Not quite depressed. Not quite happy. Not quite anxious. Not quite relieved, or disappointed. This year has been a lot. I’ve experienced an entire lifetime of lows and (relative) highs since March. We spend a lot of time thinking about things, and thinking about what we’re thinking. We slightly less able to nail down how we’re feeling.

If you journal (I do not, don’t judge me) you might be able to track your feelings and tie them to behaviors. “Aha! I felt this way when I ate a whole pizza and entire pint of ice cream.” We sure do track a lot of our activity these days. Our steps, our calories, our productivity. But our moods, less so. Understanding what drove a mood, though I have some suspicions, might lead to changes in behavior, or the ability to pre-empt it. I doubt I would have the discipline to do anything about feeling anxious after binge watching 24-hours of horror movies and cable news. I’m sure you’ll agree it is unavoidable.

At times, I’ve thought I was protecting myself if someone asked how I was doing and I held back. Preventing the awkward reveal of some vulnerability. But these days, I wonder if I could even answer truthfully from minute to minute.

I was very interested in recent research done by Nonfiction Research tracking emotion of a large population: Spotify users. Ingeniously, they used the titles of playlists as indications of a mood or sum of moods and went about an analysis of the people who created those playlists, or others like them, and what they were feeling.

Gunny Scarfo, co-founder of Nonfiction Research (https://nonfiction.co/) joined me to talk about the findings and their unique perspective on research. Nonfiction blends qualitative and quantitative methods to reveal stories that might not be discovered otherwise. Read the research here: https://nonfiction.co/americas-secret-playlists

Listen here: https://specific.substack.com/p/gunny-scarfo-knows-how-you-feel

Or go ahead and exercise your peepers with this transcript.

