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Evoking Emotion Through Scrappy Strategic Research

Truth Collective Truth CollectiveSeason 1Episode 7Dec 17, 2019

Evoking Emotion Through Scrappy Strategic Research4A's

Introduction: The 4A’s is dedicated to supporting agencies and creative companies through leadership and community for our industry. We’re passionate supporters of the work small agencies do across America, and the role of the Small Agency Planner Parley in helping strategists get fueled on creativity, commerce, and culture, all moving strategy in the industry forward.

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Welcome to Planner Parley, a show where we come together under a flag of truce to talk about small agency planning. In this week’s episode, our panel breaks down the state of scrappy agency research. They examine what makes us tick, where and when to find boundaries, and how to get at the emotion in all of us. Join our guests, Brent Snider, chief revenue officer from Maru/Matchbox in New York City, Gunny Scarfo, co-founder of Nonfiction Research in Brooklyn, and of course, John Roberts, CSO of Truth Collective in Rochester, New York, as they strike the balance of rigor and agility in agency research.

Pull up a chair and listen in.

John Roberts: So, we’re here to talk about research and how we believe it matters today, and also frankly, tomorrow. Thinking about balancing, as I see it, the rigor that we all demand from research, but also the scrappiness that I think is percolating more and more in today’s world. So when we think about the world of research, what just happened? What’s changed for you in the past year? Gunny, let’s start with you.

Gunny Scarfo: Sure. I think the one indisputable truth about what’s happening with research is that timelines are getting shorter, and technology is starting to get better, and then the second thing is that there’s an appetite among agencies, brands, companies in general for not just research, but for insights that actually feel like they correspond to something in the real world. Everyone’s inundated with research, but a lot of times, people don’t feel like the research that they’re reading necessarily represents the lifeblood of the human beings who are making these buying decisions.

John Roberts: Powerful start. I want to come back to that point about the lifeblood in a minute, but Brent, I just heard that technology is on the rise, and time is on the decrease. That’s got to be good for someone like yourself at Maru.

Brent Snider: Absolutely, John. The pace of change, I think, in the industry…A lot of people were saying, is growing basically every single year. What I would say at this point, it’s every month. And everyone I think is really trying to just stay ahead of it. And those who embrace it and stay future-focused, I feel very strongly will succeed. And we know a lot about sort of the human decision making process, and what makes us tick. We know a lot that we’re not rational creatures anymore. We’re very emotional. And therefore, to Gunny’s point, trying to understand the context, trying to understand how people feel and build that into methods, essentially start to close the gap between doing research and the reality of what the research is going to help drive from a business result standpoint. So from that perspective, deeper insights will lead to better decisions at the end of the day, in my opinion.

John Roberts: That sounds great, guys. And music to my ears. I always talk about, Brent, some of the conversations we’ve had in the past about we know as a company at Truth that the work we do is really driven by when we make people feel something, they do something. So let’s talk more about that system, one, power of emotion, and Gunny, does that connect back for you in terms of what you were talking earlier about, the research that feels real and the lifeblood you were talking about?

Gunny Scarfo: It does. For us, the single most provocative thing in creative is feeling the uncensored human truth of people’s everyday lives. When you see a brand that seems to actually get not just the stock photo version of who you are, but the sort of like real, dirty, gritty reality of who you are, your hopes, your dreams, the things you don’t talk to your friends about. That, to us, feels like the most important thing that we can mine when it comes to hunting insights, but it also feels like the kind of thing that gives birth to the kind of creative that people really remember.

John Roberts: So has it been lacking? When we think about why we’re here and what we’re talking about today, do you feel as though that notion about getting really deep into genuine human feeling has been lacking?

Gunny Scarfo: I would argue that emotion has always been un-cool in business. There’s something about the way that corporate culture defines itself as being hyper-rational, hyper-masculine, frankly, and that’s not how people work. Brent was speaking earlier about the importance of being able to access system one, and some of the work that we’ve done, like it’s pushed us to have to be more emotional. We wrote a study on intimacy in America, the extent to which Americans, behind closed doors, actually have people who see them as they are, and that they have a real, genuine relationship with, where they don’t have to perform, like you might have to do on Instagram.

Gunny Scarfo: And in order to get at that, we spent time talking, not just with people to get them to open up, but we spent time with therapists, and some of the best insights that we actually heard were from the time that we spent with both male and female escorts. Now, that might sound unusual, but the question that we started with was, “Who would know more about the private, emotional lives and the ability to connect with others than someone that you literally pay to spend time with you and to give you that experience?” And so both the male and female escorts that we talked with gave us a look at emotional lives that are not normally the sort of thing that you would talk about in a conference room at work. But those are the insights that really need to go into the work that we’re producing.

