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CMB Conference Recap: MRA's ISC

Posted by Kirsten Clark on Mon, Jun 15, 2015

insights and strategies conference, cmb conference recapLast week, a few of my colleagues and I headed down to San Diego to soak up all the sun, insights, and networking opportunities we could from the Marketing Research Association’s Insights and Strategies Conference (ISC). Here are my top 4 takeaways:

1. Stop thinking like a farmer. In Jeremy Gutsche’s opening keynote, he stressed the importance of learning how to adapt. Companies are able to identify market opportunities, but they’re often unable to fully capitalize on those opportunities. Here’s an example: Blockbuster had multiple chances to buy Netflix, but declined each time because the board thought Blockbuster should focus on retail. Why do companies fall into this trap? Because we have farming instincts that make us complacent and repetitive. In order to successfully adapt, we need to tap into our hunting instincts and (1) dedicate resources to opportunities that might fail, (2) constantly search for new opportunities, and (3) seize those opportunities.

2. Emotions matter. The whole conference was abuzz about emotions. It’s important to fully appreciate just how much influence they have over our daily decisions. People do not think emotions. They feel them, and, amazingly, emotions are universal—they’re hardwired into each of us, regardless of culture, age, gender, etc. This makes understanding emotions critical to fully understanding your customers’ experience. It’s that understanding that allows brands to implement strategies that will spark more of the right emotions and fewer of the wrong ones. Make sure you check out our latest webinar on our decision-focused approach to emotional measurement!

3. Sear your brand into long term memory. How can a brand sear themselves into consumers’ long-term memories? Samantha Moore and Ralph Blessing from Ameritest suggested that brands have to tap into all three long-term memory banks: the procedural (do), the semantic (think), and the episodic (feel). As an example, they showed us a photo of two chairs on a beach and asked us what brand was being represented. The whole room simultaneously answered “Corona.” This is a brand that has successfully tapped into all three of those memory banks. There is a ritual associated with Corona (adding the lime), which taps into the procedural. When we think of Corona, we associate it with the beach, which taps into the semantic and makes us feel relaxed, which taps into the episodic.

4. Presentations should be clear, insightful, and beautiful. When you’re creating a presentation do you: include any and every data point you can on a slide? repeat the same stat over and over? rival a novel with the amount of text you have on any given slide? keep your audience guessing with unnecessary chart builds? These are the most common traps market researchers fall into when creating a presentation, according to Kory Grushka from Work Design Group and Andrea Blingen from PepsiCo. How can you avoid falling into these traps? Keep in mind that color should be used strategically, simplicity is often best, and consistency keeps the focus on the story you’re telling. Each presentation can be evaluated by asking yourself these three questions: is it clear? is it insightful? is it beautiful?

If you were at the conference and have anything to add, please feel free to share your insights below!

Kirsten Clark is a Marketing Associate at CMB. This was her first trip west of Texas, and it ultimately resulted in her first sunburn of the season. 

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Topics: emotional measurement, conference recap, brand health and positioning