Data’s Got No Soul
How to Activate Brand Research into Effective Communications, by Andrew Wood, Principal, Strategy
You’ve worked with your research partner to conduct a large study that’s supplied reams of data and plenty of important findings. Yet it may stop short of revealing the real human insight needed to solve the human problem that’s always behind a business problem.
Let’s face it, data’s got no soul. Brands are about people and emotion, and you need to uncover the human data that’s so often missing from research to really bring it all to life. You need to feel your customers' experiences, to understand their emotional drivers, and to connect to their authentic human narrative.
So now what? How do you activate your data and findings into meaningful creative ideas that move people to feel, think, and act?
This is where we like to step in. Mintz + Hoke is the bridge—teasing insight out of your data and uncovering the human data that’s yet to be collected. Data AI can’t source because it doesn’t exist. We’re about finding data you can feel. Our intent is to discover the ‘why’ behind the ‘what,’ and the ‘why’ that helps us get to the ‘how.’
An Immersively Different Approach
We’ve refined an agile, proven approach over countless engagements to convert research into meaningful communications. We call it being Immersively Different. Here’s how it works.
Borrow insights from one industry to create a new lens on another. The emotional burden on the buyer of a multimillion-dollar technology system can be like that of a buyer making a multimillion-dollar investment in medical devices. Having gathered insights on buyers for more than five decades, our understanding of human emotion and behavioral triggers transcends industries. It’s a starting point in getting to know your customer right out of the gate.
Get creative quickly. We bring creative teams into our human research right from the start. Creative thinking should never be too precious. We generate ideas early to stimulate feelings and conversation. To be provocative so as to get a response. What do we see in your research that’s potent? Let’s try it out. We develop prototype messages to explore potential, range, and language. Our creatives aren’t afraid to get their initial thinking beaten up. We’ve got to break some glass before it’s all over. That’s how we discover insights and strategies that really work.
Step out of our office and into their world. To understand your customer is to enter their world—where they live, work, and play. We immerse ourselves to understand how they think, talk, and act. It’s about chasing the very heart and soul of your customer. Doing so brings context and texture to research findings to ensure that we know how to communicate authentically. What’s most powerful? When we can speak their language with a sensibility that’s spot-on for the customer—and the brand.
Tap into the good and the great. Our goal is to convert your research into actionable communications fast. We convene an Insight Circle—a team of specialists who have lived the challenge—to rapidly pool thinking around the problem we’re exploring to get us smart quick and early. To collectively stress test our theories and hypotheses and hone them with hard-won truths and perspectives.
Be agile, adaptable. Being a great partner is not about “doing it our way.” It’s about respecting your research and connecting the dots, spotting the missing dots, and getting immersive to do something about it. It can sometimes take just a handful of interviews in the customer’s world to uncover an unmet or unrealized need and bring a deeper layer of understanding to your research findings. We understand what you need and tailor our process to suit.
Involve cross-functional teams early. We include the entire team at the outset. That way everyone is informed and, most importantly, able to ask, feel, and own the questions we’re trying to answer. Cross-functional integration from the start adds more context to our conclusions because we each bring a different perspective and look for the implications needed to activate ideas into tangible solutions that generate real outcomes.
Own human emotion. We use neuroscience principles (brain chemistry is one thing that hasn’t changed on us!) to boil down our human research to three motivations: Crave, Concern, Comfort. Prioritizing and articulating what a person most desires, most fears, and what will bring them peace of mind are powerful drivers. Our Crave, Concern, Comfort model helps clients see the trigger, the potential, and how it leads to sales messages and content to meet a buyer’s emotional needs. It’s how we differentiate your brand in the eyes of your customers.
How does our Immersively Different approach work in practice? Here’s an example.
Case Study: Medtronic
Business problem. Medtronic entered the surgical suture market with an innovative and cost-efficient line of products. Yet, they were initially unable to overcome massive resistance to change from surgeons.
Brand research study. Measured significant enthusiasm from hospital management and a clear need for a new alternative supplier. It also showed surgeons’ dissatisfaction with the historical lack of product innovation.
Bringing the research alive. We uncovered that a rapidly changing healthcare industry has conspired to make surgeons believe they’ve lost control and power. Their response is to aggressively resist any changes, especially to long-established procedural products.
Insight. We discovered surgeons would let go of their emotional attachment to the status quo and accept change only after they had played an important role in effecting it.
Creative. Highlighted suture innovations and the part surgeons have had in product development, so they feel ownership in it.
Results. The Medtronic sales team quickly embraced new messaging to land Mayo Clinic, which became one of their largest accounts.
For us, activating your brand research with our Immersively Different process is about delving deep to understand your customers. By not being afraid to use provocative creative stimulus early on, by getting folks with different perspectives involved, and by leaning on our decades of experience, we find the soul in your data. It’s a process that leads to the right creative sensibility in expressing your brand—forging the path to meaningful communications.
Ready to do this for your brand? Drop your info in the form below—and let’s talk!
Andrew Wood, Principal, Strategy, Mintz + Hoke has led research and strategic planning at Mintz + Hoke since the late ’80s. An indispensable interface between planning, strategy and creative development, Andrew has a proven track record of using the Immersively Different process across consumer, public service and corporate sectors to build and elevate brands, including OTIS, Deloitte, Pratt & Whitney, Access Health CT, YoCrunch Yogurt, Special Olympics, CT Public, and the State of Connecticut Department of Transportation, to name a few.