John Roberts: That’s fascinating. Can you share something that you learned and how did you present it in a client boardroom?

Gunny Scarfo: Yes. Well, we’re fearless about client boardrooms. Like that part’s easy. We just stay true, which is one of the reasons why we’ve always related to your own edict about truth. But one of the most fascinating things that we heard when we were speaking with the one female escort, she described the experience of being with a client as, “Seeing the hole in someone else’s soul, and being able to fill it by receiving them,” and like listening to who they really are. And all of the escorts described how that is an experience that people are not getting elsewhere. Like even among their friends, that with an escort, you are able to truly be yourself.

Gunny Scarfo: And like, wow, what a deeply like heart-rending realization that is. And then the last piece I will give you, because it’s somewhat more amusing than the heartbreak I just delivered, is that when we were speaking to one of the male escorts, we asked him, “What percentage of the time that you spend with your clients is sexual?” And he responded, “5%.” And we said, “What’s the other 95%?” And he described for us that most of the time that he spends with his clients is watching Netflix, cuddling under a blanket, changing light bulbs, fixing a woman’s computer, and in one extreme case, actually like talking to their kids to try to encourage them about college.

Gunny Scarfo: The point of saying all of this is that all of these things are going on in America and going on in people’s lives, and even people who aren’t spending their evenings with escorts are still experiencing this emotional desert of not being able to connect with others oftentimes. But this is uncomfortable to talk about, but it’s important if you’re a company trying to relate to people, at least for certain companies, trying to relate to people emotionally. This is what reality looks like, and so for us, these are the kinds of insights that can really come out of research, if you’re willing to go to places that others aren’t willing to go.

John Roberts: Love it. Love it. We talked, all of us have mentioned, talked about a little bit about System One. Brent, why don’t you do the 30-second version because you’re an expert, and just what is System One? And then talk a little bit about, from your perspective, from a technology platform perspective, how can you deliver on that?

Brent Snider: Basically, from a System One side of things, you know, the whole System One, System Two is obviously Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow. We always thought we had sort of 50% of the left brain, 50% of the right brain, the creative and the thinking bit, but in reality, we make about 95% of our decisions a day using our System One, sort of reptilian brain. And therefore, when you think about research and the techniques that have been used over the years, what you essentially find is that we’re just getting people to overthink and over-rationalize. So if you try and sync up with how we make decisions, it’s really that we feel something, and then we behave. So we do something based on that feeling, and then we think about it.

Brent Snider: And most of the time, we essentially post-rationalize. So give us all the reasons, and everyone else, as to why we did what we did. If you follow that model from a methodology standpoint, you actually get to reality. You know, what is truly going to happen? And when you look at advertising, do you have that, “You had me at hello”? Does it drive an immediate emotional impact, and how do you look at it from an emotional journey standpoint? How do you play with the peaks and troughs of an emotional piece of communication that’s very story-like?

Brent Snider: And I would say, from our side, what we’re doing at Matchbox is we’ve just recently launched something called Brand Emotion, which is not simply asking people what they feel about something, but using semiotics. We have about 9000 photographs that we do, and mostly like a game-ification. We show brands. We show pieces of communication. We show logos and distinctive assets. And we simply want people to do, from a quantitative side, in terms of the rigor behind it, is just build a collage using these pictures.

Brent Snider: And what it’s grounded in is actually some work done years ago with autistic children, because visuals are so powerful. And what we’re doing is taking all of these collages from a quantitative standpoint, and we’re creating brand signatures. So we’re tapping into the subconscious from a quantitative standpoint. So having the rigor and confidence behind the results, and what it’s allowing us to do is really tell our clients and partner with our clients around what is going to be their emotional signature currently, but we also ask from a projective technique from consumers of what the ideal is. So you understand the boundaries of where you could push a piece of communication, even a brand that’s starting to rethink who they are and how they’re going to take themselves to the next level.

Brent Snider: And we’re also using it for white space opportunities, looking at the competitive context. But using semiotics is a completely different way than we have, even more recently, with the rise in System One.

