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We’re back and buzzing from a day of exciting talks at the MRG Conference 2017!

From prediction markets to galvanic skin responses and Christmas pornography (we’ve hidden a great little tweet from Tim Barber, BDRC at the end of the blog) – there was lots to soak up from this year’s set of fascinating speakers.

Beyond the comedy social media action, there were three key themes that stood out to us across this year’s presentations – points that we’ll certainly be keeping them in mind as we move into 2018.

Brands need to engage with young people now

Think back to the TV shows that have stood out to you over the course of your life. From which epoch of your life do they stem? If – like us – your thoughts turn immediately to your formative years it seems there is a reason for that… It’s called ‘The Reminiscence Bump’: a period in one’s adolescence when memories are a bit more sticky. Although memories do tend to chunk up around other special moments (such as buying a first home, or having a child), this relatively short period in a person’s development is a particularly important time for creating feelings and associations that last.

It’s crucial, then, that media brands are engaging with young people now – especially if they want them to be loyal advocates down the line. That’s why the BBC is focussing on ‘Creating a memorability mindset”, particularly regarding teen audiences who are at the zenith of that ever-so-important ‘bump’.

The way the broadcaster is doing this won’t be a surprise to anyone in the industry: remaining relevant (in a holistic sense, which encompasses personal, local, and contemporary qualities); standing out and being first; thinking about packaging (title sequences are playing an ever-more important role in setting programme brand – something we’ll be looking more into in future); and increasing touch points are all key parts of the BBC’s toolkit for creating content that tunnels “into the memory space of under 35s”.

At Hook Research, we do a lot of research with young people. We know teens’ media interests and habits… and we also know just how quickly these can change! Brands can’t get left behind in this quickly tumbling, ever-changing world, or they’ll end up paying for it in the long run.

Context is king

Not all ads are created equal, and neither are the places where they appear.

An interesting project between Channel 4 and D.fferento/ogy explored the symbiotic relationship between brands and their advertising platforms. This relationship transcends the financial, as the platform begins to impart its own characteristics onto the ad content (and, through this, the brand) that is served upon it.

While Channel 4 understandably focused on TV sponsorship, a different project from AOP, Newsworks, and Neuro-Insight similarly explored the osmotic relationship between a digital ad and its host platform – so it seems more than fair to keep this symbiotic quality in mind across the entire media spectrum.

MRG Conference 2017For us at Hook, this is particularly interesting when thinking about podcast ads (something we’ve waxed lyrically about in a previous blog for RW Connect).

As much as the host-read format (and, in some cases, the ability to play with ad copy) imparts a wonderful sense of authenticity onto the brands pumped into listeners’ ears, it suggests that the distinct characteristics of the audio content (eg playful, homely, comfortable, curious) might also begin to transform the advertiser’s brand image. Just another thing to keep in mind as we continue to investigate the complex relationships between content, consumer, brand, and platform in this quickly evolving audio media space.

Great tech is made better by great qual

You’ve probably heard us talking about what happens when you combine the latest technology with classic qualitative research techniques (we call it Social Intelligence, and we think it’s pretty awesome…). Looking at all the fascinating tech on display at the MRG Conference 2017 – and the impactful results being uncovered with these tools – it’s great to see that researchers are beginning to power-up their tech offering with a bit of qual on the side.

As we continue to develop tools and methodologies to help us uncover actionable insights for our clients, it’s important to not lose sight of where we’re coming from. At the end of the day, a new meter or app can only take you so far if it doesn’t tap into the spring of real behaviour. Solid qualitative research is the catalyst that transforms a shiny piece of kit into a human insight machine.

MRG Conference 2017 and beyond

The MRG Conference 2017 inspired us to think about many challenging ideas and how we might improve our own research offering. We’re looking forward to examining these topics more closely as we move into the New Year.

If you think you have a project we could sink our teeth into, why not get in touch? Or if you just want to keep up to date with the goings on at Hook Research be sure to follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Each month, Hook's experts create a roundup of hot takes and insights into the Kids and Media industries... for free!

This information will never be shared with third parties.

Each month, Hook's experts create a roundup of hot takes and insights into the Kids and Media industries... for free!

This information will never be shared with third parties.