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One of the most overused terms ever known.
It’s up there with ‘love’ and ‘revolution’ and ‘fun’ … and like those words, quite often it’s used in either the wrong context or with absolutely no understanding of what it actually is.
My basic rules of what constitutes an insight are:
+ They are about WHY people do or think or act in a particular way, NOT a descriptor of what they do, think or act.
+ If should take no more than 2 sentences – at most – to explain.
+ In a perfect world – when they hear it – people should nod, smile and say an enthusiastic “yes, that’s so true”.
Now I know some of adland think ‘insight’ is old, boring and creativity limiting – but I couldn’t disagree more.
In fact, I find it laughable that so many people are banging on about ‘global consumer truths’ … because if anything is limiting, it’s that.
It’s also utterly wrong because the way people express those ‘global human truths’ is very dependent on economy, culture, background, societal expectation etc etc.
In my experience, an insight is utterly liberating …
It gives you something you can grasp on to … something you can push up against … something that can create an idea with inherent tension, not just stating the bleeding obvious.
That said, I do agree there’s no such thing as ‘one super insight’
As I said 5 years ago, insights can come from many places and in my opinion, the problem is that too few people are willing to actually go looking for them … preferring to sit in the comfort of their office, hanging out with like-minded individuals and rehashing some research findings that were ultimately designed to confirm rather than reveal.
Ooooh, I got a bit feisty there didn’t I. Apologies.
Anyway, the reason I am saying all this is because I just read something from Alain de Botton that I loved:
OK, that quote doesn’t really explain ‘why’ our childhood is connected to biscuits, light, smell & textures – but lets be honest, it doesn’t take a genius to work out what he’s saying.
While a photo may stimulate certain memories of our childhood, it doesn’t do it with the all-encompassing power of smell, touch, taste & sound.
A lot of this is, in my view, connected to ‘frames of reference’ – those early experiences that set the benchmark/agenda for how you view situations/products/categories in later life … which is why my childhood will always be connected to Bourbon Biscuits, Cans of Tizer, patterned carpet, a golden light streaming in my bedroom because my yellow curtains weren’t totally pulled together and the sound of the Flymo mower on a Sunday morning.
Good memories. Warm memories. Powerful memories.
Which I suppose means all those instagram photos we take have fuck all to do with us capturing future memories life and everything to do with being a generation of egomaniacs.
Damn those insights.
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