Today’s class was focused on “Ethnography” and how to study a situation or a person with the sense of “Vuja De” – with fresh eyes. We all had to watch an episode of Entourage and look for cultural practices – a manifestation of a culture or a sub culture. Interspersed with the insights from the show on the topics of sex and gender, social organization and loyalty, were comments from Sundeep Ahuja, giving us a real flavor to what the people in the show were really like.
One of the games that we played today, was to spend a couple of minutes discussing what the person sitting next to us did yesterday and extrapolate from that information, what breakfast they had today. This was fun, because this illustrated to us in a straight forward manner, how it feels to try and imagine being someone else. Post, that we discussed how and what kind of products we could potentially market to them – was it through a viral video, a party setting, internet etc.
Another topic we touched today was how Vinay’s campaign was so effective – from getting their life’s story out through moving pictures that captured different phases of his life and make him real to the audience, to punctuating every campaign with an action recommendation. It was beautiful to see how by putting yourself in the foot of your target audience, and then thinking about the barriers to action and then removing it could be an effective way using social marketing.
Professor Aaker, then told us the story of a 14-year old who was suffering from a mysterious disease that suddenly attacked her, and turning her from a healthy little girl to someone who is bed-ridden today with a few weeks of life predicted. And we noticed that the campaign that the Professor had launched similar to Vinay’s campaign to identify one other similar case, was a failure, because they could not define the goal, privacy issues and the complexity of the disease which made communication complex.
The class ended with tips on the power of brevity in communication, through stories in 6 words (Like Hemingways’: “For Sale: baby shoes, never worn”) and with tips on in-situ ethnography. The five insights were to be there, be present, be vulnerable be surprised and to be brave and honest. Three methods of getting another person to open up were through good opening questions, photos and quotes and keeping a “bug list or an idea wallet”.
All in all, it was a great class with a wide breadth of things covered around ethnography and social impact.