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What Can Evian Teach Us About Good Research?

“The faster I got, the smoother the flight… The barriers had never been in the sky, but in our minds.”

-from Chuck Yeager’s biography on the day he broke the sound barrier

helloTony Chapman, Founder and CEO of Capital C, Canada kicked off ESOMAR’s 2013 3D Digital Dimensions conference with a keynote session on storytelling with this quote in his talk, “A Thousand Ways to Say Hello.”  The conference, held in Boston this year, addressed Online + Social Media + Mobile Research by recognizing “the business landscape is being shaped by digital technologies and big data like never before…Digital is the new normal!”

Tony said, “Storytelling comes down to head, heart and hands…Engagement is the oxygen of marketing to humanity. Only through our ability to engage do we have an ability to persuade.” Engagement was a key theme in his presentation on storytelling. He emphasized his point by saying there are only seven to eight stories in the world. We’re all familiar with them…there’s a great looking guy and a great looking girl. The girl is with another guy. How is the great looking guy going to get the great looking girl? It’s so easy to understand the story. The problem researchers have with telling a story is that they approach the situation with a 40 page deck. And, there’s no plot.

“My hypothesis,” said Tony, “is to create the story that sells to consumers’ head, hearts and hand. It is about the nuggets and the insights. Ultimately, we have to change consumers’ thinking, feeling and behaving…When you pitch a story for Hollywood it is a hook, for marketing it is an insight. Tell the story with conviction on exactly where the consumer is right now and animate the desired outcome. Understand the challenges the consumer faces.”

He made the point about looking for differentiation with an example fromevian_large Evian where they repositioned themselves as the brand about youth and health. This presentation and ad were one of the highlights of the conference.

His point was that stories which get consumers’ attention will transform your brand through social media. “I don’t want a research company that tells me people like natural spring water or glass bottles. I want a research company that tells me people want to chase the fountain of youth, then I want a research company to identify the places where that message needs to be.”