CHAPTER FIVE: Kenna's Dilemma: The Right--And Wrong Way to Ask People What They Want
|See www.kennaonline.com for the artist's homepage.|
|A lot has been written about the changing music industry. This article was helpful:
Laura M. Holson. "With By-the-Numbers Radio, Requests are a Dying Breed." July 11, 2002. New York Times. www.nyt.com
Dick Morris. "Behind the Oval Office." 1999. Los Angeles: Renaissance Books. p. 46-47. p. 155-167.
The Coke story is best told in:
Thomas Oliver. "The Real Coke, The Real Story." 1986. New York: Random House.
4. "The Chair of Death"
I made a huge error in my description of the origins of the Aeron chair. I say that Bill Stumpf created the chair. In fact, it was jointly created by Stumpf and Don Chadwick. I greatly regret my mistake. It will be corrected in the paperback edition.
|160-163.||For more on Cheskin:
Thomas Hine. "The Total Package: The Secret History and Hidden Meanings of Boxes, Bottles, Cans, and Other Persuasive Containers." 1995. New York: Little, Brown.
Louis Cheskin and L.B. Ward. "Indirect Approach to Market Reactions." September 1948. Harvard Business Review. www.hbr.org
Sally Bedell Smith. "Up the Tube: Prime-Time TV in the Silverman Years." 1981. New York: Viking.
This, from the New York Times, adds further context to the Coke-Pepsi debacle and the difficulties in "blind" taste tests:
Knowing what brand you are buying can influence your preferences by commandeering brain circuits involved with memory, decision making and self-image, researchers have found. When researchers monitored brain scans of 67 people who were given a blind taste test of Coca-Cola and Pepsi, each soft drink lit up the brain's reward system, and the participants were evenly split as to which drink they preferred. But when the same people were told what they were drinking, activity in a different set of brain regions linked to brand loyalty overrode their original preferences. Three out of four said that they preferred Coca-Cola ... Conventional techniques for learning consumer preferences are notoriously inadequate, Mr. McPartlin said. The traditional methods that companies use to explore consumer preferences do not always reflect actual buying patterns. "You use surveys when you want to test something - the reaction to an ad, package, new product name, or design," he said. "You ask questions scaled to gauge the response. But the scales are a blunt tool," he said. "They cannot capture the emotional responses beneath consumer preferences." Full text here.
|176-185.||Civille and Heylmun's ways of tasting are further explained in:
Gail Vance Civille and Brenda G. Lyon. "Aroma and Flavor: Lexicon for Sensory Evaluation." 1996. West Conshohocken, PA: American Society for Testing and Materials. See: www.astm.org
Morten Meilgaard, Gail Vance Civille and B. Thomas Carr. "Sensory Evaluation Techniques (3rd Edition)." 1999. Boca Raton FL: CRC Press.
|180-182.|| For more on jam tasting:
Timothy Wilson and Jonathan Schooler. "Thinking Too Much: Introspection Can Reduce the Quality of Preferences and Decisions." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 1991. Vol. 60. No. 2. p. 181-192. Purchase here.
"Strawberry Jams & Preserves," Consumer Reports. August, 1985. p. 487-489.
I have received many stories from readers about the failures of market research. Here is one of the best:
"At the beginning of the '80s, I was a product manager at General Electric, which at the time had a leading market share in the personal audio industry (radios, clock radios, cassette recorders, etc.). Sony had just introduced the Walkman, and we were trying to figure out how to react. Given the management structure of the day, we needed to prove the business case. Of course, we did focus groups!
Well, the groups we did were totally negative. This was after the Walkman had been on the scenes for months, maybe a year. The groups we did felt that personal music would never take off. Would drivers have accidents? Would bicycle riders get hit by drivers?
If we listened to "typical" consumers, the whole concept was DOA.
This type of reaction is probably the reason that there is the feeling of a "technological determination" on the part of the electronics community. It leads to the feeling that you should NEVER listen to the consumer, and just go about introducing whatever CAN be produced.
At the time, we had a joke about Japanese (Sony/Panasonic/JVC) market research. "Just introduce something. If it sells, make more of it." It's one way of doing business. One the other hand, when I was hired by a Japanese company in the mid-80's, I was asked how GE could get by with introducing such a limited number of models. Simple, I said, "We tested them before we introduced them."
History tells which method has worked better. "