What Every Digital Strategist Must Know About Insights in Africa

Insight is the understanding of a specific cause and effect in a specific context. The term insight can have several related meanings:

  • a piece of information
  • the act or result of understanding the inner nature of things or of seeing intuitively (called noesis in Greek)
  • an introspection
  • the power of acute observation and deduction, discernment, perception called intellection or noesis
  • an understanding of cause and effect based on identification of relationships and behaviors within a model, context, or scenario (see artificial intelligence)

An insight that manifests itself suddenly, such as understanding how to solve a difficult problem, is sometimes called by the German word Aha-Erlebnis. The term was coined by the German psychologist and theoretical linguist Karl Bühler. It is also known as an epiphany.

Pat Conroy[citation needed] points out that an insight is a statement based on a deep understanding of your target consumers’ attitudes and beliefs, which connect at an emotional level with your consumer, provoking a clear response (This brand understands me! That is exactly how I feel! — even if they’ve never thought about it quite like that) which, when leveraged, has the power to change consumer behavior. Insights must effect a change in consumer behavior that benefits your brand, leading to the achievement of the marketing objective.[citation needed]

Insights can be based on:

  1. Real or perceived weakness to be exploited in competitive product performance or value
  2. Attitudinal or perceived barrier in the minds of consumers, regarding your brand
  3. Untapped or compelling belief or practice

Insights are most effective when they are/do one of the following:

  1. Unexpected
  2. Create a disequilibrium
  3. Change momentum
  4. Exploited via a benefit or point of difference that your brand can deliver

In order to be actionable, as the expression of a consumer truth, an insight as to be stated as an articulated sentence, containing:

  1. An observation or a wish, e.g. “I would like to ….”
  2. A motivation explaining the wish, e.g. ” because …”
  3. A barrier preventing the consumer from being satisfied with the fulfillment of his/her motivation, e.g. ” but…”

The gap between the second and the third term offers a tension, which constitutes a potential for a brand. Like there are concept writers for copies, there are insight writers.

In technical terminology of insight in market research is the understanding of local market by referring different source of information (such as quantitative research and qualitative research) proving for the consumers’ insight.


If your social media campaign isn’t grounded in insights and mega-trends, then you might as well be shooting fish in a barrel the size of a lake.

At some point in our careers (more likely at many points), we’ve all had to reluctantly come up with a reason as to why a certain campaign didn’t go exactly according to plan.

To the client no less. We’ve seen and made bad decisions when we should have – and did – know better.


Don’t get us wrong- it’s great to have visually stunning, bold campaigns. Indeed, it’s what got many of us into this business in the first place.

But if it isn’t grounded in insights and mega-trends, then you might as well be shooting fish in a barrel the size of a lake.

Picture this scenario, if you will;

Client briefs agency X on a project.

1. Agency X goes back to the shop and comes up with this great big idea (which they’re sure will win awards)

2. Agency X presents it to client who, even though genuinely excited about the campaign, asks, ‘but how does this help me solve my problem?’

3. Unfortunately, this experience isn’t unique. We’ve seen brands invest a significant amount of money to fuel what they hope will be a hugely visible and successful campaign, only to see it flop tragically.

3 things every digital strategist must know about insights
3 things every digital strategist must know about insights (Blog strategist)

Sounds familiar?

In today’s world we tend to think all insights are intrinsically linked to data (thanks to every digital marketing blog circa 2013).

And whereas this is mostly true, that isn’t the discussion we’re having today. We’re looking beyond metrics to derive insights from numerous sources.

When trying to market to millennials, we often ask ourselves what makes a fact or idea worthy of building a campaign around? How do you discern between powerful ideas and clichés?

Here’s what we have found so far:

Insights don’t always have to be deep

And sometimes, your target audience won’t be the source of your best insights. Look around you- More often than not the most profound truths can be found right in front of your nose.

Simplicity trumps all

We have a tendency to get carried away and complicate things. Think about it- How many times you have seen a campaign idea and go like, ‘wow, that’s so simple, how come I didn’t think of that?’ Keeping it simple means it will be easier to implement, easier for the target audience to remember and share.


It may seem obvious, but if the insight isn’t compelling or even relevant to your audience, then shelve it. Cool ideas have a viral effect (and not in a good way) of hijacking the creative process and leaving the issue to be addressed in the backburner.

We needn’t go into the finer details of how to use insights to come up with a winning campaign. But just for good measure, take a few minutes to read through this delightful piece by Elle & Co

The short of it is that it’s not enough to create something beautiful, whimsical, or emotionally engaging if at the end of the day your target audience can’t relate to it.

*We’ll be discussing data driven marketing as a key to marketing success in a later article.


Written by Bello Olusayo

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