When I recently saw this AdAge article headline suggesting that Geico’s iconic gecko mascot somehow came walking out of rows and columns of numbers Matrix style, I laughed out loud. Yes, I understand the purpose of headlines, so I lost no sleep over it but it illustrates a common misconception that numbers alone can deliver you a decade-long, successful marketing campaign.
There’s actually more detailed documentation of how the Geico gecko came to life in AdWeek. It’s really only when you read the two articles together that you get the complete, interesting backstory: Geico knew people were unlikely to buy insurance from an old, obscure brand and they had an additional hurdle that potential consumers weren’t even sure how to pronounce the name of their company.
These two barriers are the insights—the understanding of specific causes and effects—that informed Geico’s strategy and made the gecko successful. Insights are critical at each stage of the concept process; from innovation and ideation to go-to-market strategies and final promotional campaigns that connect an idea to the consumer. The data afterwards told Geico they’d hit the mark, but data alone didn’t bring the gecko to life. In reality, it was the combination of good upfront insights, a good execution and good measurement during and afterwards that allowed Geico to go from an obscure, old brand to a relevant one with sustainable, long-term growth.
At Powerhouse, we leverage traditional consumer research in addition to our own brand of cultural trend research to deliver the insights and understanding brands like Geico need to successfully reposition themselves. We pride ourselves on our deep, authentic understanding of growing cultural groups. We’ve achieved this by embedding them in our organization, whether it’s our in-house full-service rock poster print shop or our partnership with a global, social design organization empowering the world’s $2 per day consumer. We cross-reference the cultural insights we glean from these connections with quantitative insights to spark the big ideas that can get to market quickly. This combination helps our brands uniquely position themselves for go-to-market initiatives of today and prepare them for long-term innovation of tomorrow.