How tech giant Arm used insight to spark sector-wide change

January 17, 2020
Alex Wilman
Research Director

Delivering insight at scale by reimagining your insight and audience

Typically, research projects culminate with an insight presentation delivered to a room full of key decision makers. This is a solid approach for most business objectives. After all, only when insights are shared with the right people – those with the relevant authority – can positive decisions be made.

But, for research that wishes to enact wider sector change, that transcends any single organisation, the insight audience needs to be reimagined.  

This was this case for Arm who needed to deliver their insights to powerful CEO’s from the world’s leading tech brands, from Silicon Valley to Shenzen. Not an insignificant challenge.

An insight objective reimagined

Arm Holdings are the technology industry’s invisible giant. Invisible because their core products – semiconductors – aren’t consumer facing. Giant because they’re worth 24.1 billion USD and supply almost all the world’s leading technology brands, which makes them uniquely brand-agnostic.

Arm’s objective was to change the way the technology industry innovates, re-focusing on the opinions of today’s youth.  

They recognise that despite the global youth population (11-18-years-olds) being approximately 1bn, very little is known about their relationship with technology. This vast gap in the understanding of youth’s relationship with technology means the technology industry is risking its future success. Today’s youths will be tomorrow’s technology customers. Failure to understand this relationship now will have negative commercial consequences for the tech sector (and Arm’s clients) in the future.  

So, in order to enact change across the sector, youth insights needed to be delivered, at scale, to the leaders of the technology industry.

So how do you go about delivering insights at scale to such a vast and formidable audience?

  1. Identify an opportunity which brings together sector leaders

Global industry conferences provide the ideal opportunity to deliver your message 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, including 7,900 global CEOs. Arm utilised this opportunity and delivered insights via a headline keynote presentation on the main stage at MWC.

  1. Collaborate to enhance the credibility of insights

Experts appreciate the expertise of others. Collaborating with academia is a great way to elevate the credibility of insight outputs.  

Arm collaborated with cyber psychologist Dr Mary Aiken, author of best-selling book The Cyber Effect, who interrogated the youth insights and helped frame them in a wider context. Her reflections on the insights might have been challenging to industry leaders, but her cyberpsychology expertise ensured they were respected and listened to.

  1. Deliver genuinely new and challenging insights

Little insight exists into the relationship between youths and technology which means that youth tech insights are new in their essence. To change the minds of an insight audience like this, whose current views can be deeply entrenched, genuinely new insights are key. To really turn heads, insights should also be challenging and uncomfortable. For example, the audience was told how:

  • 51% of youths say they personally spend too long on social media. However, 81% of youths believe other people their age spend too long on social media. This personal denial is dangerous. While the addictive nature is recognised more generally, many youths deny their own addiction, despite extremely high usage patterns  

  • And 47% of youths have more than one account on at least one social media platform. This reflects a) stress and b) a desire to disconnect from the real world – both can cause long-term harm

  1. Delivered via a respected (and senior) voice

The pinnacle for typical research is to be shared with the c-suite. The scale of Arm’s ambition meant that simply communicating insights to a singular business c-suite wouldn’t suffice. Therefore, the c-suite’s role in the delivery of 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 will be listened to by other leaders.

  1. Deliver insights in a way that’s 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. Through sharing the stage with a panel of Arm’s Gen2Z youth Ambassadors, Arm literally gave ‘youth a voice’, in front of the leaders of the technology sector. After all, the medium is the message.

  1. Communicate insight via multiple channels

To maximise the reach of your insight, distribution across multiple channels is critical. 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, co-authored with Cyberpsychologist Dr. Mary Aitken, was shared with their global client base and made available for public use via their website.

So, what can we take from this?  

Insight is a powerful product. It has the power to reach and challenge a whole industry if marketed well. Like all well marketed products, it must have:

  • Appropriate placement  
  • Credibility  
  • An excitement factor
  • Endorsement
  • Clear communication
  • Multichannel delivery

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