Think vs. Know: The Truth about Branding Research.

“Research is creating new knowledge.” – Neil Armstrong

There’s a fine line between doing what you think is best versus what you know is best.

The creative world that we live in—one that involves planning, iterating, sketching, designing, writing, editing, and developing—has plenty of room for subjectivity, and it’s easy to fall into the pattern of doing what you think is best.

What you think is best is rooted in past experience, something you’ve done before, maybe something you’ve read or something that someone told you. It’s usually easier, faster, and comes more naturally because you already know it works.

But does it work best? Is it the best possible solution that’ll achieve the best possible results?

That’s the million dollar question, and it’s one that you can’t fully answer if you’re basing your ideas on what you think instead of what you know.

What you know is rooted in fact. It (in a perfect world) eliminates subjectivity and grounds itself in research and data. “Guaranteed” results are hardly ever a reality, but supporting recommendations and output with statistics, surveys, and time invested in research is a place that we’re moving much more toward here at Proof—as are most creative agencies who find themselves on the leading edge of innovation, trend-setters, rather than trend followers.

  • Our messaging work is further supported by surveying a client’s community of internal and external constituents, enabling us to know what to say and how to say it to our client’s most captive audience.
  • Our design work is well-researched and that research is vetted and discussed internally at the earliest stages of the creative process.
  • Our UX and development work is tested thoroughly and, in some cases, user “focus groups” are involved in the Q&A and final development process to ensure things not only work, but are intuitive and best lead to desired actions.

None of this involves an innovative way of thinking. All of this involves simply getting out of your own way and allowing room for what research and evidence tells you to do, instead of relying purely on gut instinct.

“Is this the best solution?” If you can’t answer that question with 100% confidence, spend more time testing, gathering data, researching, and developing—moving yourself away from “I think” and confidently toward “I know”.

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