Friday, April 13, 2018

Do your creative briefs have solid insights?

Insight is defined as (by Merriam-Webster)
1 : the power or act of seeing into a situation : penetration
2 : the act or result of apprehending the inner nature of things or of seeing intuitively
Solid creative briefs contain insights. But, sometimes, those insights are less than insightful. But as the sage Bill Bernbach said:
“At the heart of an effective creative philosophy is the belief that nothing is so powerful as an insight into human nature, what compulsions drive a man, what instincts dominate his action, even though his language so often can camouflage what really motivates him.”

In many cases, planners and strategists are responsible for pulling together the creative brief and digging up the insights. But, that's not always the case. Often, little or no research is done and the brief becomes just a list of demographic data and generic information that does not help the brief.

Avi Dan's piece "The Heart Of Effective Advertising Is A Powerful Insight" might be 5 years old but, it hits on a truth that is still true today (and probably for the rest of time).
"A great creative brief inspires, intrigues and provides the fertile soil from which powerful ideas can sprout. It does so with clarity, conciseness, and with a definite point-of-view. The brief should tell the creative team what it wants them to do, what is expected of them. As the creative brief has the power to spark amazing ideas, and ideas are what advertising is all about, it is essential that the CMO and its team immerse themselves in its creation."
And, a key part of the brief is the insight. It can take a creative team into fertile, inspirational ground that would not otherwise be explored.

As a creative, the insight is one of the first things I look for in a brief. As a creative director, I've worked with strategists and account managers to help make sure that the team has a true insight to work from that can help drive the creativity of the work in interesting directions.

So, What is a good insight?

Let's skip good, and go to straight to great. Great insights provide richness to a strategy and provide a unique perspective into the mindset of the target audience. They help put the creatives in the shoes of the audience they are trying to reach.

Examples of ads developed from insights showcases how a successful marketing campaigns move and inspire by resonating deeply with a brand’s target audience using inspiring consumer insight rooted in complex data. They looked at brand campaigns like Activia: It Starts Inside, Always: Keep Going #LikeAGirl, and Spotify: 2018 Goals.

Giving marketers the tools to create ideas that stick, in-depth data is often where the best campaigns begin. Just one fundamental truth about your consumer can inspire a powerful message that lasts.

"Insights illuminate, but they don't have to be deep", says Andy Davidson, who is Head of UK Practice at the global insight and brand consultancy Flamingo.

"In developing a useful insight, consider human needs", explains Nick Hirst, Head of Planning at creative agency Dare.

In "How to write a Creative Brief that will inspire great creative on your brand" by Beloved Brand, they state: "The smart brief frames the consumer insights with the word “I” that forces you to get into their shoes and put the insight in quotes that forces you to use their voice. These insights add more depth to the story of the consumer so the creative team can build stories that connect with your consumer. The best ads are those where you can almost see the insight shining through the work."

This is what makes a great insight. It's the combination of the:
1) Things we read (Facts & Data)
2) What we see (Observations)
3) What we hear (Consumer Voice)
4) What we sense (Emotional Zones)
5) Life moments (Day in the Life)
These five things come together to create an insight statement that is also counterpoint to the consumer paint point.

According to this piece there are four characteristics of a good insight:
1) the "A-ha!"
An insight differs from an observation in the fact that it is not immediately visible or ‘evident’, but that it only becomes clear when you are actually confronted with it. A strong insight is equal to a sort of ‘Aha’ experience: a combination of surprise and something familiar. It entails a view on something which was implicit all that time. To get to these ‘Aha’ moments, you need a creative and multidiscipline approach.

2) It's Me
The second basic aspect of a strong consumer insight is relevance. A strong insight automatically calls for familiarity, sometimes even to the extent that you may even learn things about yourself that you were not aware of before.

3) Tension
Behind every strong insight lies a need to improve an existing situation. In other words: it’s not just about being relevant; consumers should also feel a need to change something to an existing situation.

4) Insight ≠ idea
An insight is the start of possibly hundreds of ideas. It is a source of inspiration for branding, communication, innovation and customer experience. The easier you manage to come up with different ideas that start off from your insight, the stronger your insight is.

The end result of a great insight, is possibly great creative. It certainly doesn't guarantee it, but it significantly increases the chances that the creative team will craft something that has a strong resonance with the target because of it.

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