Insights Keynote Jpg.016

Back in November, Casper made this comment on a post I did on “Insights”

“What could be a further inspiring read is your take on how to give stimuli to creatives besides insights hence your example on great solutions without insights (though i suspect some of the responsible planners would argue that they do include some sort of insights).

Off-course a few of the great creatives don’t need much help at all – besides our interventions in the process and help to make strategic argumentation for their solutions.”

I hope he doesn’t mind me quoting his question back, since it’s so long ago that any normal person would have forgotten by now! Unfortunately, my own idiocy resulted in me finding that comment just this weekend. What can I say, but improvement will be made on that track record.

Meanwhile, an answer:

First off, I’ll just go on the record as saying that I’m not against ‘insights’ per se. Good ones are valuable. Lots of ads have a great one. But, not all…

And I think that we hide behind them too often as planners – we go on research trips and do brainstorming exercises and run ideation sessions, then we come up with something that isn’t particularly exciting and call it an ‘insight’ so that it’s OK. The client signs it off and that’s it for creatives – you’re stuck with it. The ‘insight’ that will reduce any idea to rubble.

In reality, we’re looking for ideas. Thoughts. Something that sparks. That’s the real golden nugget. It may come from anywhere. It may be about looking at an old insight from a new angle. So, the picture we paint may need to be simple enough that it gets out of the way. Sounds weird, but what if you gave your creatives a brief that’s so simple you can do anything from it? Not an insight-laden brief, but a clean opportunity. Maybe it’s better than the one you’ve got with an insight that you know isn’t really that great?

There’s no hard and fast answer, as we all know. But, for me, I think that we need to look beyond the expected – which is too often an insight nowadays. I also think that we shouldn’t pretend that planners have to have the answer before the creative process begins. Opening the door enough that a new idea could come through is important.

So, without killing the insight, I’d like to propose that we spend more time thinking around it. Firstly, defining the problem. Maybe being ‘insightful’ about the business problem would show more than being pedantic about a process that doesn’t produce great ads every time. i.e.., a process driven towards insight-generation and nothing else. Secondly, the truth in the product – spending time getting the little-known fact that often comes out of side-conversations and factory tours, rather than reading what the web agency and clients have posted on the web site. The consumer’s life outside of this brand. And on…