UNCOVER HIDDEN TRUTHS ABOUT YOUR CUSTOMERS
A customer insight is the discovery of a hidden tension between what customers experience in their reality and what they actually need, think or feel.
Insights are valuable because they lead to fresh ideas on how to close the gap between what is desired and what is experienced.
This can help you uncover new ways to grow, give you ideas for brand differentiation and communication, and inform decisions on new product development.
Insights must go beyond generic category truths, to find aspects that can be capitalized on to the unique advantage of your company.
An insight is only useful when the "so what" for the company is clear, and you can leverage it to either drive new growth or to create a competitive advantage.
TYPICAL AREAS OF CUSTOMER INSIGHTS APPLICATION
IDENTIFICATION OF NEW SOURCES OF GROWTH
NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
CREATIVE PLATFORM DEVELOPMENT
APPROACH TO INSIGHTS GENERATION
We typically follow a six steps approach to insight generation:
Here a detailed explanation of each step:
STEP 1. FIND THE TRIGGER MOMENTS IN THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY AND FOCUS ON THEM
We map the customer journey from need origination, to information search, brand choice, purchase, usage, recommendation, in search for those high-involvement moments when the decision to choose a certain brand is made.
We want to understand what can drive customers to change their thinking and behavior at these trigger moments, and all our future research will be focused on finding customer insights around what happens in these special junctures and how we can impact them.
STEP 2. USE IN-DEPTH RESEARCH TO EXPLORE CUSTOMERS TRIGGERS
This stage typically involves customer research. A number of approaches can be adopted, from one-on-one qualitative research, to focus groups, to direct observation of customers in their daily environment or at the point of purchase.
It may also be very useful to include an "ask the masters" module, in which we involve heavy customers, fore-front users, dealers, point-of-sale people. Including the masters may also allow to shortcut research timing.
In our research we use a series of tried and tested techniques to move from behavioral observation to the inner motivations that determine what customers do. We focus on emotions, personality traits and archetypes. This will allow later on not only to craft the insight, but also to have a rich set of ideas on which to build the communication platform.
STEP 3. CAPTURE ALL CUSTOMER HINTS AND IDENTIFY COMMON THEMES
In our research, we specifically look for customer hints. These are all comments or observations that reveal a new perspective, that make us learn something unexpected and interesting, that surface a consumer tension, a misconception, a hidden emotion, an unmet need.
A large set of customer hints is collected and classified, and very soon we see that all hints can be grouped into a series of well-defined common themes. Each of these themes can be the starting point of a new insight.
We then link the themes to the specific trigger moment they refer to, to form a series of possible new insight avenues to choose from, depending on the specific growth or positioning objectives we want to pursue.
STEP 4. SELECT THE INSIGHT BASED ON ITS POWER AND VALUE FOR THE COMPANY
This is the stage where we narrow down, from a broad set of possibilities, to an actual decision about the most promising insight we want to focus on.
The decision depends on a series of factors, including: the novelty and freshness of the customer discovery, the extent to which it can be uniquely leveraged by the company and not by competitors, the specific growth objective or positioning objective we want to achieve, the stage in the customer journey where we want to act, and, finally, the type of customer we want to focus on (existing, lapsed, new, loyal to competition).
STEP 5. MAKE THE CUSTOMER TENSION COME TO LIFE
A customer insight is most powerful when there is an unresolved customer tension to which your brand can offer a brilliant and new solution. So we only want to develop insights where the tension is evident and not yet addressed, and we want to understand very clearly what is behind this tension and what is its impact on customer's emotions, psyche and surroundings.
When articulating the insight in the form of a concise descriptive text, the tension needs to come to life obvious and clear-cut. We normally address this during workshops in which, after sharing our research learnings, we work with our clients to best express the tension and make sure that there is a shared understanding of why it is relevant for the business.
STEP 6. GO DEEPER ON MOTIVATIONS AND EMOTIONS
Our research techniques help us explore the deepest layers of motivations and emotions linked to each insight theme that we identify.
When we craft the final insight, we need to make this depth of understanding come to life. We need to go beyond only stating the more evident needs and arrive to what is really driving customers from the inside. The insight summary text should make this depth very evident, so that it can be used by the company's enlarged team for positioning, communication or product development.