Rapid Fire with Douglas Van PraetCurated by Prashant Harish Hari
1. What do you think is currently missingfrom Market Research? Empathy and emotion. We are very good at asking people about their post-hoc rational stories, the reasons theybelieve are important to them and the confabulations about why they think they buy brands. This can be helpful to know but it is a very small part of the process of behavior change. Motivations come from emotion and emotions start out non-conscious. We only becomeaware of our emotions when we experience feelings and physical sensations in our body. So what we need from research is a better ways to understand our customers’ emotions and become better attuned to their feelings.
1. What do you think is currently missingfrom Market Research?We also need to stop treating our customers as targets. When someone is trying to sell you We something or take value from you, you naturally resist and reject their suggestions. need to figure out ways to help consumers solve life’s challenges in today’s free market digitaleconomies and make them feel good instead of just trying to figure out ways to sell to them.
2. In this era of fast technology and vast data, what do you see as thefuture of Research? Your recent criticisms at research were somewhatscathing, but Market Research is a million+ dollar industry. What doesthe industry need to do more to survive and future proof itself? pay more attention to the research ofThe industry needs tocognitive and behavioral sciences. In many ways just becomingmore aware of the learning from these sciences can provide practical instructions on how tobetter understand customers, invent products and market to their sensibilities. . What I meanby that is we don’t necessarily have to do many of these market research studies, we canexport information from behavioral science to business practices. The seven-step framework Ihave put forth in Unconscious Branding is my attempt at an organizing framework that doesjust that.
2. In this era of fast technology and vast data, what do you see as thefuture of Research? Your recent criticisms at research were somewhatscathing, but Market Research is a million+ dollar industry. What doesthe industry need to do more to survive and future proof itself?When it comes to conducting market research studies, we need to get better at measuring emotions and putting that information into the larger context of what that means for product andmarketing development. There are many companies out there jumping on the neuromarketing bandwagon with all sorts of gadgets and methodologies that claim to measure emotion- buyer beware. Like anything else, you need to find the ones who reallyknow what they are doing, and at this stage of the industry’s development there is still much work to be done.
3. You say " The conscious mind is simply not running the show, but we’vecreated an entire industry pretending that it does" - Youve taken a dig andpointed out a flaw in research including everything from Phone, Online toFocus Groups. Aside from the digital space and Neuroscience, what do youthink is currently the most effective form of Research and why?I have a launched a criticism of the focus group industry based on reasons I have detailed in article I wrote for Fast Company called I’M NOT YOUR CONSUMER: HOW RESEARCH MISSESTHE HUMAN BEHIND THE DEMOGRAPHIC (http://www.fastcocreate.com/1682193/im-not-your- But I consumer-how-research-misses-the-human-behind-the-demographic). personally find a lot of value in talking to and observing people in person so that I can read their micro-expressions, body language and challenge their unconscious defenses.
3. You say " The conscious mind is simply not running the show, but we’vecreated an entire industry pretending that it does" - Youve taken a dig andpointed out a flaw in research including everything from Phone, Online toFocus Groups. Aside from the digital space and Neuroscience, what do youthink is currently the most effective form of Research and why? My preference is to do this one-on-one and completely outside of a focus group setting without recording and having people observing, but that is very difficult to arrange. I’m certified in behavioral change therapy focusing on the unconscious drivers of change. The context of thistraining was how to help people improve their lives not how to sell them stuff, which has helped me better understand and connect with people by interacting with them firsthand. I am a big fan of behavioral data such as sales data and digitally measured engagement since you are not relying on reported information. I have also had success with using EEG measurement of emotional and neural engagement.
4. Apart from the "Old Spice" campaign, what othercampaigns have you seen which are the most effective andwhy?Perhaps the most successful campaign in terms of efficiency has been Red Bull. I go in-depth What Red Bull did so into this case study in the last chapter of my book.well was leverage the fact that branding occurs best in real world scenarios especially when we have aphysical experience. Branding occurs best as an active not passive exercise. Think unique, emotionally and physically charged experiences for best results.
5. You mention: "That’s because our brain is a pattern recognizer or predictionmachine."- is it possible to train someone’s brain over a longitudinal period of time tospot emerging trends? Do you believe the brain consciously (or subconsciously) isable to start seeing trends in things that have been around for longer periods oftime? Yes, because that is what the brain does. The problem often lies in the fact that you probably already are spotting these trends but they only register as feelings. This is the essence of gutmarketing. The goal is to become more conscious of those feelings and the roots of their origin. Your brain has a seemingly endless capacity to rewire itself. The more you expose yourself to new information, the better you will become at spotting new trends.
Links: Website for UNCONSCIOUS BRANDING: http://unconsciousbranding.com/ Buy the book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Unconscious-Branding-Neuroscience- Empower-Marketing/dp/0230341799 Connect with Doug on LinkedIN: www.linkedin.com/pub/douglas-van-praet/59/409/b19