Points Of View


April 2014
Liberating Research: A Manifesto for Change

In a previous Point of View, How Big Data Liberates Research, author, Bill Pink argued that big data is not replacing research—it is liberating it. Being liberated from generating a new survey for each new learning occasion, ongoing big-data assets can be leveraged for many topics, allowing subsequent primary research to go deeper and fill in the gaps. Instead of relying on bloated surveys, researchers should keep surveys short and focused on those variables that they are ideally suited for, resulting in better data quality.


March 2014
The Disappearing Iceberg
It has become a mantra: “Recent learning from cognitive science is challenging long-held assumptions of the market research industry.” And the mantra is true—but not in the way most people think. The typical assumption is that new research into fast, instinctive processing supports the idea that people’s considered responses to survey questions are just the tip of the iceberg—that the bulk of the meaning that brands hold for people is below the surface.

December 2013
Marketers: What’s “App” with Your Brand?
Angry Birds, Candy Crush, Words With Friends—if you’ve not played them, you’ve likely heard of them. These games had their beginnings as mobile apps but over time have built themselves into strong brands. Angry Birds even went on to expand into a multibillion-dollar franchise. And now, established brands are creating apps too. You might be surprised at how many there are; among the 2013 BrandZ™ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands, 89 brands have designed and launched an app, and some have produced more than one.

November 2013
Dare to Be Different
Being different is scary. In marketing, trying something different is really scary. Nobody wants to be the marketer that messes up a multimillion-dollar brand. It’s easier to play it safe, relying on what has worked before or for others. That must be why I’ve often heard from clients that there is a certain way to advertise in their category—for example, TV ads for men’s razors must start with a 10-second story, continue with a 15-second product demo, and end with a 5-second joke. “This is how we must advertise in order to succeed,” they say.

October 2013
Measuring Long-Term Ad Effects: A Meaningfully Different Approach
At the recent Australian Effie Awards, the judges decided not to give an award in the Long-Term Effects category. Journalist Rosie Baker, who found it worrying that there wasn’t any work worthy of a long-term award, wrote an opinion piece in which she said: “The pressure to deliver instant results means that people are hobbled in their ability to look long term. It’s difficult to look long term when the axe falls after two poor quarters. But by not looking longer term, the industry is doing itself a disservice, and it is a hard cycle to break.”

September 2013
Innovations in Branding: Pedaling from Talking to Doing

This is no time for branding as usual. Consumers have developed immunity to traditional marketing tactics—they fast-forward through TV commercials, block online ads, and overlook outdoor displays as they attend to their smartphones. A brand whose basic marketing strategy relies solely on conventional methods is unlikely to survive, let alone thrive, in today’s crowded and competitive categories.


August 2013
Ad Research Faces the Future
Ad researchers should be forgiven for feeling a little beaten up in recent years. In the face of compelling evidence from the cognitive sciences that points to a less rational, less idealized consumer than conventional economics has assumed, they acknowledged the need to measure emotion and other “fast” reactions as well as people’s “slow” or more considered responses.

July 2013
How Big Data Liberates Research
There is a tidal wave of conversation about big data. The conversations range from simply defining what big data means, to the business applications of big data, to the societal implications of living in a big data environment. A quick Google search on “big data” provided 1.66 billion results, and I’m sure that number has increased since I wrote this Point of View.

July 2013
Digital Is Powerful. Handle with Care.
Billions of dollars are spent on digital marketing each year, and for good reason. Digital media has enormous power to reach and influence people. Over 2 billion people—about one-third of the global population—now access the Internet. Facebook alone reaches one-seventh of the world’s population. Smartphones are the dominant means by which people surf the web in India.

June 2013
Can Marketing and Research Become Better by Design?
Over the last decade, the importance of design has grown beyond the traditional concept of making an artifact look good to take a more central role in business, academia, and government.

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