Tackling Infobesity: A Recipe for Clear Communications

One of the biggest challenges that insights organisations now face is information overload. Most organisations are suffering from infobesity: an excess of data. As organisations’ data sources grow, they evolve from a shallow puddle of information to a data lake to a data ocean. Yet, many are still trying to traverse this ocean in their rainboots. The challenge of curation, of packaging, and communicating the right insights to the right audiences in order to drive impact, is ever greater.

Many turn to technology to curate and manage their data, creating knowledge-sharing libraries, platforms and AI-driven dashboards. But technology on its own doesn’t solve their main problem, which is getting people to engage with the data and insights. Ironically, infobesity leads to an increased need to feed the machine – the energy focus is put on creating, populating, and ‘fixing’ the ultimate platform and not on whether and how people are using or engaging with it. The risk is that many knowledge-sharing platforms become just another way of filing things, unless the audience and stakeholders use them and teach them, and unless that use becomes habitual.

Another solution that has been thrown at the problem of communicating insights is storytelling. Storytelling is fundamental. It is something that everyone in insights should be good at – it is our core product after all. But upskilling the team to create beautifully designed reports with phenomenal structure is only useful if people read them. We need fantastic reports and presentations but more than that, we need people to actually see and hear them. It’s like crafting the perfect new consumer product, not supporting it with any promotion, and then being astonished when it does not sell.

Ultimately, awareness, understanding, and engagement are the main challenges that people in insights face, and, with more data, the bigger the problem becomes.

Our solution is to apply the rules of external marketing to internal marketing. Really get to know and understand the needs of your (internal) customer – yes researchers, do some research on yourselves! Think of your audiences and create crystal clear objectives on how to communicate with them based on their needs, not yours. This will inevitably mean developing different types of communications beyond the report – from emails to infographics to meetings to video. And make it clear why you are communicating with your internal audiences, explain what you want them to do with the knowledge you are giving them.

Infobesity is inevitable when you try to serve up the whole beast in one go. So, tailor your insight communications, creating different dishes that will delight different audiences. When you take control of the menu you will be surprised by how much people can enjoy your insights meal – and come back for a second serving!

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