Categories are interesting to anthropologists. They are the “buckets” into which we organize the world. More exactly, they are the buckets with which we read the world. We have a bucket called “bird.” Inside that is a bucket called “Robin.” As spring approaches, we see winged creatures on our lawn and the buckets leap to the ready. Robin! Bird! Spring! This is culture in action.
From this point of view, Pinterest is a treasure. It’s a chance to see American culture as if from a glass-bottom boat. Yes, some of it is a little reductive. But sometimes what people stuff into the categories is a chance for us to see exactly what they mean. Pinterest is a little Rosetta Stone, a table of equivalencies. Oh, so that’s what YOU mean by home. Here’s what I mean. In a culture that flowers with an increasingly diverse variety, this is useful.
I should probably write my own commentary instead of posting quotes all the time, but hel-lo, I have a research proposal to write! Actually, I have two research proposals to write. Ouch.
advice for the next generation of account planners from victoria kaulback, brand planning director at y&r new york
click through for advice that’s a little more serious for those of us who favor insight to investigative journalism and goat cheese.
Planner Dan Pankraz in his smart blog post Ten Tips for Crafting a Great Communications Challenge — The Heart of a Great Creative Brief
Dan already knows what I’ve been learning over the past year or two.
Don’t settle for “persuading” or “repositioning.”
Identify a stale, conventional belief about the brand, product category, consumer or culture; defy convention; and change the target’s behavior for good.
I bet Dan and I would get along.
Reblogged because I love this perspective. And I love TV.
My first (creative) partner was a girl in my ad school during my third year doing a Bachelor of Communications at AUT.
She was great, we did a lot of interesting work together.
There was one thing about her that I found odd.
She didn’t watch television.
Her family didn’t have one. She was raised like this. Instead of watching TV, she’d pursue hobbies like dancing, which is all well and good because she was an excellent dancer.
And her parents took her to different countries when she was little, so she was well travelled. Phenomenally so.
But she didn’t watch television.
And to me, this left a gap in her thinking.
Sometimes, I would suggest an angle we could explore or lines we could use based on popular culture originating from a TV show, and she would come back to me; expressionless.
I think there was one time I mentioned a TV character like Captain Planet.
“Captain Planet. You know, the Planeteers? Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, Heart? Go, Planet?”
“Nope. Are you sure people know who that is?”
“Are you serious?!”
Good advertising messages stem from insights. Insights about the product, where it’s made, how to use it, the people that use it, an so on.
The best advertising messages stem from life insights. Aspects of daily living that transcend language, age and gender boundaries.
And the best way to come up with these life insights is to experience life.
If you’re disconnected somehow, you’re not going to reach those crucial truths you need.
In a way, this means to travel; see different people and cultures and view life from a unique perspective.
In a more realistic way, this means to branch out from what you already do.
Just because Ted, Marshall, Lily, Robin and Barney hang out at MacLaren’s Pub all the time, doesn’t mean it’s cool for you to do as well.
Read a book you by an author you don’t normally read; see a movie you wouldn’t see; watch TV, a lot; go to a restaurant you haven’t been to and order something you don’t normally eat.
Every new thing you do gives you a new perspective and broadens your thinking.
You could notice how people who can’t handle spicy food look like they’re taking a Lamaze class when they eat, or how the majority of commuters read books on the train, or all the weird tips and tricks for picking out perfect produce you learn from farmer’s market patrons.
They can all birth interesting ideas that come from simple life insights.
Another thing I would recommend is to watch a lot of stand up comedians. All and any you can. Local ones, international ones, male ones, female ones, transgender ones, old ones, young ones, Irish ones, American ones, Spanish ones, Chinese ones, Nigerian ones, bad ones, really bad ones, all of them.
Especially those who specialise in observational humor.
What these people do for a living is take even the tiniest life insight, like the faces men make when we shave, and turn it into something relatable, funny and entertaining.
Gee, that sounds familiar.
And you can tell they’ve hit the nail on the head with these details of daily life because of the immediate laughter from the audience.
Young creatives could learn a lot from these people. The more you watch, the more perspective you benefit from - it’s simple.
As a creative (especially one working in advertising), you’re not just living life, you’re exploring it. And the best way to do that is just do something different from time to time.
A friend of mine, Iain Nealie, a creative at TBWA\Tequila in Auckland, once did something as simple as using a different mode of transport to go to work each day for a week.
He managed it (walk, run, car, skateboard, bus).
Simple as that.
Or just at least make sure you’re getting enough TV each day.
In his blog post, Morgan makes a point that a lot of rising planners — well, okay, I — struggle to recognize: Insight isn’t shorthand for “consumer insight.” As Morgan suggests, insight* is acute understanding of the emotional needs we’re trying to satisfy, the emotional needs that drive us to act. Insight encompasses not only the consumer but also the brand, the product experience, the product category and the culture surrounding it all. As Morgan explains, planners should look for:
Insights into why consumers have much stronger relationships with other categories than they do with ours, and what it would mean to bring some of those drivers into our category; Insights into what made the brand successful when it was most successful and what that would mean today; Insights into why our company culture is unique, and what element of that our consumer might find compelling.
*My understanding of insight evolves at least every other week, though, so stay tuned to see what I think next month!