Driving consumer insight into an organization has always been a mix of good science and good storytelling. The balance is shifting towards attention-getting storytelling, and we consumer insight professionals can learn some things about grabbing eyeballs and memorable storytelling, from even unexpected places.
1) If the mention of TMZ was an important reason you clicked, you have lesson 1. Consumer Insights need to titillate a little, even at the expense of intellectual rigor, in order to get attention. Maybe not everyone likes they are drawn to TMZ, but many are.
2) Publish your story in the unique benefits to and failings of the high and mighty. People definitely remember this, and perhaps they learn from it.
3) Be there. The insatiable appetite of TMZ’s editorial staff to expose ‘insight’ and the army of paparazzi who are always there and watching to support that editorial interest are what make the eyeballs happen.
4) Tell it in pictures. Words and table and bar charts are a fading language.
5) Self promote. Never has research been more about marketing and advertising (itself).
6) You gotta break some eggs to make an omelet. If you stick your neck out far enough to ever be noticeable, you’re bound to be wrong and to look silly sometimes. The risk aversion bred by science is counter to being memorable.
This is a provocation. Sure, it would be better to make a metaphor from Walter Cronkite or Charlie Rose, but they are a special set that can’t be duplicated so easily.