It is estimated that 75% of what brands do is irrelevant to consumers. Companies need insights to help them achieve growth by transforming the relevance and value of their brand, otherwise the opportunity now afforded by economic recovery could be wasted.
If you think about the changing dynamics in the drinks market over the past 5 years – the rise of craft beers and whiskeys, today’s hyper-connected consumer environment, and the changing role of the pub – they point to the fact that, while consumers wants quality drinks and environments, they want brands that understand their needs beyond this too. The Millennial consumer (born in the 1980s-2000) want brands that are local, authentic and quality. They like ‘smaller’ producers as it gives me something authentic to connect with, away from the globalised digital world that they inhabit. They want value over price and experiences over products. This is why we see more brands such as Cute Hoors, locally produced craft whiskeys work well for this cohort. Orchard Thieves offered them a new take on cider which reversed many of the more traditional norms in Cider so that they could have more spontaneous experiences. This consumer wants to try new brands and products, and those who use social media reassure them more. The pub of today and tomorrow therefore needs to understand these needs so that they can deliver the right experience, range and communications . Insight will be important for all business owners so it can remain relevant.
The definition of a transformational insight
The concept of an insight has been around for a long time and it is often over-used to define a bunch of things including observations into behaviours and facts. At MCCP, we define an insight as a penetrating truth that will unlock growth: ‘penetrating’ so it is enduring; ‘truth’ so it is effective and must unlock growth, meaning that it has the capability to generate growth once acted upon. This kind of transformational insight requires a new mind-set of doing something transformative not simply creating reflective activity.
In order to unlock growth, there are two important things a brand must do. Firstly, get an insight that is capable of transforming your brand. Secondly, be ready to act on it to create new value that is relevant to your consumer by transforming how they use you for their betterment and yours; this will release your brand to become useful, valuable and loved.
Today we have lots more data on behaviour but this does not mean we understand consumers any better. Due to the abundance of data available to brands today, people believe they are learning more and more about their customers. However, as Charles Kettering, the American inventor and business man said, ‘There is a great difference between knowing and understanding: You can know a lot about something and not really understand it.’ Many brands believe that the data they have at their disposal is giving them new insights; however, it can also add layers of confusion, leading people to reach the wrong conclusion. Data if you have it is a good start point but the real magic is the interpretation of data and understanding the underlying motivations, often delivered by qualitative techniques overlaid on it. If you meet a data scientist, ask her or him, when last they spoke to a human to get behind the data as otherwise you will only end up creating reflective activity and not really move the dial to grow your brand substantially.
Our clients come to us to create strategies for growth. In a growth market strategy, brands need to widen penetration and therefore need to look beyond their existing client base to reach new customers and do something that is going to make them stop and think, ‘This is the brand for me’. Something that stands for what they believe in; something that you can do that is relevant to them as consumers and as individuals. Deciding who you talk to is core. Forget entrenched consumers if you want to grow, focus on lighter occasional and non-users but ‘near-users’ to identify their barriers and category pain points so you can get the transformational insight.
The MCCP path to transformational insight
The answer is not data scientists; it is about a systematic process of Discovery and Immersion by multi-skilled teams with an innovative mind-set. To truly uncover these insights, it is necessary to adopt a process. At MCCP we have created a five stage process which enable us to dig deeper and uncover these game changing insights. This is proven for some very big brands that we led the creation of their brand strategies in recent times: Orchard Thieves, Heineken, Aer Lingus, Wild Atlantic Way, and Smurfit Kappa.
The five stage process we have created starts with creating a multi skilled team with researchers who can use data and qualitative insight, strategists, marketing experts. The second step is adopting an innovative mind-set to find ways to uncover human needs and motivations. Thirdly, a layered methodological approach to unlocking behaviours uses behavioural data and information, qualitative deep-dives with consumers, and special techniques to understand underlying motivations. The fourth stage a filtering and crafting process to create the insight and build the story to lead to the transformation. Finally – but essentially – the internal programme of immersion ensures everyone in the organisation can feel and be fully versant in the consumer and this insight so that it results in creating a new understanding in the organisation and the shift in mind-set necessary to lead to transformative outcomes.
To create transformative outcomes, you must start by creating a shift in how your entire organisation understands the consumer insight. Consumer insight should not only dictate how you interact with your consumers, it should also affect how you function as a business. Not only in terms of communications but also, potentially, in terms of how you work, yielding better cultures and vastly improved sales figures. It is not just about knowing, it is about understanding what to do with it. When you immerse everyone in this process, you will create endless possibilities for your brand.
*As seen on the Drinks Industry Ireland website, 25th October 2016*