Any Insights Yet? How to Create Real Change with the Power of Insight over Information

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Any Insights Yet? How to Create Real Change with the Power of Insight over Information

In today’s fast-paced business environment, the word “insight” is thrown around frequently, often losing its true meaning in the process. To demystify this critical concept, we sat down with Chris Kocek, author of “Any Insights Yet?” and CEO of Gallant Branding, for a riveting discussion that sheds light on what an insight truly is and how it can transform your business strategy. Chris’s extensive experience with major brands like Lowe’s, Hyatt Hotels, and John Deere, combined with his innovative approach at Gallant Branding, offers a unique perspective invaluable for B2B professionals.

In our engaging conversation, Chris clarifies the difference between mere data points and genuine insights, illustrating how the latter can inspire action, connect deeply with your brand, and tap into cultural tensions. Through real-world examples, such as the creation of Netflix and Domino’s innovative campaigns, Chris demonstrates how powerful insights are not just about observing trends but about connecting the dots in a way that leads to groundbreaking business models and strategies.

Any insight yet? Watch the conversation on YouTube!

By reading this article or watching our conversation on the Plan Grow Do YouTube channel, you will learn how to differentiate true insights from overused buzzwords. You’ll discover practical techniques to uncover and harness insights that can give your brand a competitive edge. Chris also discusses the challenges many businesses face, such as leadership inertia and the pressure to produce quick results, offering strategies to overcome these hurdles.

Takeaways from this discussion include a deeper understanding of what constitutes a genuine insight, practical methods to generate and apply insights in your business, and inspiring examples of how leading brands have successfully leveraged insights to disrupt their industries. Whether you’re a sales professional, marketing leader, or business owner, this conversation with Chris Kocek will equip you with the tools to think differently and drive meaningful innovation in your organisation.

Understanding the True Meaning of Insight

Misuse of the Word "Insight"

In the business world, many professionals misuse the term “insight,” often conflating it with simple data points, observations, or basic human truths. Chris Kocek emphasises that a true insight is much more profound. It’s not just about knowing that “75% of consumers prefer online shopping” (a data point) or recognising that “people are time-poor” (a human truth). Instead, an insight combines these elements to form a new, actionable perspective that can drive real change.

The Power of Genuine Insights

Chris illustrates the transformative power of genuine insights through several compelling examples. For instance, Netflix’s founders didn’t just observe that people disliked Blockbuster’s late fees. They connected this pain point with the technological shift from VHS to DVDs and the emerging trend of online catalogues to create a completely new business model. Similarly, Domino’s didn’t just note that delivery drivers struggled with potholes; they saw an opportunity to enhance their brand by fixing the roads themselves, turning a customer pain point into a public relations triumph.

What is an Insight Made From?

An insight is not just a single observation, data point, or human truth; it’s the integration of all three elements that forms a powerful and actionable insight. Chris Kocek uses the metaphor of a constellation to explain this concept. Just as navigators use multiple stars to form constellations that guide them, businesses must connect various pieces of information to uncover true insights.

Observation

Observations are the qualitative aspects of consumer behaviour that you notice in the market. These might be recurring actions, preferences, or patterns that provide a snapshot of how consumers interact with products or services. For example, noticing that customers frequently visit home improvement stores multiple times during a single project.

Data Point

Data points are the quantitative metrics that provide concrete evidence of trends or behaviours. These could include statistics like “75% of consumers prefer online shopping” or “most customers abandon their carts due to high shipping costs.” While valuable, data points alone don’t provide the full picture.

Human Truth

Human truths are the deep-seated, often universal, beliefs or pain points that resonate on a personal level. These truths might be statements like “people are time-poor” or “everyone desires recognition.” They tap into fundamental aspects of human nature and provide context to observations and data points.

By connecting these three elements—observations, data points, and human truths—businesses can form a comprehensive and compelling insight. This integrated approach allows for a deeper understanding of consumer behaviour, leading to strategies that are both innovative and effective.

Consider reading more about having insightful conversations with our supporting article and video on the topic.

Elements of an Insight

Chris outlines three critical elements that define a true insight:

1. Inspiring Action

An insight should inspire actionable steps and prompt new directions. It should make stakeholders lean forward, eager to explore the implications and opportunities it presents. For example, Netflix’s shift to a subscription-based model and postal delivery system was a direct action inspired by their insights into consumer pain points and technological advancements.

2. Connecting to Brand and Cultural Tensions

A true insight must connect deeply with your brand and tap into broader cultural tensions or contradictions. This connection amplifies the insight’s impact, making it more relevant and compelling. Chris cites the example of Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty, which tapped into the cultural tension between societal beauty standards and genuine self-esteem, resonating deeply with their audience and transforming their brand.

3. Simplicity and Clarity

Despite the complexity of generating an insight, its final articulation should be simple and clear. It should be easily understood and relatable, not requiring extensive explanation. Chris’s “constellation” metaphor emphasises how individual data points and observations come together to form a clear, guiding insight.

