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Craig Elston: Diagnosing Issues and Proposing Solutions

Craig Elston is the Executive Vice President and Global Head of Insight and Strategy for the Integer Group. He has held various strategy positions across Integer, where he has worked since he moved to the US in 2006. Previously, he worked for TEQUILA\ in London as the Director of Customer Insight, and before that he held several positions in market research. He studied Business and Finance in his undergraduate career, then received his Masters in Marketing at Kingston University. He is also a graduate of the Omnicom Senior Management Program.


Craig Elston has the type of grit it takes to make a difference in the industry, so I got in touch with him to determine how his hard work has shown results in his position at Integer. Craig shared with me his own insight into the Insight Industry. First, he redefined some terminology that helped to shape our conversation.

“Most People Use the Term Insight Incorrectly”

What most people refer to as an insight, they actually mean a data point. It’s easy to find data points. Craig chooses to define insights as previously hidden truths.

“And that can come from the amalgamation of different sources and requires some strategic intuition to be able to uncover it. For us, it’s a creative process. It is about trying to find something which is there but hasn’t had a spotlight shined on it. It’s about connecting things in new ways to reveal something that was previously hidden about a brand, about consumers, or about a culture.”

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Dan Gould: Uncover Ahead-of-the-Curve Insight by Diversifying your Inputs

Dan Gould works as the Human Truths Manager at Google. In his current position, he helps his clients see trends and implement actions based on those trends. He studies demographics cross-culturally to offer the best insights to his team, and assists them in uncovering relative insight as well. Dan held a similar position at Sparks and Honey before getting hired on at Google, and graduated from Syracuse University where he received a BFA. Dan is a client of ours and uses Sharpr to help his team with insight delivery.


The marvelous part about insights is that everyone has them, especially the very smart ones. Dan Gould is one such insightful man. Pun intended. He currently helps some of Google’s top clients curate information, and then begins a dialogue with them to promote actionable next steps. I look up to Dan and all he has accomplished, so I decided to give him a call to see what he does to help his team uncover truly great insights.

“The Why Behind the What”

Dan is a big believer in the “why” behind the “what.”

“We get a lot of the what from the data,” Dan explains. “And we can use our data tools to see that there are searches trending in areas like “intermittent fasting” or “apple cider vinegar.” What we then need to know are the motivating factors behind those searches; the why.”

“Doing so allows us to pinpoint the specifics about each phenomenon, why it’s reoccurring or trending, and from there we can try to extrapolate what comes next.”

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Michael Lancor: Be Curious, Empathize, Expand Your Creativity

 

Michael Lancor has been at Procter and Gamble since 1992. He held several positions across P&G businesses before working his way to his current role as the Director of Consumer Fundamentals and Insights. Michael is well-known in the Insights industry as someone who implements change, as he has successfully done at P&G for years. He graduated from Indiana University Bloomington studying Economics, Marketing and Business Management. Michael is a client of ours and uses Sharpr for insight delivery and communication.


Each research and insight professional has a method for pushing the insights they have found to those who can act on them, and Michael is no exception. He has trained his team at Procter and Gamble to think expansively, create unique insight and then deliver it to decision-makers. (See section titled “Build a Toolkit.”) I called him up to learn a bit more about that method.

Turn Insights Into Action

Michael Lancor believes that turning insights into action is one of the most important parts of his job. He also acknowledges, however, that it is one of the more difficult tasks he’s faced with as well. “Trying to engage people who can take action on insights is one of the main constant challenges in the insights industry today.” I couldn’t agree with that more, so I asked how he had been able to get inside the decision-makers brains. In response, he shared the following insights.

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