Kantar Talks | Elevating the power of marketing and insight


Following this year’s Kantar Talks, we take a look at some of the inspiring and insightful sessions, with a specific focus on insights and measurement, and give our view on what they could mean for your business.

The proliferation of data and analytics has rightly created the expectation that every marketing and business decision be based on or informed by insight. So it was apt that, “How do you create and leverage insights to produce business growth?” was the question posed to Boots, Direct Line and Shell.

With disruption and innovation strong conference themes, Direct Line kicked the session off describing the negative impact of comparison websites on both its business, causing a long-term decline in customer quotes (a key barometer of the insurance sector), and its brand, homogenising insurance brands and largely reducing consumer consideration to price.

Steered by a clear need for differentiation, Direct Line transformed its business with insights that shifted its marketing focus on products to understanding consumer attitudes towards risk and their desire for ‘high performance insurance’. These insights led to Direct Line recruiting the ultimate fixer, Pulp Fictions’ Mr Winston Wolf, to front its ATL campaign and to create an internal
culture of ‘fixers’.

Boots, rather than presenting a specific business challenge, presented its four-level strategic framework to understand disruptive trends:

  1. Structural / Contextual Trends
  2. Shaping / Established Trends
  3. Inspiring / Emerging Trends
  4. Product Fads / Fashion Trends

Combining this framework with its wealth of customer data, Boots strove to improve the adaptability of its stores to the vicissitudes of the weather, the rise and fall of celebrity make-up ranges and to broader cultural trends such as the reduction in single plastic. Results of Boots’ insights included switching to modular store fittings, providing customers with only paper bags and introducing in-store water bottle refill taps.

Shell presented its campaign to increase convenience product sales by identifying poorly served but highly desirable audience segments. Reflecting the often-iterative generation of marketing insights, the convenience product insights project only came about after analysis demonstrated that over 50% of Shell’s customers did not purchase fuel at its stations – a significant challenge to the hyper-fuel sales oriented internal culture.

Discounting those segments already well catered for, Shell’s analysis identified ‘Wholesome Enthusiasts’ (health conscious, fresh food pursuers) as a segment that it could better serve. With this direction, Shell improved the quality and freshness of its deli products, significantly reducing ‘red label’ products, and partnering with Jamie Oliver to bolster the legitimacy of these changes.


This session reinforced some fundamental marketing and insight truisms. First and foremost, insights and analytics, both established (if not structural) sector trends, should be central to every business and brand decision (ignore them at your peril!). Direct Line illustrated the confidence insights can offer when a business is faced with existential disruption, whilst Boots and Shell illustrated the iterative contributions an insights-based culture can make to business growth.

Insights and analytics are central to our strategic and consultancy services. Expanding our data and analytical capabilities, aligning our martech stack with our strategic process and increasingly leveraging first-party client data are only some of our recent highlights.

A second truism is that leveraging insights and analytics doesn’t require rocket science, it can be as simple as identifying under-served audience segmentations. At Fuse, with our advanced audience segmentation models, we pride ourselves in being able to identify brand partnership opportunities with the highest business and brand impact potential.

A third and final point to note from the session is that brands should embrace disruption with a bifocal view of their sector’s trends and fads to identify strategic and tactical growth opportunities (and threats). Combining robust insights and analytics with a strong strategic framework can provide certainty in a business environment, more often than not, defined by the VUCA acronym. To this end, our strategic process, advanced analytics and brand partnerships expertise offer our clients certainty in their partnerships.

To read our full report on Kantar Talks, click here.