Insightful and Inspiring: Recapping the Insights Association Annual Conference

About a 3 min. read

John Conti
VP, Travel

Last week, I was able to go to one of my favorite places in the world: Hilton Head Island. I’ve spent many family vacations on the island and even proposed to my wife atop the Harbour Town lighthouse, but this trip wasn’t for leisure but rather three days of learning from, and connecting with, colleagues across the research industry at the Insights Association Annual Conference.

It was one of the best conferences I have been to. It was very insightful and inspiring. So, here are a few takeaways to spur continued discussion:

  • Don’t Fear the Reaper: During the conference, there was a lot of discussion about technology and how it is transforming the Insights industry and the world, such as the risks of AI tools like ChatGPT. Tom Goodwin, author of Digital Darwinism’, reassured us that these times are not all that different from previous periods of technological disruption. Think about the introduction of the automobile, or the personal computer, or smartphones, etc. Each time, we caught up to the innovation, developed the infrastructure, and adapted. We will do that again with AI. Tom also shared that “the more important technology gets; the more important consumer understanding gets.” So, fear not researchers, embrace new technologies and look for new opportunities to collect stronger insights.
  • Spread the Love: Kevin Goetz from Screen Engine/ASI and author of ‘Audience*ology’ shared what it takes to build stronger brand evangelists. The answer? Love. It seems simple but we often settle for good enough when it is love that creates the affinity necessary to go viral in today’s cluttered world. When people love a brand, a product, an experience, they share it. So, researchers should move beyond traditional measures and push further to identify and measure ‘love’.
  • Focus on the Story: As technology makes it easier to collect insights, it is more important for researchers to focus on analysis and reporting. Clients are looking for strategic partners and expert storytellers that can bring the story to life in a clear, concise, and compelling way. In a session where client-side researchers and agency partners talked about what makes a strong insights report, we heard a lot of great storytelling ideas:
    • Tie the executive summary directly to project objectives
    • Address the big idea directly: “So What?” by giving a strong point of view supported by insights. Don’t make clients hunt for the key implications
    • Provide highly actionable recommendations
    • Easy-to-read with well thought-out design and visuals where the visual supports, and not detracts, from the story
    • Know your audience and tailor the report to those stakeholders
    • Use video where possible to help respondents tell your story, and elicit emotion and connection.
  • Know Your Audience: Pepper Miller, author of ‘Let Me Explain Black Again’ reminded us of the importance of understanding your audience and creating highly relevant marketing and messaging strategies. There are different segments within the Black community, and it is up to researchers to understand and overcome each of the 7 blind spots preventing businesses and brands from connecting authentically with Black consumers. Pepper shared a great example of how P&G understood black consumers and developed a full picture of black life: check out this impactful ad from P&G!
  • Connections Power Teams: Harvard researchers found that the most important driver of a long, meaningful life is a strong sense of connection. Ryan Jenkins, author of Connectable’, shared why it is important to build stronger connections at work to ensure employees are fully engaged and teams are more effective. Ryan said, “connections are the most important currency at work, however, most of us do not find company within our companies.” It is important that we all resist the urge to isolate and overcome the obstacles to build stronger connections with our coworkers and clients.
  • Giving Back: CMB’s Julie Kurd was recognized as a 2023 Insights Association Laureate. It is a well-deserved honor for Julie who is a trusted mentor to many within CMB and across the insights industry.

Would love to connect with you to continue discussing these important and inspiring topics. Let’s connect:

John Conti
VP, Travel