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  1. 1. CI28 What Is An Insight? : GuideOverviewThis document defines a consumer insight and its importanceto the corporation. The key messages here are:A consumer insight is the distillation of consumer facts andobservations into profound understanding.Insights lead to business advantage and growth.A brand typically has one or two consumer insights at its core.Insights are key drivers.In this guide, you learn:What is a consumer insight?Why is a consumer insight important?How to find consumer insightsWhat is a consumer insight?A consumer insight is profound understanding of consumersthat leads to a business idea, which drives profitable growth.A profound understanding of consumersConsumer insights lie beyond the obvious interpretations offacts and observations. Profundity means that you haveworked harder, looked further and used better tools andtechniques to arrive at a special understanding and a clear ordeep perception of consumer data.To understand everything that might be relevant to the way inwhich consumers choose the brand, use the brand, react to thebrand and think about the brand, we need to understand howthey live, how they work, how they feel, the various roles theyplay in their lives, their hopes, aspirations, fears, values,desires, motives, etc. We also need to understand their culturalcontexts and current societal changes, and link these to therelevance that our brand can provide.
  2. 2. ExampleBarbie’s continuous insight into American society ensures that the new launches of Barbie dolls reflect the changing roles of women in the society. When Mattel launched a line of WNBA Barbie dolls it was seen as a sign of acceptance of women’s sports. And a couple of years ago, when Mattel launched a Day-to-Night Barbie representing the career woman with the theme “We girls can do anything, right, Barbie”; it generated huge publicity as it was seen as a remarkable change in society. (Barbie’s portrayals were limited to very traditional female portrayals before this). And, of course, Barbie continues to be a brand that has dominated the world of little girls since 1959.Leads to a business idea that drives profitable growthInsights need to be converted into business advantage – fastertop line growth and wider gross margins. We must establish aclear line of development from the insight to the business idea.For example, Starbucks has always been more about theexperience of coffee drinking than the coffee itself. But a deepunderstanding of its consumers led Starbucks to the insightthat a large part of that experience is the music played in theretail establishments. Hence, Starbucks launched its owncompilation CDs–an additional revenue stream that alsopositively impacts the brand equity.The insight team should aim to find consumer and marketplaceinsights to drive business growth. These insights should thenbe effectively applied to business actions. The measure of allbrand-building activities ultimately is profitable growth.Insights drive brand equity, which, in turn, drives profitablegrowth.Bodyshop was launched when the World Wildlife Fund and other NGOs had long been advertising the horrors of testing cosmetics on animals. There were other bodies that talked about environment preservation. And the total lack of consumer response meant that no one really bothered. Despite these obvious facts and observations, Anita Roddick launched Bodyshop with a statement that its products were not tested on animals; she promoted Bodyshop by pushing her
  3. 3. ideas about the environment. And suddenly it seemed that consumers did bother. Where direct talk had failed, what worked was an opportunity to express concern. The huge response to Bodyshop is a testimony to a deeper consumer insight that consumers are not mindless automatons but are thinking and feeling human beings who respond to stimuli that reach out beyond the obvious.Why are consumer insights important?Consumer insights are important because all marketingprocesses begin after the insights are in place.Consumer insight is a key driver.Insights are the starting point for defining the domain strategy.They are the key ingredients of the Brand Vision and Long-term Equity Appreciation Plan (LEAP).There are many facets of core insights that can drive executionelements like advertising, promotions or direct marketing atevery consumer touch point.ExampleNike has leveraged the insights of courage, determination,competitive spirit and fun associated with sport to strike anemotional chord with its consumers over the years through thetheme of ‘Just do it’. Nike has come to stand for performance.Its not just about a pair of shoes, its about athleticperformance and how people can use sports to make their livesbetter and richer.Every Nike campaign has been a call for excellence, urgingpeople to outdo themselves and to blaze trails like Nike’s manyglorious brand ambassadors. Be it the ad challenging 55-yearolds to jog or the one that encourages “good girls” to have“killer legs”.Product diversifications have been strictly in keeping with the“Just do it” attitude. . After shoes and apparel, even the entry
  4. 4. into fitness came after serious contemplation. Sub-brands likeAir Jordan in basketball and Zoom in sprinting command cultfollowing in their individual sports and reiterate the Nikeideology.An important part of the brand’s legacy is its ambassadors.From John McEnroe to Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and AndreAgassi, Nike has roped in the best of sporting talent. Besidestalent, Nike looks for certain personal traits that will ensurethat its ambassadors abide well with the brand. And Nike hasalso done a great job of weaving the charisma of theseindividual superstars into the greater tapestry of the brand –be it McEnroe’s petulant individualism or Jordan’s flair or LanceArmstrong’s resilience, they are all part of the Nike legend.The logo has been immensely successful in conveying speedand motion and forms the underlying theme in numerous logosnow.Insights are the lifeblood of all marketing programsAs we have seen with the Nike example, deep consumerinsights are the bedrock of great brands. These insights areuniversal but their manifestations are many. Thesemanifestations drive various marketing programs, be it productinnovation or brand equity development or annual marketingplans or communication.How to find consumer insightsThe insight process is wholly about understanding consumers.There are various ways to find insights:Rigorous analysis of consumer data obtained through traditional research sources. (This data is represented in the VOC). Uncover insights by mining consumer data and looking for not-so-apparent trends and/or anomalies.Keeping a watch on large population trends is another way to uncover consumer insights. These trends could be
  5. 5. societal, cultural or even driven by technology. These trends are a great indicator of the unarticulated needs of consumers.Tap experts in various fields like anthropologists, psychologists, doctors, sociologists, authors, feature writers to predict future consumer environment. Also speak with experts pertaining to your category/ domain.Meet, observe, spend time and empathize with the consumer. Use research agencies and train yourself to uncover moments of truth with the consumers.Use both formal and informal sources of information tounderstand the consumer better. For detailed information onhow to find consumer insights, please refer How To Be AnInsight Detective: GUIDE and How To Look For insights:TIPS.Developing an insights-hungry cultureA single person cannot be everywhere at the same time tosuccessfully identify all insight opportunities ahead ofcompetition. Hence, it is imperative that the organizationdevelops a culture where all concerned—not just marketers,salespeople, researchers, but also technologists, seniormanagement, etc—are encouraged to spot insightopportunities. Widespread use of process tools like IWIK (Iwish I knew) and capturing insight opportunities by employeesacross all functions creates an insight-hungry culture.For more information refer to IWIK: Guide.ExampleAt IBM, one of the key initial changes was to shift from a product- centric view of its database to one where the customer was the focus of how its data was organized. Changing the way the data was organized was immensely time-consuming and expensive. But it was necessary to act as the springboard for the change in perception. ‘It’s not so much the software that’s the leading edge here,’ says a spokesperson for IBM, ‘but the thinking… through a management system that is consistent, timely and accurate worldwide, while providing data at a local
  6. 6. level.’