The Credentials Chase: Winning Awards Is Not Important

How refreshing it is to have a creative talent like Joyce King Thomas write a column about the folly of creative people chasing creative awards at the virtual exclusion of all else [Art & Commerce, Oct. 16]. She went as far as to pose the question: “Do we have so little respect for our own business that slaps on the back from others in our profession are the best we can have?”

It takes a confident creative person to take this stand when the vast majority of the creative community views things so differently. Of course, Thomas has the credentials to back up her convictions.

But think of all the similarly credentialed individuals who hold onto their naively single-minded obsession with winning awards. That’s what makes her stand so rare and refreshing.

There’s nothing wrong with winning creative awards. But it’s nothing more than a gratifying by-product of accomplishing something far more important.

Brian Goodall

President, CEO

Hampel/Stefanides, New York

In the Search for Knowledge, Online Research Is a Quick Fix

Iam trying to relocate my senses after reading Amy Yoffie’s article about online research [Art & Commerce, Oct. 2]. The idea that doing away with all that messy human interaction—body language, gestures and facial expressions—in favor of, presumably, a pure, clean voice of the consumer is in dire need of a reality check.

It’s at least a little ironic that in the hands of a market researcher, the Internet becomes yet another quick-fix way of judging people’s responses to things.

As any market researcher who actually cares about human nature knows, the real problem is that what people say is often not quite what they mean and, even more often, contrary to what they truly feel or think.

The author makes the mistake of believing what people say as they play out their role of good consumers. A sad but true fact: The consumer’s voice is a fundamentally contrived one, learned and practiced every day for the last 50 prosperous years.

To me, the Internet seems like the worst place to find out what’s going on in people’s minds, imaginations and hearts. Messages, imagery and ideas submitted to this sort of testing can only end up being “normed” into predictable submission.

Arnie Jacobson

Founding partner

The Qualitative Research Centre

Boulder, Col.