The Art and Science of Being Insightful

We make observations every day. Whenever we notice what someone is doing, thinking or saying, we are making factual claims about the people and companies around us. This process is essential for organizations and individuals to start thinking about how they should best build meaningful relationships with their publics.

But…those observations are not enough.

Professionals must interpret the findings. They must critically analyze the observations, as well as consider context and psychodemographics, to deduce the WHY behind the facts. Only then will companies have unique findings that can lead to compelling, emotionally and culturally relevant strategies and tactics. These can resonate with audiences and allow companies to reach them effectively, efficiently, uniquely and appropriately.

Suppose, for example, that you are the lead for a social campaign designed to encourage phone calls among teens. You would most likely find this data during your secondary research:


After examining this, you would find that teens do make phone calls – but mostly after first using at least one other method. This suggests that teens reserve their phone calls to people they have spoken with multiple times before – presumably, those with whom they are close.

Those facts are a start. But simply knowing them will not enable you to launch an effective campaign. Instead, you need insight. You must understand WHY teens display this behavior before you can persuade them to change.

Perhaps after primary research you find that teens lack adequate social skills to think on their feet during a phone conversation with someone they do not know well, which gives them feelings of anxiety and makes them resort to texting. Or, perhaps there are teens who prefer phone calls, but due to peer pressure do not engage for fear of ostracism.

Those insights would let you craft an effective, multi-faceted campaign. They allow you to narrow your target – teens who give into peer pressure or who lack social skills – which helps tailor your messaging. If you relied on facts alone, you’d be unlikely to cause a behavior change because you wouldn’t be attacking the core driver of the action. Being insightful is a science and an art; it is using your facts, context, analytical skills and creativity to determine the reasons behind behavior so that professionals can create meaningful change.

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