“When you find the dilemma in a project, that’s when you know what it’s really about. If there’s no conflict, no clash of interests, how are you going to make it interesting? Bjarke Ingels
Tradition with Modernity, Preservation with Progress, Perfection yet Dissatisfaction, Security/Obligation with Expression/Freedom, we constantly encounter these when talking with consumers in the different Qualitative studies we undertake.
These contradictions are what make the understanding of consumers lives and their culture and custom they make so insightful. Yet marketers are uneasy with contradictions and how to use these.
Dialectical tensions (Leslie Baxter and Barbara Montgomery) are what help us uncover needs. “To dialectical theorists, dialectical tensions keep the relating process vibrant and alive, as parties navigate the unity of opposites in an ongoing manner. Therefore, contradictions are not a sign of trouble for a relationship, but are inherent in the process of relating” (Leslie Baxter)
Asian markets thrive in this dialectic with no apparent desire to unify these in some way. Collective societies like the Philippines spend hours on Facebook even though face to face meetings at churches or cafes is what they are about.
Any understanding of consumers is incomplete without understanding this interplay of opposites and how these are resolved. Repeatedly we have found these contradictions forming the framework of understanding the consumer and providing insights for positioning and new product development. So to clients who are wary of contradictions I say “Do what you will, this world’s a fiction and is made up of contradiction” William Blake