Understanding the unconscious and improving human lives.

Whenever  the word "consumer" is heared, a term unavoidable in marketing, a certain part winces. The label is counterproductive and misguided, suggesting hubris by putting corporate interests over customer concerns. The worst offense is that it presupposes a response you haven’t earned yet. Their purpose is not to consume your product!" />
PhilosophyHomeServicesWorkKnowledgeContact Us
How Research Misses The Human Behind The Demographic
Deutsch’s Douglas Van Praet discusses how focus-group feedback, and the whole notion of the consumer, are misguided and how research should focus on understanding the unconscious and improving human lives.


Understanding the unconscious and improving human lives.

Whenever  the word "consumer" is heared, a term unavoidable in marketing, a certain part winces. The label is counterproductive and misguided, suggesting hubris by putting corporate interests over customer concerns. The worst offense is that it presupposes a response you haven’t earned yet. Their purpose is not to consume your product!
Yet this label frames market research, with an emphasis on sales and usage, in other words, the bottom line, market share, or ROI. The ultimate goal is profitability, not helping people better themselves.

How these research studies are done is at sharp odds with what science now knows. The elephant in the room is that the vast majority of our decisions are made unconsciously. What is a no-brainer for any cognitive scientist remains mind-boggling to marketers. The conscious mind is simply not running the show, but we’ve created an entire industry pretending that it does.

2-(1).jpg


Advertisers are doubling down on this myth, investing in exhaustive investigations of self-reported preferences, attitudes, opinions, and beliefs. These deceptions become guideposts for product and campaign development. For $150 and a ham sandwich, panelists are drilled for hours in formal focus groups before two-way mirrors and cleverly concealed microphones that elicit groupthink and inauthenticity. The best become "professional respondents" glibly dominating groups on the topic du jour—from potato chip to microchip.

What is the problem?

The problem is we’re profoundly social beings having spent 99% of our evolution relying on vital resources from tribal affiliates whose opinions mattered. Group rejection likely meant a death sentence. So it’s no surprise we still only put our best face forward while artfully maneuvering ourselves competitively in the pecking order.

The brain is designed to hide most of our intentions and promote self-confidence, an adaptive function that improves lives and prevents information overload. So we invent stories and believe our lies and confabulations. Social science experiments reveal that we are inherently self-righteous and consistently overrate our knowledge, autonomy, and abilities. We say advertising doesn’t influence us even though sales say otherwise. And we maintain these self-serving delusions when wired to a lie detector, which means we are lying to ourselves and not intentionally to the experimenters!

But marketers cling to these false convictions and post-hoc rationalizations in large-scale quantitative studies that test and track "awareness," "topline" reports that skim the surface because they ignore real motives that lay hidden in the depths of our "unawareness."

This vast data dump is distilled into a target "persona," the "true north" for creative inspiration. Psychologist Carl Jung is turning in his grave because he coined the term to describe the fa├žade we contrive to make an impression on others while concealing our true nature. The persona is the mask of overconfidence that colors reality in our favor to adapt to social situations.

We need to penetrate this veneer. As Jung put it,

"In each of us there is another whom we don’t know." This inner "self" is a term he used to describe the totality of the psyche that includes our unconscious intentions or, in essence, "the real you."


And we all share an inner essence through our DNA. We’re not consumers, eyeballs, non-responders, laggards, Millennials, or Hispanics. We are humans. And by raising our sightline and defining customers more broadly we will not only deepen empathy and relevance but also widen appeal.

4-(1).jpg

This doesn't imply all research is bad research. Measuring sales and online engagement is very useful because we observe what people do, not what they say they do. And despite the pitfalls of qualitative research we can still observe face-to-face, micro-expressions and body language that belie words. Skilled moderators can unveil hidden agendas and unconscious defenses. But these researchers are rare. Strategists who inspire through traditional methods make subjective leaps beyond the data. They succeed in spite of current research protocols, not because of them.

A 7-step process was developed, shedding human insight on how idea becomes action:

1) Interrupt the Pattern
2) Create Comfort
3) Lead the Imagination
4) Shift the Feeling
5) Satisfy the Critical Mind
6) Change the Associations
7) Take Action

Source Fastco Create
innovationbusiness designbrandcell newscustomer experienceexperience designLiveworkcustomer serviceconsumer brandsdesignservice designengagementKnowledgehuman-centricityHuman-Centered DesignDesign Thinking
HOW TO FIND US
 


Beirut Head Office
3rd floor, Eshmoun Bldg, 
Damascus Road
P.O.B. 175-764
Beirut, Lebanon
T 00 961 1 335 417 / 321 / 370
F 00 961 1 335 410


Dubai Rep. Office
THE BRAND DISTRICT FZE
Emirates Towers, Level 41
Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, UAE
P.O Box 31303
T +971 4 3197635
M +971 50 7058763