“If you steal from one author it’s plagiarism; if you steal from many it’s research” (Wilson Mizner).
Embarking upon critical strategic planning? Rebranding? Pitching for a key new business account? ‘You can’t know what you don’t know’, as the saying goes. ‘Known unknowns’ increase decision-making risk but it’s the ‘unknown unknowns’ which can be really bad news.
Whether you’re a consultant, an entrepreneur, an agency or ’the client’, the smart place to start is a step back from primary research. What would you like to know and what can you learn at less cost from information already ‘out there’? Whether you’re about to work in a category you know little about or need assurance that a strategy is on the right track, there are times when a market-category primer (or other desk research) tailored to your specific needs, would be just the ticket.
Of course, anyone can Google. But few people combine PhD research skills with years of branding and advertising agency experience. Precious qualities are brought to the table, including critical appraisal, an eagle eye for potential insights, tenacity, catalogues of proven information sources, an unbiased perspective, and the ability to paint a rich yet coherent picture with what most would consider total information overload.
From hard facts to connecting-the-dots or neat creative insights, high-quality secondary research offers a higher plane of strategic decision-support.