I'm a big fan of Dave Trott's blog. I see his posts as life lessons through the lens of advertising. A couple of days ago in a post on logic, he quoted Akio Morita, the founder of Sony: “The greatest assistance I had in building my company was the total failure of nerve on the part of Western businessmen to move without research.” And also Steve Jobs: “It’s not the public’s job to know what they’re going to want. It’s my job to know what they’re going to want.” We do a lot of research, but I can't help sympathizing with both thoughts above. That doesn't mean I disagree with research (which would be pretty silly for me), but I've seen my fair share of the wrong kind of research. In previous jobs, I've seen research used to dumb down breakthrough ideas and make them more mainstream. I've seen research be used to justify a client firing an agency; I've seen researchers saying that they were able to measure the effectiveness of an ad by having a few people look at a storyboard. However, I've also seen research provide insights to doctors to improve the way they work with cancer patients. I've seen people crying in research as they discuss the difficulties of raising "problem kids". I've seen lightning bolt insights about brands that come from observing people in bars or on cruise ships (yeah, those are the best projects). What I'm saying in a round about way is that research gets a bad rap as the enemy of creative purity...as if asking people to share an opinion sullies the integrity of an idea. That's BS. To research or not isn't the question. There's always a time, a place and a way to make research great - the good researchers know that and the best clients too.
The Dozen is an eclectic take on innovation, branding, media, strategy and research, brought to you by the creative minds at Egg Strategy.