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How to turn insights into innovation

Big data has been a buzz word in the digital space for over a decade now, yet data has become increasingly important in the transformation of many brands. Thanks to technology, we’ve never had so much information at our fingertips, simplifying and enriching our everyday lives. However, this has caveats: with web cookies, CCTV, GPS and a whole host of online tracking systems, so many of our daily actions and interactions – from browsing products on ecommerce sites to taking a trip on the subway – leave a data trail. We’ve become quantified.

All this behavioural data is a treasure trove of information for marketers, fuelling the growth of data-driven marketing and strategy. But with such a glut of data out there, it’s difficult to know where to begin. Have we entered the age of Too Much Information? Moreover, to generate innovation, data mining is simply not enough as data alone cannot provide the fresh thinking a brand needs, the real deep motivators that can unlock insights and trigger innovation.

What are Insights and why are they different vs. simple ideas?

The first thing to remember is that data on its own doesn’t add value. Insights – the hard-won nuggets of information synthesised from meticulous analysis across data sources – are what really make the difference.

Here’s what they aren’t:

  • Short-term observations – Nope. Insights are properly substantiated by data collection over a longer period to establish a trend
  • Ideas – Remember, ideas based on no evidence, motivated by what’s trendy, or based on preconceptions about your audience aren’t constructive
  • Something that exists in isolation – Insights get to the heart of why consumers behave in the way they do. That’s what makes them actionable.

An insight, therefore, is a discovery of the underlying motivation that drive people’s actions and is often obtained through analytics of consumer behaviour. Identified correctly, insights can be powerful, guiding product ideation, strategy and innovation.

At Catalyx we do not let you drawn in data – with our range of capabilities, used separately or combined, we enable our clients to unravel quickly the thoughts of their consumers to embed them into the innovation process at the right moment. Catalyx’s capabilities enable clients to consolidate consumer feedback and start tackling creative development very quickly. This way, the process isn’t so siloed, and you can test & learn as you go.

The Journey from Insight to Innovation

Making the leap from data to action can be tricky: a 2016 Forrester survey revealed that while 74% of firms aim to be data-driven, just 29% are effectively connecting data to action. Despite this, there are still brands out there making big strides. Here are a few examples:

Always’ #LikeAGirl campaign is a great example of an insight leading to innovative brand activity. In a study, Always discovered that girls experience the biggest drop in confidence during puberty around the time of their first period. Girls at this life stage are particularly sensitive to negative messaging and Always identified the phrase ‘like a girl’ (e.g. “You run like a girl”) as being harmful. Based on this evidence, the brand decided to make this age segment the focus of an empowerment campaign, reclaiming the phrase ‘like a girl’ to stand for something positive.

This represented an interesting pivot away from the prevailing strategy in the FemCare market at the time, which tended to focus on product efficacy. Instead, the brand built a more emotive connection with its customer target, building advocacy among consumers in a market that tends to remain loyal to one product for most of their lives.

Today, many competitor FemCare brands have taken their cue from Always – Bodyform’s current tagline, for example, is ‘Live Fearless’.

In a similar vein, Whirlpool tackled social issues in its ‘Care Counts’ campaign in the US, linking poor school attendance to lack of clean clothing. Children who miss school are seven times more likely to drop out and have a 40% unemployment rate than those who attend every day. With this in mind, the brand lent its products to the cause, installing washers and driers at schools in needy districts alongside monitoring devices that allowed it to attribute each wash to an individual student.

By the end of the campaign, school attendance was up among 93% of participating students, while the highest risk pupils attended school for two weeks more than the previous year. Whirlpool was rewarded with a Cannes Lion for Creative Use of Data, but more importantly, a strong endorsement of its products’ ability to affect social change and reach beyond daily household chores.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) – ICRC realised that there was need to blend the data from their global resources to generate holistic fresh innovation. They turned to Catalyx and 100% Open to redefine the way the organisation’s insight generation and management process functions.

We created and nurtured an online community called the RED Innovation CROWD, comprised of ICRC frontline workers at the very heart of crisis situations. The participants were asked to share and discuss the big challenges they faced through a series of thought provoking activities. Their honest responses were then analysed by our team of experts and were transformed into 100% targeted innovative ideas that transformed the ICRC. For instance, insights from on the ground in South Sudan led to the creation of Superbag prototype – a durable, cost-effective means of packaging aid supplies for air drops that no longer split open on impact. Users also created off-grid energy solutions and social comms tools for reconnecting families amongst many other innovations now being explored.

RED Innovation serves as a testament to the power of insight gathering from your target group, leading to transformative innovation in a global organisation.

Looking for Innovation in the Right Places

There’s a pretty much a limitless number of data sources that can be mined for insights, however true innovation comes from obtaining fresh insights from your target consumers.

Always and Whirlpool harnessed traditional quantitative and qualitative methodologies to develop their insights, but if that sounds exhausting, it certainly doesn’t have to be. Catalyx offers many solutions across the development process, from initial research to testing consumer response before taking products to market. Among these:

  • Our award-winning CROWD which facilitates rich data collection
  • Catalyx CONVERSATION which allows brands to check in with consumers directly as product development happens.
  • PulseCheck, which helps validate concepts, evaluating how campaign assets perform with target audiences.

The Red Cross example is one of many that we will be eager to share with you on demand. Don’t drown in big data. Let Catalyx help you unravel the insights from your consumers, then refine and make sure these are actionable. It all adds up to marketing success.

Catalyx helps brands beat your consumer’s expectations by getting their thoughts, behaviour and ideas into your organisation, fast. We work with many of the world’s leading brands, including Ariel, Pantene and Gillette. Get in touch to learn more about how we can help your business discover better brand-building solutions in days, not months.