OPINION26 March 2013

Why J&J’s global insight director hates insights


In this new world of data overload, Suzana Pamplona Miranda says the role of researchers is to be curators of knowledge – not just discoverers of insight. Stephen Phillips reports.

Suzana Pamplona Miranda

Suzana Pamplona Miranda

The inaugural Insight Innovation Exchange conference in Brazil kicked off with a rousing speech from Suzana Pamplona Miranda, global strategic insight director of Johnson & Johnson, on why she hates insights. In this new world of data overload, she said the role of researchers is to be curators of knowledge – not just discoverers of insight – and that we should use this role to guide the creation of meaning.

She also had some interesting, simple ideas on what clients want from agencies: be smart, listen, meet deadlines, deliver quality, build relationships. It sounds straightforward.

Next up was Charles Trevail, CEO of Promise, who talked about co-creation and how we should listen to the heart as well as the head. This point was ably covered in the afternoon neuroscience session with Cristina Balanzó suggesting that the conscious mind was just a speck in the world of behaviour and that it is only with a combination of neuroscience and mainstream research that you can really understand people, their emotions and behaviours.

Balanzó said that the conscious mind is simply not running the show but that we researchers have created an entire industry pretending that is does. Fortunately both neuroscience presenters did see a role, albeit a secondary one, for traditional techniques.

Later, anthropologist Dr Valeria Brandini talked about the “avartisation” of the real world – with kids in Brazil finding themselves having to change their behaviour and attitude in the real world to tie in with what they project in the digital world. A very interesting mirroring going on between the two worlds we live in.

Finally a session on social listening discussed the use of memes for simplifying analysis of social media data. Netquest’s Bruno Paro showed an example of tracking huge amounts of social data on Budweiser and Heineken and how starting from a perspective that analysing memes related to an ad or topic will help researchers quickly understand trends in what people are saying about brands.

Stephen Phillips
is chief happiness officer
at Spring Research