Development of The Insight Inn

Megan founded the Insight Inn because of her belief that companies have wrongly long-prioritized the old-school “4P’s” (product, price, place, promotion) over the 1P that really matters— people.

How and why this happened, and some of the effects were the premise of my AdMap article called “The Age of Less,” which is available to read here, if you are interested.

Following the publication, trust in companies and belief in marketing has only continued to plunge downward. Today, a scant 4% of U.S. consumers say marketers and advertisers operate with integrity (Congress is at 6%, by the way). The IPSOS/OTX January 2015 study went on to report that 69% of people say “for me, integrity means always keeping promises.” While it is concerning, it isn’t necessarily surprising— given decades and decades of the buying public being ignored and de-prioritized by companies, it’s no wonder they feel this way. And given decades of seeing marketing and advertising that overstates product performance, overinflates internal company egos, and overblows the spectacle, they haven’t been seeing any real messages with real benefits for real people in quite some time.

People stopped recognizing themselves in and relating to brands as soon as they got wise to the marketing game, and the youngest generation was never complicit in the game to begin with. As trust in and respect for companies has declined in and end-over-end tailspin over the last few years, companies are rightfully wringing their hands as the public calmly divides them into one of two camps: predator or partner.

In short— companies who are predators break their promises, and partners keep them.

Today, a brand’s place in a marketplace can’t be won by just staking out a positioning, it must make a sincere promise to a skeptical populace. At the Insight Inn, it’s called what it is: it’s a “brand promise,” because like a promise, it must be kept. It’s not the same marketing-as-usual, outrageous claims backed up with a shoddy product or service that can barely do the job. How well the postulations are met by performance is where the separation of predators and partners is happening by the day, hour, and by the minute.

Thus, the burden of proof is higher than ever before— but for a long time, companies thought of “reasons to believe” as an irritating afterthought, tossed into the communication at the last minute. But the days of tacking on a few bullet points from a dated study (that might or might not relate to the promise itself) should long be over. At the Insight Inn, we prize the long-beleaguered “reasons to believe”— giving them as much consideration as the promise itself— as these are required to keep the integrity of the brand promise intact.

To boil the philosophy of the Insight Inn down to brass tacks, at a recent 99% conference, Simon Sinek wisely said, “If you don’t understand people, you don’t understand business.” Truth.

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