John Roberts: So I’ve got two guests who are both lighting up the world by doing very, very different approaches to get to something that, Gunny said at the beginning, that clients we know care about deeply. Okay? Ambitious clients, really genuine, rich insight into the real world. What about the clients that don’t appreciate this? I’ve found I’ve got plenty of clients that I think about this as past experience where clients want to use research to minimize risk. And I think what you guys are talking about is about using research to maximize opportunities. Is that fair? What about the clients that want to minimize risk? How do you overcome those challenges? Gunny.

Gunny Scarfo: So-

John Roberts: Do they even hire you, Gunny?

Gunny Scarfo: Yeah, no. They don’t. They don’t. But I’ll tell you, which gives us somewhat of a unique perspective, I guess. I think there are a few things that we sniff out really quickly in early conversations with a potential client, and we definitely turn down more work than we take, not because we’re so in demand, but simply because we are a great tool for a small number of projects, and we like to avoid messy situations like the plague. So we really just stick to like projects where we know we’re good. But one of the things that we see is it’s less about risk, maybe, and more that there’s actually a fair amount of research out there that gets commissioned, where the entity commissioning the research does not really care about the results.

Gunny Scarfo: And so usually, like when we work with Disney or we work with BlackRock, all of the questions that we get are about how do you know that this is right? That’s the kind of question that we want. Right? Because that shows they care that the insights we’re bringing back are correct and actionable and they can bet $150 million on these insights. Whereas, there are in other times the questions that we get are like, “How quick can you get us something at all, just so we can get started?” That tends to be a red flag for us, for our style. Not for all research companies, but that, to us, is like a, “Maybe this one isn’t for Nonfiction,” kind of situation.

John Roberts: Super. How about you, Brent?

Brent Snider: Well, what I’ve experienced in the past in terms of eliminating risk or limiting risk is it’s okay to say no, at the end of the day. I think I’m actually valued a lot more when I say, “You know, what we offer is not something I think you need right now.” In my opinion. So in the past, it’s always been if they’ve come to us and wanting to limit that risk, and that’s all they’re wanting to do, then our solutions really aren’t a good fit. There are other companies out there that can help them with that. And other sort of quick-turn things like Gunny was talking about. We can deliver on the quick-turn, but it’s also adding in, identifying things that are truly going to drive business results and get deeper insight.

Brent Snider: Because when you have deeper insight, you’re really able to do some really special things, and you’re really able to push the brand. And I feel like that’s a reason why a lot of brands haven’t really grown much in the years, is that it’s that sort of cover your butt type mentality, and I think being bold, pushing outside of the comfort zone can really help elevate the work that we do, as well as the end benefit, which is to really get back to brand growth at the end of the day.

John Roberts: We’ve all three talked about what passion we have around the world of insight to create distinctive, meaningful, emotional connection with a brand. How do you see, from what you know of each other, what’s the connective thread between Gunny, the approach from Nonfiction, and Maru, and what are the differences?

Gunny Scarfo: I see one very big commonality that I think represents the future of research, and one difference as well. The common thread is that you’re hearing both of us talk about emotion. And John, earlier in this conversation, you talked about the importance of making somebody feel something in order to get them to act. To me, that is a huge amount of common ground between Brent’s company and what Ben and I are doing at Nonfiction because the more you learn about how human beings work, the more you realize that what Brent was saying earlier, that it’s emotion and unconscious things that actually drive the kinds of behavior. And so that’s a huge commonality.

Gunny Scarfo: We come at it different ways, but I would like to believe that that is the future, that the sort of hyper-rational survey approach to things, or even a rational approach of asking straightforward questions in a focus group, I would hope that that would lessen in future years, and things turn more toward emotion.

Gunny Scarfo: I think the one difference between us is that in the trend that I talked about earlier, in terms of a demand for speed…While we do have different speeds of turnaround from two weeks to four months, that’s actually sort of a trend that we reject, in a way. We are willing to miss out on that business where people need quality insights in a short amount of time. We’re just not built to move fast like that, where I actually think Brent is built to move fast and get quality things in a shorter amount of time. It’s just, it’s the luxury of having the technology, so when possible, we try to use those kinds of tools to accelerate ourselves. But I would love to hear Brent’s take on this, as well.

Brent Snider: Yeah, I think emotion is clearly the word that is the commonality between the two. And I think the approach is slightly different, but the end result is something a bit more richer, a bit more deeper, than what we typically see in other pieces of research that are out there in the industry. And I think the role of emotion and the word emotion has been thrown a lot around the industry. And you know, just slapping a piece of, a question saying, “How do you feel?” And having some words that are associated with that is one way of getting at emotion, but it isn’t true emotion. And I think Gunny and his company, the context in which he goes outside and sort of takes the blinders off and asks questions and goes to prisons and everything else to really deeply understand people at the end of the day.