Challenges in Generating Insights

Overuse and Misinterpretation

One of the main challenges in generating insights is the overuse and misinterpretation of the term. Many professionals mistake data points or observations for insights, diluting the term’s value and meaning. Chris suggests that true insights are rare and should be treated with the significance they deserve.

Pressure in Boardrooms

The pressure to produce quick results, driven by quarterly earnings reports, often leads to the acceptance of surface-level answers. This short-term thinking can prevent the deep, reflective analysis required to uncover genuine insights. Chris encourages leaders to resist the urge to settle for the obvious and to dig deeper into the data and their understanding of consumer behaviour.

Conflating Opinion with Insight

Another common issue is the conflation of personal opinions with insights. While opinions can be valuable, they must be backed by qualitative and quantitative data to form a true insight. Chris advises professionals to be rigorous in their analysis, combining multiple data points and observations to build a comprehensive and actionable insight.

Techniques for Generating Insights

Asking "Why" Repeatedly

One effective technique for uncovering insights is to continually ask “why” to dig deeper into the reasons behind consumer behaviours and trends. This method can reveal underlying motivations and contradictions that may not be immediately apparent. Chris emphasises the importance of being persistent and not accepting surface-level answers.

Reframing the Problem

Reframing the problem from a different perspective can lead to new insights and innovative solutions. Chris shares the example of lawnmowers, where reframing the goal from “speeding up the mowing process” to “automating the process” led to the creation of robotic lawnmowers. This shift in perspective opened up new possibilities and solutions that were previously overlooked.

Finding the Cultural Tension

Tapping into cultural tensions or contradictions can also help generate powerful insights. These tensions often reveal deep-seated emotions and behaviours that can be leveraged to create impactful marketing campaigns and business strategies. Chris highlights the importance of identifying these tensions and positioning your brand at the centre of these conversations.

Practical Applications for B2B Professionals

Differentiating Your Brand

In the B2B space, differentiating your brand can be challenging, especially in industries where competition is fierce, and products or services are similar. By leveraging genuine insights, you can create unique value propositions that set your brand apart. Chris’s examples of innovative campaigns, like Domino’s pothole repair initiative, demonstrate how insights can lead to distinctive and memorable branding efforts.

Enhancing Customer Relationships

Understanding your customers on a deeper level can help you build stronger, more meaningful relationships. By uncovering insights into their needs, pain points, and behaviours, you can tailor your offerings and communications to better meet their expectations. This customer-centric approach can increase loyalty and drive long-term business success.

Driving Innovation

Insights can be a powerful driver of innovation, helping you identify new opportunities and develop breakthrough solutions. By connecting the dots between different data points and observations, you can uncover unmet needs and create products or services that address these gaps. Chris’s discussion on the creation of Netflix and other disruptive innovations illustrates how insights can lead to transformative business models.

Conclusion

In conclusion, understanding and leveraging true insights can significantly impact your business strategy, driving innovation, differentiation, and customer loyalty. By moving beyond surface-level observations and data points, and by employing techniques like asking “why,” reframing problems, and tapping into cultural tensions, B2B professionals can uncover the deep, actionable insights needed to stay ahead in a competitive market.

For a more in-depth exploration of these concepts, be sure to check out our full conversation with Chris Kocek on the Plan Grow Do YouTube channel. You’ll gain valuable knowledge and practical tips that can help you harness the power of insights to drive real change in your organisation.

Further resources from the Plan Grow Do archives:

How to have more effective conversations. Drawing from a wealth of insights on communication strategies, this article delves into practical advice for B2B sales professionals looking to enhance their conversational prowess in the workplace. By adopting these strategies, sales teams can expect to see improved engagement with clients, a deeper understanding of their needs, and ultimately, a positive impact on sales outcomes.

The art of problem solving in B2B buying and selling. In B2B sales, the ability to solve problems effectively is a critical skill that distinguishes the most successful sellers from the rest. Beyond transactional interactions, modern sales professionals must cultivate meaningful relationships with their buyers, built on trust, collaboration, and shared goals.

Personal vs personalisation. Consider this: a McKinsey & Company study revealed that B2B companies embracing advanced personalisation strategies witness 5 to 15% higher revenue growth compared to those who don’t. The question then arises: does this trend threaten the role of traditional sales professionals?”

Further Reading

Any Insights Yet?” by Chris Kocek

Chris Kocek’s book is an excellent primer on understanding and generating insights. It offers practical techniques and real-world examples to help you differentiate true insights from mere data points.

Contagious: How to Build Word of Mouth in the Digital Age” by Jonah Berger

This book explores how ideas spread and become viral. It provides insights into creating content that resonates with audiences and drives engagement, making it a valuable resource for marketers and business leaders.

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die” by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

This book delves into the principles of effective communication, explaining why some ideas stick while others fade away. It offers practical strategies for crafting messages that are memorable and impactful.

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