“Learning about the human being behind his or her consumer urges must be based upon respect for his or her individuality, cultural aspects, lifestyles, beliefs and passions.”
This quote is from an article that I wrote 14 years ago when I left my career as a psychoanalist and started my journey into marketing research. At that time in marketing research, the era of the consumer was booming — but for me it had always been, and continues to be, about the human being; the intensity, the complexity, and the richness of humanity when in a position to consume. At the time this philosophy sounded a little corny in the marketing world, a little threatening in psychoanalitical circles, and too deep to be actionable for some brands.
After 14 years though, this philosophy that we need to look at the human being individually as opposed to solely as a reflection of his or her consumer behaviors, is more relevant and actionable than ever. It has proven to be true for brands, and as we have seen recently, its importance in politics.
Here is another quote from the same article:
“To be human is to be multifaceted, often volatile, and continuously improving. To be human is to be social, a politician, religious, an atheist, a producer, a creator, a citizen, and a consumer. Humanity is a condition and not a state of being.” (“Consumers: we all are, but who are we?”, Andrea Lima, revista Pancrom, 2002)
The intimate relationship between human beings and their providers (companies/brands) has evolved to the point that we must see the human as the protagonist in this drama. For that, I believe, we as researchers have the responsibility to help and inspire companies and brands into actionable choices. But more importantly, it is our responsibility to understand human insights that can inspire brands and companies to transform lives, rethink relevance, and make life lighter, more colorful, more eficient, and more human-like overall.
I recently celebrated my first year at RealityCheck, a group of thinkers and human beings totally passionate about people — who they are and what drives them. At RealityCheck, we all share the same passion, experience, curiosity, and expertise required to gather human insights through the sense of the human conscience — rather than intelligence or rational thought — because the conscience is the uniqueness of us.
One last quote from that article 14 years ago…
“We can’t forget that to study consumers is to comprehend human beings in action and in a constant process of evolution. To understand consumers is ultimately to understand our multiplicities without forgetting that we are individuals*.” (“Consumers: we all are, but who are we?”, Andrea Lima, revista Pancrom, 2002)