Are the traditional tools of market research – surveys with explicit, direct questions – still up to the job of measuring brands in the new era? The explosion of new understanding about how the mind works could not have been foreseen by the founders of market research, back in the 50s, but modern practitioners have less excuse for still using more or less the same approaches. Traditional (System 2) methods still dominate: researchers still ask direct questions (and people still answer them), but any marketer or MR professional with even a smattering of knowledge of recent developments in mind science would surely ask: Is that all there is?
This post is by Charlie Meredith, Managing Director at Time Inc. UK Advertising.
People – I mean real people – are all too easily forgotten. Advertisers and marketers spend so much time thinking about them that they forget who they really are. People are not consumers, target audiences or data segments that can be matched to a set of behaviours, interests, some medical records and an address.
Well okay, we all are. But that's not all we are.
We are individuals, uniquely shaped by our experiences, emotions and intuitions, and more than ever before we are determined to be 'the best we can be'. Self-actualisation is right at the top of the bucket list – in fact, all we hear now are the things that make us feel as though we're trying to catch up in life.
this post is by Matthew Kershaw, Group Marketing Director at Ministry of Sound.
Those of us who lived through the 90s will know that the electronic dance music scene was once a far cry from what it is today. Back then, around the time that the Ministry of Sound opened its doors, DJs had a relatively small following of discerning ravers.
But today, DJs are superseding even pop stars; they dominate charts and festival line-ups, gossip magazines and radio playlists. They are hard to ignore.
During Advertising Week Europe (AWE) panel, In the Mix: What Brands Can Learn from Superstar DJs, Reggae legend David Rodigan noted that, in the past, the DJs main role was to fill the gap before the band got on stage. However, success stories such as Calvin Harris have utterly revolutionized this role; he reportedly earned $66 million in 2014. But how exactly have this new breed of celebrity made its way to the top? And what can brands learn from DJs' rise to fame?
This post is by Anila Shrivastava, Founder of IdStats Research & Consultancy.
Today, study after study has proven that our brains are hard-wired to understand and retain stories, not to retain long lists of facts. This also holds true for stories vs. facts related to companies, brands and products. In this context, this post seeks to share the merits of using Lego Serious Play as a framework for understanding consumer experiences and narratives anchored in the conscious and the subconscious mind. Hence, if one can understand and learn the narratives that consumers are creating in reference to any brand, company or product, the results can be utilized to address a creativity challenge or a business problem on hand.
Imagine someone persuaded Ferdinand Magellan and his crew to abandon the Great Big Victoria in exchange for 271 canoes to help them successfully cross the Pacific. Without a doubt, the agent selling the canoes would have made a very profitable deal, however, it is almost guaranteed that Mr Magellan and his crew would never ever be in the list of those who crossed the Pacific (though probably the first ones to successfully accomplish mass sinking of 271 canoes).
In this new richer and bigger world the words selling, persuading and advocating small ideas sound no different to me.
When I hear that Big Ideas are dead and small ideas are ‘in’, I feel genuinely depressed.
A few years ago, at Colenso BBDO in Auckland, we got a call from Levi's. It was the head of marketing in San Francisco. He introduced himself to our receptionist. She was having a busy moment, heard him say 'Levi's', and put him through to Levi, one of our creatives. Levi came running into the office where I was sitting with our MD and ECD and told us there was a guy from Levi's on the phone wanting to talk to us. He handed us the phone.
The guy from Levi's said he'd seen our work, he loved it, and that he wanted us to make an online film for his new women's product line. He didn't have much money, but he wanted something amazing. And he said that we could do anything we wanted. Excepting doing something illegal or grossly offensive, we would have the decision on what work we made. He wanted our judgment on what was great and what would be seen and shared by his customers.
Les Binet and Sarah Carter get a little bit angry about some of the nonsense they hear around them… like pointless new product development
Have you tried to buy mouthwash recently? We have, and it's a daunting task. The brand leader alone comes in 15 different variants, all available in a number of different sizes. Faced with such a baffling array of choices, the natural response is either to pick one at random or to move on to a less troublesome purchase. But other categories are equally confusing. Try buying shampoo, or pet food, or fruit juice.
Why do brand owners do this? Why bombard their customers with so many different options? The respectable argument is that product innovation and consumer choice are inherently good things. I might not want a tooth-whitening mouthwash, but someone, somewhere might. By constantly tweaking and expanding their range of products, brands are helping us to satisfy our needs.
One of the most powerful insights from cognitive science is the System 1/System 2 dichotomy, coined by Stanovich and West as shorthand for two types of thinking - one fast, resource-efficient and automatic (System 1); the other slow, deliberative and effortful (System 2) . Many in marketing and MR now accept that, because consumer decision making is dominated by System 1, many of our buying decisions are fast, flawed and emotional, rather than slow, logical and consistent. So far so good, but I’m worried that a sheep-like acceptance that System 1 is somehow ‘good’ for marketing, whereas System 2 is ‘bad’ might lead us into some ‘woolly’ thinking about how to measure consumer response.
Human beings rarely say exactly what they mean. One of the unspoken rules of being English, as identified by anthropologist Kate Fox, is the 'rule of not being earnest'. The English are constitutionally uncomfortable with too direct an assertion. This is why we love and use irony.
But even our more direct American cousins never say exactly what they mean. No one does. There are so many social and contextual determinants that impact the words we use. What we say, moreover, is accompanied by all kinds of secondary communication which can change its meaning. Irony is an obvious example where the secondary communication completely subverts the nominal meaning. When meta-communication isn't correctly parsed, you get the confusion that sometimes happens to English people in the US. (Or vice versa.)
These secondary communications are called meta-communication and they are an essential part of human interactions. They may be congruent with, or contradictory of, the content. What does a brand's meta-communication say and how does it impact the messages and content so lovingly crafted by its agencies?
A couple of weeks ago I discussed how partnerships can be a powerful strategy in a marketer’s toolkit. This week I’m putting the spotlight on occasion marketing.
Major sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games are an obvious opportunity for brands to make the most of special occasions. But today, the ever-increasing number of events, awareness days, niche interest days, religious and music festivals, provide brands with more opportunities to engage with consumers in new and interesting ways. By optimising on occasions smart brands can engage with consumers on a variety of levels - through emotion, humour, passion or patriotism, for example. Here are a selection of occasion marketing campaigns that stood out for me in 2014: