Working creatively in marketing is not a hidebound activity. Inspiration came come from a variety of sources.
But the process that leads to the creative aspects of marketing is important, R.P. Kumar, executive vice president and global director of strategic planning, insights and research at Ketchum Global Research and Analytics, told a group of Fordham University graduate marketing students recently. Following that process, he said, provides the foundation for creative thought.
Kumar and Chris Albert, senior vice president of digital analytics at Ketchum, visited the Fordham students to discuss the value of research in marketing and the insights that come from a rigorous process of gathering information.
The research process can be summed up in the acronym RISC, Albert said. Research leads to insights, which leads to strategy, which leads to the creative end of the project. Analytics are a vital component, too—indispensable in marketing today, the speakers said.
“You don’t need to become analysts, but you need to be very sophisticated users of analytics,” Kumar said.
The two executives took the graduate students through two cases: a riding lawnmower company and Midori liqueur. In each, deep-dive analytics yielded a trove of valuable information that helped with the eventual rebranding of both companies.
Albert discussed how in-depth interviews with people, preferably in their homes, can get to the root of their beliefs and habits.
In the case of Midori, what Ketchum found was that the times that people drink the liqueur and the reasons they consume it were at odds with the way the drink was being advertised. The drink, they found, was often consumed during “pre-gaming,” or gathering for drinks before going out to clubs. The drink was rebranded to reflect that, and sales began to increase, Albert said.
With the lawnmower company, analytics were used to help create an emotional link to the product, discovering why people spend time mowing a lawn: pride in the newness they have created.
“When you go into the marketplace and you look at these riding lawnmowers and no one has really created a strong emotional connection, it gives us a right to actually define that … and own the marketplace,” Kumar said.
The process, Kumar said, consisted of gathering information from a variety of sources, including internal and external data and external interviews, which helped to present a clearer picture of the company’s position and potential branding. But all of the work followed a basic framework that could be adapted as dictated by research findings.
“If your concepts are clear,” Kumar said, “then you can modify the process so that you can deliver good quality work.”