Tag Archives: storytelling

I Wear Your Shirt: Life as a market research consultant #MRX #NewMR

I can hardly believe I’ve been an independent consultant for a year and a half. The new lifestyle comes with pros and cons.

Cons: If I wake up early, it doesn’t mean I finish my day early. If the printer runs out of paper, I can’t ‘accidentally’ leave it for the next person to fill. I will have to find the lost, squished grape on the floor myself.

Fortunately, there are pros.

Pros: This is the best commute I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. I work with clients whose standards and ethics match mine. My lunchtime walks are through treed neighbourhoods not industrial parks. My dress code has loosened up drastically to include a wide range of ultra casual, industry billboards.


I wear your shirt.

Over the years, I’ve received many marketing research t-shirts at conferences. When I don’t feel a kinship to those shirts, I always find a happy taker in a client or colleague. The t-shirts you see in this image, however, made the cut and landed in my closet. I love the bright colours, the witty remarks, the nonblack options. A few are women’s sizes and I like those the most.

What else do they have in common? Except for one, you don’t see logos or brand names. All of these shirts actually do have logos either on the back or the sleeve but none of them are simply logos or brand names or [your unoriginal and actually uninspiring] tag lines. In other words, don’t waste your money creating a t-shirt that is a blinkin’ billboard. [Side note… unless your company name is Irrational in which case you’d get bonus marks for having a brand name that is also a witty comment.]

You’ll also notice that none of these shirts incorporate odd brand colours. I’ve gotten many shirts that were exact on-brand cousins of puce and turquoise that looked weird even with blue or black jeans – out the door!

Basically, if you’re pondering new t-shirt designs, choose colours that fall within the range of human perception, and then go witty or go home.

In case you’re not sure, the companies that are finalists in this extremely tight t-shirt branding competition are…

Jibunu, Qualtrics, Confirmit, iModerate, Bayasoft, Sentient Decision Science, AYTM, Conversition [my previous company, acquired and disbanded], SeekResearch, Sentient Prime, Zappi.

Congratulations 🙂

The next generation of market research and insights creation #IIeX 

Live note taking at the #IIeX conference in Atlanta. Any errors are my own.

Panel: The Next Generation of Market Research & Insights Creation
Moderated by Leonard Murphy (GreenBook) with panelists Chris Enger (Periscope by McKinsey), Tamara Char (Periscope by McKinsey), & Simon Chadwick (Cambiar)

  • Periscope by McKinsey is a suite of tools for collecting learnings, analytics
  • Our entire industry is fragmented, over half of companies that source data did not exist ten years ago and they may not exist ten years form now
  • Technology is not the driver of change, client needs and circumstances are the drivers of change, they are being asked to do far more with budgets lower than they used to be, they much get creative
  • Behavioural data and analytics techniques to analyze that data is suddenly easily available and analyzable, this changes everything about being able to identify insights and work in an agile way, can get to 80/20 answers more quickly, we don’t need the 100% answer, we need to make progress on problem solving
  • Are analytics pushing the business forward, are the ‘researchers’ falling behind and failing to get seat at the table?
  • Need to elevate the quality and consistency of data so that the leadership is never getting three answers to the same question nor are employees hearing diverging answers
  • You must have a c-suite leader and hopefully the chief financial officer who has a longer tenure in a company, not the chief marketing officer
  • The CMO needs to spend time developing strategies not waiting to get data, let the machines do the heavy lifting so the team can spend their time strategizing
  • What is the role of the methodologist, understanding fit for purpose of all the tools, this is why we’re seeing so much fragmentation, 
  • In the USA, people are attracted by tools. In the EU, they are more focused on ideas and creativity, and try to be creative all through the entire process. Need to be less technologically focused in the USA. 
  • Try assigning various people on th c-suite to BE a person in a segment, have them go shopping for her, experience her, all to get them to empathize more clearly, because c-suite lives are so completely different from their segments
  • Is automation a dirty word? Machine learning templates and speeds everything up, may eliminate bias of an individual person although it will perpetuate bias that exists within the data
  • We need to present data for ten minutes and then discuss the oilers and solutions for the remaining 50 minutes

Panel: The GRIT Report & Future Impacts
; Moderated by Leonard Murphy (GreenBook) with panelists Aaron Reid, Ph.D (Sentient Decision Science), Patricia Chapin-Bayley (Toluna), Rick Kelly (Fuel Cycle) & Isaac Rogers (20|20 Research)