12:13:08 Adam Pierno: All right, welcome back to another episode of the strategy inside, everything. This one’s been a long time coming. Today’s guest is go nice car fo who is the founder of nonfiction. He’s got an interesting history in in the industry and we’ve been exchanging emails trying to get this setup going thank you so much for making time for me today.
12:13:29 Gunny Scarfo: I’m thrilled to be here and I’ve picked up two of your books in the meantime, and listen to most of the podcast so I’m more excited than, then you might know oh that’s really cool man.
12:13:41 Adam: Thank you. I really appreciate that and I’m, I actually found were in a mutual admiration society I think because before you reached out to me, I had been spending time with some of the work of nonfiction, the intimacy and America study that you guys did in particular was was what I found and once I found that I was like what the hell is happening at this company and what else have these people done.
Gunny: There’s a justified reaction.
Adam: It’s, it’s, well let’s let’s get into it but before we do that, I want the people who are not as familiar with you and your work to have a sense of who you are and kind of what you’ve done in your career up to now would you mind giving us a little background.
12:14:18 Gunny: Absolutely. So I’m the co founder of Nonfiction Research, along with Ben Zeigler who was previously Global Head of CPG research at Scott Galloways firm, l two, and then went into Gartner. My background is in strategy I was the head of strategy advice media is digital agency and before that had a strategy with Ben at a digital agency that got bought by a digital agency which got bought by a digital agency Accenture interactive rushing methodology. Yeah, I always joke that I just sat in one chair for like seven years they just changed the sign, you know behind me. But throughout that run my focus in my own work, and in the teams I lead has always been on uncovering what I call uncensored insights meaning insights into people’s lives that they might not normally talk about to their friends and certainly not to a market researcher you don’t have a lot of people, pausing you in the middle of a market research conversation saying, oh one moment let me go get my diary so you can truly understand the contours of. And, you know, to me and to Ben that’s just always something that made us feel like if you’re not getting that sort of stuff in the research that’s something that should scare the shit out anyone who’s actually paying for market research and then basing large decisions off of it. So, in, in founding Nonfiction we really wanted to take more of a rogue approach, the way we had been doing over the years. And that’s, that’s really two parts one is finding a way to form, more intimate connections with the people that were studying. And then also going anywhere it takes to truly understand people’s real experiences so we’ve been unchaperoned inside of a prison we’ve been undercover we’ve spent time with male and female escorts with build our own software programs like whatever it takes to get at that and to understand someone’s true lived experience is, is what we want to do and I guess the, the second half of that is maybe what brings us the most notoriety, which is the sort of unusual self with no bank robbers and whatnot. But the truth is that the first part of that is just as important to her, which is the intimate stuff. And, you know, at the beginning of founding Nonfiction, I would say there was some question, among our colleagues and maybe even like investors as to like, how much of an appetite there is for within corporate America, and when I was at that’s my first question good he is.
AdamP Yeah, like, what I’ve seen from nonfiction has been published studies that are incredible research presented in a very disarming way that that pulls you in almost like it’s it’s creative content. And what I was what but one thing I’ve noticed is that you don’t skimp on the methodology slides either at the, at the back of the deck or throughout your sighting methodology you’re citing the science behind what you’re doing. You’re giving information on the sample. How much for I know you mentioned Ben came from CPG know how much our traditional businesses interested in willing to tolerate the kind of work that you want to do.
12:17:53 Gunny: Thankfully for us. Some of them are, and also thankfully, for us the ones who aren’t tend to disqualify themselves pretty. Like when you work with Nonfiction you kind of know what you’re getting. So, um, yeah I mean, the first of all thank you for saying that about the methodology like we have a term that we apply to everything that we do, whether it’s for clients or something republishing publicly that we want it to be methodological unassailable because especially when you’re doing some of the stuff that we’re doing. It’s easy for people to see it as being sensationalist when in reality it’s just not what we’re doing to go on a deeper level, but on you know the research has been picked up by hacks iOS MSNBC, Fox News CNBC ABC and so forth and client wise, we’ve really had great working relationships with Disney, a big Viacom bunch of nonprofits. Couple large pharmaceutical companies, they’re looking to understand the emotional experience of both patients and doctors treating rare diseases. So, um, yeah I mean, our. We think that the whatever modicum of success we’ve fallen into has really been more than about us but more about sort of what we believe and the primary ethos, which is that, I think a lot of people look at the research that they have, and they feel like, you know, it looks professional, there’s graphs and stuff there and like you know you don’t necessarily challenge your methodology, but it also doesn’t feel like it penetrates to the, to the core of the people who are buying the product or using the service, whatever it might be. So, you know, I think for us, A lot of the clients that we’ve worked with privately have seen one of the things that we’ve done that you mentioned the intimacy study, The secret of financial lives of Americans these kinds of things and they basically said we want that kind of thing but for our audience and for us. In addition to being thrilled to be able to work with these companies. It’s heartening because you realize like there really is this, this hunger out there for for sort of deeper, more uncensored insights. Yeah.

You just read this whole thing? Hmm. If you’ve got time on your hands, you might like Specific or Under Think It.


