How can companies cull actionable insights? In this eTip, we interviewed Kevin Bové of The Bové Group, on how to bridge the gap between insights and actions.
BMC: As we get started, can you share a guiding principle in your career?
Bové: There is a well known quote attributed to St. Francis that goes like this; “O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand.” In life, ministry and business, it's the “to understand” that seems so elusive…
BMC: How have you seen this principle manifest itself in the market place?
Bové: Effective leaders and organizations seem to possess an inner hunger to understand their organizations, their customers, and the market. This hunger often leads them to climb great heights in order to gain perspective; the foundation for branding, marketing and operations.
Many companies would simply accept the growth all the way to the bank. But not our client. They had that hunger to understand, and what they discovered was very interesting. As they analyzed the sales data, they realized that the growth was not coming from their target audience. It was coming from a new core customer who had adopted the brand for themselves. They made the boots cool, and not for their intended use. Instead of sales growth coming from the great outdoors, it was coming from the inner city.
In a nutshell, the challenge was, “Do we market to this customer group, or do we just let it go?” (this was before Frozen!) The direct approach would not work. Marketing to the new core customer would likely backfire. The brand could quickly go from cool to uncool. This was too much of a risk. So, our client conceived of an an event strategy – to go to the inner city.
BMC: What did you learn?
Bové: We shared that same hunger to understand, so we went directly to this new core customer. We walked the streets, went to the schools, played in the parks, and shopped in the stores. We talked to the store owners and the people wearing the boots. We discovered. We learned. We got perspective. And what was the perspective? We could not market to them, but we could thank them…indirectly.
BMC: What did you do with this newly gained perspective?
Bové: It is from here that the insight emerged. Our clients learned that these customers cared about their communities. They cared that their parks were in disrepair. They cared that their brothers, sisters, and cousins attended schools that desperately needed painting and new equipment. They cared and they would appreciate someone who cared too. That’s actionable.
BMC: How did his become actionable?
Bové: In collaboration with our client, the distributors, store owners, park commissioners, and school administrators, we implemented a community tour in the major inner cities throughout the country. This tour was a celebration and a time of giving thanks. The entire community was involved and it became a real festival. The tour was a big hit and created significant goodwill at all consumer and partner touchpoints.
BMC: What are the most common mistakes you have seen companies make when it comes to gaining perspective?
Bové: So often, it seems that organizations rely on data - you know ones and zeros. Others seem to risk their brand reputation on information alone. Others still, consider important strategies from a knowledge base. While this appears to be a good launching point, so often it is wrought with weakness. Perspective is gained from standing on that knowledge to uncover the insight – the insight that can be activated to create differentiation. This becomes an advantage.
BMC: Any last words of wisdom in regards to perspective?
Bové: We have uncovered an important reality. Organizations with identified growth objectives frequently possess two important attributes. They have significant knowledge already and an inherent hunger to learn more. What most organizations are missing is the process that leads to perspective and insights. We bring them the process.
Kevin Bové is a business leader. His 30 years executive experience is leading small and mid-sized businesses. His clients range from small-sized to Fortune 100 companies. Bové’s focus is on brand and marketing strategy and has operational strategists in his organization enabling a 360° solution set for business.