My first (and best) intentions were for this to be a thoughtful blog post about account planning and marketing research. And to start out, I’d post a photo of the actor Joe Morton in his role as a black, alien refugee in Harlem from the film Brother From Another Planet.
For those of you who haven’t seen this flick, consider it the 8-track version of District 9. But then I came across this–oh so sweet!–trailer on YouTube; it’s particularly entertaining if not particularly relevant.
Like many of my favorite films, Brother From Another Planet can be neatly filed in the “Title = Plot” genre (see Snakes On A Plane, and Terminator for details).
The film came to mind the other day when I read a phrase describing a certain account planner as a “true researcher”, which, to me at least, is kind of a funny way to look at things. Does a true researcher have to be truly objective? Or truly insular? Or truly … alien?
Look again–is our alien brother making another hapless attempt at a high five, or gathering consumer insights? Come to think of it, any planner worth their moleskine would jump at the chance to have “radar for a mind” and “removable eyes.”
On the other hand, as an absolute outsider, you might sacrifice some of the intimacy and insight that comes from belonging to the tribe. Perhaps a “true researcher” is a specimen with a talent for introspection. The self-dissecting-frog, as it were.
Yet another alternative is that these things aren’t mutually exclusive–maybe it takes crashing your spaceship in Harlem to get real perspective on your martian roots.
When one goes out into the world trying to discover what account planners do and what the field is about, the results are confusing to say the least. Typically, answers can range from “being the voice of the consumer,” or “bolstering creative work with cultural insights,” to *Shhh, I’m an invisible bunny drinking from the wellspring of human imagination, you can’t see me.*
Planners just cannot seem to agree on what they actually do, much to the consternation of people who are interested in planning (also known as ‘other planners’).