Consumer insights, which I define as A moment of enlightenment when one sees something with a new understanding, are often essential in building successful brands, connecting emotionally with consumers, standing out in a cluttered market and gaining an unfair competitive advantage. Not always, but often.
Of course there are many different ways, methodologies, tools, and exercises to identify insights. That is what makes identifying insights both challenging and exciting. And your competition, if it is not sleeping, is very likely to use many of those methodologies, tools, and exercises as well (benefit ladder anyone)?
As a result, the magic of uncovering breakthrough insights often depends on the use of less conventional insight-generation methods. Here are 15 counter-intuitive ways to do so.
15 Counter-Intuitive Ways To Generate Consumer Insights:
- Reverse Assumptions: Challenge commonly held beliefs in your industry. For instance, consider what happens when you assume the opposite of what everyone expects.
- Outsider Perspectives: Gather insights from people who have no prior knowledge of your industry. Their fresh perspectives can reveal unconventional insights.
- Embrace Negative Feedback: Instead of avoiding negative feedback, delve into it. Sometimes, hidden insights can be found in complaints and criticisms.
- Observe Extremes: Study outliers and the extremes. Insights gained from these cases can reveal patterns or potential opportunities.
- Child’s Mind: Approach the problem as if you were a child who knows nothing about the industry. This can help uncover fundamental issues or untapped possibilities.
- Metaphorical Thinking: Use metaphors and analogies from unrelated fields to draw unexpected connections and insights.
- Quantify Qualitative Data: Convert qualitative data (opinions, emotions) into quantifiable metrics. This can reveal trends that weren’t initially apparent.
- Random Associations: Combine seemingly unrelated concepts and explore the potential intersections for unique insights.
- Understand Taboos: Analyze social taboos and cultural norms to find hidden opportunities for disruption or innovation.
- Unasked Questions: Identify questions that nobody is asking in your industry. These unexplored areas might hold valuable insights.
- Reframe Problems: Look at your business challenges from various angles. Often, reframing the issue can lead to innovative solutions.
- Subvert Trends: Instead of following industry trends, intentionally explore avenues that go against the grain.
- Cross-Disciplinary Teams: Bring together people from diverse fields to brainstorm. Their varied expertise can lead to unconventional insights.
- Surprise Demographics: Investigate whether a different demographic from your typical target audience might have unexpected needs or preferences.
- Embrace Failure: Study failed attempts or products in your industry. The reasons for their failure can offer insights into what consumers truly value.
Remember, generating counter-intuitive insights requires an open mind and willingness to question assumptions. So the best way to use these methods is to experiment with them and see which ones work best for you, the group your working with and your organizations.
What other unconventional methods do you use to uncover insights?
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