Adam: And do they come to you for that total package the mixture of quote unquote that you that you bring together because most, most firms most vendors that that succeed are specialized usually one or another they can do it. They’re exceptional at doing qualitative research and, you know, getting to those insights from talking to people or they’re exceptional at quant and really understand the science, but usually not both. And definitely not presenting it bring it to life at the same way you guys do.
12:20:49 Gunny: Yeah, we, we don’t even think of it in those terms I mean obviously there are things you have to do really differently in qual and quant methodological. But I’ll say the way that we approach it is that we always want to start with what people would call call, because we feel like when you start with client. It tend not to ask the questions that you would ask had you already gone deep into people’s lives. And if you just do a call. You end up coming back with potentially really interesting insights. But you have little ability to size or segment, the truth of what you found,
Adam: So you have a collection of good anecdotes.
Gunny: That’s it. That’s it, and you know we can’t tell BlackRock to change what you’re doing with 100 million dollars worth of marketing because some guy named Jerome in a one on one interview told us to something or other. So, you know we we always like to go deep and experiential and intimate first, and then wrap it up by really understanding. To what extent people agree or disagree with the stuff that we found that we have found in those more intimate conversations with the quant, and in every single project we work on, we enter the client with multiple hypotheses and we discover that at least one of them is wrong, which is a good test for research as to like whether you’re, you know, jerry-rigging your own opinions into there, or whether you’re actually floating multiple possible things and seeing which ones actually play out.
12:22:34 Adam: That’s, that’s interesting. Now when we were getting started, we had to cut the video for bandwidth reasons, and you you remark that when you conduct interviews for your projects for research you you prefer no video which and I was commenting that I think the video for these types of conversations actually helps good Tell me, tell me why.
12:22:54 Yeah, like internally when we have meetings, you know, we use the video.
12:22:59 Gunny: Like within our company but when you’re talking to a stranger. The single most important thing that you can do in a research interview is to make a quick genuine intimate connection where the person feels like you are not a doctor, without in a white coat with a clipboard. No taking their answers and checking off boxes, but they’re speaking to a real person who has gone through stuff that they might have gone through and so for us. We find really intimate connections without the video when it’s just a voice on the other end of the line, and you are you are these two voices talking from across a continent, or across the globe, and almost in darkness, and there’s a, there’s an intimacy that can come out of that, that we really like, and we often find at the end of our calls you. You go, so deep with a person that at the end, you know, the traditional thing to say is something like, Alright, thanks. Talk to you later or talk to you again soon. But it’s almost like this screeching train at the end of a good one on one research interview where you both are almost pulled out of a trance and come to the mutual recognition that the two of you who have shared things that maybe you’ve never shared with any other person in your life now will never talk again. I mean it’s almost like a, like a summer camp or romance or something like that right where like, you have this like fast immediate connection and then you kind of like like Well okay, I’ll, I’ll write you letters and well you know how do you assume that’s it.
Adam: I know everything you do doesn’t come from, from those types of interviews, I know you get to the insights from a variety of methods subject matter that you that you publish on behalf of Nonfiction financial secrets intimacy, emotional needs and wants you know that those are not easy to get to. I mean how do you get people to feel relaxed and relieved enough to exchange with you.
12:25:21 Gunny: I think there is an element of technique to it. But a lot of it is not technique you just can’t fake it. There, there are elements of it with technique where, when we start calls with people. We are intentionally really casual we tell them what we’re up to. If we can get someone to laugh before we even start asking them questions or if we can make a connection with them. Like about something trivial like, what is the city that they live in or some hobby or something that we might know, like that that’s technique, I’d say and it’s, we have like a really specific training course that anyone that comes to work a Nonfiction go through around one on one interviews. But the truth of it is, I don’t think you can teach it to someone who doesn’t genuinely care about other people who doesn’t.
12:26:16 Adam: Is that is that empathy or is it just some kind of underlying ability to to want to research and want to know more to curiosity, I guess.
Gunny: I think it’s empathy, Adam I think you’re right. It goes beyond like pure curiosity, because, as you said, like the stuff the work that we’ve talked to people about is so, so personal and so deep I mean, we did a project. Last year, that was sort of around like potential new directions for the women’s movement and the things that we were talking to women about. It was the first time or one of the first times that we got a survey results back. And we just broke down into tears like individually over some of the stuff that we read, we had the same thing for for the intimacy report but like when you ask questions like, what is the least powerful you’ve ever felt as a woman, you are going to surface parts of people’s lives that are hard to talk about. And, you know, when you ask people about having cried because they didn’t have enough money at the time or when you ask people, when you’re asking people about the ways in which they are or are not satisfied in their lives. You’re going to get into a lot of that stuff. And so, I think one of the things that helps is empathy as you said. And then the other thing is having gone through things yourself. So one of the things we look for and anyone that we bring on board, is that you have. You have a diversity of good and bad experiences in your life and you’re, you’re close to them, so I always remember when I was advice. There’s one night we were a few of us were up late, working on a project, and I started talking to the creative director about feelings around how my father had passed a few years earlier. And he was talking about feelings about having lost a child. And the third part of our team was a much younger guy, and I could just see he was like, not ready for this conversation. And, you know, it’s, you can’t help it either you’ve been through that kind of stuff or you haven’t but yeah you’re gonna have trouble, you’re not comfortable with it until you’ve touched it. That’s it, that’s it it’s like a secret society where you are able to relate to people better.
