It’s Empathy Stupid! Key Takeaways from the Fireside Chat with Stan Sthanunathan

Our own Jim Longo sat down with Stan Sthanunathan, retired EVP of CMI for Unilever, for wide ranging fireside chat titles “It’s Empathy Stupid! How Insights Professionals Need to Own Consumer Feelings and Not Just Their Digits”. Stan shared some lessons from the insights industry, talk technology trends, re-define Artificial Intelligence, and offered some advice to up and coming insights professionals. Here is a link to the full video, but I wanted to share some of my key takeaways from the conversation.

The What, So What and Now What Framework.

Stan referred to this as the continuum of insight. Learning what people are thinking and feeling, generating some insights around what that means and then taking action based on those insights. He encourages insights professionals to go beyond the what and so what and push into the now what to establish authority.

The Holy Grail is that Insights Have a Permanent Seat and the C-Suite Table

Instead of showing up on a monthly or quarterly basis, delivering and report and leaving – what will it take for insights professionals to be permanent member of the table and not part of the menu? First, you have to earn it, it is not given to you. Second, you have to be asking the questions that are provocative and not just answering questions other people give you.

There is a Confusion between Sympathy and Empathy

No consumer ever wants a marketer to feel sorry for them. They want marketers to understand who they are and how to meet the problems in their life – this is Empathy. Sympathy leads to alienation by separating people you feel sorry for, people you don’t feel sorry for.

Insights Do Not Belong to ONLY the Insights Function

Insights professionals should work to enable as many people in the organization to get as close to the consumer as possible. Especially customer facing roles like marketing, product and customer service. By enabling and training a wide variety of teams to engage customers efficiently and effectively, you are bringing a whole new level empathy to the organization which pays off in massive dividends.

AI Really Stands for Augmented Intelligence

Use data and the types of analytics that AI can provide to help you understand the consumer and come to insights more quickly. No AI program has ever delivered empathy.

Watch the full video recording of the chat with Stan here. It’s both insightful AND entertaining!