It may seem a little strange, given it is part of our business name, but we are not overly fond of the word insight. Now, this doesn’t mean we are not passionate consumer insight advocates – of course we are! But, “insight” is such an over-used and misunderstood word, that we fear the value and meaning of “insight” may have been lost.
So, what do we mean when we say insight? And why do we think it is so important?
Conventionally insight is often defined as seeing what everyone else sees, but thinking something different. The Oxford dictionary talks about insight as the capacity to gain an accurate and deep understanding of someone or something.
This is a very important part of insight, an essential part, but it is not the whole picture, especially not for marketers.
For insight to be useful in a business sense, it must be about a penetrating new understanding that leads to opportunity. This is about more than just important learnings and facts that come out of research and other sources of information. Insight lies in determining how that information provides an opportunity for your business and brands going forwards.
We believe insight plays a pivotal role in brand strategy. These foundational insights (or, if you like, bedrock insights), are the intersection between consumer need and brand capacity. That is, a penetrating understanding of a consumer truth, that opens up an opportunity which is answered by the brand. If the brand is the how, then the insight is the why. Foundational insight is the brand’s reason for being. It is the flash of understanding about a real consumer need that the brand then fulfils, through its products, presence and communication.
Insights should play a role of paramount importance in the development of creative ideas. It is easy to get caught up in a cool creative concept, but without a strong insight that links an understanding of the customer to the core values and identity of the brand, then that is all it is – a cool creative idea. And while perhaps it might win you awards, it’s unlikely to add strategic value to the brand (or long term dollars to the bottom line).
Getting the insight right gives brands formidable opportunities to win in the market place. Insights that “zing” with energy and opportunity become potent springboards for creative development.
Insights are not just interesting facts, they are “aha” moments that paint a path towards a robust and sustainable future.
Finding sharp insights like that is not easy. It takes open minds, open eyes and a willingness to let go of preconceived notions. It takes a mixture of information, inspiration and imagination.
Ask us about our Sharp Eyes Process if you want to know more about getting the right insights for your business.