12:28:57 Adam: After you’ve been through some of those things and so it makes it a little bit easier.
12:29:02 Gunny: How so it’s, it’s, I find it. When I think of some of the best researchers I’ve worked with. There is a, an element of that clinician, someone that can detach themselves, and you made a joke about the white lab coat I’ve never worked with anybody quite that far along but I have plenty of people that say like well you know subject in subject out here’s the here’s the information. Here’s what we learned at enable to be separate from us Do you think the output that you produce looks a hell of a lot different than a lot of research that I’ve consumed but is the process that much different are the people is does the nonfiction team look that much different from other firms. Yeah, I think it’s a little bit of, of all of that. The obviously like when we hire, like the number one thing we ask is like is this person on fiction he and internally we know what that means. But I would say like, there’s, there’s a point where you have to do all the things we’ve been talking about about like empathy and being inside of people’s lives and like trying to feel what they feel. But there’s another part of the process where you have to then step back and ask as you alluded to, like, is that something that that a lot of people are feeling. And when it comes to the quantitative part of what we do. We have to be brutal in making sure that we are more clinicians, even though our surveys, feel really intimate still. The way that we translate that data has to has to be the right way to do it and we have to. We’re constantly challenging ourselves and trying to beat things up internally. Because we live in, like, I’m not even saying this is a good thing, like we live in abject terror that something’s gotta like be wrong and what we do that we’re going to be in a room, so it’s it’s a shift. There’s a mode where you’re the empathetic interviewer in, and then there’s a mode where you shift into clinician mode and you’re hardcore killing the data to make sure that it is not falling.
12:31:24 Adam: It has to be, we can’t get pantsed. There’s nothing worse than that.
12:31:30 Gunny: I love that term. We’re going to start using that now.
12:31:43 Adam: I used that with my strategy team if you were presenting if you were presenting strategy based on data and the client would find some flaw that you missed I would call it getting pants yeah yeah that’s getting past and that that is our like paranoid fear.
12:31:47 Gunny: But I think a lot of people who work in strategy a lot of your listeners, and a lot of the other folks you’ve had on the podcast would would tell you that like the reason all of us got into this was for both of those things right and modern account planning or strategy or whatever, we call it. Maybe it doesn’t live up to all the time like what we hoped it would be. But I think the reason that people like you and like me and like your listeners get into this field, really has to do a lot with like understanding people and understanding like the human parts of that. But then being able to step back and do productive things that are smart and that are able to help companies, help people. And it’s impossible to divorce that from them being able to do so in a way that’s financially sustainable still need both of those brains as you’re saying, and let’s talk about the playlist research that you did because it’s a compelling.
12:32:53 Adam: I’m interested in knowing how you melded, the quality and the quantity here and how much background I know there, I know there are references the interviews in the, in the published piece that you shared with me. But the, the general background is that, just from the titles of playlists that you could find publicly. Music playlists that you can glean a lot of how people are feeling and what they are aspiring towards, which was, as soon as I read that I’m like oh man
12:33:29 Gunny: I mean well you you described it perfectly. You know, we started the whole study with a really simple question which was, if you could see a person’s music playlist, would it deepen your understanding of them did you start with that question or did you start with some results. I did you read a playlist title or something and and get to foregone conclusion that now you were trying to backfill and learn more about.
12:33:56 Adam: No, I mean this this was the most.
12:34:14 Gunny: Not an all good way. This was the most like uncertain we’ve ever been going into a research project of what might come out of it actually started with. It actually started, and nobody knows this, but it was, our original topic that we wanted to study was ways in which music has saved the lives of people who are thinking of ending their life. As you could be, yeah, and you do touch on that in the study mean that’s, we do that is almost frightening to embark on.
12:34:35 Adam: Yes, it really is.
12:34:37 Gunny: And, you know, that’s something you really have to treat with the utmost amount of seriousness and respect.
12:34:46 But when we, when we started doing that study. We just ran into problems like in terms of like the size of that audience and what we could conclusively say and how applicable it was to everyone’s life. And so, I mean we’re at a point where we stopped working on it and then thought like okay, how, how else could we take this and then along that process of looking into how music has hit people’s lives. We realized the importance of music playlist. So then we asked the question, okay, If we back off of that topic, and we just ask if you could see people’s music playlist. Would it deepen your understanding of them and we you know we had the sense that it would but we didn’t know how. And if you could see the playlist of a whole nation, what would that tell you about the nation. So, the way we went about it, because there’s no, you know, mental doesn’t publish that. So we, we built our own software program from scratch, to go out and crawl Spotify playlist public Spotify playlist and bring it back and we built an entire database of 10s of thousands of Spotify playlist that we could then query and look at and examine and try to figure out what was going on. I think the obvious thing that we found that we knew that we would find that everyone would know that you would find is that people use music playlist to improve their mood. So, as you saw in in the actual report. We saw a lot of Spotify playlist called calming cat music or making Monday’s better or cooking dinner with Bay, and that part I think was was pretty expected. Although it felt really good to see like the vernacular which people were, were talking about these things you really feel like a really lives.
