Too much data, not enough insight” was the key message at Tuesday’s consumer insight event at London’s TechHub, Google Campus.

The key speakers: Rich Wilson (Relative Insight), Paddy Adams (Manning Gottlieb OMD) and Tom Messett (Microsoft Mobile) all discussed the increasing ease and ability for organisations to collect data about their consumers. However, knowing what information is the most important and how this information can best be used to improve customer value is not only crucial, but an ongoing challenge that faces organisations daily.

Rich Wilson spoke of how the innovative technology Relative Insight uses can address the increasing complexity of a data driven world. Relative Insight’s ability to take any form of text – be it Tweets, Facebook posts, online reviews, forum comments, above-the-line ad, copy, even letter templates – and make comparisons between these can reveal language differences, commonalities, perceptual range, and a greater meaning behind data content that goes beyond simply a collection of words.

Following Rich’s discussion, Paddy Adams and Tom Messett provided several case examples to demonstrate how working with Relative Insight has enabled both Manning Gottlieb OMD clients and Microsoft Mobile to better position their brands and differentiate from competitors through more appropriate and consistent communication

Whilst Paddy discussed the importance of emotion in brand language as a component in positioning Manning Gottlieb OMD clients on their brand dimensions matrix, Tom discussed how the vast majority of organisations are using social media ineffectively, and inevitably, are failing to truly understand their customers.

Tom proposes that increasing the number of ‘likes’ on Facebook and ‘shares’ on Twitter is not the answer. Instead, true insight comes from understanding the customer journey, the pressure points customers experience, and how customers navigate through a vast array of data to reach purchase decisions. By understanding how to influence what influences customers most it becomes apparent that the overall impression of a brand matters more than the individual messages an organisation communicates.

Consumer insight is not a simple task. Real insight requires us to question how budgets and resources are allocated across communication tools, to not be afraid to act different, and to ultimately change the way we look at data.

By Rachael Smallwood