Account Research: 5 tips from Andreea Flori, Account Executive @Minio Studio
Staying informed in the year 2023 sounds like a pleonasm these days, doesn’t it? With the internet, an endless source of information, you can’t help but stay up to date with everything that’s going on. The problem arises when, despite endless access to the data you need, you feel more confused than satisfied. You are suddenly thrown into a chaos of information and have to navigate through an enormous amount of words, material and information until you reach a source that you can rely on, that helps you and that you can return to in the future.
So how can we get to relevant information that helps us in our daily work without losing our focus along the way?
Because the topic of research has been tackled so many times over the years, especially in the last few years, so I’ve chosen to propose a list of 5 unconventional, at times, steps that can help you when working with brands and want to implement the information you gather in your daily work.
DON’T LIMIT THE NUMBER OF SOURCES YOU TURN TO! AND CHECK THEM ALL!
We all know the basic rule of research on a given topic: only use sources that you trust! Sure, I strongly support the idea of relying on sources that have been proven over time to be objective and that you can count on, but exploiting less conventional or alternative sources should not be underestimated.
Social Media, for example, is a source that is frowned upon when used for knowledge enrichment, but I think deserves more appreciation when you want to discover more about something.
How I use them:
- I find which topics are of interest to consumers;
- I check what the opinions are on a particular topic;
- And, most importantly: I have access to the opinions, satisfactions and direct complaints of the consumers we often target.
Of course, what we find in Social Media is not always in line with our personal values, but we should always keep in mind that these sources that you would not normally turn to, ultimately help you to have a deeper understanding of a topic and understand its complexity.
LET’S TAKE A LOOK IN OUR NEIGHBOR’S YARD!
There’s nothing wrong with considering your competitors not just parties you aim to outperform, but serious sources of information or practices. As an Account, it’s actually a necessity to be aware of what’s going on in the field in which the brand you’re working for operates and, by implication, to be aware of what your competitors are doing.
By following their work, you gain a broader perspective on the market, but you also get to know aspects related to trends, strategies and the environment in which they communicate. By implication, having such information, you get to have a decent level of knowledge that will help you in discussions with the customer, you will know what is expected from the brand, you know which tactics have been successful, you know which ones have not delivered, but most importantly, you know what innovative ideas can be proposed and implemented.
That’s what happened with the #SkinChat by CeraVe campaign. During the pandemic period, there has been a boom in interest in skincare. The scientific data on the topic was, however, quite vague for consumers and brands at the time, although it provided information and directions for using basic skincare products, it did not provide it in a comprehensive, complete and, most importantly, engaging format. We capitalized on this fact and thus, created the first online show dedicated to skin cleansing, for which we have had gratifying results!
Glancing at a topic you need information on at the time can be just what you’re looking for: a quick fix. For a continuous understanding of a subject, you need to constantly watch for news, for changes, for points of tension that may arise along the way. That’s why it’s a good idea, once you’ve managed to establish a few sources relevant to what you’re interested in, to check them regularly.
BE CURIOUS: REMEMBER THAT ADVERTISING IS WITH AND ABOUT THE PERCEPTION OF VIEWERS, SO DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK!
Often, when we think of research, we have in mind a solitary activity, where it’s just us, Google dot com, and a lot of information that we have to gather, analyze and that will help us reach certain conclusions. Although research, in practice, also involves individual work, in most cases, the added value comes from different opinions or the opinion of someone who has a different understanding from yours. This, in Account work, can be brought into absolutely any activity: you can ask a colleague to help you with their opinion when you don’t know how to approach a negotiation, you can ask them for an opinion on a creative piece of material, or you can even ask them for an opinion on a subject that is completely new to them – I have many times come up with original solutions with the help of the advice of someone who wasn’t as involved in the subject, so is refreshingly different.
Consequently, dare to call on the expertise of colleagues, of those around you – you never know what surprises you may get!
AND, OF COURSE, ALWAYS BE AWARE OF NEW TRENDS AND CHANGES THAT MAY OCCUR!
Although a well-known and constantly repeated notion in the advertising industry, we cannot underestimate the need to always be up to date with trends, especially in the areas in which the brands you work for operate.
Keeping up with trends can make all the difference to the success of a campaign: you can catch a good moment and build your campaign materials around a trend that has really caught on with the public, or you can avoid some trends that gather opinions at opposite poles. Only by analysing consumer reaction, and therefore only by doing research, can you get an idea of the effectiveness of an initiative, however interesting it may initially seem.
Ultimately, research is an activity that you can only shape to your own style through practice. Whether you find some methods more useful than others, one thing is clear: any type of information you actively seek out adds to the knowledge you already have and gives you a broad perspective on the brands you are responsible for.