Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 15th 2015 Contents BG18 COMMENTARY
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt JANUARY 2015 • WEEK THREE
"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not
ignorance, it is the illusion of having knowledge."
Ilove that quote from Stephen Hawk-
ing, and if you replace the word
"knowledge" with "insight" it per-
fectly addresses marketing today.
The word "insight: is one of the most mis-
used and misunderstood terms in marketing,
but it is also one of the most important. I
equate its use to the category descriptor
Kleenex. Anything we use to wipe our nose
is now referred to as a Kleenex even though
it is a brand and not a category descriptor.
Any data or information we find interesting
we call an insight even though it may not be.
Often times, it is easier to understand what
something is by first stating what it is not,
and insights are not generalisations.
If you look at the Merriam-Webster dic-
tionary definition, here is what you see for
"generalisation:" a general statement, law,
principle, or proposition. Now compare that
to the definition of an insight: the act or result
of apprehending the inner nature of things.
Hopefully you can already see there is a sig-
nificant difference between generalisations
and insights. They are not two things that
should be easily confused. A generalisation
compared to an insight lacks the same depth
In fact, generalisations are so well understood
and accepted as truth they can be called a law
or principle. They can also be answered with
a "yes" or "no" question. That right there
says it cannot be an insight if it is that broadly
accepted as true. That means it is something
of which your consumers and shoppers are
already consciously aware.
If we recognise that insights are meant to
inspire, not inform, how inspiring can some-
thing be if your consumers and shoppers are
already consciously aware of it? If we are out
to change their behaviour, it probably would
not be very effective. Especially given that 95
per cent of our decision-making process is
subconscious while only 5.0 per cent takes
place in our conscious mind. Generalisations
come from our consumers and shoppers con-
scious minds while insights are more from the
There are two important concepts in the
definition of insights: apprehending and inner
Inner nature implies intimacy and a high
level of personal meaning. If you are trying to
find something that is intimate and deeply
personal it is not going to be easy to find,
which leads us to the second concept.
Apprehending implies rigor and process,
meaning it takes work, a rigorous process to
find insights. It is not an easy task. This is
what we need to be shooting for, information
that has intimacy and personal meaning that
is hard to find.
Marketers struggle with insights because
there is a fundamental contradiction between
the mantra "if you cannot measure it, you
cannot manage it" and the simple truth,
"human beings are highly emotional creatures."
Because emotion is hard to quantify, business
leaders fear it; instead, clinging to quantitative
data because they believe it is factual.
There are three things any piece of com-
munication must accomplish in order to be
1. it must connect with the emotional truths
that drive shoppers behaviours in your cat-
2. it must engage them in your brand story,
and3. it must inspire them to purchase your
brand. These three things rely on having real
In the world of marketing communications
there are two types of insights to understand:
consumer and shopper.
A consumer insight is: a statement revealing
a deep understanding of your consumers emo-
tional truths that explain their behaviours, con-
taining the power to shape their perception and
affect their behaviour.
Think about laundry detergent. Can a con-
sumer have deep emotional truths that drive
how they perceive and use laundry detergent?
Absolutely. Say their emotional truth is that
the world is to be experienced, not watched
and that their children learn by experiencing
the world and getting dirty. This then drives
the behaviour of buying ImaginEarth, "it gets
out the dirt but leaves in the learning." They
link their worldview to their purchase decision.
How would this emotional truth translate to
a consumer insight?
"I want my children dirty. I know that may
sound crazy but if they re dirty then I know
they ve been digging, playing, experiencing.
That s how they learn, by getting out in the
world and dirtying things up."
Imagine the communications this insight
could lead to. It would certainly be more than
what every laundry detergent tells us today:
"We get your clothes clean."
A shopper insight is: a statement revealing
a deep understanding of your shoppers needs,
behaviours, and emotions along their shopper
journey; containing the power to affect their
The shopper insight addresses two key pieces
1. Emotional hurdle: any negative emotions
felt during the shopping experience.
2. Behavioural hurdle: the behaviour(s) we
need to overcome in order to get the shopper
to purchase our brand.
Here is an example from the HDTV cate-
"I have no idea what HD really is. All those
specifications, numbers combined with letters,
1080pi, who knows what that really means?
But to be honest, even though I don t know
what I am doing, I still pretend like I do. I
don t want the sales person to think I m an
idiot so I purchase whatever I think might
work, even though I ve been wrong in the
• Emotional hurdle: confusion
• Behavioural hurdle: not making the best
A true understanding of insights is one of
the biggest white spaces in marketing today.
The brands that uncover the real emotional
drivers of their shoppers behaviors and trans-
late those into powerful communications will
win in the future.
Marketers must recognise that we no longer
live in a "need" based society; we now live in
a "want" based society. The need drives shop-
pers to a category, but when they get there
and they are faced with a myriad of brands,
it s a want that drives their brand choice.
Insights are the way for a brand to create the
Christopher Brace is the founder and CEO
of the consulting firm Shopper Intelligence
and he will be in Trinidad from the March
12-14, 2015 at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate
School of Business to deliver a one-day
seminar on Shopper Marketing: Bringing
New Value To A Brand's Go-To-Market
Strategies (March 12) and a two-day work-
shop on Shopper Communications: Bringing
Emotion To The In-Store Environment
If you would like further information on
either of these workshops, please contact
645-6700 ext 330 or send an email to ope-
Arthur Lok Jack GSB
Consumer and shopper insights:
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