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Insight is not inside.

by Piotr Dominik

It’s possible that almost everything has already been said about insights, however I have learnt that almost makes a difference – therefore I will try one more time. First of all, personally I love insights and I have good reasons to love them. An insight is the best friend in crime during massive marketing attack to make one boat from the whole fleet quietly get closer and hit the heart of raging Hydra on the shore – literally the client. Such a game-changer of thinking. An insight is also the best friend of Big Idea and the bottom line is present just behind it. And all of this comes from the times when the most interesting elements of presentations were not the slides with influencers and bloggers to be leased for yet another year as a promotion with the equipment. It was a long time ago when people still wanted to pay brands for the goods and not the other way round. I know it sounds like Russian Partition of Poland for youtubers, but that is how it precisely was.

An insight is more or less this moment in the cartoons when Sylvester the Cat or Tweety come up with some genius idea by figuring out the behaviour of the other. That leads to possibility of hitting the opponent harder, yet in more sophisticated way. Putting the cartoons aside for a moment, we can say that is true – the idea which will be willingly accepted by specified group of people, clients, users. The situation could be about a thought, idea, service, good, subject and many others. Something what all your panellists would gladly respond to saying: oh yeah, how come I have not come to this idea, that’s it, you’ve got me there. The irons have the automatic system of switching off after a period of inactivity thanks to an insight that people have used more fuel in the human history coming back home asking "Have I switched it off or not?" than Saudi Arabia cashes in for yearly mining. We do not use more toothpaste because the idea of brushing the teeth twice or three times a day had not gone through? Sure, then let’s widen the hole diameter because the user will not understand that as he is always putting the same length of strip and he is not measuring the width with slide calliper. Easy case, usage up, income up, same teeth, end of story.

Insight has been tortured for years by those newly authorised to write strategies. And so, from little flashes of genius to even less polished bid presentations, you can endlessly read underdeveloped insights and aspiring thoughts. That the insight is that she is the leader and aspiring women follow her. Or that the need to distinguish is basic element of each of us. Or that we consume everything, that the whole world has the phones and that is why this message needs to be faster, more graphic, smaller and bigger at the same time. Or that he does not talk to his friends about embarrassing topics and it needs to be facilitated for him. If all those insights from all these presentations were written down and new social norms were built upon them, we would build a world of great imagination of human life depicted from the last floor of multinationals which would be down-to-earth only thanks to the lift which would be connecting them (although multinationals are not the guilty ones). Also, everyone would show one another willies during the parties, talking about spots and the girls would run one after their leader in a queue who would take them into new, unknown, infinite shelves with this only one, exceptional cosmetic that they need, like in Axe advertisement. For a lipstick. In promotion. Spring promotion.

Firstly, a bit uncomfortable topic – and now, it will be necessary to switch off comments under the text – insight is related to wisdom. Not the generic, academic, cultural, but – exceptionally – yours. I know that every one of us is wise. Certainly, the others do not follow. The wisdom is a bit like big data. The more sources you digest, the more correlations you can see. This world does not start and does not end with your friends, family and colleagues from the office or friends from university. The views of our friends are not representative for a nation and the chairs that squeeze the bottoms can have something to do with the shape of bottoms themselves, not with the design itself. There is nothing wrong about it if you created new insights so far using your friends, because half of the panelists does the same – crossing and uncrossing their legs on conferences, reminding themselves of some uncle or aunt’s behaviours which suddenly enlightened them. I even suspect that some of them have same aunts and uncles. But who cares.

Secondly, this is first and foremost observation. You have probably seen this during some dates, but it seems that someone who does not have the knowledge can look at something for a long time and see nothing. It is not possible to see anything if it is not known what to look at. Ergo, observation of behaviours, patterns, activity in correlation with everything you can find in internet and everything that you have not found and you need to look further makes it easier for you to look for truth that others will be happy to identify with. If you don’t deal with promoting cursed soldiers* everyday and you do not bore anyone about Poland rising from its knees, you have a pretty good chance of not having monopoly on world’s view. If you have an image of a situation try to widen it by phones, talking to people from completely different structures, cities, places, that you do not meet every day, but they are part of the group that you deal with. Some time ago, when we were working for a kite company on a project and we were discussing with all arts about design, what should have been used, what is en vogue and what is not. The diversity of the patterns was so big among the producers that we could not figure out any trend. We thought about calling all important kite renting places in the world and speak with them on their view of that. Who is excited about what, which patterns are new, what can they see in Australia, what can they see in Cape Town. A moment later we threw away all our projects, we started from the scratch and the client, who was extremely happy about this research, chose a different agency in 15 minutes and he did what he thought was cool to do and he ignored what we had prepared. That’s fine, he had right to so. However, the knowledge was priceless. Life is life. Not the first and not the last time.

Thirdly, the insight, it will not be your first thought. The first thought will be wrong. You will think it is brilliant but, no matter what you want, you will need to bombard yourself with questions why and what for. Certainly, if the insight is brought by the creative person and you try to bombard them with it, you will rather work with freelancers on a later stages of this project, but you still need to do it. You cannot meet the client and say once again – women struggle with reality due to less time and that is why XYZ company should focus its attention to reach them in the moment of relax or use recommendation marketing as they trust their friends. Marketer has the right to step back, vomit secretly in the toilet all what he has just heard to make sure that none of these breaking truths does not stay with him and continue the meeting checking emails on his phone.

And lastly, I have not seen insights that would be multiple-complex. Well, I have seen in presentations but I have never seen them without ATL addition for a half of the year, with capping 1500. Insight is usually simple. It does not contain complicated, complex assumptions, it is a simple statement of a fact. Benji Wagner, the owner of PolerStuff brand, realised one day that what all the big companies selling outdoor clothes did worst is that they add K2 winter summit reaching into communication as a visual, reference, benchmark. He was right that it is great to be Kukuczka, but all his friends wore these jackets with extra membranes to go out with the dog five streets further or to go for a weekend outside of the city. What was worse, the highest K2 of their life was the garage driveway. So he got all the references about Nanga Parbat out, he wrote a good story, he forgot about membranes and he said that he was going to fight with the Big Three, because there was a huge group, to put it nicely in words, left behind and he could conquer the world with them. How he nicely said; he wanted to do one thing – give the consumers a feeling of what is missing with the biggest brands – the feeling that "man, this is it, I buy it, this appeals to me, this is me". He did a nice brand in a category reserved for extreme sportsmen which are five people among ten hundred thousand clients. Easy? Easy. This is insight, lack of K2 behind the garage.

You can use insight to build communication that will completely distort the activities of competition. We will be happy to help you. The most important thing is that you need to be brave and get to understand that discovering new insight you have to follow it and adjust the activities to it, especially when it comes to communication and language. Because you know, everyone is strong. But there are only a few cool ones. But how cool!

* A term applied to a variety of anti-communist Polish resistance movements which were formed during World War II and after that partly by some of the Polish Underground State members. 

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