On the hunt for insight, keep your eyes – and your mind – open
Uncovering the insights that fuel innovation is about setting aside your preconceptions about consumer behaviour, says Happen’s client director Sara Adams
Behind every great consumer innovation lies a great insight.
But a consumer insight is more than just a clever observation. It’s a way of explaining consumer behaviour and the motivations behind it, based on clues you’ve observed. And if you want to do anything useful with your insight, it needs to be something you can use to drive commercial growth.
Marketers find these insights by getting close to consumers, studying their behaviour, and keeping their eyes – and minds – wide open for clues. This means setting aside what we at Happen call “filters” – the preconceptions, expectations and established ways of thinking that we use to navigate the world and make sense of it. Any psychologist will tell you that we all carry round with us a catalogue of biases that colour how we see things; and each of us has our own little foibles, quirks and preoccupations that will influence what we look out for and why.
These filters are useful, and they get us through life, but sometimes they also prevent us from seeing things – unexpected things, inconvenient things, things that challenge us. In fact, just the kinds of things that we need to see in order to uncover insight.
Happen’s client director Sara Adams says: “To get around those filters, you need to be exceptionally curious and think like a detective. You need to look at every source of information about consumers – what they’re saying, what they’re doing, the context they’re living in, and then you need to hold off from jumping to conclusions,. You collect data, you look at facts, and then you analyse and pull all the bits of information together.”
If you can successfully tame your filters and see and think clearly, you’ve got a much better chance of reaching that “aha” moment that we’re all hoping for – when we hit upon an insight that could be the basis for the next breakthrough product or brand innovation.
But remember that what you do after the “aha” moment is just as important as the process leading you up to it.
First of all, you need to convince all the key people that the insight you’ve discovered is a truly valuable insight. Don’t expect to just blurt it out and have the people around you react in the same way that you did – that’s not how it works.
Sara Adams says: “People talk about that ‘aha’ moment, and I think that does happen with truly amazing insights that drive true business growth. But it’s quite difficult to recreate that moment when you’re sharing it with other people. You have to take other people through it and let them join the dots.”
Think very carefully about how you present your insight. Tell the story of how you came across it, walk people through the evidence and try to let them “discover” it for themselves.
If you can convince others of the power of your insight, then you’re well on the way to turning it into the next hit product concept.
If you have a valuable insight that you want to capitalise on for innovation success, why not talk to us at Happen Innovation Agency and we can help you make it a reality.