Top news. The 2017 APG awards book is out.
Reading it is one of the best “strategy workouts” that a planner can do.
So, that’s what i am going to do – and i am going to use it illuminate what we mean by that much used word – “Insight”- and how it helps unlock great work.
First up The Grand prix for Barbie – which, i think, has not one, but three great pieces of insight.
Founding vision of the brand’s creator. Billed as the “story of how a woman can re-ignite her power, her fierceness, her purpose by returning to who she is deep down inside”, the planners got right back into the original vision of the brands creator and found this ”My whole philosophy of Barbie was that, through the doll, the little girl could be anything she wanted to be. Barbie always represented the fact that a woman had choices” ( Ruth Handler).
This had become obscured by the belief that Barbie play was just “make-believe” rather than a time when “girls try out possibilities.” . This insight was the inspiration behind the new film “Imagine the possibilities”
Insight tip: Uncover the history of a brand and its original idea. Good questions to ask are : who founded it,why, what did they want to change or challenge or do better? and why did its earliest buyers love it ?
Symbol of re-evaluation. Great brands are like supertankers- it is very difficult to change their direction. Barbie was stuck with the belief that it had visited impossible expectations on young girls through her unnatural body shape and super small waist. Communication alone won’t change this: you need to do something different and newsworthy. What Adam Morgan calls “a symbol of re-evaluation.” So Barbie launched three new shapes- tall, Curvy and Petite- to sit alongside the original shape.
Insight tip: ask- what are the barriers that stand in the way of this brand? What is limiting its potential or prejudicing potential buyers ? What do you have to do to challenge this and make it go away?
Surprise or new audience. In the case of Barbie, dads, and the truth that they have a big impact on their daughters confidence. Dads who play with Barbies featured real life stories of dads who take time out to play with their daughters. The great thing about a new audience is that it is provokes a brand to develop a new message in different media and be seen in a fresh light. (Think of Boddingtons, way back, and Nintendo Brain Training more recently)
Insight tip: Ask is there an underserved or ignored or newly emerging audience that is in truth important. Remember that “demographic change alters the culture of a society” (JM Keynes) and that’s an opportunity to break fresh ground.
Julian Saunders is a strategist, teacher and writer.
This was first published on is blog - Joined Up Think - on 27th October 2017