When you’ve spent time, money and effort generating insights, you need to prove the value of that investment. You need your insight to have an impact, and maybe even transform the way your business works. But this can often be a challenge for researchers. Often an insight presentation or report is shared once and then filed, never to be seen again.
To find out how to make sure your insights leave a lasting impact, we spoke with three experts about how they communicate insights successfully in their companies. See below for four quick tips and don't forget to download our full guide to communicating insights for even more great advice.
Rule number one of communication is to know your audience. Make sure to continually build your relationship with your stakeholders to build trust and show your value. Always aim for face to face communication but don't forget that video conferencing can be a valuable solution too should you need to present remotely. Lauren Raby, Junior Analyst at Coca-Cola, says that this collaborative style builds trust between researchers and stakeholders, while Miriam Konz, Managing Director of Kadence International’s Boston office, says that stakeholders begin to take ownership of the research and trust researchers more when they are included in the process. Above all, understanding the people you’re communicating with will allow you to build a healthy relationship and ensure your insight stories have an impact.
If stakeholders recognize the impact research and insight has on their business, they’ll understand the value of the information you’re giving them. You should always try to share the ROI from your research – providing concrete figures will make the value relatable. Jake Steadman, Twitter’s Senior Director of Research, said that sharing monthly ROI with his stakeholders has dramatically increased the company’s engagement with research. Sharing value can also help when you have to deliver bad news. When research flags data that reveal negative results for stakeholders, their recognition of the value of the data can prevent negativity toward these results.
Data visualization and infographics are used to make complex data relatable by structuring the essential information in an easily digestible format. Use of color, icons and smart design techniques allows the designer to control the audience’s interpretation of the data. Well-designed, clear presentations will be easier to understand and remember. Even if the presentations aren’t designed for external use, the charts and tables should still be of high quality. Jake Steadman at Twitter says that the visuals used internally at Twitter are always to an external marketing standard and by keeping them flowing regularly, the insight team increases their internal brand visibility and engagement.
In particular, for longer presentations or reports, telling stories with data is the best way to communicate complex ideas. Broader teams can connect with stories and become emotionally invested in finding a solution or, hopefully, a happy ending to the plot. So, create a structure for the story that makes the information easy to navigate and understand. Interweave small data (videos, images, quotes, etc.) into this structure. These snippets of real life will ground the information you’re giving the audience and provide relatable examples in a presentation that could otherwise be filled with big, abstract data. Audiences want to know how they fit into the narrative, so tailor the story to the team and show them why the insight is relevant to their roles within the company. Miriam Konz at Kadence says you should pick out and communicate a few highly relevant nuggets of information that are easily digestible, so stakeholders know precisely how to act on the insight.
Market researchers often have little control over the overall dynamics of the business, so it can be challenging to make sure your insights are heard, appreciated and utilized. But in addition to these tips on communicating, there are also tools that are designed specifically for researchers to help ensure your insight is accessible to all teams, easy to digest, and shared widely for maximum impact. Platforms like KnowledgeHound help teams share data and build stories that engage those stakeholders.