Brent Snider: But it’s emotion, and it’s getting at the heart of what drives them as a human being, and then pulling the insights out of that from a much deeper standpoint. I think the difference is, I would agree, from a technology…We are a technology-based company at Maru/Matchbox, and therefore, the speed in which we can turn things around happens a lot more quickly for us, and we’re not giving up on that rigor. We’re not giving up on things around emotion. I think the other sort of difference from that perspective would be, like I said, just the context in which we ask different questions, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. I think the way that we ask questions and the way that you put people in that context, you can get a slightly different response.

Brent Snider: And I experienced that over the years, as well, is how you ask the question or the environment in which you ask that question, could actually give you and open up a new insight, as well. So from that context, I think that is another difference between the two, but it’s not necessarily a bad difference.

John Roberts: I’m not getting any research smack-down, guys, whatsoever. We’ve got to juice this up some.

Gunny Scarfo: Brent and I are actually facing off in the UFC octagon in a couple weeks, so we’re trying to keep it civil here in our research lives.

John Roberts: You’ll be drinking tea and charming each other to death. So what frustrates you when you look at the world of research that you guys live in and thrive in today? Brent.

Brent Snider: What frustrates me? That’s a very good question. I think what frustrates me sort of the most is I get asked a lot by clients actually around, what’s the number one thing that you do? And I really struggle with that question because even asking it to any other human being is like, “What is your number one quality?” And I like to say that we, as Maru/Matchbox, like insight community is the number one thing that we do, but I struggle and I wonder if it’s just the proliferation of start-ups that are going after the behavioral sciences, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing because they’re really pushing the envelope as it relates to semiotics and other types of psychology-based methods.

Brent Snider: But I really think it’s, for us, a company like us and some companies that are similar to us, I’m all about making programs, partnering with my clients, putting together solutions that deliver on their business needs. And that, when I get asked that question, I sort of raise an eyebrow, but at the same time, I understand it, from the client perspective because they’re utilizing multiple different solutions, but it’s making it more difficult for them because they have to piece all those different things that they’re doing together into a more holistic story that they have to make decisions on.

Brent Snider: So I would say that’s one sort of frustration that I’m seeing in the industry is that, is it because there’s too many options, and the consumer packaged good world. Anyone coming to the US would say, “There’s too many options! What do I choose?” And then it starts to make the water a bit murky at the end of the day.

John Roberts: How do you feel about that, Gunny?

Gunny Scarfo: I actually agree 100%. Sorry, you’re not getting the smackdown. But I’ve got to say, we always talk about clients or potential clients will ask us, “Oh, you’ve gone into prisons. You’ve spent time with bank robbers to understand finance. What’s the magic technique that you’re going to apply to our business of selling laundry detergent?” Or whatever it might be. And we just don’t think in technique. We always, we insist on starting with a question, with a well-worded question. We call it the burning question, which is something that the client admits that they don’t know, and were they to know it, it would have a profound effect on their business.

Gunny Scarfo: And so when we get incoming stuff that says, “Would you run a focus group?” Or, “Hey, we’re interested in having you propose something for our business. What kind of techniques might you apply?” Or like how would you approach this? We never answer it before we’re able to settle on a reasonable question, and if we can’t settle on a reasonable question, we know that it’s going to be a morass, and we avoid it. But it’s the exact same thing that Brent is talking about. What’s frustrating is an emphasis on technique and process of research, rather than looking inside your soul and knowing what you need to figure out for your business, and then starting from there. So I’m actually surprised, but it’s exactly the same.

John Roberts: I love that, Gunny. In fact, I might even steal it because I think it’s such a fantastic way to cut through everything and get really honest and truthful about why we’re here. What’s the burning question that we don’t know the answer to, but we believe would have a profound effect on the business.

Brent Snider: Very nice.

Gunny Scarfo: It’s totally it. It’s just it gives you a focus that is impossible otherwise.

John Roberts: So when we think about the role of our podcast and parleys is, you know, we’ve chatted about bringing together all strategists, but particularly small agency strategists, so how can we learn and live together. How can you, both of you, how could you thrive with small agencies more? Brent.

Brent Snider: Yeah, I think big or small, it doesn’t really make a difference. Small agencies, similar to Matchbox, is we’re trying to build fame for our businesses, but also build fame for our clients, at the end of the day. When I talk about fame, it’s saliency and bringing in more people at the end of the day. And you do that very emotionally, so the approach that we take with smaller agencies versus larger agencies, in my mind, I see the same approach working for both. It’s just one is significantly larger than the other.

