Narrow thinking makes you forget who the consumer is

Research-bashing, like other forms of blame culture is not new (News, DW 1 November). For the past two decades the blame for stultifying creativity has always been on research.

Narrow thinking is everyone’s responsibility. We’ve forgotten that research is not synonymous with focus groups or with individual interviews held in sanitised rooms.

To connect businesses and brands with real people we must flex the twin muscles of curiosity and intuition. Many research practitioners, encouraged by the client owner of the brand or creative professionals use anachronistic models of thinking based on the unrealistic view of the consumer.

We must look to the brand past to understand what we have to hang on to, and look to the future for cultural influences that change the meaning of brands.

Innovation comes from observing and interacting with real people in real life not by thinking of people as respondents, segments, statistics, data, targets or worst of all as a stereotypical consumer.

Wendy Gordon

Founding partner and head of research

The Fourth Room

London WC1

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