It has been a few years since we last presented a paper at an ESOMAR conference, so it is with a sense of some anticipation that I look forward to attending the Qualitative Conference for 2014 in Venice this year as a delegate. Despite some 30 years as a researcher I have always loved the fact that our discipline is constantly evolving and shifting – occasionally we are even ahead of developments in more general marketing – so for me what keeps our approach fresh at The Buzzz is the continual evolution in new thinking. For me ESOMAR has always been a driving force behind such evolution and therefore I am genuinely excited about what might be in store in Venice.
One of the core themes at the conference is the role of emotions and their influence on consumer decision making and brand engagement and I love the fact that for such a topic we are in what is the most overtly romantic and sentimental setting in Europe. Sadly Mrs B has had to pull out of accompanying me to look after our new addition to the household – Molly the 10 week old puppy – so for me it will be a case of ‘Gondola for 1’.
I am sure the papers being presented will be fascinating, the dialogue illuminating and the setting perfect – if it isn’t I will report back via this blog next week. However I am motivated to share my enthusiasm this year because at The Buzzz we believe strongly in the power of emotions to provide a deeper and more valuable level of insight – we believe it is a new frontier in consumer research because it flies somewhat in the face of Big Data and the dizzying speed for turning round projects that have dominated thinking over the last 2-3 years. To truly understand emotions you have to slow down, be more deliberative and fully engage with clients and consumers – think about it when was the last time you came across ‘speed meditation’?
Similarly as we view this years clutch of emotionally driven big budget TV ads to put us in the mood for Christmas (as if we should need that) it is a further indication that emotions can be manufactured too; but they don’t last as long nor are they as powerful, as those genuine emotions which well up naturally in everyone without such melodramatic prompting. (Just think about the silent but hugely powerful and spontaneous display of humility and gratitude shown at the Tower of London and across the UK on Tuesday 11th November 2014.)
So Christmas and the increasingly protracted run up to the festive season is emotionally rich and special every year, perhaps armed with new understanding from next weeks conference I will be able to understand and observe with greater deliberation this year.

Gondola for 1?