Last week, a couple of us traveled to Brooklyn for a few days to attend The Quirk’s Event.

With more than 70 sessions to peruse and 90 exhibitors to visit the key take-aways are many. When asked what most stood out to me, I scratched my head, because my System 2 started to cramp, and cherry-picked a quote from one of the speakers to represent the entire experience.

“If you don’t make it into my long-term memory, I can’t access you to make a decision.”

This statement came out of the mouth of a neuroscientist. And, although our practices are very different, we agree with each other completely. Across our industry, no matter the angle we come at it, we’re all driving toward the same outcome – to create the most durable brand possible. It doesn’t matter if it’s through improving the product experience or creating more engaging stories to support it, we’re all looking to create the most MEMORABLE moments that can cast a shadow across our competition’s similar activities. (At Ameritest, we have seen that the most powerful branded memories can–and will–eat the weaker ones for lunch.)

Since I don’t know if the others who attended the conference (or took the stage) would agree unanimously that this is the most important take away, I made a list of the things that also stuck out for me.

  • System 1 and System 2 understanding is still being developed across our industry and bringing us to deeper insights about the human beings we observe and how to serve up our own unique product offerings.
  • Emotions clearly reign. The fact that human beings are primarily emotional beings is now greens fees. Gone are the days where people debated this fact. As an industry, we now accept that emotion is the root of all decision-making.
  • Data visualization and narrative-driven research results are still both very hot topics. Each is being developed in order to build more visibility for ourselves and our colleagues at key decision-making points.
  • No ad formulas. There is no one formula for a good advertisement. Single score systems (especially in the DIY market) are not gone, but their utility is eroding as more intellectually-hungry leaders are asking much more strategically challenging questions than those of yesterday.
  • Do you know WHY? The WHY behind everything is important for organizations, teams and brands for many reasons. The WHY helps everyone find their centers of gravity in order to communicate authenticity. (At the risk of beating the Simon Sinek drum too much, I’m going to recommend this TED Talk.
  • Understand the power of context. Contextual placement of messages is still in its nascent stage. We haven’t begun to scratch the surface of understanding how to create the sweetest spot of all – the ability to match the emotional context of the brand, its category, the medium and the human being’s specific physical space. One corporate researcher’s sole focus within his organization is to operationalize the identification of this “emotional circumplex.”
  • Big Data vs. Big Research. Know the difference in order to continue building on your own education and our industry’s relevance.

I would love to hear from other attendees and their key take-aways. Drop me a line!