Bless the Weirdo: Creativity and Innovation in Advertising

Peculiar is good, don’t let anyone tell you anything different. Having a skewed take on the world isn’t what you always want or need, but it is important to have free thinkers, dreamers, and mad geniuses in the company mix if you want to break though the play-it-safe realities of most businesses. Back in the […]

Storytelling, Presenting and Getting Past the Stick in Your Bum

The other day I was thinking about how to present findings to a client about what was, frankly, a seemingly dry subject. Numerous stakeholders would be involved and would range from the CMO down to brand managers, product engineers, etc. So, knowing I had a dry subject and a conservative audience, I decided to rethink […]

Gothic Churches and Retail Displays

The art of the merchandising display is the focus this week at the Global Shop conference in Las Vegas. There are giant bottles of Knob Creek, Zombie Baby Dolls, hair care products, lottery ticket dispensers and an unimaginable host of other products. Some of it is terrific, some of it is terrible and most of […]

Stories, Invention and the Bottom Line

The power of a good story, or even a rather mundane one, is truly phenomenal.  In it are wrapped up the hopes, dreams, symbols, and significances that shed light on who we are as individuals and as members of a culture.  But the real power comes not from the explicit statements that emerge during, say, […]

Art, Video and Client Acceptance

When we conduct qualitative research it is inevitable that we have clients who choose to dismiss what we have to say.  More accurately, there are people within the organization that have, for a host of reasons, made the decision, consciously and subconsciously, to find any excuse possible to reject the finding.  The question is what […]

How to Tell a Good Story

We often get bogged down in the numbers when we talk to our clients.  They’re business folks and therefore we need to talk to ROI, segmentation schemes, bottom-line financials, etc. And yes, that information is necessary, but it shouldn’t necessarily be the focus of every conversation, particularly when we’re presenting findings and insights.  It’s like […]

Selling Aspirations or Realities

We often see that words, phrases and concepts are repeated when describing an event.  But I have to wonder, is it more powerful for marketing to ask “what happened…” or “when you went/used/etc. what were you hoping for…”?  No doubt it is some balance between the two, but at which points in the shopping, consuming […]

The Stories WE Tell

When research folks talk to clients about their findings they, we,  frequently take on the role of omnipotent, unseen author and expert. The text, sound clip, or video narrative is filtered through his or her eyes; eyes that are, if trained properly in the tenets of the anthropological discipline, self-reflexive and committed to the honest […]

Story Telling And Power

A life as led is inseparable from a life as told. It’s not about “how it was,” but how it is interpreted and reinterpreted, told and retold. Narrative – “story telling” – is a particular mode of thinking, the mode that relates to the concrete and particular as opposed to the abstract and general. Stories […]