24 out, 2018

Culture Jam with Dave O’Carroll

People White

For our third Culture Jam session, Dave O’Carroll from The People We Meet joined us. The People We Meet is an online series that blurs the lines between journalism, ethnographic research, content creation and storytelling so who better to chat about all things Irish culture. Dave talked about about the importance of authenticity, the need to understand people better and how we overlook people in the pursuit of insight. Considering all of these, we can start framing a better understanding of Irish people and Irish culture.

The importance of ‘authenticity’

Sincere. Honest. Real. These are all traits that we know to be positive. ‘The People We Meet’ aims to achieve cut through and performs well due to the genuine intention of the work: sincere conversations with real people that provide an insight into what they honestly think, feel, believe. This doesn’t sound radical in approach however a general critique of the majority of marketing and advertising is that it fails to deliver on its promise of authenticity. Words like ‘real’, ‘purpose’ and ‘authentic’ are bandied about but are not delivered upon. Consumers recognise these traits to be positive and are drawn like moths to the ‘authenticity’ flame. We at Folk recognise this and challenge to maintain the standards of ‘realness’ that we know from experience not only resonate with consumers but fuel the creative process from start to finish.

The want and need for a better understanding of people

There is a tendency to focus on specific individuals or set groups of people. We analyse and study them in an attempt to truly understand what their beliefs, behaviours, motives are in everyday life both in our personal and professional lives. This is generally driven by the belief that these chosen few are the most desirable as consumers or most interesting/accessible in a media sense. Because we have decided to focus on specific individuals and groups, we ultimately overlook so many ‘others’. The ‘others’ who are deemed not as interesting or profitable or relevant. The People We Meet is a reminder that the individuals and groups that we unconsciously (and sometimes consciously) overlook are the key to understanding Irish society and culture but most importantly people. A sentiment we share with Dave. We don’t expect to learn more about people using tried and tested methods of before. We are committed to understanding people in the broadest sense.

Overlooking people in an attempt to get to insight

Traditional consumer research. It’s quite narcissistic and contrived if you think about it. Profile, recruit, operate within a set time frame and interact with respondents (not people) on a pre-constructed topic guide intended to deliver certain responses. A lot of times we have decided, consciously or unconsciously, the wanted output from consumer research before we even begin it. Job done right? When you consider the traditional industry approach in comparison to that of the TPWM, the cracks start appearing. Taking the time to get to know people (not respondents) on their terms, letting curiosity fuel the process to deliver real beauty, intimacy and insight that for all intended purposes cannot be planned for. It’s not forced or premeditated, it does exactly what it says on the tin. If anything, it’s a reminder to not forget the ‘consumer’ in our ‘consumer research’.

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