Jo: Have you always used research in the creative process?
JP: To be honest, no. When I started out in creative, the research part was pretty basic. We might have gone around the office or friends and family garnering opinions or put some concepts under peoples’ noses and asked them what they thought. I’ve learned the true value of plugging in research at the key stages in the last few years.
Jo: Could you develop successful creative without research?
JP: Yes, of course, we have for many years and often do. We’re vastly experienced and I’m lucky to work with a talented creative team who understand and value strategic thinking and the creative process to get our clients results. In fact, I know many Creatives who think Research is the enemy and somehow restricts your thinking and possibilities.
Jo: So you don’t need me and the research team then?
JP: Woah, hold yer horses, that’s not what I meant! Yes, the creative team know good creative, but there’s still some guesswork that goes on, that doesn’t always need to.
Jo: Like what?
JP: Put it this way. Without research, you run the risk of seeing things only from your perspective. Your worldview, unconscious bias and life experience. Like it or not, no matter how “creative” you are, it shapes how you think. And this perspective might not be the same as your target audience. You’re working without the creative inspiration that can come from a great human insight. If you have the advantage and benefit of research to inform your work, take it! Consumer research helps us connect with the consumer world. It gives us the right guardrails to create advertising that will resonate in a relevant, emotional and meaningful way with the audience.
Jo: Do you have a favourite type of research?
JP: Och, come on, that’s your bag not mine! I’m still trying to get all the terminology right but I like the first stage and the last stage. The bits that make my job easier.
Jo: Ah you mean the human understanding stage where we profile consumers based on their attitudes and behaviours and bring them to life. The final stage is the creative refinement stage, when we’re almost there, but we need to do final testing. I love the middle stage too – the co-creation stage – where we bring consumers together with the creative team to develop concepts and routes.
Jo: Do you have a good analogy for the importance of advertising research?
JP: I’ve often said “If you’re trapped in a maze and someone offered you a map to get out, would you take it?” Of course, you would. Research is that map. It shows you the correct path when you have infinite wrong ways to go. Or, do you know when Mario is running, jumping and diving through obstacles?
Jo: Erm, yeah I think so
JP: The creative process can feel like that sometimes. Its never a straight path.
Jo: Right, ok
JP: Research is like the things that come along to help him get to the other side – platforms, springboards, slides etc. it elevates everyone’s game to reach the next level of impact, emotion and effectiveness in your creative work.
Jo: Thanks, I think.
JP: Nae bother