Man [including researchers] has got to know his limitations…

Posted on April 1, 2008


I’ve just read a research report this afternoon, totally flawed from objective to methodology. So much so that I still find myself completely dumbfounded. A massively huge ‘HOW’ is hovering in my cerebral cortex and it simply can’t seem to find its way out of there.

It’s strange, but part of me can’t help but wish life was as easily understood and our minds as simplistic in their processing as the people behind this study seem to think. Because by their reckoning, it would be a perfectly valid methodology to judge the taste and aesthetics of a cake by tasting and observing its ingredients separately….flour, sugar, eggs, butter and the rest of it.

This ‘experience’ reminded me of a quote that I came across when we pitched for the Sony APAC business in my previous agency. Not only is this quote music to my ears, but its also evidence of an understanding of the severe limitations of methodologies involving direct questions to people. I’ve previously touched on this here and here.

“We don’t ask consumers what they want. They don’t know. Instead we apply our brainpower to what they need, and will want, and make sure we’re there, ready”

Akio Morita, Co-founder, Sony Corporation

Posted in: Planning-related