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Facebook and virtual networks

I used to believe that development of smart and new research methodologies was the way forward for market research. Since then I have worked on number of projects that required real insight into people, their lives and the lives of the things that people buy. The key insights for these projects came from individual people: Greg Rowland provided insights into culture; understanding of the interaction between people and things came from Richard Seymour; great insights came from Daniel Dumoulin, who conducted qualitative research and Matt Hart helped us to transform the observations and insights into ideas for products and communication. Yes, some of these guys have their own agencies but the agency name is a secondary tag; their individual skills are the real added value.

This is the age of endless possibilities for creative individuals in research, marketing, design and increasingly in advertising. Instead of losing their identity inside faceless agency, the individual can use some of the social networking sites, such as Facebook, and create their own global network, their own virtual agency - across regions and across specializations. The network can come together on a basis of common interest – the given project - and the individuals can disperse after the project is finished and form another, different network when needed.

It is easy to apply these rules to consumers and establish a community/network of consumers around common interest using existing sites (Facebook or a blog) as platforms for discussion and co-creation; or one can just look for existing community that consumers have established themselves, and listen. It is about people, not about methodologies.