Adam: Yeah, it’s really interesting I’ve done a lot of social intelligence and social listening and this having this context really helps make it meaningful a lot of social listening is, is wasted because it’s so broad you don’t you don’t really have any context but this creates instant context when. What’s the one that’s like feeling my biceps feeling them biceps are reading just the ones that you and several slides of this presentation you you list some of the standout names and I spent a lot of time reading that list and really trying to get into this, the mindset of people that were creating them because you and I probably I’m assuming you spent some time in Nashville so I’m assuming you have a love for music like I do, or the naming of the playlist is can be something just off the cuff or it can be something really really meaningful that’s insightful, and it’s, it’s hard to know which is which. How did you, did you create in the software program or the analysis of what you gather did you create some sort of a method for scoring.
12:38:04 Gunny: We didn’t do that because we had the luxury of a quantitative survey afterwards. So while we had a lot of data from Spotify, what we were looking for were essentially a thesis or theses that we could then go and size and segment and prove or disprove within the quantitative study. And so when we started to see. So first of all you’re right that like sometimes it’s hard to read what they meant by the playlist title, and even some of the darker playlist titles, which we’ll talk about in a second. Some of them were very self aware. So, for instance, there is one playlist title called “Now, excuse me I need to go take a shower so I can’t tell if I’m crying”. Yeah, so there’s a few. There are a few that hit that same note where it’s like, yeah, be sarcastic and self deprecating or it could be serious signal of emotional trauma.
12:39:15 Adam: Yep.
12:39:17 Gunny: I I think about ah There’s one called “My grief, my infertility,” which is not very ironic. And so, I guess, what we did was we tried to do our best to understand the context, by looking at the playlist title, but we also had a lot of times of playlists description, which we didn’t put into the report itself, but it helped us contextualize what that playlist title was about and then you can also tell by looking at the songs are the songs ironic, or are the songs really heartfelt. I think the thing that we saw that really jumped out at us was that you would expect people to use their Spotify playlist to pump themselves up, you know, to get hyped up to get the swagger before they go into work or go into a sports match or whatever it might be, or just to calm down. But we were, we were impacted deeply by the amount of stuff that we saw of people creating playlists, to hunt out and experience, those deeper and darker emotions, because that’s the part that I don’t know is quite as intuitive. And so, when later we got into the quant study we saw that 44% of Americans have listened to music purposely to feel dark emotions. Yeah, you know, and then we even extended that and started asking about things outside of music. And we asked people what have you done something other than listen to music to purposely feel dark emotions.
Adam: Well, yeah, I was wondering I was thinking you just jumped to my next question, because I’ll go ahead. I was wondering, there’s another study there isn’t there that you can look at how else they’re getting to those same emotions and then plotting media sources to against desired emotional response.
12:41:21 Gunny: That’s it, because it’s, it goes beyond playlist like we stumbled by, by doing the study of playlists we stumbled upon this thing that goes way beyond music, you know, people talk about going to the Facebook of the person at their partner cheated on them with. So just to feel that emotion. And some of them are, you know, like, heartbreaking. Some of them are a little more bizarre you saw the one where somebody said “I hit my wrist bone with a crochet hook, I don’t know why.”
That’s like a little more puzzling.
12:41:59 Adam: Do you think I, you know, I was reading the breakout some of the emotions.But as a percentage of people in the audience that said that they were seeking this and 6% of people said they listened to music to feel evil. Like what on earth. What did you dive into that more to understand what what they meant by evil was it.
12:42:24 Gunny: Oh, what we do is usually when we go into the to the quant study, there are a few things that we’re pretty sure are going to you know be sizable just because we’ve heard them so much again and again in social listening, but in a one on one interviews and all that stuff. Then there are things that we’re, we’re curious whether they’re going to be sizable or not. And then there are a handful of things that we put in there and we think like as pie not gonna come back but if it did come back. That would be a thing wouldn’t. And the idea of listening to music to purposely feel evil is something that Lindsay waking, the person who led the research on this. Lindsay just had some hunches that she put in that really played out and 6% isn’t, you know, an overwhelming percentage of the American population, but when you hear 6% of Americans tell you that they listen to music to feel evil, that’s that’s a heavy thing and it’s just, it’s a great example of the way Lindsay’s able to really like, pull things out of this. When was this field ID,
Adam: I’m assuming it’s all since March.
12:43:36 Gunny: Yes. I’m trying to remember the exact month, but it was, it was this year, it was this year and so the the call started last year. And then the quant was, you know, within the last few months.
12:43:53 Adam: Yeah, I would this would be one that we want to repeat every two or three years to see how it’s how it’s changing along with the National mood.

