The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Dyslexic Normality …
May 17, 2010, 6:39 am
Filed under: Comment

I’m in Malaysia today running a mental workshop [ie: a weird one, not a workshop for the challenged. Then again …] so I apologise for this post, it was a rush job because SHOCK HORROR PROBE, I didn’t pre-write it.

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit too mnay porbelms.

Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by itslef but the wrod as a wlohe.

OK … OK … so that’s nothing new, but it’s still pretty interesting … however one of the things we’re working on at the moment is how people gather information on a website.

The thing is, the way many sites are laid out is very much from a Western perspective – where all the information is grouped in little blocks – however there are many other cultures that consume information in a much more ‘scattergun’ approach, where their eyes literally take in a bunch of stuff all at once and then interpret it from there … so what this results in is some companies having a much less effective digital strategy than they could have simply because they assumed there was a universal way to consume information.

Many agencies and planners talk about ‘culture’ but what they tend to mean is knowing incredibly general stuff like what a certain country/culture likes to eat or what their favourite activities are … and whilst knowing that sort of stuff has its uses, knowing why people act/think/feel the way they do is far more powerful, beneficial and bloody cultural, so if you want to jump on the culture bandwagon, at least have the decency to know what is expected of you if you want to stay on it.

30 Comments so far
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Great stuff! would love to hear more about your thought on global/cultural planning!

Comment by sunflowerstreet

i dont know who you are sunflowerstreet but for fucks sake are you mad? youve not been here before because youd know hes bored us all to fucking death about planning, culture and stupid pissing calculators and we dont need somebody coming on here and naively encouraging him to write even more fucking shit on the subject.

you might think im being a rude prick but im saving your life.

Comment by andy@cynic

Hi there … thanks for popping by, I’ve just checked out your blog and can now understand why this post may of been of slightly of interest. [Emphasis on the word ‘slightly’, ha]

To save Andy from me writing too much more about my view of cultural planning, there’s a few posts that might be of interest [but probably not] …

… but to be honest, many of them are less about culture and more about just a better understanding of errrrrm, understanding – but it is a subject matter I’m very passionate about [especially given the bollocks being passed off for it these days] so I’m sure there’s various rants in this blog if you look up ‘cultural planning’ in the search box though if I were you I’d save your time and go and do something less boring instead – like reading Clotaire Rapaille’s “The Culture Code”, ha.

Thanks for coming by, I hope you come again.

Comment by Rob

Thanks a lot Rob, I surely will!

Comment by sunflowerstreet

youre killing me. fucking killing me.

Comment by andy@cynic

tihs psot is fckunig siht but not as fckunig siht as the wokrsohp yorue giong to be rnnunig but im not srue if tahts bceuase of you or bceuase of tehm. see, im eevn gvinig you the befnit of the duobt.

bet northern would be fucking excellent at this shit spelling bollocks except hed spell everything right if he was told to fuck it up. northern monkey.

enjoy your holiday campbell. i know youll give the poor bastards a 5 hour exercise so you can fuck off for a kip. good man.

Comment by andy@cynic

Lte’s see, I wlil now try to sepll wrnog

Fuck off andy

bliemy it works

Comment by northern

you know you want me.

Comment by andy@cynic

Your last paragraph hits the nail on the head. “Cultural planning” is now such a buzz term but very few understand what it really means, preferring to quote statistics rather than discover the underlying reasons and implications.

It’s like your pet hate about DM, they talk about getting results but they don’t know why they got those results which is why I still believe in the power of (great) insight even if there appears a trend to devalue it’s value.

And the spelling thing and consumption of information is fantastic though I see more immediate value in the latter than the froemr.

Comment by Pete

You raise a great point Pete … I’m hearing more and more people talk about collaberation being of more value than genuine insight.

The thing is, insight gives focus and clarity and without that, you are swimming in oil. At midnight.

I think the reason some people make this claim is because the standard of insight being put out these days is generally terrible and so when they collaberate, they have the power of many people expressing their views and experiences [or insight] which through discussion and exploration can end up in a better place than what they got from the research company and/or planner.

What that means is collaberation is better than bad insight … but if you genuinely find something amazing … something that ‘reveals all’, then magic happens and allows any or all collaberation to take it to another level, not take it to a totally different direction.

