How Tech Giant Arm Used Insight To Spark Sector-wide Change

October 20, 2019
Jack Miles
Senior Research Director

Research projects typically culminate with a presentation delivered to a room of key decision makers – a solid approach for most business objectives. But positive decisions can only be made when insights are shared with the right people, specifically those with relevant authority.

But sometimes a presentation isn’t enough. For those conducting research in the hopes of sparking change across an entire sector – particularly in ways that transcend a single organisation – insights and the insight audience needs to be re-imagined. This was the case for Arm.

Arm is the technology industry’s invisible giant. Invisible because its core products – semiconductors – aren’t consumer facing. Giant because the company is worth $24.1 billion. Arm supplies its products to almost all the world’s leading technology brands. This makes it uniquely brand agnostic.

Arm’s objective was to change how the technology industry innovates by focusing the industry minds and expertise on the opinions of today’s youth.

youth, the unheard voice in technology

Arm recognised that the global youth population was approximately one billion 11-to-18-year-olds, but that little was known about their relationship with technology. A gap in the understanding of youth’s relationship with technology puts the tech industry’s future success at risk. Failure to understand this relationship today makes negative commercial consequences for the tech sector more probable in the future.

To support the goal of sparking change across the sector, the company needed to unearth powerful new insights into youth’s relationship with technology and share these insights credibly and at scale with the technology industry’s leaders.

Arm partnered with Northstar to support the design and execution of both the research and the insight campaign. To gain the necessary cultural understanding, Northstar surveyed 2,100 youths (11-to-18 years old) in China, Japan, Spain, France, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S.

identifying new and challenging insights

To change the minds of an audience like technology leaders, whose current views can be deeply entrenched, Arm knew genuinely new insights were key. To really turn heads, the insights were also challenging and uncomfortable. Here are two examples of the study’s insights:

  • Fifty-one percent of youths say they personally spend too long on social media. However, 81% believe other people their age spend too much time on social media. This personal denial is dangerous. While the addictive nature is recognized more generally, many youths deny their own addiction despite extremely high usage patterns.
  • Forty-seven percent of youths have multiple accounts on at least one social media platform. This reflects stress and a desire to disconnect from the real world – both can cause long-term harm.
collaborating to enhance the credibility of insights

The insights were going to be pitched to an expert audience – global technology leaders. Collaborating with academia was determined to be a great way to elevate the credibility of the insight outputs.

Arm collaborated with Mary Aiken, cyber psychologist and author of The Cyber Effect. Aiken interrogated Arm’s insights and helped frame them in a wider context. Her cyber-psychology expertise helped ensure the team would be respected and listened to.

Next, Arm and Northstar worked to devise a plan to deliver these new, challenging and credible insights to an insight audience like no other.

an opportunity to unite leaders

Global industry conferences provide the ideal opportunity to deliver messages at-scale to relevant decision makers. Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona is one of the largest technology events on the calendar, bringing together over 100,000 attendees from the tech sector. Arm utilized this opportunity and delivered youth insights via a headline keynote presentation on the main stage at MWC.

delivering insights via a respected (and senior) voice

The pinnacle for typical research is C-suite exposure. Arm’s ambitions meant that simply communicating insights to a singular business’s C-suite wouldn’t suffice. Therefore, the C-suite’s role in the delivery of Arm’s youth insights was flipped.

Arm CEO, Simon Segars, revealed the youth insights at MWC via a keynote presentation on MWC’s main stage. With 7,900 tech CEOs in attendance, only insights delivered by a fellow CEO from a well-respected company like Arm would be grab the attention of other leaders.

simple and recognisable

To capture the attention of such a vast and notoriously hard to engage audience, the clarity of insight communication must be second-to-none. Insights were distilled using clean but impactful design. And by sharing the stage with a panel of Arm’s Gen2Z youth ambassadors, Arm literally gave youth a voice in front of technology sector leaders. After all, the medium is the message.

utilising multi-channel insight communication

Multi-channel distribution is critical when looking to maximise the reach of insights. Alongside the keynote presentation, supporting insights were shared in the MWC Daily Newspaper with a readership of 100,000 and via a studio chat for MWC TV. In addition, Arm’s full Youth on Tech report was shared with its global clientele and made available for public use.

marketing insight like a product

Insight is a powerful product. It has the power to reach and challenge an entire industry if marketed well. Like all well-marketed products, insight must:

  • have an excitement factor;
  • be credible;
  • be placed appropriately;
  • be endorsed;
  • be clearly communicated; and
  • be communicated via multiple channels.

By applying these marketing principals to insight communication Arm delivered insight at scale to enact sector-wide change.

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