We've talked before about the importance of consumer insights. But here’s the million-dollar question: How, exactly, do you leverage a consumer insight?
First of all, if you hope to drive effective innovation and marketing, you have to be certain you’ve got some great insights. "Really good insights are motivating and have an "ah-ha" quality about them," says facilitator emeritus John Pfeil. "They make people stop and say, 'I've thought that, but I never knew how to say it before.'"
If you’re not sure you have a great insight on your hands, apply these three rules of thumb:
CONSUMER CONNECTIVITY—Great insights should be relevant, and display a sense of empathy or depth of understanding. Marketers should be relentless when it comes to gaining the right perspective from their target users and related constituencies. It’s often helpful to ask, “Whose perspective might be the most useful in discovering the best insights?”
FRESHNESS—Even the most loyal customer will not be impressed with the same old, same old. Great insights should be fresh…and a bit unexpected. Consider what type of reaction you’d like to elicit for your brand:
The Head Nod. Think Jerry Seinfeld’s material. These are insights that reflect true consumer resonance, relevance and understanding. The Head Jerk. Think George Carlin’s routine. These types of insights provoke, inspire and destabilize the standard status quo. Whiplash. Think Howard Stern territory. This category of insights is not only meant to incite or excite, but to also provoke—sometimes beyond the comfort zone.
TIME CONSCIOUSNESS—Great insights usually fall into two categories, relating to time. They’re either enduring statements that stand up to the test of passing years, or they have legs because of their attention to timeliness.
Once you know you’re working with some great insights, it’s time to find the one that will work hardest for your brand. The first thing to look for is an insight that elicits action, and makes your brand motivating and compelling to your customer. Your next focus should be on evoking emotion. A well-leveraged insight should not only involve your customer, but should inspire and intrigue them as well. Finally, insights should help you to differentiate your brand. If it doesn’t lead you to a competitive advantage, it’s not the right insight.
Just remember, your goal is to not only influence your customers, but to ultimately drive decision-making in your favor. Even if you collect the most evocative insights, they still need to fit with your brand, your target and your strategy. When you find that sweet spot, customers will follow.