The insight led era

Communications professionals now have access to more information than ever before, across all industries. Today’s technological progress has helped to change the way we gather insights and with the help of tools such as Google Trend Data, YouGov’s Profiler Tool or SocialBakers, we’re now able to analyze an audience’s behaviour towards a particular brand or understand what their preferences are in great detail. No communications effort should even be started without first looking at the insights.

However, readership, views and even engagement statistics will no longer be the most important evaluation criteria for communications programmes, as the end result that really matters is what emotion the campaign generates. Emotive and behavioural technological advances will help to feed that information back to brands. The key is to ensure that there is a blend between machine and man and that the human factor is considered along with the data.

We can expect to see more micro-campaigns launched by brands looking to trigger specific emotive responses to their content. Short, sharp bursts of creative activity in response to changes in mood and behaviour will become the norm. Campaigns that launched without the necessary grounding in audience understanding will not be successful, as brands will have to work much harder to truly understand the audience they’re communicating with if they want to succeed.

On the other hand, we can also expect to see campaigns that fail due to the overreliance on automated research. Brands forgetting to blend the human touch with the automated insight will sometimes find that the results of their campaigns will not turn out as predicted or anticipated.

At the same time, communications teams will become much more comfortable with insight as a whole, and even though there will still be experts to turn to, communications professionals will have a far greater understanding and appreciation of insight, irrespective of whether gathering it is your day job or not.

Finally, we’ll see costs continue to drop for automated insight as technology continues to advance and big data becomes the norm. In contrast, real human-to-human qualitative research will rise in price and complexity as the ‘grunt’ work will already have been done.

There’s no doubt that we are living in an insight led era of communications, the question is whether the next 12 months will bring more investment in the technology or in the human side of insights and research. Our advice is to do a bit of both.