The gold of insight

Finding the Golden Insight in your Information
SOURCE: Dreamstime

Insights are the pot of gold that most businesses dream of but few really find. Why is that? Are you one of them? If so then I have some ideas on how you can get better at developing Actionable Insights.

#1. Insight doesn’t come from a single market research study

Insight is not “just another word for market research”. Insights are tough to develop and rarely, if ever, come from a single piece of market research. Each market research project that is conducted should be designed to gather information in order to answer one or more questions. Whilst it may enable a business to make more informed decisions based upon the objectives, insight development is quite a different process.

Insight development involves integrating, analysing and synthesising all the information you have about a category or segment user, summarising it into knowledge and understanding, and then developing the insight. All brands should have (at least) one insight on which its image, personality and communication is built. For example

  • AXE (Lynx in UK): (young) men want to attract as many beautiful and sexy women as possible

Insight development will provide the basis on which you will define the actions that are needed to change the behaviour of your target audience.

#2. Insight development is based upon a desired behavioural change

When sales, marketing or management look to change a customer’s behaviour, it is with the objective of improving their business results. For instance:

  • From buying a competitive brand to purchasing yours
  • From using your services once a month, to once a week
  • Changing customers’ perceptions about your price from expensive to good value for money

Because insights are based on a desired behavioural change, they usually contain an emotional element that is communicated through advertising. The emotion that is shown in the advertisement is more likely to resonate with customers, who are then motivated to take the desired action.

#3. Insight development needs more than Insight professionals

Insight development really benefits from working from differing perspectives to get to that “ah-ha” moment, that many refer to. A deep understanding of customers and their reasons for behaving in a certain way, comes from looking at all aspects of their lifestyle. If you only review the actual moment when they choose or use a product or service, it is highly unlikely that you will develop that deep understanding.

This is why it is important to work as a team when developing insights. Depending upon the issue or opportunity identified, the team can be made up of people from marketing, sales, trade marketing, production, packaging, advertising, innovation, distribution. These people don’t necessarily need to work on the category in question either; sometimes it is by taking ideas from different categories that real insights are developed.

#4. Insights are usually based on a human truth

Maslow's pyramid

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
SOURCE: Dreamstime

The insights that resonate best with people are those that are based upon a human truth. A human truth is a statement that refers to human beings, irrespective of race, colour or creed. It is a powerful and compelling fact of attitudes and behaviour that is rooted in fundamental human values. It is a fact that is obvious when quoted, but is often ignored or forgotten in daily business. Human truths are linked to human needs and although questioned in some circles today, Maslow’s hierarchy is still seen as one of the most relevant sources of classification of human needs.

Examples of human truths include:

  • Parents want to protect their children
  • Men and women want to find love
  • Children want to be better than others

If you are struggling to find an insight, it can help to review the needs level of your target audience and see how your brand can respond to it.

#5. Insights aren’t always category specific

Following on from the above points, it is particularly interesting that once found, an insight can be adapted to be used with different brands. There are many examples of this happening, particularly amongst major FMCG / CPG companies.

Insight: Young women want to be appreciated for who they are ie not models

  • Unilever’s Dove was the first brand to recognise and benefit from this insight. Their famous Real Beauty campaign resonated so well with young women that many other brands copied it, especially their Evolution film.Here is one of their more recent ads that I’m sure will give you goosebumps.
  • The Swiss Supermarket chain Migros has a store brand “I am” which uses the same insight across all the health and beauty products. Somewhat unusually, the brand name itself is based upon the same insight, and its advertising repeats it several times: “I am – what I am“.

So there you have them, the five steps that combine to help you develop better insights. Even if you already have your own process for creating them, I know from experience  it can be tough to find insights from all the information you gather. I hope this short article will assist you in your search for those “golden nuggets”. Do share your own ideas for making insight development easier, I would love to hear from you.

For more information on Insight development, please check out our website, or Contact us for an informal chat about setting up a 1-Day Catalyst session, where we will work with your team to review and revitalise your own insight process, or to define one if you do not as yet have a proprietary one. No obligation, just INSPIRATION!