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What Escher Taught Me About Analytics

As an agency, HCB Health has been thinking — and writing — about analytics a lot lately. Even though it’s been a core competency at our agency for several years now, I admit I’ve struggled to fully wrap my arms and head around what it means and how to effectively use it. It has always felt Escher-like in its complexity and infinite possibilities. Where do you start? Where are you going? And how do you know when you’ve arrived? I never imagined that analytics would be the trigger for my existential crisis. Yet here I am, metaphorically frozen in place in Escher’s “House of Stairs.”

Of course, I’ve since learned that the reality of analytics is much less dramatic. While you cannot overestimate the vastness of information analytics has to offer, like an Escher painting, it is based in patterns, symmetry and mathematical structure. Analytics provides a glimpse into the past. And the future. It reveals the rational mind. And the emotional one. It is science. And art. Like creativity, it thrives on cognitive dissonance — connecting the seemingly unconnected. As a creative, the familiarity of this concept warms my heart and calms my mind.

Better yet, it adds value to the work creatives do. A creative product powered by analytics is going to work harder — and smarter — to achieve the intended results. Here are some of the ways in which I have personally experienced the contribution of analytics:

  • Launching a disease state education website that reflects real-world needs.

    By developing content and a user experience informed by data, we were able to develop an unbranded site that was a near-perfect reflection of the customer’s needs. The site worked hard from the start, winning over key influencers (not to mention a couple of prestigious industry awards) and turning advocacy groups into brand evangelists.

  • Using analytics to optimize against KPIs.

    When metrics exposed an underperforming CTA on an inherited website, we used that knowledge to course-correct, modifying the navigation and site design to bring greater attention to the opt-in button. By quickly converting information into action, we were able to positively change user behavior.

  • Informing naming conventions.

    Who knew that using British English in America could wreak havoc on your search? I do now. We have applied this knowledge to help guide the spelling and taxonomy of global brands and sub-brands to help improve their overall online performance and visibility.

  • Finding efficiencies in content development and deployment.

    A lot of usable content already exists if you know where to look. Through social listening, we have identified content that is appropriate for products and brands to repurpose, giving clients a streamlined pathway to meeting their promotional and social strategy goals.


Creativity is your key to opening the door. But if you’d prefer to kick it down, power your creativity with analytics. (I think Escher would approve.)


Amy Hansen is the SVP, Creative Director at HCB Health. Connect with Amy on LinkedIn 


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