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Martin Weigel Salmon vs Lamposts: The Use and Abuse of Research

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  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
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  • I like some of the early thinking, but much of what the author purports to be research is not.
    'Research turns people into liars'. Not if you're doing the research correctly.
    'Insights are not understanding.' They are if you're doing the research correctly.
    'You can't mine for insights'. You will find them if you are doing the research correctly.
    'The lab is not real life'. Of course it isn't, which is why people who know how to do research correctly don't always use one.

    My only conclusion to this is that Weigel is unhappy with something he calls 'research' which is not actually what social scientists call research. In short, Martin you're doing it wrong. :)
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  • awesome work.
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  • Brilliant!
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  • #ExtraAwesome
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  • Great stuff. It's always awesome to see something that you've been thinking, or trying to articulate, presented so simply and beautifully. Thanks so much, I'm passing this along to my coworkers at my ad agency.
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Martin Weigel  Salmon vs Lamposts: The Use and Abuse of Research Martin Weigel Salmon vs Lamposts: The Use and Abuse of Research Presentation Transcript

  • +WIEDEN+KENNEDY AMSTERDAM
  • Q: How can research help in the development of great creative ideas?
  • Q: How can research help in the development of great creative ideas?
  • let’s startwith the value of creativity
  • we can spend our way to success
  • if we spend aheadof our market share
  • excess share of voice (ESOV) = share of voiceminus share of market
  • an average of 0.5% points of share growth can be expected per 10% points of ESOVsource: IPA, ‘How Share Of Voice Wins Market Share: New Findings From Nielsen And The IPA Databank’
  • e.g. a brand with a market share of 20.5% and ESOV of 10% points would expect to grow over a year to 21%source: IPA, ‘How Share Of Voice Wins Market Share: New Findings From Nielsen And The IPA Databank’
  • spending ahead of market share yields results
  • but
  • creativity makesmarketing investment work harder
  • creatively-awarded campaigns generate 11 x more share growth per 10 points of ESOV than non-awarded campaignssource: IPA, ‘How Share Of Voice Wins Market Share: New Findings From Nielsen And The IPA Databank’
  • creatively-awarded campaigns generate 11 x more share growth per 10 points of ESOV than non-awarded campaignssource: IPA, ‘How Share Of Voice Wins Market Share: New Findings From Nielsen And The IPA Databank’
  • that’s the magicof creativity
  • so (how) canresearch help?
  • given that the road to advertising hell is invariably pavedwith good intentions
  • if creativity is to thrive it helps to work to three principles...
  • RESEARCH EARLY
  • RESEARCH LATE
  • AND DON’TMESS WITHTHE MIDDLE
  • let’s get the obvious(yet always inflammatory) out of the way and move on...
  • researching advertising is the least valuable research you can do
  • most creativedevelopment research is strategic research done too late
  • and until it is made it cannot evaluate the Howof communication
  • because most communicationis in the implicit Hownot the explicit What
  • two forms of communication ‘Analogue’ ‘Digital’ non-verbal verbal implicit explicit feelings concepts unconsciously experienced consciously experiencedsource: Paul Watzlawick, Janet Beavin Bavelas, Don D Jackson: ‘Pragmatics of Human Communication: A Study of Interractional Patterns, Pathologies, And Paradoxes’
  • “ Wherever relationship is the central issue of communication, we find that digital language is almost meaningless. ”source: Paul Watzlawick, Janet Beavin Bavelas, Don D Jackson: ‘Pragmatics of Human Communication: A Study of Interractional Patterns, Pathologies, And Paradoxes’
  • it’s why you know exactlywhat’s going on here...
  • and why hecan ‘talk’ to dogs...
  • until it is madeyou are researching stimulus material not creative work
  • until it is madeyou are researchingcreative hypotheses not creative work
  • it’s the differencebetween evaluating this
  • and this
  • it’s the differencebetween evaluating this
  • and this
  • unfinished work inevitably elicitsunfinished responses
  • so researching rough workcan never be conclusive
  • besides...
  • “ There is no way of ‘testing’ an advertisement in advance of market place exposure which gives you a simple yet reliable guide to the effectiveness of the advertisement in question....
