Brand Strategy

Consumer Insight: The Key to Unlocking More Awesome in Your Marketing

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There’s a difference between a good campaign — one with pretty creative and smart media spending — and a great campaign.

A great campaign changes the game.

Or it changes the conversation.

Most importantly, a great campaign actually changes consumer behavior.

The difference between good and great nearly always comes down to insight. Not just any insight, but an actionable consumer insight.

What is a Consumer Insight?

A consumer insight is a nugget of knowledge about a consumer that when leveraged can help brands beneficially change the behavior of their customers.

The definition of consumer insight hints at its power: We’re talking about an understanding of your customers and potential customers that can help your product or your messaging have real-world impact.

Here’s why this is important to me: At LSB, we believe that advertising can’t succeed unless it finds a way to make a brand matter. It’s a simple thing to say, but it’s not really a simple thing to do. And discovering a real consumer insight is the first step.

Truly Powerful Insights are More than Facts

“Insight is usually pegged to the word ‘consumer’ but there are myriad kinds of insight in our industry – business, media, product, brand, strategic and competitive,” Merry Baskin wrote in a WARC Best Practice paper on delivering consumer insight.

In fact, there are even more types of brand insights, including social, cultural and categorical.

The point is that while there are many kinds of insights, the insights that are relevant here are the insights that motivate people, influence their beliefs and change their behavior.

Those are an important—even essential—component of brand development.

As Baskin went on to say in the consumer insight paper, “If the response is ‘so what?’, or ‘and..? Your point is?’ then you haven’t got an insight. If the response is ‘Aha!’ (‘that makes sense, I can see now why that is so, I know exactly what to do with it’) then you’ve struck gold.”

Examples of Powerful Insight

Sometimes finding consumer insights is easy. Take McDonald’s and their move to all-day breakfast. Consumers were literally begging for this for years—in its release announcing the change, the chain claimed more than 120,000 people tweeted McDonald’s asking for all-day breakfast in the previous year alone.

Survey after survey showed that consumers prefer McDonalds’ breakfast above all other fast-food breakfasts. In the end, the burger behemoth finally made it a priority to work out the breakfast puzzle.

OK! Uncle! All-day breakfast it is!

Sometimes the consumer insights are much less obvious.

Take the case of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. It’s a cereal and traditionally thought of as a breakfast food for kids. But through various methods including social listening, the people behind the brand discovered an insight about their consumer hiding in plain sight: Adults were eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and a lot of them were eating it late night.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch isn’t just an early-morning meal, it’s a late-night snack food.

Thus, Cinnamon Toast Crunch became the Official Cereal of Late-Night. The realignment played out in a number of ways, including UGC and increasingly wacky stunts clearly aimed at irony-loving Millennials more than kids.

Most importantly, it seems that the focus on grown-up tastes and messaging worked.

Finding Insights is Easy, Right?

Well, it is and it isn’t.

Consumer insights are uncovered in a variety of ways, including through primary research and secondary research.

What might this look like? Here are a few ideas, some primary methods and some using secondary methods, and some of which are a combination of the two:

  • In-depth consumer insight mining program
  • Trends analysis
  • Social listening
  • Consumer feedback
  • Focus groups
  • Surveys
  • Individual interviews
  • Experimental studies (A/B testing, etc.)
  • Psychological research

And remember: Talking to and observing people is easy, but you need to dig. You need to uncover what makes people tick.

You can start by being a student of human behavior. Look deep into people’s patterns. Where do they deviate? What motivates them? Why are they engaging in a behavior? What outside influences are there? And, perhaps most importantly, why REALLY are they engaging in a behavior?

Look for common threads and outliers. Look for tension. Oftentimes where there is tension there is emotion, and we all know that where there is emotion, there is affinity.

Need Help?

It’s not easy to uncover the kind of insight that can spark a truly powerful campaign. It takes a combination of research, smarts and instinct.

But for us, it’s our bread and butter. It’s what we do.

If you’re interested in reaching out to learn more about how we can help uncover the type of powerful consumer insight that can help your brand catch fire, reach out. We’d love to help.


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