Don’t Know or Don’t Care?

Sep 08 2010 Published by neilgains under context

In a thought provoking article on BBC News website, Michael Blastland discusses the use of the “Don’t know” response in social surveys and argues that “Don’t know” often masks an “It depends” response.  I agree with him that respondents often feel that “Don’t know” is a default answer, in the face of insufficient context, and Robert Bain also talked about this in his recent article on being a fake online respondent. Read more »

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All Research is Problem Solving

Sep 06 2010 Published by neilgains under data

“In our reasonings concerning matter of fact, there are all imaginable degrees of assurance, from the highest certainty to the lowest species of moral evidence.  A wise man, therefore, proportions his belief to the evidence.”  - David Hume

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Who Will Question the Questioners?

Sep 03 2010 Published by admin under insight

“Don’t ask silly questions if you don’t want foolish answers.”  - C. Ryland

I have a lot of sympathy with Roger Sant’s recent article in research-live.com on the need for researchers to provide more engaging and participative questions, and his recommendation to allow participants to define for themselves what is important. Read more »

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The Simple Secrets of Branding

Aug 29 2010 Published by admin under branding

I will let you into a secret. A lot of current thinking in brand and communications research is misplaced.  Most marketers and market researchers fail to take account of recent advances in psychology.  This presents a great opportunity for many companies to get ahead of the competition.

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Zen and the Art of Presentations

Aug 17 2010 Published by admin under storytelling

“Our lives are frittered away by detail; simplify, simplify.”  - Henry David Thoreau

“Power corrupts.  PowerPoint corrupts absolutely.”  - Edward Tufte

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New Emotional Connections that create Future Value

Jun 18 2010 Published by admin under insight

The debate over insight is becoming heated, particularly at Research-Live, although I think most of the differences are semantic.  Nick Johnson first proclaimed that “insight is dead”, and I agree that the word is overused.  However, his (very accurate) description of research outcomes with two hour and 80 page powerpoint decks, is about data and not insight, and his plea to look beyond the immediate data is absolutely on the mark.  In his response to this, Anthony Tasgal defends “insight” as the currency of consumer understanding, and argues that insight is a process and not an object, and most importantly that insight always includes a creative element, and is always actionable (and actioned).  He is right to argue that insight is about replacing the 80 page deck with an action oriented debrief process.

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Is Research Irrational?

Jun 07 2010 Published by admin under research bias

Dan Ariely’s work in behavioural economics is famous (and profound) in terms of breaking down the minutiae of human behaviour, through elegant experiments which measure what people really do in specific contexts, as opposed to what we all believe we do (which is often very different).  Many of his findings are stark and counter-intuitive: for instance, that bigger bonuses actually reduce performance rather than improve it!

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Better than Mad Men

May 08 2010 Published by admin under context

Mad Men is an American dramatic television series set in the 1960s, at the fictional Sterling Cooper advertising agency on Madison Avenue in New York City. Mad Men depicts parts of American society and culture of the 1960s, highlighting cigarette smoking, drinking, sexism, adultery, homophobia, anti-Semitism and racism. Themes of alienation, social mobility and ruthlessness underpin the thematic tone of the show.

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