When faced with a challenge, the temptation is to rush towards a solution head on and put together a board full of ideas. But often this can be a mistake. Often there is a need to stop, take a breath and think about what you’re doing before you pick up that pen.
In an interview for our Something Quite New podcast (that you can hear later this week), we spoke to Paul Davies about importance of this process, giving yourself the best chance of developing great ideas and solutions by starting from quality insights. Paul is Consumer Marketing Director at Microsoft, and with 20 years experience including delivering campaigns for the likes of Surface, Xbox and Hololens, he is well placed to give his opinion.
But how do you know when you have a good insight? And what information should you be looking for in the first place?
An insight can come from anywhere – it could be a consumer insight or a product insight. For the Microsoft Surface campaign called ‘futureproof’, they knew they wanted to get the product into the hands of young people, especially school leavers/college students, who wanted to get on with their lives. But where did this come from?
There were two pieces of information that helped to focus minds;
- Two thirds of those at University at the moment will leave to go into jobs that don’t even exist yet.
- 80% of those entering the world of work either have a side hustle or intend to start one.
Having these insights helped to build campaigns and come up with ideas that would really resonate with those people they want to speak to. Compare this to coming up with a campaign based on no-insights where you would concentrate on what you know – how the technology is better than competitors (in your view).
Alternatively it could be a product insight.
One of the team working on Surface came up an insight that the product is intended to blend into the background. Microsoft took this and looked at it from the perspective of how people will use the product and what it will help them to do. This then enabled them to design a brave poster that was designed to disappear, as the Surface is intended to do, into the background.
“The Shadows came about when discussing why we launched the product in black. The idea was for the product to disappear into the background, so all you are left with is the task you’re working on. It was a simple as that. Having that relationship, where the agency brings the client in on the brainstorming, along with planners can create a good safe environment.”Steven Woodgate
Marketing is all about understanding the customer and understanding the product. Bringing those together is no mean feat. Harnessing that knowledge is key before attempting to come up with solutions intended make a real impact on the business. Even small nuggets of insight are very powerful in sparking innovation and creativity that will make all the difference.
So when you are looking at a new campaign or reviewing how you approach current ones, stop, pause and think… don’t rush into finding solutions straight away. Look at what the insights are telling you and before building lots of ideas based on this knowledge.
Insight should drive all marketing, PR and sponsorship campaigns; understanding the purpose and the common goal is key.
“You always know when you’ve got it right when you’ve got a powerful insight because the idea generation of the back of that becomes really straight forward and really quick.
I always try and stop and pause and think really hard about the insight and get that part right. Because when that part Is right then everything else becomes 10 times easier, if that bit is wrong then it’s a struggle from the get go.”Paul Davies