Key Elements of a Deeper Insight

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Focusing creative thinking on deeper insights provides the most consistent and reliable way to develop a pipeline of winning ideas and claims for a brand or business.  However, this approach relies on having good quality insights that truly capture a deeper understanding of your target customers feelings and attitudes; or occasionally, that describe something that is fairly obvious and has been overlooked by you or your competitors.   

A true "deeper and winning insight" is a short written statement that not only captures a clear and deeper understanding of your target attitudes and behaviour, but crucially, it can be used to inspire winning innovation. On most insight gathering projects, we eventually write deeper insight statements, of around 300-350 characters long, that consider the following five elements.

1. The Context for the Insight

The "context" for the insight provides important understanding and in itself, can help inspire fresh thinking.  For example; consider the following insight captured for a sun lotion brand: "When I am on a hot beach and I am struggling to apply sun lotion to my wriggling toddler; I never really know if I have applied sun lotion evenly all over their body, and I desperately want to avoid my baby burning their delicate skin."  The main context for this insight is all about the hot beach and the struggling toddler, and this sets up the issue and the deeper concern.  When developing new ideas, this context alone can help shape final concepts or claims that are developed.  

 2. The Issue or Pain Point

The second element of a deeper insight is a clear and concise description of the "issue or pain point".  If there are potentially multiple issues, then we suggest that you write each issue in a separate insight statement.  For example, in the insight written in point 1 above, the issue is described as "I never really know if I have applied sun lotion evenly all over their body". This issue will clearly lead you down one route for a solution e.g. even all over body spray; protective body suit; colour changing to show missed areas.  However, linked to the context, the issue could simply be that "my child hates having sun lotion applied because it is cold and sticky".  Capture and "test" different routes either by testing the insight statements with consumers, or better still, quickly test different ideas and solutions

3. Add the Deeper Why

The real depth of an insight is the "deeper why", and this is something that should be explored in the early stages of a research project. In most cases, the "deeper why" is often something that the consumer will not necessarily offer without deeper probing, or they may say one thing, but actually mean or do something else.  Referring again to the example in point 1 above, the "deeper why" is probably correct with the consumer "desperately wanting to avoid my baby burning their delicate skin".  Although it might be worth exploring and testing insights with alternative "deeper whys" e.g. deeper concerns about skin cancer; or premature skin aging caused by skin damage; or simply that it might be a perceived reflection of the responsibility of a parent.  Even if the consumer hasn't expressed the deeper why, we recommend that you consider alternatives as final solutions may vary considerably.

4. Look for the End-Game Aspiration

When writing a deeper insight, occasionally (but not always) we look to add the "the end-game aspiration" that the consumer is looking for.  This is sometimes the solution to their problem, or how they want to feel if the "problem goes away".  Looking to capture this aspiration can provide the final touches to the depth and detail of the insight, however, beware that it is simply not a new product idea.  As with the "deeper why" above, the aspiration may be a sub-conscious thought and is not obviously articulated by the consumer. But trying to understand this would clearly help identify different potential solutions.  Going back to our hot beach insight in point 1 above, the end-game inspiration might simply be that the adult wants to "get back to reading their book and not having to worry about the problem any more". Understanding this extra dimension of the insight might again lead to different solutions that promote convenience and peace of mind. It is again worth at least exploring different hypothesis when selecting your final insights to progress. 

5. Is Your Deeper Insight a WinSight™?

And finally, when refining and selecting the final insights to take forward to inspire new ideas (we call these insights WinSights™), ask the quick question, does the insight pass the "so what test"?  When you read the insight, does it generate a response of, "that's interesting but so what".  Or does the insight immediately get the creative juices flowing. If the insight generates a "so what reaction" it is probably not a great insight.  But if you can immediately see some potential ideas linked to the objectives of your project, you may have found a WinSight™ and it's probably worth highlighting for later creative consideration e.g. a brainstorming workshop. But the real test of your WinSights™....what sort of ideas do they final generate because ultimately, businesses grow with new ideas and not new insights! 

Please refer to our other Blog Posts on the different techniques that we use to help innovation teams to gather, refine and select insights linked to agreed innovation objectives.

Get in touch if you have any questions or comments - we'd love to hear from you.