Consumer Insights 101

By: Arwen Kimmell

Several years ago, we were fortunate enough to work with a lovely group of people at Kellogg to rebrand Pure Organic. They were all vibrant, enthusiastic and smart marketers. We’ve kept in touch with most of them and have enjoyed watching their journeys.  

One of those people was Arwen Kimmell. Her specialty is Consumer Insights and has had a thriving career, spending time with JPG Resources as Director of Innovation Marketing and Newman’s Own as Director of Consumer Insights.  

We were ecstatic when she revealed her vision to develop a consultancy, Insomnia Insights. Arwen’s talent for discerning what data is valuable and making it actionable is unlike anything we’ve ever seen. She shares our passion for helping brands that are trying to create better-for-you CPG products for all the right reasons, so we held our hands high and offered to help her out with a logo for Insomnia Insights.

We feel like so many people in our circle could benefit from Arwen’s services, we asked her to write a guest article for us to help people better understand what she does and how it can help your business: 

Consumer Insights 101

Consumer Insights is the art and science of using data of all kinds to build better business strategies and make better business decisions. Data can come in all shapes and sizes. We look at point of sale and panel data, consumer surveys, qualitative interviews, observation of behaviors, market dynamics, cultures and trends. Insights data can help identify opportunities, highlight potential risks, build confidence with internal and external stakeholders, and perhaps most importantly, build empathy with your consumer which ensures your products and communications are optimized for success. 

It can often seem like there is either too much or not enough data leaving teams feeling overwhelmed with information that may seem inconclusive or contradictory or struggling to find answers to the questions that would help them move their businesses forward. An Insights partner is an expert in knowing how to find and create the best data and how to synthesize and interpret that data to find actionable insights.  

How can Consumer Insights apply to logo and package design?  

Consumer Insights can be a key tool in developing a brand identity in 3 ways: 

  1. Consumer Clarity.  Understanding the target is essential for any good brief, whether for a new product, campaign idea, or logo/packaging design.  Clarity on who the design is for, and deep knowledge that brings that person to life ensure the end result speaks to the end user.  Consumer Insights can help segment potential consumers and identify the most attractive strategic target and help you understand their demographics, psychographics, behaviors, needs and desires to bring them to life for your design team.  
  1. Category Dynamics.  Any successful brand or product needs to both meet the needs of their consumer and differentiate itself among the competitive set. Consumer and category analysis can help identify the most appropriate competitive set, uncover key attributes that are required to compete, and explore potential functional and emotional benefits that can help your brand differentiate. Together these insights can ensure you focus on the right communication elements with the limited real estate on pack.  
  1. Validation.  Throughout the design process it may be valuable to check in with your consumers to make sure that your design is doing what you intend.  Does it break through in the competitive set? Are your communication points clear? Does it evoke the emotional response you intended? Validation can come in a wide variety of forms depending upon the objectives, size of initiative, and risk profile and doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive.  A small, intentional investment can go a long way towards risk mitigation and future success. An insights expert can help you evaluate the options and guide you towards the best investment, eliminating potentially wasteful spend.  

Why did I start Insomnia Insights? 

I have spent the last 20 years as a Consumer Insights expert supporting a variety of great food and beverage brands.  I started Insomnia Insights to help bring the level of consumer and data expertise that large companies take for granted, but that smaller, emerging brands don’t usually have the resources to access.  Insomnia Insights allows brands the option of insights support that is right-sized for their business questions, budgets, and timelines with short term, part time or project-based solutions.  There are always multiple ways to answer questions – more and less rigor, longer and shorter timelines, large or small investment, existing and new research. Insomnia Insights can help you find the best path forward, get the most use out of the data at hand, identify gaps in knowledge and help you to make the smartest investments in new research.  Insomnia Insights helps you answer the questions that keep you up at night.