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

A Reminder About Humans To Everyone Dealing With Humans …

No matter how well planned you think you are.

How detailed you’ve been.

How many case studies you’ve watched.

How many focus groups you’ve sat in.

How logical your argument is.

People will always do what works for them, not works for you.

So think about that next time you try and claim your comms plan/user journey is a true reflection of how all people engage with brands and make purchase decisions.

For the record …

I get the role and value of comms plans/user journeys.

I have no issue with them. In fact they can make a real difference to the work.

Where I get pissy is when they’re presented as ‘fact’ rather than a guide. Acting like they represent how ALL people behave – while ignoring factors like personal situation and circumstance as well as competitive activity.

Of course this attitude of ‘unquestionable, unbendable, superior intelligence and logic’ is prevalent in many planners … probably driven more by clients wanting certainty and consistency than personal ego … however by refusing to acknowledge we’re dealing more in frameworks than blueprints, we’re not just undermining our discipline and inadvertently placing barriers on new approaches and experiments, but ultimately selling generalised convenience rather than personal intimacy which means it’s set up to be average from the outset.


As I said to a client recently about insights …

They’re not perfect.

They’re not infallible.

They’re not all encompassing.

But when done right, they increase the odds of good things happening because they reveal the ridiculous truth behind people’s beliefs and behaviours … and I swear if we all adopted this attitude towards what we do, we may just end up making things that are more interesting and more effective as well.

We won’t. But I just like to think we might.

16 Comments so far
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This is a fantastic write up Rob. Some really important points that planners and clients should read.

Comment by Pete

Particularly like your view on why insights are important.

Comment by Pete

Everybody’s got a plan until they roll out the excuse they saw on a deck somewhere

Comment by John

Blame throwing.

Comment by George

never fucking understood why so many pricks base all their shit on what other people have done. they think it shows they are smart and have evidence for their bland bollocks but all is shows is theyre not even capable of coming up with their own bland bollocks.

Comment by andy@cynic

Yes x 100000000.

I remember at R/GA being asked why I wasn’t referencing examples of other companies/brands/people who had done/proved what I was saying on every slide.


I pointed out that I didn’t want the deck to be a story of sources rather than the actual idea. I pointed out that clients were paying us for how we think not how well we can find research reports. I pointed out that where sources were necessary, they were in the appendix not the deck. I pointed out that my starting point was clients believed we wanted to help them succeed rather than clients didn’t trust us and so we had to spend most of our energy on providing evidence our words were valid.

And now I am at Colenso. Hahaha.

Comment by Rob

what a bunch of sad little pricks. i remember when they were interesting now theyre just a bunch of fucking consultant wannabes.

Comment by andy@cynic

I think the reason the industry is down on insights is because they want something to blame for the mediocrity they produce.

Comment by George

yet they fucking all bang on about the process they used to get to work thats beiger than a beige politician in belgium. pricks.

Comment by andy@cynic

Beiger than a beige politician in Belgium will be my used phrase today. Thank you.

Comment by Rob

invoice in the fucking post.

Comment by andy@cynic

the problem is every fucker has a god complex. agencies are bad but the tech fuckers are worse. when we first went to google I thought “do no evil” was a reminder to do the right fjucking thing. then I worked out some of the wankers there read it as “anything i do is good because I fucking did it.” every bastard in business contributes to this shit especially the clients who outsource decisions because theyre fucking little cowards but act like theyre gladiators. the marketing world is a shiny palace of turds.

Comment by andy@cynic

your last para on insights almost made me nod in agreement. dont let that happen again campbell.

Comment by andy@cynic

You’re on fire today Andy. Your second comment that I could not agree more with. What on earth is going on???

Comment by Rob

im always on fire you insipid little prick.

Comment by andy@cynic

Gold comment.

Comment by DH

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