Thinkbox Big Think

Last week we attended Thinkbox’s Big Think event. It was billed as a morning to tackle the big issues in advertising and marketing for 21st century brands, creativity, technology and the dangers of bad research. It was a really thought provoking morning with some interesting content.

First up was Adam Morgan, the founder of eatbigfish, talking about his new book, "A Beautiful Constraint". The book describes how to take the kinds of issues that all of us face today—lack of time, money, resources, attention, know-how—and see in them the opportunity for transformation of oneself and one's organisation's fortunes. The ideas in the book are based on the authors' extensive work as business consultants, and are brought to life in 35 personal interviews from such varied sources as Nike, IKEA, Unilever, the U.S. Navy, Formula One racecar engineers, public school teachers in California, and barley farmers in South Africa. Underpinned by scientific research into the psychology of breakthrough, the book is a practical handbook full of tools and tips for how to make more from less.

We then listened to three of the IPA Diploma’s class of 2016 talk us through their essays. The overarching theme was 21st Century brands. Key takeouts included how brands should facilitate consumers to live more dangerously, in the belief that this will enable deeper and more meaningful relationships between brands and consumers. In addition, there is a belief that brands today want to link with popular events or colonise the latest platform and out shout the nearest competitor – is this all really necessary? Brands should avoid knee jerk reactions and think about whether a link with popular events is relevant for them. We also heard about how the environment is as important as bringing brilliant individuals together to solve today’s clients questions. Finally, we should consider what we can learn from the quiet brands;  these have a strong sense of purpose, identity and consistency. It doesn’t mean that these brands don’t communicate to consumers, but they do it in a considered way. Often, these introvert brands have strong bonds with their customers and generate better customer experience.

The final session highlighted the dangers of poor research. Ben Page, the CEO of Ipsos MORI warned us to be aware – what the public think and what is true differ. In addition, it’s not the size of the sample but how it’s been selected. He used the example of the 1936 USA election poll and demonstrated that a badly chosen big sample is much worse than a well-chosen small sample. Page stressed the importance of ensuring your methodology is fit for purpose and addresses the question you need to answer. Remember that correlation does not imply causation. Be aware of claimed vs. actual, people can be impacted without remembering, intent to purchase increases for those consumers who have been exposed but don’t recall. 

You can watch all the sessions from the morning by clicking here.