When formulated accurately and actionably, insights are inherently exciting — they have the potential to completely transform any industry and allow us to understand consumer behaviour. So why do we do them such a disservice as to present them the same way we do raw data?
The terms data and insights have almost become synonymous, mainly due to the fact that they’re both seen as intangible indicators rather than tangible truths that can make a real difference to a business’ inner workings. But because they can be seen as synonymous, they’ve been presented in the same way for years now. Presenting two fundamentally different things in the same way will never gain the results needed, so treating insights like they’re synonymous with data can only lead to a feeling of repetitiveness that explains the rapidly dwindling engagement from stakeholders.
Insights are inherently exciting. They have the power to transform entire industries, but we do them a disservice by treating them the same way as data, which is harmful to their perception. How can we rectify this?
So, the need to differentiate insights, making them stand out on their own as exciting, is critical to the future of all industries as well as market research. The first step on this track is to help others understand insights, their power and how to present them in a way that enhances our chance of engagement.
Creating a Buzz through Authenticity
First, we need to define authenticity; the Cambridge Dictionary defines authenticity as “the quality of being real or true” and in this case, we’re focussing on the truthful aspect of authenticity in insights. In order to make insights worthwhile paying attention to, we need to create relevant and ultimately actionable insights.
Insights can either be rich and high-quality, or an inaccurate representation of the consumer mindset depending on the data collection and quality control processes used. Creating accurate insights to represent the truth of the situation or reveal a myriad of opportunities or challenges will help ground the insights in reality, thus providing an avenue of interest for stakeholders to engage with.
Choosing the right research and insight generation processes to employ can be hard since each unique research project requires different things, but we have created resources that will help widen your knowledge of the methodologies and platforms available, what your research objectives should be, and understand how to engage participants so you can generate rich, accurate insights.
But authenticity isn’t just about creating actionable and relevant insights; creating an authentic relationship between stakeholders and insights is another way of using authenticity to incite excitement in insights. One sure-fire way of starting this process is to involve stakeholders in the research process from start to finish, but some stakeholders might not have the time for this, so another track to take is to identify and track the tangible impacts have on your business. The connection between insights and their impacts on the business solidifies the connection between insights and the stakeholders themselves.
Excitement in Tangibility
Making insights tangible means finding ways to present insights in a way that stakeholders can connect with them on a more realistic, emotional and logical, level. We’ve written a few articles detailing psychological tips and tricks to help this happen, which all work well, but we’ve not really gone into detailing scenarios to actually apply these psychological tricks to.
The first way that we can make insights tangible is to create consumer personas as a way of building up case study-like characters; these case study-like characters are going to be used as brand personas, created directly from participant data to form characters referencing the typical target audiences and customer-base of the brand itself, and work by linking any insights and opportunities to those insights to help link both consequences and benefits to the business.
With storytelling becoming a bigger technique in insight engagement with each day that goes by, we are finding more ways to use stories to report insights. For example, the case study character personas could go through a myriad of different activities to help represent the insights in a more story-like way; a day-in-the-life type story is a great way of showing insights relating to the customer journey, or highlighting the digital touch-points of the customer/user experience.
Puzzles and stories are two of the most engaging mediums, and insights are essentially data-based puzzle pieces, which opens up a variety of opportunities for interactive reporting techniques and workshops. Approaching insights as puzzle pieces in an interactive report or workshop means stakeholders can fit them together to make a tangible impact on the aspects of a business that need updating or altering in order to work more efficiently or steer the organisation in a different direction.
Translating Insights into Artworks
There is one more way of connecting stakeholders to inherently exciting insights, and that’s presenting them through visual means. However, I don’t mean the typical charts, data tables, and graphs stakeholders usually see in written research reports, I mean non-traditional visual insight representation.
We’ve taken this to the next level, by making insights stand out through art and visual storytelling in our Insights as Art campaign! Translating insights into artworks requires researchers to dip into their creativity while analysing the data, sensing common insight themes and finding artistic movements and techniques to help ingrain insights into layers for deeper meaning in the image.
After more than thirty brand postcards, we’ve discovered that these insight-laden artworks are starting to prove just as effective if not more so than written reports in our quest to engage stakeholders in exciting insights. Anyone who spends time delving into the image finds new insights with each new layer, forming and evolving their interpretation based on each new insight that they uncover.
We’re always interested in seeing what the public perception is of a brand, so we’re extending an invitation to all brands who want to join in with our Insight as Art campaign. Just visit this page for more information, and fill in the form with the relevant contact information so we can get the ball rolling!
This blog was originally published on the FlexMR Insight Blog and can be accessed here.