam shares his insights and engages with a broader audience through “Data Malarkey – the podcast about using data smarter.” Every fortnight, listeners can tune in on Apple, Spotify, and YouTube Music to explore the fascinating world of data storytelling and learn from some of the finest data storytellers globally. This podcast, alongside the comprehensive ‘Using Data Smarter’ course, highlights Insight Agents’ commitment to enhancing data literacy and storytelling capabilities across various sectors.

For more information on mastering data storytelling, visit Using Data Smarter. To stay updated and inspired, listen to “Data Malarkey” on Apple, Spotify, and YouTube Music.

Celebrating Success

The impact of Insight Agents’ work is not only felt in the transformative outcomes they bring to their clients but is also recognized through numerous awards and accolades garnered over the years. In 2021, Insight Agents clinched four awards at the Internal Communications & Engagement Awards, an example of their exceptional work in partnership with FathomXP for Crown Worldwide.

The year 2022 saw Insight Agents adding to their accolades, as they were honored with two silvers in the DataComms Awards. The first silver was awarded for the Best Use of Animation recognizing their outstanding work with Novartis. The second silver was bestowed upon them for the Best Corporate Storytelling Through Data highlighting their excellence in assisting the marketing performance management business—Ebiquity.

Furthermore, Sam has been personally recognized for his contributions to the field. In 2021, he was honored with a fellowship from the Professional Speaking Association, a prestigious acknowledgment of his expertise and influence. Additionally, in 2023, Sam received another fellowship, this time from the esteemed Market Research Society, further solidifying his reputation as a leader in the industry.

Impactful Insights

As the demand for data-driven insights continues to grow, Insight Agents remains at the forefront of the data storytelling revolution A significant contributor to their consultancy’s revenue is Sam’s impactful speaking engagements, which generate approximately 20% of their revenue. These speaking engagements serve as a powerful platform for Sam to share his expertise and insights with a wider audience.

For those eager to witness Sam’s compelling speaking style firsthand, Insight Agents’ YouTube channel offers a treasure trove of examples. From thought-provoking keynotes to insightful discussions, viewers can immerse themselves in Sam’s wealth of knowledge and experience. Simply visit Insight Agents’ YouTube Channel to explore the captivating world of data storytelling. As the digital realm progresses, Sam’s vision and expertise will undoubtedly continue to shape the future of data storytelling for years to come.

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