<trp-post-container data-trp-post-id='26336'>Empathy : a value safe...

Let's make sure there's empathy in both marketing and research!


When you pass Parisians tapping away on their smartphones in the street, it's hard to imagine that more than 4 out of 10 French people don't have one, or have only an "old" mobile phone without a touch screen - or, for almost one in 10, no mobile phone at all.

We move in more or less narrow circles where we come across people who are more or less like us, even in the workplace: because we have followed the same university courses, because we have the same cultural references, and so on.

Researchers from the famous Palo Alto school - "The Palo Alto School is a school of thought and research named after the town of Palo Alto in California.reminds Wikipedia - speak of "Open systems We move from one to the other (family, work, friends, etc.) depending on what we're doing, but in the end, we rarely leave this set-up.

When this is the case - a visit to a factory, a local demonstration, etc. - we discover the existence of other systems, other ways of behaving. -But from the outside, without ever fully immersing ourselves. And that's where we come into contact with the "cultural barrier that separates us, discover other values... and quickly return to our own universe.

Some people, by virtue of their position or profession, go back and forth from one microcosm to another; doctors, for example, who see patients on a daily basis who are obviously not like them and towards whom they need to develop a certain empathy to better understand their suffering.

Social workers, too, who have to demonstrate a very strong capacity for integration within communities that are often very closed, without allowing themselves to be trapped there, as this can lead to losing the distance necessary for their day-to-day work. Qualitative research directors, who also immerse themselves at the heart of consumer and citizen systems and logics to get a better grasp of reality. At Adwise, we experience this on a daily basis.

In fact, there are two ways of discovering a band that isn't your own.

Rationally, by looking at it from an almost ethnographic point of view: a bit like Taylor's disciples who went round the workshops in factories with a stopwatch in their hands; however, if Taylor managed to understand the shortcomings of the old way of organising work, it was above all because he himself had started his career as a simple worker.

Emotionally too, by finding one's place, even temporarily, within it; which does not mean throwing one's own values out the window, but developing a sufficient capacity for empathy to understand individuals with whom one does not a priori share values.

The neuroscientist Antonio Damasio points out in Descartes' errorIn his view, reason and emotion are both born in the same cerebral space, and it would be illusory to separate them in order to achieve better reasoning. He goes on to say that any understanding of a phenomenon, or of individuals, requires a close alliance of reason and emotion.

Returning to the world of marketing, from research managers and product managers to directors in charge of strategy, we all move within similar cultural universes... often far removed from those of our customers: if ethnography and statistics, among other methodologies, provide us with a 'rational' vision, regular immersion within their universe will enable us to add an 'emotional' complement for a more global understanding.

They we have fact confidence. Discover our achievements