I’m sceptical about what the data tells me.
Don’t get me wrong, data is great, but it’s abstract: people are more than percentages. And more than a red patch on a heat map or a segment of a pie. So yes, give me competitor analysis, market analysis and audience profiles, process and behaviour analysis – but if you are anything like me, too many Venn diagrams start to make your eyes twitch. I just want to talk about people.
Be more human to get your insights
Creative strategy and creative insight is about being prepared to put the data to one side and see the person. This isn’t just sticking a few behaviours next to a stock shot of your target audience and listing their social habits. It means thinking deeper, thinking emotionally, making the problem a human one. So the first thing to do is to let the Creative Director ask the who, what, why, where, when and how of audience, product and brand.
Creative Insight is about employing the emotional skills of the story teller: empathy, intuition, instinct and experience and valuing it as highly as the quantifiable and the rational. If you want to engage people emotionally – and you should – you need to know what turns them on, what their hidden fears are and what they hope for.
Desk research isn’t enough
So looking at the data will find insights. Percolating the data through a switched on creative director will find some higher value ones. But the real gold is yet to be found. You can go further. Your Creative Director needs the skills and desire to dig deeper with real people and to push to find new insights. They should want to interview your sales and product teams and your customers. They need the skill in one to one interview, in groups, in workshops. And should have the ability to coax and encourage and playback and articulate what they’re hearing from your audience about product, process and brand to unearth the genuine insights.
This is vital when it comes to internal comms work, it’s vital when it comes to customer campaigns, vital for web design and UX. If you want to tell someone’s story, you can’t do that from behind a desk. Insights don’t come from ivory towers. If you want your work to be authentic, it needs an authentic voice and the best way to get that is to walk in your audience’s shoes and meet and talk to people who are the target of the campaign and those in the development and delivery of the product you are selling.
Insights come from understanding why a product is built the way it is, why it is delivered how it is, and the rational and emotional needs it satisfies. You need to know how people feel about it, and about you. Creative insight is understanding what the audience are seeing and the world they live in and to have the ability to express it meaningfully.
When you look at our work, you’ll see what I mean
When we built the website for TPAS, we interviewed everyone from advisors to staff to end users as part of brand development, product and UX delivery. When we designed campaigns for Ageas we ran brainstorms with their partner and met with customers. For our award winning work for a pensions provider, we interviewed sales teams and IFAs. When our principle creative consultant, Dave Edwards, developed campaigns for the NHS, he interviewed doctors, research nurses, ODPs and porters to create a retention and recruitment campaign that really connected. When we developed culture change work for Canada Life we interviewed heads of departments and team members to create targeted campaigns and variable content reflecting specific departmental goals and their individual strategic focus.
You can see the work using the links below. Or better still, find out more by getting in touch.
Data and audience profile insights
Creative audits and insights
Brand/product audits and insights
Channel and media insights