Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Insights from Arnie

It’s a classic tale of entrepreneurship. A young man, his heart full of passion to make his own way, his brain filled with knowledge from the tutelage of his mentor, packs his car and heads west.

Today we celebrate the spirit that drove that young man, our founder and chairman Arnie Fishman, to open his own shop, Lieberman Research West.

Much has changed in the four decades since Arnie signed the lease and went knocking on doors to share the benefits of research to help grow the entertainment industry.

What hasn’t changed is the purpose of our company, now called Lieberman Research Worldwide. We use market research to have significant impact on our clients’ businesses.

We’ve learned a lot through the years from clients and vendors and, yes, even from our competitors. We’ve also learned a lot from Arnie. His experience and perspectives shaped us as a company and more importantly, as individuals. We thought we would share a few “Arnie-isms” with you.

*Editor’s note: For authenticity, please read the following quotes with a Brooklyn accent.

On Research
Language matters. Write surveys like you’re having a conversation. Talk to people in a way they are comfortable responding. So don’t use highfalutin words like “purchase” when “buy” will suffice. Avoid stiff language and research-ese.

Successful market research invariably comes down to two simple but foundational requirements – 1) interviewing the right people and 2) asking them the right questions.

On Client Management
Always return a client call, immediately. If you don’t have the answer, that’s ok. Tell them you are getting the answer, and if you can, when you will have it. Never leave them wondering if you’ve even heard the message. You may be feverishly working to answer their question, but they don’t know that, if you don’t tell them. For all they know, you haven’t even received the message, and no one is working on their urgent need. So let the client know you are in it with them, and they have a partner that is working on the solution.
When you’re struggling with a big issue on a study and you find yourself trying to guess what the client is thinking, pick up the phone and just ask them.

On Going Fast
No one will ever fault you for taking the time to be right, as it’s better than being fast and wrong.
People always make time to fix the problem, but often don’t spend enough time to avoid the problem.
A client will remember great work, and forget that you were a day late….when forced to make a choice – do beautiful work.

On Smarts

  • Don’t just do what you are told. Always understand WHY you’re doing it.
  • Don’t automatically do something the way you have done it in the past just because “that’s the way we always do it.”
  • Don’t try to prove you’re smart. We already think you’re smart, that’s why we hired you. Just focus your energy on being smart.

On Humanity
People often do things for the wrong reason but they seldom do things for no reason.
Approach every situation with the assumption of good intentions. Most people are doing what they think they should be doing and are not acting with malice.

We all have an equal place in the meeting and bring something special to the party. There is no reason to be nervous or feel at a disadvantage. You know what you know, I know what I know. I’m glad you’re here, and I’m glad I’m here.

We can all remake ourselves if we have the will.

On Life
Don’t use a rubber band to shoot paper clips.

On Creativity
If you look at an issue from multiple angles, including from outside the box, you have a better chance of finding a solution.

On Entrepreneurship

  • Be willing to take risks, but always risks that you can afford to take – that won’t take you out of the game permanently.
  • Ego points cost money.
  • Take the long view – get rich slowly.

On Appreciation
Don’t forget to congratulate people for their accomplishments, including just doing an everyday good job.
Be thankful. LRW has been a huge blessing for all of us. Take a moment from time to time to recognize and be thankful for our good fortune.

Happy anniversary, LRW. Happy anniversary, Arnie. (And thank you, from all of us.)


For 40 years, LRW has been asking so what?® to help our clients use market research to have significant business impact. Learn more about us at LRWonline.com.

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