I was in a media meeting recently where, time after time, the senior agency person fired the same question to the client. Clearly the client came armed with more thoughts and initiatives than the media exec. Her irritating question was “Where’s the insight?”, which translated meant…”that’s an idea we didn’t think of… and I’m not very happy about that”.
Such was her lack of contribution that if I’d been the client I’d have asked her to leave the meeting and later demanded an account team change. But that’s another story.
The real question was what she meant by insight? Unfortunately it’s becoming an overused and devalued expression. A bit of cross tabulation is promoted as insight, some TGI over indexing is lazily called an insight.
Insights are emotional.
They’re about fundamental truths that can be harnessed to build a brand. They’re about feelings and behaviours rooted in needs, motivations…even fears.
My favourite example of how not to do it was presented to me as the opposite, a great example of consumer insight and creativity. It was a VW branded electric guitar that was produced for VW in the USA because Beetle owners over indexed on playing music and being musicians. The guitar looked good, well designed and cleverly branded. It probably sounded good too and the social media amplification was held up as a benchmark example of how to do it. But I’m told it wasn’t a success. Why? Maybe the insight wasn’t an insight!
It wasn’t a fundamental truth about feelings or behaviour. There was no emotional connection to be made. No “you’re right, that’s me” response. Great insight can appear very obvious but that doesn’t mean the very obvious is always insight.
Insight is a building block that then needs to be aligned to that part of the brand that answers that mindset. Then if it’s designed in a creative, sympathetic way we have brand building based on truth that is robust and stands the test of time.
So next time you hear the question, “where’s the insight?” ask them what they mean. If they’re not talking truths, and emotional connections, challenge it. There’s enough currency devaluation in the world without insight becoming another victim.