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Making Insights Stick: How Making a Murderer, Geordie Shore and Your Old French Teacher Hold the Key

This blog post was written in collaboration with Jaguar Land Rover.

You’ll be delighted to hear that the key to making great insights spread through your organisation lies in the simple fact that people are people. Employees, customers, managing directors and insight managers are all people who, like us, are interested in other people.

Using human relationships as a guide, this blog post will give you three simple and practical ways to push insight through companies.

Last year Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) launched the Discovery Sport – a brand new car that was launched with resounding success. But, as with any new car launch, JLR wanted to know what its customers thought.

“Early Buyers Studies” are relatively simple in execution – JLR invites customers to a large hall with their vehicles, and the drivers tell them what they like and dislike over the course of a few hours. These are useful and simple means of getting feedback into the business.

But this time, we did things a little differently.

Together with C Space, JLR built an online Advisory Board of Discovery Sport drivers, to deliver an ongoing conversation with customers who could provide feedback fast – we’re still speaking to them today. The Advisory Board was a place where customers could talk about their experiences over a longer period of time – uploading information about favourite journeys, showing us where they kept their keys, where the kids kept their toys, where the dog kept its basket. It created a rich seam of information – the kind you would never learn from a simple two hour interview.

But of course an Advisory Board alone can’t make customer insight spread through a business. So what did we do to get past the fact that the business is busy?

At its core, we know that engaging the business is a challenge of linking two groups of people: customers and stakeholders.

Customers are real people with a lot on their plates, with work every day, school runs, the occasional Pilates class before buying a new washing machine, planning the family holiday. They have enough to do without logging into a research community every day.

And stakeholders are people too – busy ones, with teams of people to look after, objectives to hit, new models to design, new innovations to understand. In the modern business context, a 300 page report delivered in one go isn’t likely to gain a great deal of traction.

The key to making insights stick, therefore, is to understand that both groups are innately interested in other people. Like it or not, we are all the people who spend time taking photos of what we ate last night, who “like” that our old French teacher is on holiday in Antwerp. We tune into Making a Murderer, Strictly, and Keeping up with the Kardashians to learn about the real people behind the famous. And, we love watching the mindless shenanigans of the non-famous in shows like Geordie Shore.

And what is amazing is that we feel we hold relationships with these people. We may not have seen our French teacher for twenty years, we’ve never met Joey Essex, and yet through seeing the more mundane side of their lives, the simple stuff like what they eat or what their favourite quality street is, we feel we know them well and we build and maintain “relationships” with them.

So how can you use relationships to link your stakeholders and customers?

Well, we know that relationships are:

  1. Longitudinal – They don’t happen all at once. They take place over time. So one principle is to drip feed insight over time. Don’t just wait for the debrief, start delivering knowledge throughout the project.
  1. Interactive – They aren’t a one-way street. They require input and investment from both parties.So when working with customers and clients, make sure to invite both sides to the party. Have them come together and interact.
  1. Unrefined – They are not polished or pristine. They are raw and organic.So don’t over-polish your insights. It’s often the raw verbatim, the unframed photographs of customers, that are the most valuable and the most likely to stick in the minds of stakeholders.

And using those principles, here are three practical things that you could implement tomorrow that would help your insights stick:

  1. Use a Google+ community to share questions, videos and photographs with internal stakeholders on a daily basis. It’s an approach JLR have used to good effect on several projects, one that drip-feeds information to the business.
  1. Hold a Pie & Pint session between customers and stakeholders. In our case, we did this with customers and three senior engineers from Land Rover at a London pub. There we stayed for three hours, eating and discussing the Discovery Sport. No discussion guide, no objectives – just an opportunity for those behind the car to get together with those who drive it.
  1. Film a Video Debrief. At one end of the scale you have dry PowerPoint presentations, and at the other there are lavish cartoon animations. But what will land with stakeholders is often just you, discussing what you’ve seen. With cameras available on smart phones, videos can be delivered for a minor cost.

And there you have it, three usable things you can do today to increase the impact of your insight in the business, and help make it stick.

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