Research Executive, Amelia, reflects on the 2017 Digital Entrepreneurial Awards and how brands should use research to ensure they get it right every time.
Recently Mustard were nominated for a Digital Entrepreneurial Award, and as a newbie to the working world I was very excited to attend my first professional awards ceremony. Unfortunately I and the rest of the Mustard team were left disappointed, not by the fact we didn’t win, but by the outdated and sexist nature of the ceremony.
From the corseted dancers to the inappropriate and racially insensitive nature of the jokes made by the host, the event became increasingly more frustrating to observe and as a young woman working in an industry where gender inequality is still an issue at a senior level and at larger firms, incidents like this can be discouraging. However I will remain positive about the future of women working in research and technology, as the response from those at the ceremony and from my own colleagues, both female and male, represents just how many people are appalled by this kind of causal sexism. Winners from the University of Bradford and Lab have returned their awards, and the feedback from other guests on social media echoed our opinions.
Despite this reassurance, it is clear that there is still a long way to go in representing these opinions on a wider scale. Earlier this year, a study commissioned by Marketing Week found 42% of marketers ‘believe the brands they work for are failing to reflect contemporary society in their marketing and advertising.’ and the recent Digital Entrepreneurial Awards ceremony certainly did not represent its audience. But how do we improve this in the future? One answer, of course, is good market research.
Gaining a true insight into the minds of the relevant audience is a key factor in producing a successful campaign, product, service, or even event. By shaping a product around the audience it is intended for, risks are greatly minimised. Just look at this year’s controversial Pepsi adstarring Kendall Jenner. Created in-house with no external consultation, the ad was subsequently widely criticised for its ignorance and misunderstanding of social issues. Had proper research been conducted, the ad may never have been created, never mind scorned across social media for its tone-deafness. Taking this example into account, the benefits of conducting thorough market research are obvious, and will help to prevent incidents like the DEA.
As the saying goes, the customer (research) is always right.