Insights are the pot of gold that many businesses dream of but rarely find. Why is that? Are you one of them? If so then I have some practical ideas on how you can get much, much better at insight development.
#1. Insights rarely come from a single market research study
Management often thinks that insight is “just another word for market research”. I remember one of my previous CEOs saying exactly that to me just before he addressed the whole market research and insight global team at our annual conference. I’m sure you can imagine what a panic I was in as he walked up to the mike!
Insights are demanding to develop and are rarely, if ever, developed from a single piece of market research. Each market research project is designed to gather information in order to answer one or more questions. Whilst it may enable a business to make a more informed decision based upon the objectives, insight development is quite a different process.
Insight development involves integrating, analysing and synthesising all the data and information you have about a category or segment user. Then summarising it into knowledge and turning that knowledge into understanding. Only then are you ready to develop an insight.All brands should have (at least) one insight on which its image, personality and Big Idea (for communications) are built. What is yours? #Brand #Marketing #Communications #BrandBuilding Click To Tweet
All brands should have (at least) one insight on which its image, personality and Big Idea (for communications) are built. For example
- AXE (Lynx in UK): (young) men want to attract as many beautiful and sexy women as possible. This is one of their newer ads, where the seduction is a little less in your face and more subtle – but still there.
- Haribo Starmix: There’s a child inside every adult. This “Kid’s Voices” campaign has been running for years and manages to surprise and delight with each new episode. Which is your favourite? Please add a comment below.
- Dulux sample paint pots: I love to decorate my home, but I don’t want to look stupid by choosing the wrong colour. Although these are now a standard offer for many paint brands, Dulux were the first to understand the problem facing potential home decorators.
Insight development will provide the basis on which you will define the actions that are needed to change the attitudes and / or behaviour of your target audience. It also provides a solid framework on which to build your Big Idea for your communications’ strategy.
#2. Insight development is based upon a desired attitude and/or behavioural change
When your sales, marketing or management look to improve their business results, their real objective is to change the attitude and/or behaviour of your current or potential customers. For example:
- From buying a competitive brand to purchasing yours.
- From using your services once a month, to once a week.
- Moving customers’ beliefs about your brand from a traditional or classic brand, to a more modern image.
- Changing customers’ perceptions about the price of your brand from expensive to good value for money.
Because insights are based on a desired change in your customers, they usually contain an emotional element that is communicated through advertising and promotions. The emotions that are shown in your communications are more likely to attract customers by resonating with their own emotions. This results in them feeling that the brand understands them, a powerful emotion in itself. They are then more likely to remember your brand and be more motivated to take the desired action you have identified.
If you are looking to increase sales or improve your brand’s image or equity, look to connect emotionally with your (potential) customers. Identifying the change you need your customers to make is a foundational step of insight development.Identifying the change you need your customers to make is a foundational step of insight development. #Brand #Marketing #BrandBuilding #Insight Click To Tweet
#3. Insight development needs more than Insight professionals
Although this may sound strange at first, insights really do benefit from working with people that have differing perspectives. This is by far the easiest way 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 lives.
If you only review the actual moment when they choose or use a product or service, it is highly unlikely that you will develop the deep understanding you need. What happens before and afterwards also leads to their choice of their next purchase.What happens before and afterwards your customer's choice or purchase, is as important to understand as are their reasons for purchasing. #Customer #Purchase #Buying Click To Tweet
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, and/or distribution. And these people don’t even need to work on the category in question; sometimes it is by taking ideas from different categories that real insights are developed.
#4. Insights are usually based on a human truth
The insights that resonate best with people are those that are not only emotional, but are also based upon a human truth. As you can imagine, these two elements are closely connected.
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 something that is obvious when quoted, but is often ignored or forgotten in daily business.
Human truths are linked to human needs and although it’s validity has been questioned in the past, it is seeing a revival today. The covid-19 virus has moved all human being back to a search for the basic levels of safety and health.
Examples of human truths used by some brands include:
- Parents want to protect their children.
- Men and women want to find love.
- People want to be better than others.
If you are struggling to find an insight, it can help to review which level of needs your target audience is on and see how your brand can respond to help answer it.If you are struggling to find an insight, it can help to review which level of needs your target audience is on. #Brand #Marketing #BrandBuilding #Insight #CustomerNeeds Click To Tweet
#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 and used by different brands. There are many examples of this, particularly amongst major FMCG / CPG companies.
So take a look at your competitors’ communications and see if you can identify the insight on which they are built. Do the same for other categories targeting a similar audience. Sometimes you can use the same insight for your brand as they are using. But I would only recommend this if you are really struggling to develop your own insight.
One very successful example of this is the advertising for Omo/Persil from Unilever and Nestle’s Nido. They are both based on the insight “I want my child to experience everything in life, even if it means getting dirty.” Take a look at the two ads below and see what I mean.
- Unilever’s Omo: shows that a good mother lets her child experiment and learn – even if this means getting dirty. If you don’t know their advertising, then check out one example from this long-running campaign.
- Nestlé’s Nido: illustrates this need as a mother providing the nourishment for healthy growth which allows her children to explore the outside world safely. If you would like to see a typical advertisement, check it out on YouTube here. Interestingly, Nestlé has used this same insight to develop advertising for its bottled water in Asia and pet food in the Americas too.
Another example of a shared insight is again from Unilever’s Dove and the local Swiss supermarket Migros. The insight is “Young women want to be appreciated for who they are and not just their external looks.”
- Unilever’s Dove was the first brand to recognise and benefit from this insight. Their famous Real Beauty campaign resonates so well with young women that many other brands copied it, especially their Evolution film. Here is one of their latest ads from 2021 that follows the same idea but now tackles the problem of heavily edited selfies. Dove continues to defend the need for real beauty standards, and I heard recently that they are even offering to pay other brands to diversify their ads! Here are the two ads.
- The Swiss Supermarket chain Migros has a store brand named “I am” which uses this same insight across all their 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 ideas and numerous examples that will help you to develop better insights more easily.
Although you probably already have your own process for creating them, I know from experience how hard it can be to find insights from all the information you gather.
I hope this short article has assisted 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.