The best insights are thesimplest ones – the onesthat once introducedblend into our day-to-day consciousness with narya ripple.
Arguably the most eective and enduringcommunications are born rom single,simple insights into human behavior –or more specically, human
behavior. Insights so simple, in act, thatonce revealed people react by saying,“That must already exist” or “Why didn’tI think o that?”Let me begin with the story o an innovationthat illustrates the power o an insight. In
, which came out in 1851, oneo the characters straps his sea chest to awheelbarrow, but then, not knowing how tomaneuver the barrow, he gathers the wholeassembly and carries it. Now ast-orwardto the 1970s, when wheels rst appearedon traditional suitcases. This breakthroughis attributed to Bernard Sadow, who tuggedhis odd-looking prototype into Macy’s in1972. The luggage buyer ridiculed him,saying no one would want to drag theirluggage, but was soon overruled by asharper, more travel-savvy vice president.For Mr. Sadow, inspiration had come oneday in 1971 when he was lugging a largesuitcase through customs and a manbreezed by, towing heavy machinery ona dolly. Mr. Sadow drew on the idea todevelop the technology whereby travelerscould pull their luggage with a leash. Andsure, these poorly balanced suitcasestoppled over en masse in airports andtrain stations, but it was still a hugeimprovement over the technology that hadremained largely unchanged or centuries.He demonstrated that an insight comesrom acute observation and deduction andchanged the industry rom lug to tug.Now we move to 1989, because it takesa urther 17 years to improve on leashedluggage, when Northwest Airlines pilotBob Plath develops the roll-aboardsuitcase or fight crews. It soon spawnswheels on all luggage types. I spend agreat deal o time fying and continue tomarvel at roller luggage – a simple idea that
Insights that Incite The Yellow Paper Series
has had such impact. In act, i you thinkabout the word “luggage” it connotes “tolug,” to be uncomortable, to be a humanbeast o burden. It took us a long time toshatter that notion. You see, the best insights are the simplestones – the ones that once introducedblend into our day-to-day consciousnesswith nary a ripple. They are so smoothlyincorporated that we eel like they havealways been there. Now we can hardlyremember luggage without wheels. This also illustrates how critical it is tounderstand human and consumer behaviorand to unlock the opportunities theypresent in business communications. Thispaper explores methods o gaining thosecritical insights, along with illustrative andentertaining examples o how to leveragethem to grow brand awareness and value.