  • ... the tools of measurement are toocrude and of too uncertainrelevance...
  • ... the laboratory situation is toolittle like the real-life one...
  • ... the factors which may affectsuccess or failure are too many andtoo complex...
  • ... the ways in which differentcampaigns work are too varied...
  • ... and the competitive circumstancesin which the advertising must workare too unpredictable.”Alan Hedges
  • ... and the competitive circumstances in which the advertising must work are too unpredictable.” Alan Hedges, 1972source: ‘Testing to Destruction,’ 1972
  • this is not to denythe value of research
  • “Indifference towards peopleand the reality in which theylive is actually the one andonly cardinal sin in design.”Dieter Rams
  • but
  • the earlier research is conductedthe more valuable it is
  • it’s always better upstream
  • but it is a meansto understanding not a means to An Insight™
  • I blame Bernbach
  • “ Nothing is so powerful as an insight into human nature . . . what compulsions drive a man, what instincts dominate his action . . . if you know these things about a man you can touch him at the core of his being.”
  • we have put the insighton a pedestal
  • and are in danger of fetishizing it
  • we need to relax
  • after all,this doesn’t happen...
  • “Yes, but what’s the insight?”
  • most insight hunting leads to truisms...
  • “mums are very busy”source: client name withheld
  • “youre either a dog person or a cat person”source: client name withheld
  • psycho-babble gibberish...
  • “refrigerators are a canvas for self-expression”source: client name withheld
  • and simple bullshit...
  • "biscuits are the unsung heroes of the 20th century"source: client name withheld
  • and unrecognizable‘consumer’ portraits
  • “His name is Christian.   Hes 27.   A freelancer.   He lives life with a detached sense of irony, at times hes even contradictory.  He values creativity, and design culture.  He lives for passion, not money.  He will only buy into products and brands that he feels actualise his quirky personality, like craft beer. He really values authenticity.   He likes to customise everything he owns, and he expects brands to allow him to co-create.  When he isnt "hacking" his Facebook profile picture, hes sharing content with friends via his iPad.  He stopped watching TV and reading print YEARS ago.  He lives in an urban environment.  He wears hats in the mood boards and about 40% of the time he has an infuriating beard.”source: made up, but you get the point
  • insight reduces people to ‘consumers’
  • “ P&G... tended to narrow in on only one aspect of the consumer - for example, their mouth for oral- care products, their hair for shampoo, their loads of dirty clothes and their washing machines for laundry detergents.  P&G had essentially extracted the consumer out of her own life” Alan Lafley, former CEO, P&G
  • chasing consumer insights ignores the many kinds of insight that can fuel creativity
  • business brand shopper mediainsights insights insights insights category human cultural insights insights insightscorporate product consumption tech insights insights insights insights
  • for example...
  • “We only have one future, and it will be made of our dreams, if we have the courage to challenge convention.” (corporate insight)
  • men’s bodywashis bought by women (shopper insight)
  • being a mumis the hardest and best job in the world (human insight)
  • men don’t want to look like provincial amateurs (human insight)
  • it’s in all of us(corporate insight)
  • at the heart of the city of Detroit and its people is the soul of the working-class fight (cultural insight)
  • but in the quest for understandingthe consumer can bea poor and unreliable source
  • yet too much research stilltreats witnesses as reliable
  • we are creatures of instinct not calculation machines
  • two systems of thinkingthat help us make sense of the world
  • “ The operations of System 1 are fast, automatic, effortless, associative, and difficult to control or modify. The operations of System 2 are slower, serial, effortful, and deliberately controlled. Daniel Kahnemansource: Daniel Kahneman, ‘Maps of Bounded Rationality: A Perspective on Intuitive Judgement And Choice’, Nobel Prize Lecture December 2nd, 2002
  • “ System 1 runs the show. That’s the one you want to move. Daniel Kahnemansource: Lawrence Green, ‘Target consumers’ unconscious’ and reap the rewards’, Telegraph, June 2nd 2012
  • much of our realityis too taken for granted to be easily articulable
  • “ Consumers find it difficult to talk about the taken for granted world - it is too obvious or too all encompassing or too fundamental to be easily articulable. What any consumer can readily articulate is only part of the picture. Much of the rest of the picture is beyond their reach lying within the taken for granted world of not thought about meanings and associations.” Alan Swindellssource: Alan Swindellls, ‘The Invisible Mechanics of Consumption’, Market Research Society Annual Conference, 2000
  • we are largely invisible to ourselves
  • research turns people into liars
  • so we can’t‘mine’ for insights
  • they’re not ready made waiting to be discovered
  • they’re the product ofthought and analysis
  • and giving peoplewhat they say they want rarely leads to anything good
  • Komar & Melamid:"The People’s Choice” project
  • this is America’sMost Wanted Painting...
