Mastering the activation spectrum: tailoring efforts for success

You probably know why insight activation is important, but do you know how to get it right?

A person looking to the right.
A person looking to the right.

Lisa McFarland

09 November 2023

3 min read

Similar to the word strategy, the term ‘activation’ can be somewhat vague, having very different meanings depending on the person or context. Our experience has taught us to think of insight activation along a spectrum since not all initiatives need the same level of effort. Sometimes we are sharing information, allowing room for interpretation and action. Other times, we create point-of-views to guide stakeholders in setting priorities and taking actions. And sometimes we are navigating organisation-wide change efforts and holding people accountable for results. The true challenge of insight activation lies in customizing the activation approach to your business needs.


Understanding the activation spectrum

Before we start any activation journey, we need to get clarity on its context. That means asking questions that go beyond the immediate business challenge. What is our relationship with the audience? What is the very next step we want to take? How important is this initiative to the organization’s growth – is it low or high risk?

Once we know that, we can define the optimal activation approach. This is where our ‘activation spectrum’ comes in, which visualises the different activation levels from bringing insights to life on one side to transforming the business on the other. Since not all situations require the same activation approach, the spectrum provides us with the flexibility to make purposeful and strategic choices on the best solution for your business’ needs.


Insight activation spectrum


1. Captivate: bringing insights to life

Here our goal is to bring insights to life, inspire stakeholders and spark first actions. This can be done by using different techniques that make reports, presentations or workshops more engaging and interactive. Think for example about video content, short quizzes, but also infographics or newsletters. Here we share knowledge, but any follow-up action is open to interpretation.


2. Craft: bridging insight and strategy

This next step is all about bringing insights and strategy closer. This starts with carefully curating existing knowledge and filling in potential gaps through secondary research or additional primary research. Then, we organise this information into relevant and cohesive themes. We combine what consumers want, where the market is going and what your business priorities are, to identify opportunities and strategies that align with your growth goals. So, whether you’re preparing for a meeting, setting priorities, or feeding into existing plans, we’ll simplify complexity and customise the narrative to your needs. Think of carefully crafted selling stories, topic deep dives and playbooks for action.


3. Commercialise: aligning on the path forward

This is the tipping point between initiative-specific and organisation-wide activation and therefore requires a level of commitment by all involved. This step is all about keeping the work alive and align on the path forward. It’s where we evaluate progress and identify gaps and weaknesses. Using cross-functional expertise, we move the business forward by putting change plans in place as a result of successful team training, skill building and collaborative catalyst sessions. Creating alignment internally, will ensure you can succeed externally.


4. Empower: creating a movement

Here we want to create a movement, so we need to unleash the human spirit. A mandate won’t suffice; we need to create an intentional plan that ensures alignment on vision, goals and strategies – one that is coordinated, clear and actionable. With a clear vision in place, we can deploy an internal network of champions who will drive these strategies forward. Developing a comprehensive success plan and associated metrics guide this process, ensuring adoption and accountability.


5. Transform: making change stick

How do we install change that sticks? Once a plan is implemented, it requires intentional care and attention to sustain it. Achieving success is tied to knowing the details of how your people and business operate, so policies, structures and rewards all play a role in reinforcing the initial vision and plan. Of course, lasting change is only possible when you listen, learn and continuously improve.


From bringing insights to life, to navigating internal change, activation can make the difference between success and failure. That’s why we need to invest the time to identify your activation needs before diving into potentially costly or time-consuming activities. By diagnosing what your insight activation needs are according to the activation spectrum, you can build the momentum needed to drive change.

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