Wednesday, January 28

The Power of Post-Research

No matter what anyone says, research is the backbone of creative and product development. It helps us to not only get to know our target consumer, but it more importantly helps us to uncover the insight that will ultimately become a creative idea. Without research, as marketers we are left out naked in the cold...with no where to go, creatively.

The problem is that most of our research is done upfront, pre-research if you will, before ideation has started. We use it to stimulate the creative process and sometimes to help further develop it. But we don't often use it after the fact, in post-research. Some brands do, but not all of them and not all of the time.

Which is why some brands find themselves in trouble after the fact...left out in the cold naked.

We've seen two startling examples just lately; examples that we should all learn some research when you've completed the project just to make sure you haven't made a fatal mistake in execution.

Post-research is just as important as pre-research. It'll help you catch mistakes you may have missed along the way.

First up, just in time for this past holiday season is the now infamous Play-Doh extruder kit. I mean, how could they not know? I know that they probably didn't know, but I mean how could they not know?

The kit caused quick criticism on social media, for good reason. Many criticized the brand for deleting comments, generally a cardinal sin in consumer engagement. In this case, I have a feeling that it may have been appropriate. Evidently a replacement is in the works.

And then this week we saw the advanced preview of the new Go Daddy commercial for the Super Bowl. I have to admit that the first time I saw it, I cringed at the end. But I didn't imagine the issue would take on a life of its own, forcing the CEO to make a statement and then ultimately pull the spot from the internet and from the brand's Super Bowl lineup.

Had the team done a little research among dog and animal lovers, I'm sure someone would have told them that it was inappropriate and that it would rub some people the wrong way. While I understand what they were aiming for (mocking the success of Budweiser's puppy spot), and I understand the brand's sense of humor (a little camp goes a long way), I know that some post-research would have told them to try another story line.

I will say, however, that the CEO and his team handled the social media crisis with grace and speed, addressing the issue individually with key critics and in mass for all those offended...with humility and honesty. Showing that it's sometimes ok to take a risk, as long as you handle it appropriately and that you own it.

Some say it was a publicity stunt...I don't believe it. I think it was the case of not doing a little post-research on a piece of creative advertising. That or not listening to people who warned them.

What's your experience?  JIM.

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