Insights Don’t Exist

Insights Don’t Exist

Farrah Bostic at Pretty Little Head got us wondering if we've 'observed' insights to death.

Paloma M. Vazquez
  • 11 may 2011

A recent post by Farrah Bostic at Pretty Little Head raises a provocative and interesting point – that there are no such things as insights. In reality, it doesn’t appear that Bostic is saying that insights themselves are non-existent in our industry, but rather, what we’ve labeled as ‘insights’ is incorrect.

According to Bostic;

Insight is a capacity to gain accurate and deep understanding of a person or thing.  Insight, in other words, is what a good planner or creative – or hell, in a perfect world a good client or account manager – should have.

But the work product of these processes isn’t ‘an insight’. Insight is a quality possessed by people. You want to hire planners who are insightful.  But they will not ‘uncover’ or ‘land on’ or ‘find’ insights for you, because that is not possible. The best they can be, is insightful on your behalf.

Bostic’s lengthier piece is worth the full read. Per usual, we’re pulled what we found to be some of the most thought-provoking and referential bits:

  • It can be helpful to deconstruct a campaign as or after it’s been ideated by breaking it down to a) the business objective, b) advertising objective, c) the strategic idea and d) the creative/media idea
  • While the business objective and advertising objective are rather obvious (business agenda – what your client will be incentivized on – and what the advertising can accomplish, respectively), it gets a bit more nebulous when you’re differentiating the strategic idea from the creative idea
  • The strategic idea is how you’re going to go about achieving the advertising objective, while the creative idea is ‘the framework for bringing that strategy to life’. Using Nike+ as an example, Bostic imagines that;
  • “The strategic idea is not ‘People like to listen to music when they run – the strategic idea is probably something like, ‘Let’s entertain and reward people so they’ll use our content when working out’.”
  • For the creative idea, it could have been ‘to build a social, interactive, content & feedback-driven ecosystem’.

What we found to be at the heart of Bostic’s thoughts is that ‘insights’ aren’t something to be arrived at. Insight is unique intuition, intelligence and knowledge that informs the entire creative communications process. It’s also not so formulaic; there are practices that help one be more insightful (research, immersion, questioning and observation), but they will not all arrive at the same ‘insight’ against the same business objective (insights aren’t just waiting to be found). Insights, as we collectively often treat them as an industry, are actually just re-packaged observations. It’s in our and our clients’ favor to challenge ourselves with a more demanding and ‘insightful’ approach.

Prettylittlehead: “There are No Such Things as ‘Insights'”


Transformable Table Maximizes Utility In Small Spaces

Design & Architecture
Syndicated Yesterday

How Fashion Became All About Fonts

Why a new wave of designs have put typography front and center on your clothing

Retail Yesterday

GM And Audi Are Experimenting With Car Rentals In SF

The automakers are trying something new to capture the segment of urban dwellers who don't want to own a car


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Travel Yesterday

This Vertical Forest Hotel Will Improve The Air Around It

An architectural firm is creating a lush mountain lodging in China with so much greenery that it will actually clean the atmosphere

Europe Yesterday

This Company Believes Insects Can Provide Biofuel To Power Our Future

A Polish group is testing out a new factory concept that can provide a source of renewable energy, and even serve space missions

Technology Yesterday

Music Venue Caters To Virtual Reality Events

Boiler Room has launched the first VR hub for content creators to capture special footage for the masses

Gaming & Play Yesterday

Automated Chessboard Lets You Play Against Anyone In The World

Square Off is an AI-powered board that can move the pieces on its own

Technology Yesterday

Contraband Recorder Helps Those In Need Capture Captive Conversations

Designer Marianna Mezhibovkaya created the device to help prison inmates capture crucial evidence of abuse


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed Yesterday

Health Expert: Nutritional Meal Replacements Are A Solution To Corporate Wellness

Ample Foods Founder Connor Young explains why supplements are the next food trend coming to the workplace

PSFK Labs october 25, 2016

The Keys For Exceptional Performance On And Off The Field

PSFK Labs' new report highlights five important insights for businesses to perform better than the competition

Advertising Yesterday

A Compelling Brand Purpose Is Never Born In The Boardroom

Strategist and Designer Anna-Rae Morris shares why she believes all brands exist for a reason, and how Snapchat has upended our behavior

Retail Yesterday

Creative Leadership Expert: Experiencing A Seismic Shift From Brand Loyalty To Interface Loyalty

Marc Shillum, founder of Chief Creative Office, explains why product designers must rethink the way they capture consumer attention

Fitness & Sport Yesterday

Editorial Roundtable: The Xs And Os Of Performance-Enhanced Sports

WHOOP, ShotTracker, Rithmio, PlaySight, STYR Labs, EverybodyFights and Lift / Next Level Floats explain that we're only at the iceberg's tip of performance enhancement

Design & Architecture Yesterday

Kodak’s Smartphone Is Inspired By A Retro Camera

Ektra is an Android phone with a powerful lens aimed at photographers

Sustainability Yesterday

Modern Home Created Entirely Out Of Modular Shipping Crates

A project in Ecuador used the ubiquitous material to design a spacious and industrial-chic house

Retail Yesterday

Retail Concept Offers Food Hall Inspired Space For Online Brands

The store will offer a lower cost way for internet entrepreneurs to try physical retailing

Advertising Yesterday

Disney Retells Beauty And The Beast On Snapchat

In a partnership with LACMA, the entertainment platform drew from over 130,000 works in the museum's collection

No search results found.