Brand growth is a core business issue that drives the need for strategic primary research. To ensure that strategic research is successful and actionable, it’s essential for insights professionals to understand the role activation plays throughout the process. When we think about the process of creating activation opportunities, we don’t wait until we have data, insights and stories in hand from which to then pivot to an activation mindset. Rather, successful strategic research means that we are thinking about how our clients will activate against the initiative from the kick-off.
Integrating activation with strategy for optimal results.
As we look across the most successful research initiatives we’ve worked on, a common theme is that all of them had opportunities for activation and business integration built in throughout the process. We’ve learned that activation starts from the minute a research project kicks off and that it needs to be a focal point at key stages of the process in order to maximize the value of the work.
As an example (and one we have co-presented at a conference with our client), we conducted some Targetable Segmentation with our friends at USAA a couple of years ago, where we knew that the end goal of their targeting initiative was to increase the success of their customer communications. This knowledge was built into questionnaire creation, sample design and most crucially the type of analytics we would conduct. Every meeting throughout the process had the end goal in sight. The results? Open rates of USAA’s new targeted communications increased 63% and click-through rates by 500%. Insights are the fuel for activation and brand growth.
When we think about the process of creating activation opportunities, we don’t wait until we have data, insights and stories in hand from which to then pivot to an activation mindset. Rather, successful strategic research means that we are thinking about how our clients will activate against the initiative from the kick-off.”
While we must consider activation throughout the process, we understand that bringing opportunities to light with great insights and impactful storytelling can really help a research initiative be successful and deliver a terrific ROI. Indeed, we’ve written a lot lately about the importance of delivering Executive Summaries and report stories to help brands glean meaning from the research. Boiling the main insights down to their essential elements makes it easier for clients to envision the possibilities for activation.
The Executive Summary delivers the overview and essence of the project. To continue learning and help teams move to action, a good research partner will enlist a full set of tools and techniques to help stakeholders develop a clear understanding of the research implications. From meetings with the executive team, to lunch-and-learn sessions where the research partners dig into the findings with stakeholders, it is important that everyone in the process understands the opportunities along with the specifics so they can use the detailed findings to pursue the best outcome.
Maintain a laser focus on growth opportunities.
Over the next few months, our main topic will be activation with a focus on the eight strategic areas of our Brand Growth Navigator. Pulling from case studies and experiences, we want to explore activation best practices in relation to these brand growth areas:
How does your team activate?
Every client organization we work with has different needs and expectations when it comes to activation. At our recent client roundtable, for example, our guests from Brightspeed, Pinnacol Assurance, and ServiceNow each championed different strategies for acting on results, but all agreed on the need to get early buy-in from a wide group of stakeholders.
As we continue to explore activation over the next few months, we’ll provide strategies, case studies, and lessons we’ve learned from recent projects. We’re looking forward to sharing more about the value of integrating actionable research into your overall business and would welcome an opportunity to connect with your team to learn more about your experiences with activation. Feel free to reach out if we can help.