Survey Researchers and Super Heroing have a lot in common! As an avid pop-culture-loving, Comic-Con attendee for the past two decades (and I’m talking THE San Diego Comic-Con, besides its numerous contemporaries–such as Wizard World, Anime Expo, Creation Entertainment conventions, etc., etc.) and as a marketer even longer, it’s easy for me to see the correlations.
Survey Researchers and Super Heroes both save the day!
Any super hero job description has “helping people” as its number one prerequisite! Save the citizens! And that’s what Survey Researchers do–help their clients. The (red) phone rings and duty calls! Hidden secrets are revealed (in probing survey questionnaires). The defamed are vindicated (in likelihood of confusion cases). Wrongs are righted (in false advertising studies). An ongoing fight for Truth and Justice! Who else does that sound like, hmmm?
Survey Researchers and Super Heroes both have arch nemeses
Unfortunately, it’s the age-old saga of Good vs. Evil, Right vs. Wrong, You vs. Me, Company vs. Company, or Company vs. Customer. *Sigh* And oftentimes the lines are blurred… I once asked my boss, after his trial testimony in a particular litigation case, if we represented the “winning” side (i.e. the side that received the judgment). His response: “Both sides feel they should be the winning side.” Everyone believes they’re right, and deserves the same effort, the same level of customer service.
Survey Researchers and Super Heroes both have well-stocked utility belts
It’s hard to find a super hero with just one super power or one weapon in their arsenal… Superman has an embarrassment of riches, what with super strength, super speed, flight, heat vision, x-ray vision, etc. Batman has his Batarangs, grappling hook, smoke grenades, Joker-repellant, and whatever else the occasion requires. Wonder Woman multitasks with her super strength, magic lasso and invisible plane. It’s the same with a good Survey Research consulting firm (like ours!). Selecting the right type of survey or approach for the situation is a skill-set all its own, born of experience: i.e. Line-up or Eveready? Customer Journey Map? Conjoint, MaxDiff, or Discrete Choice study? A&U Research? Devising the correct plan of attack is half the battle, and it’s good to have options.
Survey Researchers and Super Heroes both have sidekicks…
…or, as we learned the correct term in Disney’s sci-fi Sky High movie, “hero support.” There’s strength in numbers, and even a super hero appreciates someone having their back: Batman and Robin. Superman and Lois Lane. And Jimmy Olsen. The assembled Avengers! And Survey Research is no exception, with a dedicated team of analysts, statisticians, report gurus, client representatives, and administrative staff to aid the testifying expert in the swift completion of her or his appointed rounds, er,…jobs. Bottom line—it takes a village (Nomanisan Island is not just the villain’s lair in The Incredibles. Think about it).
Survey Researchers and Super Heroes both delve into secret identities
So much of Survey Research is confidential. Respondents’ identities are kept secret because the thought of revelation might influence their results. Surveys have to be precisely written, with distractors and controls, in order to be valid. My favorite is creating pictorial control groups for certain trademark infringement cases–where the elements in contention are graphically modified, to test if there’s any confusion. That’s like putting glasses on Clark Kent, and seeing if anyone still recognizes him as Superman. It’s all about masks and secret identities.
So that’s just some of what Survey Researchers and Super Heroes have in common. Of course, there are differences as well. For starters, Survey Researchers get paid (usually), while super heroes are (as a rule) non-profit. But that’s a story for another issue…To Be Continued! Now excuse me while I go put on my cape and mask (they LOVE when I do that in the office!).