Wednesday 17 February 2021

Learn to love/hate research

AdSchool’s Core Strategic Planning course is a ‘must do’ for planners and strategists at the beginning of their career. This year’s team of course lecturers is made up of some of Australia’s most respected and experienced planners and strategists, including Fran Clayton, Chief Strategy Officer DDB Sydney. Here Fran gives her perspective on research and its role in the planning discipline.

When it comes to research you can’t be a lover or a hater, you have to be both. We all know those people who rely on it blindly, and those who reject it entirely. The truth is that it can be terrible and excellent, and the trick is to “hold those two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Research can reveal a truth, but rarely the whole truth. That’s where we humans come in with our ability to see connections and context. At best research is an act of curiosity and discovery, but too often it is used as a crutch that limits risk but also originality. We need to stop thinking about research as an insurance policy and start using it with a more open mind.

In creative agencies we need more good research and less bad research. Sounds obvious but it’s not that simple. Somewhere along the way creative agencies outsourced most of their research capabilities, relying mostly on the research commissioned by clients. This research is important for clients, but rarely reveals the interesting insights that spark ideas in the creative process.

So, if you’re curious to learn more about good research and how to use it in the creative process, you need to sign up for AdSchool Core Strategic Planning. We’ll be covering these fundamentals in Week 5:

Careful how you use it.
Research can be used for ‘good or evil’… and in many cases unintentionally so. Know when, how and why to use it.

Be a little skeptical.
Everybody lies. Even though we don’t mean to, because we often don’t know what we think or feel or how to put it into words.

Cultivate your curiosity.
Research starts with “I wonder why/if/how/who…” It’s a mindset you can adopt daily: question the status quo, don’t just accept it.

Boring questions, boring answers.
Bad research asks questions that we already know the answers to. The more creative the research approach, the more insightful the response

Be an explorer.
You don’t know what you don’t know. You have to get out of your comfort zone and your bubble. Get involved, don’t just watch from the sidelines.

AdSchool Core Strategic Planning 2021 will be held in Sydney and Melbourne from 18 March, and in Perth and nationally online from 22 July. For full course details and registration click here.

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