This may come across as being anti-collaberation … far from it, I believe in that wholeheartedly … however I also know without some framework, it can go into areas that are wrong but don’t get addressed because ultimately the people doing it don’t have something to reference it against and as such, can justify anything as being right as long as they are excited by it.

For me the test of a good insight is whether people smile when they hear it … smile with excitement/knowledgement/mischief … if they look at you with a bored face, then it’s either not a good insight, or you haven’t captured it’s inherent power properly.

Anyway enough of that, got to fly. Literally.

Comment by Rob

same applies to you pete. look what youve gone and fucking done.

Comment by andy@cynic

One of the first things you taught me about this gig Rob is that “planning is an outdoor pursuit”. I think the level of insight you gather on any “culture” is directly determined by the level in which you put yourself into it with an open mind.

Comment by Age

Excellent point Age.
The basic premise should be to assume you know nothing rather than everything but in our haste to look like intellectual heavyweights, we often go blindly into situations with both guns blazing and both feet wedged firmly in our mouths.
Despite Andrew’s shouts to the contrary, I think this a good post and the comments about the value of insight is very interesting. I would guess the people questioning the validity of a great insight have either not seen any or are rather bad at getting them.

Comment by George

youve all gone fucking soft.

Comment by andy@cynic

but i do like the arnie version of auntie that seems to be emerging.

wont last, hes too fucking nice. wimp.

Comment by andy@cynic

This also applies to western websites. You’d think nobody had heard of eye-tracking.

Comment by John

nobody who has a fucking life has heard of it.

Comment by andy@cynic

Rob told me about it.

Comment by John

All good, but it’s amazing how much you can get from reading the paper that clever clogs in Soho, Madison Avenue etc don’t bother with.
That said, the why is always more interesting. I had fun recently doing some stuff on biscuits and over 35 women, bascically being teased without mercy at coffee mornings, and ended up discovering masses of stuff tangled up with Loose Women culture and the way gossip is the glue that holds these women together. Didn’t go anywhere, still stuck with a cartoon panda, but it will come in handy at some point.

Comment by northern

Couldn’t agree with you more Northern.

The reality is the rag mags and reality television shows of the World are massively popular and to ignore them – or just regard the people who enjoy them as ‘scum’ – is ridiculous, especially given our job is to know and understand all people, not just the ones who live a similar lifestyle to the bubble so many in agencies now live.

These people aren’t scum, they’re our neighbours and friends and family … though in a lot of cases, they’re also me/us … except most are too smart to admit it.

Unlike me. And Northern. Haha.

Comment by Rob

Robert once brought me copies of all the daily city newspapers for me to read. He said it was to keep me real, whatever that may mean.

I enjoyed this post as much as I look forward to a panda free biscuit future.

Comment by Lee Hill

My car smelt of newspapers for weeks after that!

Comment by Rob

it’s not a question WHAT they eat but case Chinese I was surprised to learn at some point that they suffered through many famines through the course of the history and their approach to NOTHING is left uneaten seems to stem from this historical lesson. I did assume at some point that they were just curious about the world around them and tried to eat anything.

You can then combine it with some other cultural factors (losing the face; elders rule etc) and now you know you better slurp don those chicken legs soup than your grandma prepared!

Comment by Madison

Absolutely … the mentality is definitely ‘waste not want not’, which also explains why all the hotels have ‘bread & butter pudding’ on their menus as it allows them to still get value out of stale bread.

As much as many blame the Chinese for being environmentally unfriendly, where food is concerned, they’re the best that there is.

Comment by Rob

I always try to read magazines and websites on subjects I’m not into to give me some wider ideas as to what is going on.

Wikiflicking is a favourite too.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Yep … we do quite a nice exercise where people are only allowed to put in one search request into Google/Bing etc and then must spend the next hour only clicking on links that feature within each article they read.

You’d be amazed where you go and what they’ve learnt … though quite often it all ends in porn. It always ends in porn doesn’t it.

Comment by Rob

It does when I look

Comment by northern

Yes, but you look at porn in client meetings.

Comment by Rob

Will the panda be going 3D to keep it relevant?

Comment by John

You are a marketing genius.

Comment by Rob

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