DEFINING INSIGHT IN ONE WORD

Along with innovation and social engagement, one of the current buzzwords in marketing is “insights”. These powerful pieces of information are the driving force behind the development of integrated marketing communications strategies. As such, entire teams, divisions and agencies have been formed for the sole purpose of uncovering consumer, cultural and market insights.

A recent discussion on the consumer insights interest group on LinkedIn asked members to define insight in one word. While, of course, there’s no right or wrong answer, this discussion certainly made me take some time to reflect carefully on how I would define an insight.

An insight is more than just pure knowledge about consumer behavior or market trends. It represents vital information that can be leveraged to create value for consumers. Consequently, an insight is not valuable in itself. It’s valuable because it can be used to create meaningful opportunities and solve business problems. But how exactly can this be described in one word?

The best word I can use to describe an insight would have to be seed.  A seed is the propagative source of a plant. Simply put, it brings the plant to life. A well nurtured seed will grow and flourish, while a neglected seed will degenerate or essentially becomes functionally useless. Similarly, insights bring marketing and communications strategies to life, but they only become useful when applied strategically and used in meaningful ways.

The recent “Bring Happiness Home” campaign by PepsiCo Greater China Region (GCR) exemplifies the nature and definition of insights I have provided. PepsiCo discovered that a disconcerting trend for youth is that they no longer want to go home to celebrate Chinese New Year. In particular, a survey showed that around 70 percent of Chinese youth expressed hesitation toward going home.

This insight became the inspiration for their “Bring Happiness Home” campaign which combined viral marketing with TV advertising. PepsiCo developed and distributed a microfilm online, which tells the story of an estranged family spread out across the country that ends up reuniting to celebrate Chinese New Year.

The microfilm also cleverly integrates PepsiCo’s leading brands; Pepsi-Cola, Lay’s and Tropicana. Meanwhile, PepsiCo refreshed the role of the traditional 30-second TV commercial to act as a movie teaser, highlighting strong synergies among the three brands and still celebrating individual brand truth.

While a valuable piece of information, the insight about Chinese youth expressing hesitation towards going home for Chinese New Year only truly became useful when it was used to create value for PepsiCo’s consumers in a meaningful way.

STORYTELLING FOR THE DIGITAL AGE

In today’s digital age, storytelling is still a crucial part of successful marketing and advertising. As part of Jordan’s “Rise Above” campaign, this new spot is one of the few ads at the moment that incorporates a relevant and compelling narrative with brand marketing.

Interestingly, Nike also recently used a similar concept of upcoming talent taking the stage with its “My Time Is Now”campaign:

BRIDGING THE GAP: FASHION AND BRANDING

“A woollen mill doesn’t tell you a herringbone cashmere will cost you £70 per metre one month and £25 a few months later. The button-maker doesn’t tell you “buy one hundred of these, and we’ll throw in fifty of those.” What they make is as good today as the day it was made, and will be just as good a year from now. To pile it high and sell it cheap would be to devalue the product; devalue the raw materials, devalue the labour, the months and months of effort and expertise that has gone into making the finished article.”

Paul Vincent, Co-Founder of menswear brand S.E.H. Kelly, speaks candidly about how pricing affects brand value. The connections between fashion and branding aren’t always clear, but Vincent unintentionally helps to bridge the gap in a recent interview with Well Spenta site dedicated to covering honestly crafted products.

Although he speaks primarily from a managerial perspective for a fashion brand, a lot of his comments also relate to brand strategy across a multitude industries. In an attempt to meet short-term marketing and communication objectives, several brands today often ignore Vincent’s point above about using pricing as a tool to further develop and maintain brand value.

Read the rest of the interview here, where Vincent also talks about the power of selective brand collaborations and online consumer engagement.

THE FUTURE OF TV: A CREATIVE PERSPECTIVE FROM DAN WIEDEN

The media landscape has evolved tremendously in the past decade, with social media and digital technologies playing an ever increasing role in how brands communicate with their consumers. This evolution has raised the question of what role the television platform will play as we move through the digital era.

In an attempt to answer this question, ThinkTV has developed a brand new series which explores the new TV landscape and the opportunities it presents for advertisers. Through a series of in-depth interviews, five leading industry visionaries will give their insight and vision on the future of TV. In this episode, Dan Wieden, Co-Founder and CEO of Wieden+Kennedy, shares his perspective on the subject.

Wieden speaks briefly about the evolution of TV from a monologue platform to one that creates dialogue, citing brands like Nike, Levi’s and Chrysler. He also shares some insight into how Old Spice uses a combination of TV and online advertising to reinforce its messaging. Finally, rather than attempt to predict the future of TV, he speaks candidly about what kind of communication will prevail as the media landscape continues to evolve. (Hint – It’s the oldest form of communication).

Watch the video above and feel free to share your thoughts and comments.

YO TENGO BING!

Last week while I was in New York, I visited Mr Youth with a few of my classmates in the GMCA program.  We were able to gain some insight into the work Mr Youth is doing from a few people on the agency’s account team, as well as the Strategy Director, GianCarlo Pitocco.

Mr Youth happens to be the Social Media Agency of Record for Bing, so we also got to hear about some of the agency’s work on that particular account. Although Mr Youth is not responsible for Bing’s TV advertising, our visit reminded me that one of my favorite TV ads happens to be the “Los Links” commercial for Bing.

Bing’s unique selling proposition is that as opposed to giving you “a sea of blue links” when you search, it gives you a whole bunch of different features which help you spend more time deciding than searching. The “Los Links” ad is a really funny way of emphasizing this USP.

The video below is the second episode of the “Los Links” TV ad.

AD OF THE DAY: GOOGLE PLAY

Google recently launched a marketing campaign to promote its newly rebranded app store, Google Play, using this simple, yet creative video.

In a rather impressive feat, this ad promotes Google Play by combining the relatively antiquated versions of the app store’s various elements: a standard-issue telephone is used to represent a cell phone; an actual book  to represent an e-book; a projector to represent a TV; and a rubik’s cube to represent an online game.

In addition, this ad follows a growing trend by Google to use handcrafted materials to promote its various products and services.

VISUAL SELF PRESENTATION

Inspired by a visualization project from my Creative Thinking and Problem Solving class, I decided to create an infographic on myself to use as visual self presentation which incorporates my persona, interests and past experience.

Click here to see the image in its original size.