Information is power, it is said. It is also said the universe itself is made up of entirely information strung into codes and coalescing into matter.
So even if money makes the world go around, information fuels the very universe.
In business, all it takes is one piece of information to make a universe of difference. This piece of information is often discovered in the seemingly mundane and scientific world of survey panels and study groups.
That once piece of information is all it takes. Take these three momentous examples:
Betty Crocker released the first instant cake mix in the 50s. Consumers did not exactly devour this revolutionary recipe that provided an entire cake by just adding water to the mix, and then baking it. What could be done?
That one piece of information: Through studies and surveys, Better Crocker determined that homemakers felt the water and mix combination took away from the cooking experience. It was too simple. By adding an egg to the baking instructions (even if the mix already contained powdered egg), instant cake mixes took off because people felt they were baking something real.
McDonald’s began to lose steam in the 70s after a meteoric rise. How could it continue to thrive as one of the country’s chief eateries?
That one piece of information: Through empirical and psychological research, McDonald’s realized that Americans held a social stigma about ordering twice at restaurants (no matter how hungry or thirsty they felt!). The solution was to offer larger meals and gradually normalize the process (“Super size it?”) The process was gradual, though, culminating in the 90s—but it made universes around the waists of consumers.
In the present, over 1.2 million dogs are euthanized every year in the U.S., and teen crime is a persistent problem. Is there a possible connection to these two issues?
That one piece of information: There certainly is, according to a recent study by researcher and clinical psychologist Jessica Thomas. At risk youths who are given a dog and taught how to care for it, heal emotionally and gain the coping skills to adapt to society. There are already nonprofit programs that unite dogs with troubled youths; but the ability of dogs to increase the humanity of humans could be a potent marketing tool for companies, breeders, and veterinarians.
In each mentioned case, all it took was that one piece of information to change things, and even change the very architecture of public perception. Finding the information was not swashbuckling or creative, but the usual “mundane and scientific” research—but once found it created amazing adventure.
Survey panels and study groups are indeed essential. That is where any business can find that one piece of information that fuel its universe for eons (okay, a long time at least).