Brent Snider: The other thing with smaller agencies is a bit more nimble. You’re fighting a little bit more for that business. You tend to have a very unique approach, where much larger agencies have a tendency to not be able to move as quickly and change at the end of the day. I love working with Truth. John, you know this, because you’re doing the work that I am very passionate about. As a researcher, as a business developer, these are the things that I want to do, and you want to sync up with other like-minded people.

Brent Snider: And there’s a lot of that happening at the larger agencies, too, but I think from our side, the speed in which we can get things back and the rigor and the confidence from the emotional side is hugely helpful. When you’re going in, you’re pitching new business, or pitching new creative work or even positioning work to your clients as you grow your business. We grow our businesses together because we both succeed at the end of the day.

John Roberts: Thank you, Brent. And you know, work gets so much less like work when you’re working with people that think alike, right? That all passionately believe in a similar thing, so cheers to that. How about you, Gunny? Are you actually working much with small agencies, or do you find yourself working directly more with clients?

Gunny Scarfo: It goes a little bit of both, but I think that every small agency has faced two challenges in trying to win business and in trying to succeed in servicing business. The first is that if you’re competing against other agencies of your size or even within your geography, like the differentiation aspect can be tough because a lot of the times, big agencies come in and say, “We have a global network of over 600 million offices in every city on earth.” And we’ve worked on all of these famous campaigns that are part of the American fabric.

Gunny Scarfo: But as a small agency, you’re usually trying to sell your ability to be a better partner or to move quicker and that sort of thing. I feel like sometimes it all collides into each other, and then the other, the second thing that I was mentioning is that when small agencies are competing against bigger agencies, that time where you know that you are the small agency…You don’t know, but you intuit that the other agencies you’re competing against are the normal list of A-list agencies. That’s a challenge, too, because in order for the small agency to win that business, you have to come with a perspective that is so different. You are not going to win on, even if your creative is better, it’s harder to win on that sort of thing.

Gunny Scarfo: I believe that small agencies win those bigger pieces of business through a radically different perspective on the customer or on the product or on culture. So the answer to both of those challenges for small businesses, both differentiation against other small agencies and the ability to overcome large agencies, are radical insights. So for us, I feel like we are a perfect partner for small agencies, and I’m always cheering for small agencies, because in a relatively short amount of time, we can help that small agency find an angle, find a perspective on the customer that is true but unusual. And that is the common thread between how small agencies succeed in both of those cases.

John Roberts: Awesome. I’ve found from personal experience, and Brent, you know this as well from years in the past. I’ve found one of the ways, one of the best ways for me of overcoming the tired tradition within some client expectation of the old ways of research, the minimizing risk that we talked about earlier, is I don’t tell them until we have a really smart plan in place working with someone like yourself, Gunny, or you, Brent. And then we use that to share with the client about why we should be doing something that radical difference you were talking about, Gunny.

John Roberts: Not just in terms of the outcome, but how we’re going to find something, that much insight. Do you have any other tips for any other small agencies out there about the best ways for them to bring in someone like yourself, Brent?

Brent Snider: From a smaller agency side of thing, the unusual part that Gunny mentions, and I agree with it…What ends up happening also is that, if it’s a sort of new take on something familiar is one thing that I’ve seen a lot of agencies, and John, and your agency specifically, have done, is taken something that the general population or whoever you’re going after from a targeting standpoint, finds familiar, but you spin it or talk about it in a slightly different way. So it’s sort of that pausing moment where this looks familiar, but there’s something special about it.

Brent Snider: And that, from a surprise factor, can actually work quite well because you’re not going to the opposite spectrum where it’s so different from what’s out there in counter-culture that people may reject it at the end of the day. So as human beings, we really thrive on things that are vastly familiar, but a bit different. To kind of put your head to the side and say, “Wow. I haven’t seen it articulated in that particular way.” And that is something, from an emotional side of things, that get people to kind of think differently as well as look at individual brands and even categories in a slightly different way.

Brent Snider: And that definitely leads to behavior change. And that, from itself, from a smaller agency side, is that if you can bring that to the table, there’s a lot of things, from a rational side of things, that clients will start to ignore. So when you’re going up against larger agencies, if it’s really great, and it hits you, as Gunny said, seeing into your soul. That’s the type of work that, we’re all human beings at the end of the day. And if it makes you feel something, it’s going to make a lot of other people feel something, too.