  • “ If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”  Henry Ford
  • “ If you ask a kid what he wants in a cake, you will end up with a cake made entirely of icing. And not only will the kid not like the cake, it will probably make him vomit”  Phil Knight
  • the task is not to understandpeople’s opinions
  • the task is tounderstand people’s behaviours and responses
  • and that demands we investigate thesein some kind of context
  • the lab is not real life
  • no-one here is hungry
  • no-one here is in a hurry
  • no-one here isdriving through
  • no-one hereis thinking with System 1
  • everyone here is being paid
  • reality, understanding and ‘truth’are entirely dependent on how we choose to investigate them
  • whatever method we employ research is nevera clear, objective eye
  • Galileo’s reality
  • our reality
  • “ We have to remember that what we observe is not nature herself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning" Werner Heisenberg
  • so..
  • don’t rely on claimed behavioursobserve understand those behaviours in their real world context
  • to real conversations listen not just to answers to your questionsDECODESemio&c  analysis  (of  communica&ons)  concerns  reading  the  hidden  meanings  of  marke&ng  messagesIt  involves  unpacking  the  discourse,  decoding  the  unconscious  signals  the  brand  is  sending  out
  • unpack the silent, implicit and often unconsciously decode consumed content of communicationsDECODESemio&c  analysis  (of  communica&ons)  concerns  reading  the  hidden  meanings  of  marke&ng  messagesIt  involves  unpacking  the  discourse,  decoding  the  unconscious  signals  the  brand  is  sending  out
  • introspect you’re a human being tooDECODESemio&c  analysis  (of  communica&ons)  concerns  reading  the  hidden  meanings  of  marke&ng  messagesIt  involves  unpacking  the  discourse,  decoding  the  unconscious  signals  the  brand  is  sending  out
  • above all...
  • you haven’t got a great insight until you havea great execution...
  • insight is a means not the end
  • and withoutgreat execution it is nothing
  • the best form of feedbackis what the market tells you
  • test in thereal world
  • measure what matters not what you can measure
  • just because you can measure it doesn’t mean it’s relevant
  • “ Tracking studies... tend to be very stable over time. Brand attribute scores, particularly for established brands, often do not reflect planned advertising responses, favour dominant brands, and any changes tend to follow rather than lead shifts in buying and share” Neil Barnardsource: Neil Barnard ‘What can you do with tracking studies and what are their limitations?’ Admap, April 1990
  • so where does that leave the role of research?
  • research cannot make decisions
  • “ Research cannot and should not be asked to control either the creative or the decision-making process Alan Hedgessource: ‘Testing to Destruction,’ 1972
  • research cannot eliminate risk
  • “ Dont take action if you have only enough information to give you less than a 40% chance of being right, but dont wait until you have enough facts to be 100% sure, because by then it is almost always too late... Procrastination in the name of reducing risk actually increases risk. Colin Powell
  • research is nota process of deduction
  • and this is not the road to an idea
  • STRATEGY IDEA
  • “ The whole process of advertising is not a safe, cautious, step-by-step build up, because that would lead to advertising for me-too brands Stephen King
  • it’s a messy business and research is just one input
  • and as suchit is optional
  • so...
  • don’t treat research as adrunkard uses a lamp post
  • i.e. for support, ratherthan illumination
  • swim upstream
  • RESEARCH EARLY
  • RESEARCH LATE
  • AND DON’TMESS WITHTHE MIDDLE
  • +THANK YOU wkamst.com martin.weigel@wk.com @mweigel WIEDEN+KENNEDY AMSTERDAM