Brands without insight are like fish without eyes. All they can do is react to the movement of the surrounding shoal and point themselves as best they can in the same direction as everyone else.
Increasingly, these dark dwellers are emboldened by data (lots of it) in the erroneous belief that it offers a light for the brand to follow. Unfortunately, their tolerance of the dark means they can usually only see the brightest things present – a shiver of the obvious here, a glimpse of the familiar there.
It still surprises us how often we come across companies reluctant to acknowledge that the application of insight can provide huge commercial returns.
The more successful brands are those that have managed to develop a perspective on their market that others haven’t. Facebook’s meteoric growth was fuelled by the young’s pursuit of self-identity. Nike realised that most of us needed permission to take exercise and to compete. Innocent found a market for those who valued goodness over price.
These fresh views rarely emerge by simply gathering data. It is invariably good, old-fashioned insight that acts as a catalyst for strategies and communication that change the way customers think and behave.
3 years ago I was asked by a major terrestrial broadcaster to help them understand what direction their brand portfolio should take. They had been gathering data for years, yet ultimately felt they knew very little of real worth.
A colleague reviewed every last piece of data and research they had accumulated, and emerged a month later with 3 insights upon which they should focus their brands.
The business reacted to these insights with clear and differentiated branding, content packaging and communication. Incidentally, their share price has risen 300% since the insights were unearthed.
So, if you’re happy to swim in the dark and in the same direction as the shoal, carry on.
But if you want to change your perspective on your market, dig for insight. It’ll usually pay off handsomely.