Insight activation: what it is and what it isn’t

Insight activation means different things depending on the situation and context. Let’s take a step back and define this crucial concept.

Woman presenting in a workshop
Woman presenting in a workshop

Lisa McFarland

02 November 2023

3 min read


Picture this: you set up a great piece of consumer research leading to interesting results and powerful insights. The next step is all about putting those insights into action across the business to create impact. But what exactly is insight activation? How do we level up the ROI of research and turn it into business impact? Is it as simple as presenting results on a slide deck? And more importantly, how do you inspire and mobilise your stakeholders to take action?


What is insight activation?

Insight activation is high on the agenda of many companies, but it might mean different things depending on the situation and context. So, let’s take a step back and define what insight activation is (not) about.


 1.  Tailored to your business need

In the world of insight activation, one size does not fit all. Every activation program needs to be tailored to the scope, its importance, the available budget, and of course the kind of stakeholders involved. For more strategic-oriented projects, for example, it’s vital to collaborate with a broad range of internal stakeholders across different levels and teams to create impact. In contrast, other projects might thrive with a smaller, focused group of internal stakeholders. Depending on the business need, activation programs can therefore be big or small.


2. Actionable impact, beyond insight summaries

Insight activation goes beyond merely summarizing research insights and sharing these with internal stakeholders. While insight activation can take many forms and shapes, they all have a common denominator: action. To empower the business to act upon insights, we need to move beyond synthesizing. It’s about carefully sifting through the data to filter out the most critical messages. We might have great consumer research. Or interesting trends about what’s happening in a particular category. Or we have exceptional solutions ready to hit the market. The power of activation lies in going beyond merely knowledge sharing, and marry different perspectives to come to relevant and critical messages. It’s about collaborating in cross-functional teams to form a point of view, build strategies and implement plans. Only then can we truly prioritise what we focus on for the future.


3. The art of crafting impactful messages

When it comes to information sharing, there are multiple ways to convey a message. Whether it’s about length, tone, impact, level of refinement, or the story we want to tell, it’s important to communicate in line with the context and needs of the audience – especially in a B2B situation. From multiple bite-sized messages to compelling visual presentations to immersive video stories, or even sharing a story that seizes opportunities instead of just presenting insights – the packaging of our messages and efforts should always reflect the needs and information appetite of your end stakeholder. Impactful messages should change the hearts and minds of your stakeholders to drive action. This is also what we did for a leading beverage brand that wanted to grow efforts with low-income consumers. We immersed the executive leadership (ELT) in this consumer group through an immersive video documentary, consumer connect sessions and immersive workshop. Fuelled by newfound empathy, the ELT realised they needed to act quickly on relevant solutions to drive future growth.


 4. The contagious power of uniting insights and strategy

When the momentum is there, insight-activation programs are contagious, and people will ask for more. True magic lies in cross-functional teams that start collaborating and bridge actionable insights with strategy.


Explore more about activation in our blogs covering the activation spectrum, the importance of cross-functional alignment and activation sparks.


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