Sweden, like most other civilised nations, has a national weather service. They go by the name SMHI or, to give them their impressive full name, Sveriges Meteorologiska och Hydrologiska Institut. Very nice, as long as you don’t have to say the whole mouthful. But as the saying goes everyone talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it. Anyway, SMHI are driving me crazy. Have been for several months. I mean I understand that trying to predict what the weather is actually going to do can’t be all that easy, but it is actually their job. And they don’t even come close by a zillion miles. I’d have a better chance of getting an accurate weather forecast by listening to my dear Mother’s daily predictions after she’s peered into her morning cup of tea and swirled the tea leaves around. One morning not so long ago provides a good example of the issue. SMHI predicted heavy rain and thunderstorms all day. I peered carefully out of the window, expecting to get drenched but the sun was shining brightly in the sky. I asked myself do they ever actually open a window and just stick their head outside? Anyway, this brings me to a more relevant focus. Personal research. As these weather related thoughts were running through my brain I was reminded that when it comes to marketing and branding research we all too often don’t simply stick our head out of the window. There is nothing like leaving your nice warm comfy office and actually getting out amongst where the action really is. I had a client years ago who insisted that before you could work on his account you had to spend several days walking around a supermarket watching consumers taking his product, or not, off the shelves and really looking the consumer in the whites of their eyes. Very good advice I’ve never forgotten. I still find too many people expect to understand consumers from lifeless market research reports. So open the window and stick your head out occasionally and see it like it’s really like. ——————————————————————————————— This blog is reproduced from the place branding book Wish You Were Here, by Julian Stubbs.