Using research and intuition is a balancing act for brands

One doesn’t necessarily cancel out the other but knowing when research is needed and when it’s appropriate to go with a gut feeling is vital for brands, particularly in new campaign launches.

Mindi Chahal

The idea of ‘educated intuition’ is an internal model within Pernod Ricard, owner of Jameson, Chivas Regal and Absolut, and is an idea I got to discuss at its Global Capital Market Day which took place in Beijing last week. 

When asking the head of brands at Pernod Ricard, Thierry Billot, about pushing innovation in a company that has a decentralised model for brand management and distribution, he mentioned that it requires trying to find the right combination between a brand and local insights and that the innovation process requires a dialogue between a market and a brand. 

In order to understand that dialogue and get that market knowledge a brand would need to use a certain amount of insight and research. But its something that Billot explained is about getting the balance right between education and intuition.

When it comes to campaigns Billot says: “We have to make sure that it’s relevant in the brand positioning, maybe through qualitative research, and after you go through a round of quantitative research to try to validate.”    

But he also adds that sometimes it’s better to just run a new campaign because if you test it too much it will be very difficult to decide if it will work, especially when consumers have various and opposing opinions about the campaign.  

Using too much research could kill the creative but not using research to steer the general positioning of the brand could result in a lack of understanding of the market and affect how the campaign in received.  

Understanding the uses of research requires an understanding of when a brand needs quantitative or qualitative insight and when the time is right to go with gut feeling; using the two together requires an understanding of the balance between them.

At the conference Pernod Ricard also talked about new territories it’s venturing into, including targeting female consumers, which requires an understanding of what, how and when women drink. Whether this works and whether their insights come through in the end products and new campaign launches is one to watch out for.   


Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here