Bringing Sexy Back to Research
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Bringing Sexy Back to Research

November 16, 2016

Ashish Verma

A brand specialist’s take on how research can be a creative tool in building powerful brands.

Winning two MarCom awards for Brand Design and Brand Guidelines felt like a first. When was the last time you heard about an insights consultancy winning a creative and marketing award?

I made the leap from agency creative to the world of research with trepidation.  After all, I was going over to what my creative colleagues and I considered to be the dark side.  We imagined rows of number-crunching suits, churning out reams of data – the antithesis of creativity.  Research was where great ideas got reduced to the lowest common denominator, or worse, where they went to die.

Great research, especially as it pertains to building brands and relationships, is all about getting to the emotions, motivations, and needs that govern the way people think and behave.

But I came to discover that creative research isn’t an oxymoron, and that research can in fact be the catalyst for big, transformational ideas. Great research, especially as it pertains to building brands and relationships, is all about getting to the emotions, motivations, and needs that govern the way people think and behave.  When research is put to use in the right way, it’s powerful and inspiring.  The outcome isn’t reductive – the one thing that generally appeals to all.  Instead, it’s additive – every outcome gives you smarter, deeper insights that help build brands and shape creative expressions that are artful, nuanced and yes, even sexy.

Creativity isn’t about your brand just looking cool – it’s about your brand being smart, incisive, and rooted in core human insight.

That’s been the focus of Kelton’s Brand Development & Innovation team.  Over the last few years, we’ve built a creative and research collective that’s focused on weaving design and concept development intricately with a host of research methods, including semiotics, co-creation forums, et­­hnographic interviews, digital SmartCommunities, quantitative studies, and more.  We choose the right tools for the right challenges.  We pursue an “ideas-led” approach that results in excavating powerful articulations of brands that resonate with human values, and are poised to achieve the business vision. We’re a long way from being rows of suits.

So when we recently won two MarCom awards (a Platinum award for Brand Magazine Design and a Gold for Brand Guidelines), we felt validated.  The mission of MarCom is to “honor excellence and recognize the creativity, hard work and generosity of marketing and communication professionals.”  It’s evidence that our work leveraging insights to inspire and create excellence is paying off.  Creativity isn’t about your brand just looking cool – it’s about your brand being smart, incisive, and rooted in core human insight.  That’s what takes it to the next level, and makes it sexy.

Ashish Verma

Partner, Brand Development & Innovation

As head of Kelton’s New York office and Brand Development team, Ashish helps clients integrate business and marketing strategy with creative storytelling and design. He is passionate about using...

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