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Radically Transforming Your Insights: A How-To Guide

December 14, 2020


Radically Transforming Your Insights: A How-To Guide

As we approach the end of the year, we’re working on strategies for the next. Some of us are reviewing what we did this year, as well as the data points that prove what was working and what wasn’t.

One of the things we might feel overwhelmed by is the sheer volume of data we have nowadays. If there was ever something you wanted to know about your customers, there’s a good chance you can find out. We automatically collect information about search history, clicks, and so much more. Social media profiles can give us deeper insights into likes and dislikes.

If we want to know more, we have so many more methods and opportunities to collect qualitative data. Surveys are easier to conduct than ever.

So, we might feel like we’re drowning in data! And often, the big question after all of this is … so what? What do we even do with all this information? Some of these insights may feel inactionable. Yeah, it’s nice to know our customers think “treat stealing” is an issue, but what do we do with that insight?

That’s where what I like to call “radical transformation” comes into play.

What Is Radical Transformation?

Radical transformation takes these insights that feel inactionable or kind of pointless. We then transform them into something useful.

Case in point: Haagen-Dazs took a data point about “treat stealing.” With it, they created a nifty campaign to help their customers hide their treats.

It’s not an obvious reaction to that particular data point.

So, radical transformation is the process of taking a sort of “so-what” data point and turning it into something we can use to build our brands.

The bigger question is always about how we go about doing that. It’s one thing to say, “Okay, we’re going to radically transform this into part of strategy." It's another to actually get it done.

Choose a Goal

There are two “goals” of radical transformation. The first is to aim to change behaviour. The other is to support an alternative behaviour customers are already showing.

The Haagen-Dazs example is one of the latter. People said they hid their treats from their other household members. Haagen-Dazs capitalized on this behaviour, offering a new way to hide treats.

Another example would be a jewellery company that capitalizes on the trend toward “right-hand rings.” In this case, the consumer behaviour has already changed. People traditionally buy diamond rings for the left hand, to symbolize engagement. With marriage rates trending lower, some consumers have opted for buying rings that they then wear on the right hand. This doesn’t have the same meaning at all. It could appeal to consumers who want to wear a diamond ring without all the symbolic baggage.

The jewellery company doesn’t need to shift the behaviour. The behavioural shift has already happened among consumers, so they just need to speak to it. To do that, they need to understand what motivates people to buy a “right-hand ring.” Is this something single women are likely to do? Is it something that symbolize commitment between partners without the vows of marriage?

By understanding what’s driving the behaviour shift, the company’s in a better position to speak to people who embrace the idea.

All right, what about creating a behaviour shift? This usually occurs when you look at a data point that identifies an issue your customers have yet to solve. They’re aware of a problem or concern, but they’re not sure what to do about it.

Unlike the first goal, the behaviour shift hasn’t yet happened. This provides an excellent opportunity for your brand to offer a potential solution. This is where thinking outside the box can help.

Understanding Your Customers

The next step, once you’ve identified a data point and your goal, is to understand your customers.

If you’re aiming to create a behaviour shift, then you need to understand both what your customers see as the issue and why it’s an issue.

Suppose we sell running shoes. Our customers love our shoes, and they think the shoes perform well. One thing they see as a “problem” though is that their shoes get dirty when they go for a run. They say they can wash their shoes, but the shoes then take forever to dry.

This is a sort of “so-what” data point. Shoes get dirty when you run outside, especially if it’s muddy! If you wash them, they get wet. Facts of life—so what can we do about it?

The apparent answer is “put up with it.” You could tell your customers not to wash their shoes or just not to run outside when it’s muddy or wet. You might even tell them to buy a second pair of shoes (good for you, right?). Your customers might see similar solutions.

What if we offered them some different, out-of-the-box solutions? These might include:

·          Shoes in dark colours that don’t show dirt as much

·          Shoes made from materials that repel dirt or water

·          Shoes made from quick-drying materials

·          A spray that can help keep dirt from sticking to shoes in the first place

·          A new drying system for the shoes, so they’ll be ready faster

Any of these solutions could be the answer your customers are looking for. The behaviour shift here might be buying different shoes or investing in a spray. You could offer a line of “Tough Mudder” shoes, designed to keep the mud off shoes. You might offer a discount on the new drying system.

If your brand is all about keeping people active and working towards their fitness goals, then this would also fit perfectly with your brand!

Now, what if our customers said they weren’t running as often because they were in pain? Offering these solutions wouldn’t help our customers. In fact, it might even upset them.

That’s because we don’t understand the why of the issue. So it’s important to identify a problem and to understand the why of it.

In some cases, our customers may have already come up with solutions on their own. In those cases, we’re not aiming to shift the behaviour. We’re “sanctioning” the behaviour and spreading the word. We’re saying, “Hey, look at this clever solution!”

That’s the Haagen-Dazs example to a “t.” It’s also the jewellery company the right-hand ring phenomenon.

Again, it’s important to understand why the behaviour shift has happened. In the Haagen-Dazs example, people worry about their family members taking their treats.

It’s important to understand why this is a problem. Is it a problem because they want to give a good example to their kids and are ashamed of keeping treats in the house? Or is it that they just don’t want to share?

If shame is the motivator here, then the solution might not be “hide your treats and eat them when your kids can’t see you.” The solution might be offering up a new line of healthier treats that people can feel good about enjoying together!

What if people are just irked that others keep taking their treats? Then hiding them in a frozen pea bag might be a great solution.

Understanding Our Brands

The other key to radically transforming data points into strategy is to understand our brands. The Haagen-Dazs deception pea bag wouldn’t work if it didn’t speak to the brand essence in some way.

How does the idea of hiding your ice cream in a frozen pea bag speak to the essence of the Haagen-Dazs brand? Since they position the product as a decadent treat, hiding your ice cream from others fits with the brand essence. This is a high-end luxury to be savoured, not shared, and you need to protect it from others who covet it!

We already saw how our hypothetical shoe company offering solutions for keeping shoes dry could fit with their brand essence. With the right solution, the customer’s shoes are always ready for the next workout.

So when we want to radically transform our insights, we need to make sure we’re speaking to the essence of our brand. That will help us find those creative solutions that will actually delight our customers. Maybe we make them laugh—like Haagen-Dazs did. Or maybe we take a page from the jeweller advertising the right-hand ring and suggest empowerment and self-love. If that’s what the brand is about, then the message will resonate.

So, when it comes to transforming our insights, we have to get down to the core of our brands.

Taking this approach can help us develop better, stronger strategies for the year ahead—and into the future as well.

And, as always—start with the why!


Here to inspire!

I am a business person who has excelled in driving a competitive edge through marketing, strategy, innovation, building irresistible brands and unlocking the genius that exists. I am writing is inspire or create new consideration. If you have ideas or questions that you would like me to put a pen too, I would be delighted.

I would also be grateful if you shared this or any of the articles I have written to inspire others.

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