The 4 C’s of Insight Activation

Insight Activation - People on power box

In a world where business challenges are increasingly complex and stakeholder roles are evolving continuously, it’s important to be as close to your internal stakeholders as to your consumers. But how do you do this? How do you activate people in the business, and turn insights into action and business impact?

Blog written in collaboration with Gongos, part of InSites Consulting.

The Activation Spectrum

Activation is a spectrum, going from an insight to a strategy focus. Activation at the one side of the spectrum (insight-focused) will zoom in on the consumer, a market trend, or a company insight. It is directed at understanding and educating, providing facts and data, leaving open to interpretation what the audience will do with the insights. The opposite side of the spectrum is more strategy-focused. The messages shared there are filtered and contain a point of view. This type of activation includes talking about how to use the information shared, and making commitments to drive change across the organization. Your position on the spectrum is defined by multiple elements, going from budget and timings to stakeholder relationships and organizational culture. It’s this business context that will determine the type of activation solutions that will be put forward. Yet, both sides of the spectrum are relevant; there is no right or wrong.

Insight Activation - Activation Spectrum

The 4 C’s of activation

There are four pillars that help determine where you want to play on the spectrum.


The first one, captivate, is about bringing insights to life, inspire your audience, and sparking first actions. This can be done by using different techniques to make reports, presentations, or workshops more engaging and impactful. Think for example about video content, short quizzes, but also infographics or newsletters. Another example are Consumer Connect sessions, where company stakeholders can talk directly with consumers about the insights that were shared during a presentation or workshop. These direct connections allow them to hear the consumer stories behind the insights first-hand, and experience how those insights vary in different markets.


The second pillar, craft, is where we adopt multiple lenses (i.e., consumer, market and business) to merge them into one narrative. It’s about bridging insights and strategy, and sharing a point of view on how those insights can turn into strategy. Typical techniques used in this pillar are storytelling, thought leadership toolkits and playbooks. This requires rethinking deliverables, making them bite-size and easy to use when turning insights into strategy. An example is how we helped one of our clients leverage their segmentation work around teens for one of their brands. We took this segmentation further to made it applicable to all the brands in their organization, and met with each brand team to educate them and help them include that teen segment into their marketing plans and product development. Finally, we also reviewed those actions at a portfolio level to identify any gaps.


The third pillar, commercialize, is about prioritizing and defining concrete next steps. By collaborating within cross-functional teams, specific commitments are made to put insights into action. This can be done by creating a longer-term communication plan to ensure the work we did lives on. Thereby, we start with a stakeholder mapping, having a good understanding of who we are talking to, and what their information needs and preferred formats are. Next, we use multiple touchpoints over a given period to share news, reminders, and success stories. This helps stakeholder teams to plan for the year ahead and align across teams with different priorities. Typical techniques used in this space are working sessions that allow for in-depth discussion and sharing.


The final pillar, cultivate, is all about helping individuals and teams to grow their activation skills. It’s about empowering every single person in the business – both the internal stakeholders and the insights team – to make activation happen together. This can be done via off-the-shelf or bespoke trainings. An example is a learning program around insights. Training internal stakeholders on what an insight is and how to get to insights, helps them better understand what consumers insights can mean for their day-to-day jobs. Moreover, once they are skilled in crafting insights and turning them into ideas and concepts for communication and innovation, it will become easier to collaborate with them on such projects. In fact, through this training, we are providing internal stakeholders with the knowledge and the skills they need to be a perfect audience for insight activation initiatives.

Insight Activation - Activation Spectrum with 4 pillars

So, what is your business’ position on the Activation Spectrum? Get in touch with Lisa McFarland or Tom De Ruyck to discuss how we can support your next activation initiative.

Impact is the (new) name of the game

Impact is the (new) name of the game

Turning insights into action. Why is it that marketing research is struggling to drive impact? Are research professionals stuck in an executional role? How do we change the role of insight professionals within the organization and turn the CMI team into a valuable business partner?

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