If you like this conversation, have I got a podcast for you. The Strategy Inside Everything is available everywhere, including direct to your inbox.


12:44:00 Gunny: It’s true, because you’ve got the national mood and then there’s also something that we think might be going on. This is the analysis part of the research rather than the pure research part, but what you see when you see this kind of behavior of people like hunting out. The ability to feel the deep and dark emotions, is it’s not like these people want to be miserable, or you want deep and dark emotions 100% of your life. But, it represents what we called in the report emotional realism, that you’re not just looking for the happy washed happy go lucky version of things, you’re actually looking to feel the full range of human emotions. And we have a hunch that, in the same way that we’ve seen emotional realism grow in entertainment, which is to say, in the 1950s or 1920s you don’t have the same level of emotional realism that you have today and like, This Is Us Billy Eillish or Juice World I’d say you. Now you have that in entertainment, and our suspicion, I would say is that at that we’re going to see the same thing in business culture that, whereas today. As you know, like working inside of agencies, there’s just a there’s like a circuit breaker, that if you go to some emotion that is too deep or too dark. Everybody gets nervous and shy away from it, it comes out of the brief for the creative doesn’t get approved or whatever it might be. We think that might change, because there. The implication out of the research that we find most interesting is that there’s an appetite for emotional realism, that exceeds what we’re getting from advertising from our HR departments from the products and services that were being sold it, you’re not getting it from almost anywhere that’s outside of your own head.
12:46:10 Adam: I’m sorry, you what you don’t get emotional realism from almost anything that’s outside of your own head right now, you know, besides the art right shoes, it’s just not accessible.
12:46:19 Gunny: That’s right. And so now that it’s more acceptable in popular media.
12:46:25 Adam: It makes you feel less alone.
12:46:30 Gunny: And you’d have to think we have a country full of companies nonprofits governmental organizations that purport to be dedicated to authentically connecting with their customer or whatever their client or whatever the, the entity might be, but they’re only using a portion of the emotions that that person feels to actually understand them and to actually provide for them to service them, you, we would hope that over time. Businesses, governmental entities, nonprofits like anything professional would start to adapt and to be able to serve people better by allowing emotional realism to come into the company, but of course that’s going to change a lot of things that you opened a big door with that with that portion of the study and with.
12:47:27 Adam: I’m connecting what you’re saying now to what you said about training your Nonfiction team in how to conduct interviews and I’m wondering if there’s a bigger trend play that you’ve that you’ve tapped into and didn’t know it before you even started to study.
12:47:45 Gunny: That’s possible. I mean for us it’s a necessity, you know, like we can’t we can’t afford to not deal with emotional realism, because our job is to tell the uncensored story of the lives of the customers of the companies that were working for us so we sort of have to deal in that. And obviously, our brand is built upon it’s like our whole mission our ethos is about that. But I hope that what you’re saying is right that we’re just a bellwether of something that might be just as relevant for, I don’t know, Verizon, someday as it would be for an uncensored research company.
12:48:31 Adam: Yeah, I just wonder I today what’s their appetite for not for. I think you’re pushing the door open for them to want the research and want the insights.But then what do they do with it, either internally with their own teams or externally as a communication device, how willing are brands to how willing are individual people to make the decision to deploy that type of vulnerability, or risk uncomfortable conversations I just, I don’t know yet what do you think.
12:49:10 Gunny: I think it’s small and growing properly I think it’s almost like anything else where when companies see other companies doing it, it suddenly becomes not just more acceptable but almost trendy which is maybe its own profitable. But I think our feeling is that the first thing that companies are going to need to do is simply recognize that there is a wave of emotional realism sweeping people’s private lives and the music that they listen to do and the playlist that they make and \ the shows that they watch and the celebrities that they look up to. I mean, when you see celebrities sharing the intimate moments of miscarriage, that we’ve seen in the past week, you know, that’s a really emotionally real thing to put out there as an Instagram influencer or whatever. But the first thing is companies are going to need to realize that in a world that has more and more emotional realism. They are going to be more expected to to deliver that and that by not doing that their interactions with employees and customers, we’re going to see more and more happy watched is the, the term we used in the report. But the second thing that gets at what you were saying is that this isn’t going to be an easy transition for companies, because there’s, there’s no I don’t say no history but there’s relatively little history of emotional realism in the professional sphere like it’s the opposite you know we’re like encouraged not to bring that into the workplace, or even into the advertising work. And so the best thing we think companies can do, especially agencies, frankly, but companies in general, would be to set up a lab, in which they can experiment with more emotionally realistic advertising, which, again, doesn’t mean that the spot ends in like some bad feeling. Right. It just means that’s emotionally realistic about how you get there. And so the smartest thing we could see is companies and agencies really like setting up private labs where they can just experiment in making media and experiment with HR policies is kind of things like no, it’s not real. It’s like a practice field, especially for media there, the cost of development for content is, this is as low as it’s going to get.

