Want brand insight? Seek diverse perspectives

Brand insight is one of the things I’m hired to deliver.  People tell me I have a knack for getting to the nub of what their business does, how it’s perceived and which customer problems it really solves.  For me, this brand insight is the first step in building a focused value proposition.

How I build that brand insight is a mixture of science and art – analytical and creative thinking combined.  Usually with a fresh perspective, from outside the industry.

This week I read two very different articles in HBR.  The first asks why it’s so hard for us to find the time to focus on strategy when we know it’s so important. The second lists five misconceptions about networking.

In the first, whilst discussing the inevitable time-eaters that we perceive as barriers to strategy, Dorie Clark points out that it’s not time, but space you need, to strategise successfully.   It’s true – how many of your best ideas arise when you stop typing and start doing something like walking the dog or going for a run?  Personally, when I’m trying to make connections and draw insights from diverse sources of information, the swimming pool is the best place to be.

As someone who pretty much dreaded networking until a couple of years ago, I empathised a lot with the second article. Ironically, one of the best parts of my job is talking to my clients’ customers and staff separately to understand where their perspectives agree and differ.  Once I started to see networking for what it was – as an opportunity to meet a diverse range of people whose opinion and insight I wouldn’t normally get – it became more enjoyable.

I’ve written before about the power of bringing a new perspective to the table.  If you’re the only person in the room who isn’t an industry expert, that gives you a unique opportunity to ask more of the questions that will uncover new insights.

So whether it’s walking the dog, pacing the pool or being the new kid in the room – find connections from diverse perspectives.  It will help you, and your brand.