I know the conventional wisdom is that advertising agencies hate research. This is not a presentation about advertising agencies bashing research. Actually, I hate the knee-jerk reaction some agency people have against research. I think research is one of the most important things we do – helps us get to brilliant insights, see things differently, make solid creative better, stopped bad ideas from getting too far. It’s arguably the most crucial part of what we do. We’re all under pressure to justify our decisions, find breakthrough insights, and prove ROI. But for something so crucial, here’s my question: how often do we actually talk about what we’re doing, how we do it, what questions we ask, and how we expect people to be able to give us answers? The answer is we don't. We default to “doing it the same way we did it last year.” Using the same questionnaire, using the same norms. And so on. Beyond just making ads, part of our job is thinking about how people make decisions, studying how the brain works, looking at best research practices from around the world. There's a lot of new evidence – from psychology, neurology, and market research itself – that shows some of the ways we do research don't actually give us the answers we think they do. A lot of debate is starting to happen, with some shocking conclusions. But little of this debate is reaching into marketing departments and agencies yet – our debate seems to be limited to the occasional “focus groups suck” article. So today we’re going to look deeper at this most important part of our business, talk about some of the work that’s going on, challenge some conventional wisdom, provoke a discussion of how we do things, and the best ways to involve our consumers in that process. But first, I want to tell you about a chair.