Wednesday, 26 September 2007

The Real Planning School of The Web Part 2: What is a consumer insight?

Okay, let's use some useful terminology which will get you into a higher level of conversation in your interviews rather than discussing some trivial definitions of marketing and advertising speak.

The first definition we’ll cover is Consumer Insight. Yup, I’m sighing while writing it as it’s really quite basic so apologies for wasting your time with this one. However, understanding the thorough meaning of a Consumer Insight is key to getting into planning …and then writing briefs….and then briefing creatives…..and then writing APG Creative Award papers. What’s more is that people tend to define a Consumer Insight as an observation.

This is wrong wrong wrong….kind of.

So, a Consumer Insight is a brutal truth of how a human behaves, interacts or responds to a product, brand, task or object. Therefore a Consumer Insight could be that joggers like listening to music when out running because it motivates their pace (hence the Nike ipod), or that people didn’t try Dr Pepper simply because they were complacent to give it a go and always chose their default can of Coca Cola or Pepsi (hence ‘Dr Pepper what’s the worst that can happen?’) or that when calling your bank you become quite pissed off because a) you can’t speak to someone in the UK and your call is being handled in a cheaper call centre based in India and that b) your bank has no sense of close customer relationship and you therefore you feel negative towards it (hence NatWest mocking the management of banks who make selfish decisions).

How is that different to an observation? Well, an observation can be misleading simply because it’s only observing WHAT a person does. A Consumer Insight is a conclusion based on WHAT someone does and then WHY they do it. That’s it. It’s not rocket science or anything and is almost so trivial it’s not worth writing about, but it’s the kind of question you’ll get in an interview:

Q. “What would you say was the consumer insight in the Cadbury’s Gorilla ad?”

A. I would say the consumer insight is based upon the fact that when people eat a bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk they feel overwhelmed with pleasure, joy, freedom (from behaving with a diet etc) and that was dramatised by the total random but enjoyable visual/audio ‘feast’ that is the Gorilla ad

Q. “What would you say is the difference between an observation and a consumer insight?”

A. An observationwould be that I have observed that you are using a gold plated moleskin notepad to take notes in my interview. A consumer insight would be that I have observed (WHAT) you are using a gold plated moleskin and have the insight (WHY) that you are totally insecure with your position, status and therefore ability in your role and therefore use what is essentially a wanky pad to give off an air of false achievement in the dire hope someone will think you're paid relatively well to afford such a pointless luxury - that or your parents bought you it and are therefore a spoilt bitch helping to explain your lack of personality due to the middle class cotton wool existence that is your world.

I’ll hire anyone who has the balls to say that or something along those lines in an interview.

Anyway, these are the kind of things that will come up and therefore I thought it important you know some definitions in order to converse fully about them.

Hope that helps

Anton xx


Will said...

"that or your parents bought you it and are therefore a spoilt bitch helping to explain your lack of personality due to the middle class cotton wool existence that is your world."

Just start whistling 'Working Class Hero' whilst reading this bit, readers. ;)

Good post mate. Tempted to write something about brand ideas vs campaign ideas vs executional ideas.

Anonymous said...

..or middle class rebel



Jack Bauer said...

worth doing something on the basic media jargon that all creatives should know about??

Courtney said...

thanks for the breakdown. i'll keep your simple explanation in mind as i begin interviews.