John Roberts: I’m smiling because all of this conversation we’ve had about feel something, do something, applies to our own lives and our client relationships. If we can get our clients to actually feel that this is absolutely worth doing, then the post-rationalizing of, “Will it minimize the risk? Do I know it’s the right thing to do?” That all comes secondary.

John Roberts: Gunny, I want to come back to something you were saying earlier, and you talked earlier about clients asking, “How will we know if this is right?” When you think about the role of the provocative research that both of you offer to reach to genuine human insight. Can quant alone do that?

Gunny Scarfo: I won’t say it can’t, but why would you ever do one without the other if you could? Like if you had the choice. You don’t always have the luxury of time or budget, but as someone who does half and half of both, I can tell you that pure qual without going out and sizing it in some way or segmenting it would make me very nervous to make recommendations to clients if they are going to open up a new line of business or bet the year 2020 of their campaign on something. And likewise, we find that with quant that could have been performed better, it didn’t go wrong because the methodology was wrong. Most people get the methodology right. It went wrong because you didn’t ask the right questions.

Gunny Scarfo: You could’ve offered better, either asked different questions, better questions, or even asked the same questions, but given different selections as potential answers. And the best way to better know what kind of questions could produce breakthrough statistic-you’ll-never-forget quant is to do some kind of qual in advance. It just makes your questions better. So for us, we love the two of them together.

John Roberts: But Brent, how about you, from your perspective, because you’ve got an interesting take on this.

Brent Snider: I think it can. I think quant can. And at the end of the day, you’re trying to get to emotion at scale. And from a qualitative side of things, qualitative adds a bit of depth to what you’re looking at, so whether…Sometimes clients will say, “We want to do some qual first and then we’ll do some quant.” You know, qual doesn’t necessarily have to be at the beginning. It’s where does it belong in the process and the program to help deliver on that need at the end of the day.

Brent Snider: So from a quantitative standpoint, I do believe it can. I agree with Gunny actually around the types of questions that we ask. As human beings, we hate answering scaled questions, but we continue to do it over and over again. We’re more around sort of binary scales and using things like projective techniques, where we’re asking people not what they personally feel, but what do they feel the market, how do they feel the market would react? And that’s a difference in the way that you’re asking questions. And the reason being is that we’re very observant as human beings. It’s how we grow. It’s how we learn. From very early child through to adulthood. It’s observing the behaviors around us.

Brent Snider: We’re taking in so much, and therefore, we’re actually better at predicting what other people do than ourselves. It’s not that we’re lying. We just tend to overstate what we do. So from that context, quant can do that, but I’m a big believer in qual and the power of qual. But it’s not forcing qual on something that doesn’t necessarily need it. So if it’s the right position, it’s the right piece of work, it’s the right business need, absolutely. The power of the two.

John Roberts: Fantastic, guys. And we’re nearly up on time, so listen, I’m thinking one final question for both of you. What would be your one thought of advice for us agency strategists out there that you believe will help make us better at what we do? Gunny.

Gunny Scarfo: I would say that the answer to that is embrace intimacy because it’s very easy these days to concoct your research and insights and strategy off of a quick round of Googling. And it’s unfashionable to say that, but it happens a lot in a lot of agencies where you never really do get past a quick round of desk research and then shoot some things over.

Gunny Scarfo: But actually asking yourself at the outset, the second that you are assigned to a client or assigned to a pitch, “How can I have intimate conversations with, or get intimate insights from, even if it’s not in conversation, using technology, how can I have an intimate dialogue with a person who’s going to be buying this product?” It’s going to lead you into good places.

John Roberts: Love it. Brent.

Brent Snider: Sure. So I have, it’s not one thing. It’s a combination of things in a sentence, which is stay curious. Be emotional. And be distinctive. Because differentiation is not how we view brands, agencies, products that we use. It’s not about being different. It’s about being distinctive. And if you hold true to all of that, you will outpace your competition and also be successful in the future.

John Roberts: Two fantastic closing statements that lighten up, brighten my day. Thank you so much.

John Roberts: I loved the conversation. I love the convergence on understanding and really celebrating the power of emotion, how we understand and learn from it in terms of research. We can come at it from different ways. But it all drives us to both a passion in the work we do as well as better outcomes. So Gunny, thank you. Brent, charmed as ever.

Brent Snider: Thank you, John.

Gunny Scarfo: Thank you both. This is fun.