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October 16, 2007

Quantifying Creative

Is this how your focus groups go?

A group of creatives over at Arnold were sick of their focus groups ending like this so they took one of the more legendary spots ever produced and sent it back through the system. Ed Cotton over at Influx Insights traded a few e-mails with the guys behind the video to understand what drove them to this point.  It's something, I believe, creative industries will always struggle with; the need to quantify creative products. Some clients simply want to cover their asses should something go wrong while others are looking to reassure themselves and ensure sales.  But this isn't the role of focus groups, nor has it ever been!  While I must admit, I've never been a huge proponent of research, through my years in the ad world have come to understand the value of well-planned qualitative.  Here's just a few quick thoughts;

1. Negativity isn't Bad: Brandon wrote a little while ago about belief driven marketing which is what good advertising should be. If you're going to stand for something, some people aren't going to like it.  The think about strong beliefs is sometimes they're polarizing.  It means you have a backbone.  That's a good thing.

2. They're not Referees: Don't treat people in focus groups like creative referees.  Set up a group as a space for them to judge creative work and that's the role they'll fulfill. See them as friends trying to understand the relationship better puts them in a different place.

3. Understand the Relationship: Which brings us to the last point.  Use groups to understand relationships people share with brands. Think of them as a therapy session perhaps.  Google clinical psychology theories and you'll be surprised by how much of what you find is applicable to marketing research.



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