Creating inspiring brands.

Guided by intuition not by focus groups

As I was trying to walk through a daunting amount of snow, I felt gratitude towards the person who walked before me. My feet snugly fit into his huge footprints. I realized that this was the only time I liked walking in someone else’s footprints.

You could be wondering, where I am going with this, well I thought about the brands that followed no one and led the way through cluttered markets and amidst demanding consumers.

Many times visionary CEO’s were tempted to test their intuition, knowledge or experience by testing it on focus groups. Many imaginative ideas and concepts fell through because of focus groups. In the years of working in advertising and branding, I have heard creatives being frustrated by the findings of focus groups. I wish CEO’s listened to their intuitive inner voice more often than to the focus groups reports.

As Steve Jobs said, don’t be a slave to focus groups. When one of his co-workers asked whether they should do some market research, Jobs replied, “No, because customers don’t know what they want until we’ve shown them.” Jobs relied on Henry Ford’s reasoning that said, “If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, ‘A faster horse!’”

If you need extra reassurance and are not sure what your next step is, listen to your intuition, if that intuition is not telling you much, be present at that focus group so you hear the questions, the replies and the way the moderator is moderating the whole thing. Never rely on the interpretation alone.

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