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FEATURE1 February 2009

60 Second Soapbox – Kelley Styring

Insightfarm chief Kelley Styring cannot wait to switch Barack Obama on now that the batteries are in, and wonders why researchers make their work sound so boring

?THE PRODUCT I’M EXCITED ABOUT AT THE MOMENT IS…
Barak Obama. Now that we’ve put the batteries in I can’t wait to switch him on watch him do what’s in his nature. The US and possibly the world will definitely be a different place. It’s been a long time since America has been switched on in this way.

A CLIENT I’D LIKE TO GET MY HANDS ON IS…
I have an elaborate plan to ensnare a band called The Pink Spiders with my wily charm. It’s an indulgence that won’t pay out for my company, but I think I will enjoy it and learn about a new industry from people who couldn’t be more different from me.

AN IDEA I WISHED I HAD IS…
The Ratchet Strap. Imagine a family moving from one home to another using their own vehicle. They strap a mattress to the roof of the car with a rope, laced through the windows. Enter the Ratchet Strap – you wrap it around the item and secure by ratcheting it tight, perfectly secure every time. I suppose it could also be used to secure children to their chair at dinner so that everyone could have more than a five-minute meal.

A CAMPAIGN THAT REALLY GRABBED ME RECENTLY IS…
Apple has captured my imagination. The Apple vs PC campaign is competitive without being brash.

A CAMPAIGN THAT NEEDED MORE RESEARCH IS…
There is a product in the US called the Ped Egg, a foot file for smoothing callouses. Midway through the ad they empty the skin filings into the trash from the collector on the unit, showing it in graphic detail. It’s disgusting, I have to close my eyes every time I see it. It’s a great product with truly repellent advertising.

ONE THING THE INDUSTRY COULD USE MORE OF IS…
Humour. As researchers, I don’t think we’ve ever been at such a high peak of development. New, exciting ways to understand consumers and reach them are being invented every day, yet it’s so boring when we talk about it.

ONE THING THIS INDUSTRY COULD USE LESS OF IS…
Hindsight. What we measure is often rooted in the past. What we do with it requires speculation about what the future will bring. We sometimes call this ‘insight’ but that’s only part of the equation. When we learn something profound, we should grab our client’s sweaty hand and drag them out on a limb with us to make intelligent guesses about what the future will hold.

IN FIVE YEARS’ TIME WE’LL ALL BE TALKING ABOUT…
All that research we did by asking people questions online and had crappy co-operation rates as a result. In the future, everything will be a simulation game of some sort and consumers will pay us to take the tests. Won’t that be something?

AND THE ONE THING NEVER TO FORGET IS…
Anytime you ask someone a ‘why’ question and get one answer, you should be very disappointed. ‘Why’ is always a regression equation. There’s a big, hairy constant we can’t explain, so we ignore it. And, then there are at least three reasons why something happened. Fewer than three and you’ve left opportunity on the table. More than three and your clients will tune out. Three they can manage. This works in your personal life too – her hair is always fabulous, her pants never make her rear look fat, and you have always loved her mother as much as your own.

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