It’s not even really up for debate. “Insight” is one of the things we value most in the world of creative problem solving. Despite its value, we tend to throw the term around pretty loosely in creative strategy circles.
We talk about insight as though we agree on what the word actually means. And we tend to talk about insights as things that will emerge, predictably, out of research.
“We do the research and that’s where insights come from. Simple, right?”
But what is insight?
in | sight
In the dictionary:
- the capacity to gain an accurate and deep understanding of someone or something: his mind soared to previously unattainable heights of insight.
- an instance of apprehending the true nature of a thing, complex situation or problem: and with this insight, he was able to understand what she had meant by her letter.
What does insight give us?
A great insight inspires, intrigues and provides the fertile soil from which powerful ideas can sprout. It does so with clarity, conciseness, and with a definite point-of-view. For a creative it guides work & eliminates subjectivity.
Insight is not something that consumers ever knew before. That would be knowledge not insight. It’s not data or fact about your brand that you want to tell. Oddly enough, Insight is something that everyone already knows. Insight comes to life when it’s told in such a captivating way that makes consumers stop and say “hmm, I thought I was the only one who felt like that”. That’s why we laugh when we see the way that insight is projected with humor, why we get goose bumps when insight is projected with inspiration and why we cry when the insight comes alive through real-life drama.
How do we identify insights?
But how do we actually cultivate this capacity or learn how to identify insights? How can we tell the difference between a mere morsel of information and something that is truly … insightful? And why, for something that is so important, does it seem that there isn’t any agreed-upon way to do identify them?
Over 10 years old now but a decent example – Dove “Real Beauty”.
We know the movie stars have had plastic surgery. We know that print ads, even with the most beautiful women, have been photo-shopped. There are real problems in our current society with anorexia, anxiety and depression about appearance. Dove’s insight of “Women in all shapes & sizes are still beautiful. Let’s stop idolizing the fake and start living in the real world. Let’s be happy with what we look like”. Women connected with this insight because they already felt that way, but were just glad someone was finally saying it.
We are very familiar with head of research, head of marketing, head of sales. Shouldn’t all businesses have a Head of Insights?