How to Raise Intelligence Capital™

By Crispin Beale

Intelligence Capital™ was a concept originally developed by MRS (The Market Research Society in the UK)*, and is defined, in essence, as “the information, evidence and insight an organization collectively assesses, circulates and acts upon.” This is basically the data-driven evidence across a company that is inventoried, collected, circulated and analyzed to guide decisions, set strategy, deliver engagements and drive innovation. For savvy operations, it generally serves as the strategic backbone and is becoming widely considered as important as financial capital and human capital to help a brand thrive.

A major difference with intelligence capital™ is that you don’t have to “raise it” in the traditional sense, like fundraising for financial capital or hiring from human capital. Rather, the foundation of intelligence capital™ already exists with each organization. It largely lies on a quantitative and qualitative basis within the spectrum of digital systems across the organization, from point-of-sale platforms, social changes, online weblogs, applications, customer surveys, loyalty programs and a myriad of other technical systems.

Devising a solid base of intelligence capital™ for an operation is also reliant on avoiding a series of data pitfalls, or sins, which many brands fall into. These ‘Seven Sins of Customer Motivation,’ which I recently reviewed in ESOMER’s Research World are just as important to focus on in order to avoid as the keys to raising intelligence capital™ are critical to achieve.

The key to extracting this intelligence capital™ is to leverage the technical tools to identify, integrate, synthesize and optimize the data sources in order to accumulate the intelligence capital and leverage it as a strategic advantage.

Generally speaking, there are five keys to raising intelligence capital™ for the organization, otherwise known as the 5 Ds, including:

Discover: First key in accumulating the intelligence capital™ across your organization is to identify each of the disparate datasets and information sources across the technology infrastructure, along with the owners and usage applications. This is a critical step in order to understand the types of information available and the corresponding ownership in order to inventory and integrate them to deliver a holistic view of the customer.

Develop: The next is to integrate these fragmented datasets into a single-source environment in order to overlay the intelligence dimensions and synthesize the insight they provide. This requires customer experience technology in order to ingest and synthesize the datasets in order to overlay them to gain strategic perspectives of the behaviours, attitudes, sentiments, preferences and engagements with the brand across the entire customer journey, and specifically on the path to purchase.

Distribute: One critical element, which is all too often overlooked, is to provide access to this comprehensive collated insight and intelligence across the organization. It is essential that every team is working off the same evidence foundation to align their understanding of customers as they provide aligned engagements across every step of the customer journey.

Drive: Another key step is to gain a commitment to using this intelligence as a company-wide foundation for every team. This is critical to achieve alignment to make decisions, set strategies, direct tactics, design experiences and guide innovations. This ensures that the intelligence capital is advising the holistic customer experience at every engagement point with the customer.

Duplicate: Finally, making the intelligence capital™ approach the backbone of the company in order to foster a customer-centric culture. To achieve this, integrating this intelligence capital approach as an ongoing process into the methodology and culture of the organization is an essential step for companies that are genuinely customer-centric.

While the term ‘intelligence capital™’ is relatively new, the concept is one that has been widely adopted by organizations that are truly customer-centric in approach. Discovering the data sources across their operations while developing a process to integrate and synthesize these datasets are critical initial steps. However, it is equally important to distribute this customer intelligence across the spectrum of teams in order to drive decision making, set strategies, direct tactics, design experiences and guide innovations. Finally, duplicating this approach and making it repetitive is a major step in constructing a customer-centric backbone for the organization in order to deliver exceptional customer experiences continually!

About the Author:

Crispin Beale is a marketing, data and customer experience expert and has spent over a decade on the Executive Management Board of Chime Communications as CEO of leading brands such as Opinion Leader, Brand Democracy, Facts International and Watermelon. Crispin has been a Board Director (and Chairman) of the MRS for c15 years and UK ESOMAR Representative for c8 years. Crispin is currently Senior Strategic Advisor at mTab and works as a consultant with the Institute of Customer Service as well as helping leading global brands (both enterprises and agencies).