The Future Of Insights Project is HERE

We’ve been looking forward to posting this one! Last year we did some work with the World Federation of Advertisers on a very juicy topic – the future of the insights business. With 2016 being the 100th birthday of market research (don’t believe us? read the report!) we thought it was time to take a look at what’s coming up NEXT. Today the Future Of Insights Project releases its core report. And it’s fascinating.

WFA report photo

Chief Juicer John Kearon launches the report in Kuala Lumpur.

There are a few “research on research” studies knocking around and most of them have interesting things to say. What makes the WFA one particularly exciting? Continue reading

These Aren’t The Insights You’re Looking For

Last week on the blog we published an obituary for the Traditional Concept, which struck a nerve and became our most-read post for months. Research concepts, we argued, are simply too reasonable – they are appeals to deliberative System 2 thinking in a world where decisions are actually made by our fast, emotionally-guided System 1.

So concepts ought to try and reach System 1 first: they should be far more visual, ought to have more emotional charge and ought to be easier to process (i.e. use fewer words). This isn’t because we think those concepts will necessarily do better in tests – though in our validations many do – but because System 1 concepts replicate real behavioural context better, and are more differentiated. It’s easier with System 1 concepts to tell apart the winners from the losers.

The next question is – what should such concepts include? In upcoming posts we’ll talk about that. But this post is about something they shouldn’t include. Concepts that appeal to System 1 should not lead off with an insight statement.

Perhaps this seems like odd advice. After all, a good insight ought to be a universal human truth – something that feels intuitively right. If we’re looking for emotional impact, isn’t the insight the most emotional part of a concept?


“Luuuuke…. I am your insiiiiight…”

The reason for dropping insights boils down to three words: show, don’t tell. It’s the most basic advice to scriptwriters and it applies to concept writing too. If you have a human truth behind your concept, it should be something people can feel in the visuals and the description. It doesn’t have to be something they can articulate. In fact, sometimes it shouldn’t be.

For example, let’s think about Star Wars. Continue reading

Off The Menu

At the ESOMAR conference a couple of weeks ago I saw a really great case study about buying food. It wasn’t by us – but it was interesting because it shows how behavioural ideas are right at the heart of research, even if it’s not framed that way.

The brand in question makes sauces, stock, spice mixes, rubs and so on. A lot of these aren’t the kind of items you stock up on – you might get them as part of your menu planning. So menu planning becomes a very important thing for the brand to understand.

I won’t summarise the details of the research – it was excellent and robust, but the methodology doesn’t matter as much as the outcome. What they found out is that a large number of people don’t plan their meals until they’re actually buying fresh produce – meat or vegetables. They don’t make a plan then go looking to fulfil it. They make an on the spot decision on a main ingredient then buy other things around that.

Once you say that, it sounds obvious. So what did the brand do about it? They moved their products next to the meat and produce aisles. Sales boomed. Continue reading