I am a big David Brooks fan. Not politically, he’s conservative, but I love his insights and candor. That said, he is often doing analysis in a TV studio or writing his Op-Ed column using a Washington D.C. dateline. Today, he’s reporting from the Khyber Pass. Big huevos, if you ask me.
Getting out of the building to “feel” the people you are studying is imperative when it comes to creating stories, arguments and selling schemes. Primary and secondary research are important, but studying real humans and their behavior frees the mind.
Social media is a great new account planning tool. People who are active “posters” in social media – posters are content creators, unlike their cousin “pasters,” who retweet and paste copy – are a great resource for strategic planners. By nature, posters are communicators and thoughtful opinion sharers. (When studying the nutrition drink category, especially the post-surgery bariatric patient segment, YouTube provided me the big insight for my branding brief.) Social media posters are a much more fertile source of insights than focus group junkies following the lead of a moderator.
Mining social media for insights is a wonderful new twist in account planning; it arms planners when they do leave the building (and go into the Khyber pass) with some serious ammo. Peace!