Tail that wags the dog
As a new business owner and, of course, as a consumer market researcher, I have been observing the constant flow of news about the UK and wider global economic climate with interest.
In common with most people that I speak to, I find the constant negative stories about economic doom and gloom emanating from the media can be very unsettling. Yet on the street, it doesn't seem so bad. People are being careful, but they continue to go about their daily lives, working hard and treating themselves accordingly.
So, I am more troubled by the role the media is taking in all of this. From constant reporting of different surveys showing business and consumer confidence are at their worst levels ever, banks and economies being in crisis, to hyping response to protests and civil unrest, it's all doom and gloom.
To my mind, the media is actually making things worse. I cannot help but think that the media are becoming guilty of creating a self-fulfilling prophecy, rather than actually reporting what's really happening out there in the "real" world, where companies selling exciting, desirable and high quality brands and products continue to excel. With many failing businesses and brands, it is often as a result of fundamental, underlying problems with their products and offer, rather than exclusively being due to the economic climate.
So what now? Well, I firmly believe in the age-old adage that businesses that continue to invest and innovate through difficult times while addressing consumer needs will emerge healthier and stronger. Mirroring nature, business has permanently — and rightly — changed towards a model of survival of the fittest.
Founding Director, See Research & Planning
This article was first published in InBrief magazine, January 2012
Copyright © Association for Qualitative Research, 2012