In my last article, we explored the barriers to consumer centricity. We also discussed that at the heart of consumer centricity is a deep, widespread understanding of your consumers and that this requires empowered team effort and unified organisational focus.
So how can you actually work towards this? Here are a few key steps.
1. Get and stay organized with a knowledge management tool
In order to truly know everything about your consumers, you need to keep your consumer and market insights well-organized. Otherwise, you risk important pieces of information getting lost in inboxes, file drives, or (worse) USB sticks. Or as some of our clients have called it, “the data graveyard”, a place where files disappear, never to be found or looked at again. In fact, the average knowledge worker spends nearly 20% of their time looking for information.
But of course, in the age of information overload, staying organized is easier said than done. Without the right systems and support, keeping your research and insights organised takes a lot of time and effort. Files need to be stored in the right folders, tagged the right way, and shared with the right people at the right time.
One of the easiest ways to reduce this tedious administrative workload is to invest in a knowledge management platform that does the work for you. A centralized system that uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to categorize files, without the need for manual tagging, can help free up everyone’s time and ensure you always find the information you need.
A tool like this makes it much easier to stay aware of what you do and don’t know about your consumers, allowing you to continuously learn, combat cognitive bias, and build the powerful intuition that you need to make consumer-centric decisions.
2. Make insights available to everyone in the organization
If you don’t make it easy for everyone in the organization to access consumer research and insights, it’s unlikely that any well-meaning consumer centricity initiative will take off. A deep understanding of the consumer will only be at the heart of every decision if everyone has had the opportunity and possibility to read up and learn.
But instead it’s common for the Consumer Insights function to act as a sort of librarian for all of the teams who need access to insights. In fact, one study found that as many as 80% of companies limit the role of the Consumer Insights function, instead of viewing them as a strategic business partner or a source of competitive advantage.
A knowledge management platform is one of the easiest ways to make consumer insights available to everyone. However, it’s essential to make sure that the platform itself is accessible by being intuitive and user-friendly.
Otherwise, you risk defeating the purpose of your knowledge management system altogether. A platform that’s difficult and time-consuming to use can become a deterrent, causing other teams to still reach out to the Consumer Insights function whenever they want to access consumer research, instead of learning independently and proactively.
By ensuring that employees and teams across the organization can instantly access consumer insights, you make it possible for the consumer to be at the heart of all decisions.
3. Make it fun to learn about your consumers
But even if you do get organised and democratize insights in the organization, you probably won’t be able to maintain that state for very long if practicing consumer centricity isn’t fun or rewarding.
It all comes down to motivation; having fun is intrinsically motivated. One type of intrinsic motivation is curiosity, and research has shown that it boosts memory retention and learning. So by fostering curiosity and making it fun to constantly learn more about your consumers, you’ll have better chances of ensuring that you and your team members develop that deep, consumer-centric intuition.
And that’s why it’s essential to make sure that the tools and processes you use to practice consumer centricity are enjoyable. When it comes to knowledge management software, don’t settle for a generic enterprise solution. Instead, look for software that’s engaging and offers a variety of ways to share and curate information, helping to consistently spark inspiration and fuel curiosity.
Because at the heart of consumer centricity is curiosity. It’s all about asking thoughtful questions to gain a deeper understanding of your consumers’ desires, needs, and challenges, and making business decisions based on those insights. But that work depends on you and the strength of your curiosity.
As Estrella Lopez-Brea of General Mills explained:
“Consumers don’t wake up in the morning thinking about us, our brands, or our companies. So it has to be the other way around.”