Feedback is a simple concept, and companies around the world are trying to instill cultures of open and collaborative feedback to fuel innovation and creativity. Strangely, little attention has been put into the forms and channels through which feedback is gathered and analyzed. As much as we love the thought of dynamic creative teams huddling around a desk, or a boss and his protoge reviewing a plan together, isn't there more we can do?
The Creative Process
We've spent the last 2 years (and most of our careers) learning from agencies and brands about their frustrations with the creative process. Most of the challenges, we found, are natural outcomes of how departments and organizations are structured. A few common themes include:
1) No real tools or resources at agencies to conduct research.
2) Tension between agency and client during feedback sessesions.
3) Understaffed and overworked agency staff means less time for collaboration, client knowledge development and feedback channels.
4) Fragmentation of emerging creative diciplines (mobile, social, CRM, personalization) makes it hard for clients and agencies to "know it all"
5) Consumer segmenation changing from pure LSMs to psychographics without adequate tools or understanding
6) No on-the-ground resources available to understand foreign markets, track global trends or test creative with locals
Qualitative Research Methodologies
What we love about qualitative research is its focus on exploring and explaining the "why" of resarch questions. Although the creative process is grounded in lots of consumer and media data, usually the creative insight or breakthrough comes through qualitative exploration of consumer feedback, in-depth interviews, ethnographic immersions and focus groups. We believe that tapping into the professional ability to vocalize and articulate their feelings, emotions and observations about creative concepts will add a new dimension into qualitative approaches.
The billion dollar market for testing ads and concepts has attracted much discussion and debate over the past 80 years. Our team has been actively involved with the industry's attempts to use quantitative norms, neuroscience and digital technologies to produce stronger creative for clients. We are also active observers of how traditional testing has left more and more detractors as product innovation has not kept pace with media and consumer fragmentation and rise of digital.
For such an old concept, this is still an emerging dicipline for many. We've been actively understanding how large, online and independent "crowds" of creative professionals can tackle creative challenges often more effectively than a single agency or department. Using the crowd for feedback allows for more objectivity than is often found within organizations, more unique insights from different minds and ultimately a better source for the client and agency to make decisions from.
What we love about the traditional consulting firms is their approach to thouroughly understanding their clients and delivering very tailored recomendations for their clients to overcome their challenges. They are often trusted because of the caliber of talent making the suggestions and the power of the regional networks that are often tapped into.
We've used these learnings to launch several innovative marketing research products.