Would you like to hear more from Adam? Book him as a live or virtual speaker


12:51:47 Adam: Until next month when it gets lower right to have that kind of lab where you can experiment with how far can you push things. This is the time it seems like the time is there no HR policies are totally different area but for content and messaging and creative and using social to test those things it’s, it’s like there’s no cost of entry for a brand that wants to is willing to take the risk.
12:52:12 Gunny: That’s it. And like every agency should be developing some kind of lab. That is studying a particular audience, which could be a potential type of buyer or, or some kind of demographic and really understanding, like, you know, getting to the emotionally real insights and then trying to develop stuff off of it because the truth is, this is going to be done well and it’s going to be done poorly right somebody is going to take emotional realism to some messed up place that they shouldn’t take it, or it’s going to seem to, they’re going to use it in a way that’s not genuine. It’s going to immediately rub people the wrong way they’re going to be good ways to do it and poor ways to do it. But to be able to experiment to develop a new language within advertising that actually addresses 100% of the emotional range of people. I think it’s really exciting.
12:53:12 Adam: It’s really exciting.
12:53:14 Gunny: Yeah, I agree.
12:53:16 Adam: Gunny This was fantastic. I enjoyed, believe it or not, this is not something people say a lot but I enjoy reading your research studies.
12:53:24 Gunny: But I’ve enjoyed. I’ve enjoyed talking to you, just as much because hearing the, the insight that goes into developing the study and some other takeaways from them.
12:53:48 Adam: As intriguing to me. So thanks for making time I appreciate it. I’ve enjoyed it too Thank you for the chance. Hey, where can people find you and where can people find Nonfiction
Gunny: Nonfiction dot CO, and there’s a bunch of our work that’s on there. That’s, you know in house stuff that we developed that you can download and read for free.
12:54:02 Adam: This was good. I’m going to go back and spend more time reading some of your other studies because I did not really dive into the financial secrets study so that’s something for me to look at this weekend.
Gunny: I think, well, it goes both ways. Because as I finish your books you’re going to get another phone call.
12:54:15 Adam: You got it, bud.
12:54:16 Gunny: Alright, thanks thanks thanks so much.