During my nearly 40 years of working in the public relations business, the most difficult thing to do was to mine deep and meaningful insights about our client brands, their customers or marketplace, and put them to work in client campaigns.
I remember one conversation I had with a professor in China in 2008 about the protests taking place globally around the Olympic Torch Relay and China serving as host city for the 2008 Olympic Games. Specifically, I was curious what the Chinese response was going to be about protests in London, Paris and San Francisco. Professor Li Xiguang of Tsinghua University said, “we have won the public relations battle for the Olympics!” I responded, “What? At this rate, it doesn’t look like the Olympics is going to take place!” Professor Li explained, “the Chinese people are united. You see, these protests have brought the citizens of China together like we have never been together before, and this unity is most important to governing China.”
To me, that was an insight I never considered, even though I had lived in China for 13 years by 2008. To my knowledge, few of the global protesters even recognized they were strengthening China’s resolve.
Recent Insight Observations
Over the past two weeks I was reminded of my conversation with Professor Li, and the power of insights when scrolling through my news feed.
Success and Failure
The first was a rather simple insight gleaned from an interview Milwaukee Bucks’ standout, Giannis Antetokounmpo, had after they lost to the Miami Heat. When asked if he felt his season was a failure, I thought his response was brilliant, and framed what every athlete knows about achieving greatness. Take a look at Giannis’ response here.
The second is an insight coming from the Surgeon General of the United States, Vivek Murthy. In explaining the cause for many mental and physical ailments facing Americans today, he pointed to the epidemic of loneliness as serving as a major cause. I am sure many people know there are many lonely people in the US, but few I believe have considered loneliness as a root cause of critical illnesses facing this country. This was an interesting health insight I felt was worthy of a broader share. Vice Admiral Murthy explains here.
Insight From The National Football League (NFL)
A final creative insight to share from a campaign I just love. In 2016, during the 50th Anniversary of the Superbowl, the National Football League’s (NFL) final contest during the year to determine the league champion, the NFL tied the anniversary to a deep brand insight. With the intention to show how watching the Superbowl binds families, the NFL featured a series of people conceived on Superbowl day from a selection of winning cities. This campaign featured a different angle from watching football, and helped the NFL reinforce the joy brought by the game. Take a look at this creative campaign. I first saw this when I was a judge at the Cannes Festival of Creativity in 2017, and I thought it was just brilliant.
Just a bit of inspiration to get your week started. Wishing you the best.