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The100: brand experience, unsung heroes and the 2nd Spring

Valuing mental availability

Paul Feldwick’s article on how brand experience should not distract marketers from fundamental brand truths has been well shared this week, but it’s a must read.

“the most important search engine is still the one in your head”

I just adore the William Hesketh (uni)Lever example which shows that things haven’t really changed much since the 1890s.

Feldwick also goes on to use Amazon to illustrate his point, in that while brands need to be aware of their many ‘touch points’, they must also accept that they can’t control all of them. But…

“…that need not matter, as long as they focus on the ones that they can. Amazon flourishes despite bad PR; the AA averted disaster by following classic principles of brand advertising. But if ‘brand experience’ becomes a fashionable buzzword that distracts marketers from such fundamental truths, it risks doing more harm than good.”

“Insight fuel”

The Brand Gym report on what they call the Innovation Squeeze: the demand to deliver rapid innovation while there is increased pressure to cut costs.

They say that a reliance on slow, expensive quant-research is one of the factors contributing to the problem. Especially when people are neglecting effective ‘insight fuel’, comprising of:

  1. Inspired brand positioning
  2. Consumer immersions
  3. In-situ ethnographic studies

“Ethnographic studies to observe consumers ‘in-situ’ can now be done cost-effectively and rapidly using mobile-enabled video studies.”

I can confirm this 😉

The unsung heroes

Being a head of insights today is ‘a daunting and yet exhilarating challenge’ with an almost constant need to assess the talent you have in your team.  Coupled with this, the rise of technology has led to:

“…some managements to believe more in the power of existing data than in that of new primary data, accelerating the move to analytics and data scientists and, in some companies, throwing into confusion the role of market research entirely.”

For anyone in insights this is a great read on the future roles of insights professionals – and for those of you who aren’t, read it anyway; it may help you understand what a job the insights teams do, and what they face going forward.

Diversity, inspiration and trust

If US voters were represented by 526 people, this is what they would look like.

The New York Times actually hosted them all and they spent the weekend together, chatting and finding common (and uncommon) ground. Each was surveyed before and after. Talking, it appears, moderates.

It also turns out that observing people also inspires creativity and ideas. Who’d of known? We did 🙂 This image from the London terror attacks inspired the Nike ‘Nothing  Beats a Londoner’ strategy.

Trust between agency (any type) and client is important, and this is perfectly illustrated by  the relationship back in ‘62 between Avis and DDB. It led to one of the most famous campaigns ever created. Point 4 on the philosophy doc is just superb:

“Avis will approve or disapprove, not try to improve, ads that are submitted.”

That’s trust. Right there.

What, then why

Morgan Housel (h/t Ian Leslie) on the most important forces shaping the world at the moment. It’s a fascinating read – loved it.

“If you don’t spend a little time understanding World War II’s causes and outcomes, you’re going to have a hard time understanding why the last 60 years have played out the way they have…”

Housel is telling us to look at “what” has been behind events. Richard  Feynman (3m video) looks at asking the “why” behind events. It’s about assumptions and context.

The best practitioners of always asking “why”?

From my first-hand experience?

My kids 🙂

“Autumn is the second spring”

It’s that time of the year in the Northern hemisphere when the landscape starts to change its hues. This interactive foliage map for the USA is hand-clappingly delightful… we are forever partial to a good map at Watch Me Think Towers.

Jobs we’ve seen
A new section to The100 (experimental) containing a few vacancies that we’ve seen around. Happy to add any future openings you may have in your team, if ever needed.

(UK) Assistant Research Manager, Boots

(UK) Senior Customer Insight Manager, Morrisons

(UK) Customer Experience Manager, M&S

(US) Director, Brand & Menu Strategy, McDonalds

(UK) Associate Research Director, Sky

(SWISS) R&D Packaging Leader, Beverages, Nestle