Emile Durkheim – the father of modern social science – points out that many of our most deeply held feelings about how the world is are mere ‘ideology’ rather than fact: we see what we expect to see.
Many cognitive and behavioral scientists are now coming to the conclusion that our species’ extraordinary evolutionary success is largely driven by our ability to think socially, to learn socially and to embed that thinking and learning in culture so that others we have never met can also take advantage of it. The most important aspect of ‘we-think’ is social learning – the amazing way we learn skills, ideas and technologies from those around us and embed that learning in culture so that it doesn’t die.
Roughly 1/3 of human conversation content is about things (or the weather, etc.) and the remaining 2/3 is about people, of which half (so fully 1/3 of all conversations) is primarily about people who aren’t even present.
It’s always better to observe others rather than gather information through innovations.
We make most of our decisions at a subconscious level, which means, by definition, the operations of the decision process are inaccessible to our conscious minds.
Asking people if they intend to buy something is analogous to asking them if they intend to go to the gym – the results may not correspond well with future behavior. Context is a vital driver of behavior.
Forcing people to consider something rationally that operates on an unconscious, emotional level, is always going to give the wrong answer.
Market research can be useful or interesting to understand what people think they think, but the data it gives shouldn’t be understood as ‘true’. It needs to be interpreted, triangulating insights from as many sources as possible.
Research can lead to insights and insights can lead to innovation. Listen and learn to read between the lines.
There is a difference between asking and understanding. Whether or not you agree with asking what people want, knowing their preferences or discovering new opportunities is important.
It may not be the market researcher’s job to find out what people want but it’s market researcher’s job to find out how people behave, how they feel.
Branding is just another name for creating a perception – how marketers want their audience to think about a product once it comes to market. The word “product” can easily be swapped for service, or blog, or newsletter, or any number of things marketers promote. The underlying concepts remain the same.
A brand is an expectation of an experience. The company and tag line and logo and brand colors only exist to call that experience to mind. The essence of a brand lies within its meaning. And words have meaning. Words matter.
Content is currency — something we trade for our audience’s attention. It’s our job to create content worth sharing. How it’s shared isn’t up to us.
As users continue to consume content across multiple devices, including tablets and phones, it’s important to investigate not just the popularity of a story or video, but its longevity. The longer you let people hold on to content, the better the odds that they’ll end up consuming it. The more they consume it, the more likely they are to share it across social media — and the longer that story lives everywhere.