What We’re About
The most important trend in the marketing and research industry right now involves our understanding of how people make decisions. The research industry – like most businesses – has tended to assume that people are independent decision makers who make choices consciously and rationally, and are able to articulate why.
A growing body of evidence – mostly from behavioural economics and social psychology – makes it clear this assumption is wrong. As articulated by Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman, people’s choices are often unconscious and highly influenced by their social, personal and environmental context, or something he calls System 1 versus System 2 thinking. We humans are unreliable witnesses and predictors of our own behaviour. We make emotional decisions and tend to post rationalize our behaviour, which might have nothing to do with triggers measured in traditional market research.
Research is changing to take this into account, with innovative agencies like System1 Group PLC at the vanguard. Modern research focuses more on observed behaviour than on self-reporting, more on emotional response than on recalled information, and more on experiments in changing behaviours than reports which poorly reflect them.
These changes in the focus of research go hand in hand with technological shifts that enable us to innovate more easily and efficiently. Mobile devices, for instance, let us capture behaviour when it happens, rather than relying on after-the-fact reporting. Social media lets us create richer and more insightful pictures of respondents than abstract segmentation could ever provide. The alliance of research innovation and technology works both ways – by studying emotion, for instance, we can unlock crucial insights about what makes online content “go viral”.
System1 Group PLC offers a range of tools that embody these trends in research. Our Predictive Markets tool uses the “wisdom of the crowd” to identify winning concepts. Our Ad-testing tool looks at the emotional impact of advertising, and has proven better at identifying efficient, high-return advertising than traditional persuasion-based metrics. These tools have been instrumental in our being named – by clients and competitors – the most innovative research agency in the annual GRIT survey in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 and in driving our mission: making brands famous.