“Like ‘sustainability’, the word ‘diversity’ had little popular currency ten or twenty years ago. Today everyone at least pretends to understand it”. Malcolm Evans, founder of Space Doctors delves into the world of semiotics and shows how the techniques can be used in helping researchers and marketers better understand international and local markets.
Coca-Cola were faced with the challenge of increasing the impact of personal packaging in South Latin America. Esteban Foulkes of BMC and Roxana Paciente of The Coca-Cola Company, talk about how Coca-Cola grew their business in this area with a research project that directly led to the organisation modifying the behaviour of their target market.
Willem Brethouwer of MarketResponse and Ruben Mensink at ProRail, the Dutch national rail infrastructure organisation, talk about a recent study in which they harnessed the power of stories in to generate pride and transparency internally and get a grip on their reputation externally when it was at an all-time low.
“Oh to be at the beginning again, knowing almost nothing.” Tom Stoppard, Arcadia
Now is a very exciting time to be in marketing and market research. It seems we are in the middle of a reset, a reboot, a reinvention of methods and models like none before. Increasing numbers of practitioners are participating in a dizzy dance of innovation and reworking.
But this reinvention of market research is not merely the product of what the shiny new technologies enable us to do (mobile is an example well known to Research World readers). Rather, it is happening because many of the ideas and working assumptions our community has relied on for generations to animate our research methods – and the intellectual frameworks used to interpret the data we collect – are being challenged by a singularly rapid explosion of insight from the behavioural and cognitive sciences and a popular interest in what these academic disciplines are telling us about ourselves.
It’s a little like the early years of modern medicine. At the beginning of the 20th century, it was still possible to find practices endorsed in medical textbooks that we have long since rejected – blood-letting being one very dramatic example.
Clearly, blood-letting is no longer widely practised – most of us would run a mile from any doctor who recommended it – but its decline seems to have been driven less by a thorough analysis of its efficacy as treatment (it’s often difficult to do this patient by patient, case by case – modern medical science still struggles with it) than by broader changes in the understanding of how human physiology works. Challenges to the ideas and assumptions in medicine have been brought about by huge amounts of work done elsewhere in the medical forest.
Blood-letting made sense within the confines of the Galenic model which had dominated European medicine for nearly two millennia. Its theoretical justification was grounded in the widely accepted notion that human bodies and minds are rooted in four different substances (the “humours”). In medieval medicine, for example, much illness was seen as a result of imbalance between these substances, and that’s why you needed to “leech” or drain the blood of your patient. However, against the background of modern medicine, blood-letting just seems odd and even barbaric.
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Tom De Ruyck, Head of Consumer Consulting Boards at Insites Consulting and co-author of The Consumer Consulting Board has extensive experience in running communities for some of the worlds major brands. He he shares the details of research carried out in identifying how best to engage consumers in local environments