  • Automation is mostly used for analysis of surveys data, charting and infographics, analysis of text data, analysis of social media, sampling
  • “My clients aren’t asking me for social media data” no they aren’t, they’re asking someone else
  • Automation frees up time to expand capacity and do more, many things will soon be automated. We must adapt to this or fall by the wayside.
  • Buyers are slow to adopt automation, automation is a dirty word because they think it is DIY and it will be more work. It will actually free up resources and allow you to do more once you are trained and moving forward.
  • Do you want to be at a data collection conference in five years or at an insights conferences? Your business must adopt automation.
  • People don’t CARE if you automate, they want better research insights and thinking. You must have automation to get there.
  • Automation may not cut your budget but it allows you to move your budget into higher value endeavours.
  • What should samplers do? Advise on representativity, enforce length of interview limits, consult on questionnaire design, restrict to mobile only, forbid mobile-unfriendly. it is an absutive relationship – clients don’t want to pay for consumer friendly and respectful questionnaires.
  • There is no such thing as a non-mobile study. Every device must work and work well. You cannot run a survey without mobile respondents or you are guaranteed a nonrepresentative sample. Why is this even a conversation?
  • If you aren’t thinking mobile first, you are being stupid. We spend half of our time on our devices.  It is a data quality issue. [Cannot agree with this comment enough]
  • Educating the researcher of the future – they need critical thinking and storytelling skills. We all need to be critical thinking experts, you shouldn’t in the business without that.  We need to train the current workforce on how to do this. We’ve trained people on how to run cross-tabs but they need training on storytelling and turning insights into action.
  • Quick research doesn’t have to be quick and dirty or poor quality
  • The technology doesn’t matter, the platform doesn’t matter, we need to stop talking about the technology and focus on consultation, understanding the problem 

IFF showcase: 5 presentation summaries #IIeX #MRX 

Live note taking at #IIeX in amsterdam. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.

The electric light did not come from the continuous improvement of candles by Stan Knoops

  • Scent goes directly to the limbic system in the brain, the only sense to do that, hits the emotions directlyfr
  • Fragrance is hard to shut down because you must breathe, it’s hard to not smell something but you can not see or not hear something
  • Companies that have the sense of smell right make a difference [i do buy shampoo by smell, kids shampoos are the best!]
  • M&Ms don’t smell so they need to use other emotions
  • Consumers need scent but this changes over time, it’s not a change of needs but rather a stacking of needs, we don’t talk about the old needs, the table stakes, but they still need to be there
  • Think about laundry detergent, conumsers touch the fragrance at multiple point from shopping to hanging up to sleeping on; this is all very different for hand soap; its not a strong clean now, its a care for hands
  • Think about how the fragrance is released, eg the sun releaseing scent from drying laundry or fragrance released with high temperature of iron or only released during active body ovements [when you sweat?]
  • Three parts – gather data, analyze data, impact with data
  • Used to spend 95% of time gathering, 5% analyzing, 1% impact (the debrief)
  • We need to change this balance to 40/30/30 – how do we do this build a new S curve
  • Affinity for action, need to collaborate with consumers partners and internal team, need to to deep need discovery, need to story tell and visualize

Storytelling and forward looking orientation by Hans Lingeman (Winkle)

  • Need to use bold imagination, simple stories, and step outside of your world
  • For 5000 years, we were horse riders, it made a lot of sense to work in the horse business, you know what happened after that
  • Think of a world without electricity, we would be chopping wood within a week, you’d be walking everywhere (I’m good then!), but we don’t even think about it
  • Why does shampoo smell like fear to me, shy do we use shampoo every day since it was only invited in the 50s, shampoo will collapse someday
  • Science says its not great to wash your hair everyday, about half wash their hair every other day
  • What is the outsider’s perspective, what if there iesn’t electricity or shampoo
  • Let’s consider that the unthinkable is inevitable [i love this idea, how often do you do this?]
  • We must  pick up on the signals, if kids are wearing masks because of pollution what should the detergent companies do? Focus on freshness, teh grandparents know what nature smells like but the boy does not, he would change his clothes a lot because they smell, companies can share fragrances with him that he doesn’t know
  • Be prepared and know where to look
  • Technology lets us travel around the world physically and digitally, we have a fascinating future because of technology

Innovation by emotion by Steven Fokkinga, Emotion/Studio

  • When products and services collide with human behaviour
  • Micro emotions, emotional granularity, and emotions as the gateways to relevance
  • Products evoke more emotions than we realize
  • Top of mind products are the tip of the iceberg, unconsciously they influence our preferences
  • A Fitbit make syou feel curious, then you learn all of the things it can do, then you wonder can it help your health, then you realize how bad your health is, so many emotions along the way, how many emotions do you have about one product
  • Holistic experience scan, a panel of people who understand all the detailed emotions and know how to map them and score them
  • Emotional life is diverse, worry, confusion, anger, contempt, guilt, disgust, hate, sadness, anxiety, reluctance, doubt, etc
  • Researchers are often interested only in the positive emotions
  • Created formulates to generate specific emotions for flight attendants about to go in the air, showtime curtain to create anticipation, nature section to encourage care
  • Emotions reveal our deepest needs and values
  • Can you ask and receive or should you instead focus on values and aspirations, learn about their deep needs
  • Used the method with viewers and a news show, learned that the content of the news item need to guide the presentation of the format, let the newscaster be the guide not the teacher, other news shows are now following suit 
  • they have a list of 24 positive emotions

Storytelling and the power of data visualization by Mike Page, Blueocean Market intelligence 

  • Can you choose pretty visualization or functional visualizations, can you have both
  • Is the purpose of the chart to look pretty or communicate the insights
  • [oh, first use of Alexa] ALexa responded to the research question, we can interact with data via voice [oh, imagine giving your client an Alexa instead of a dataset!]
  • [i look forward to the day when live demonstrations just work and you dont question it ever]

Video beyond storytelling by Carl Wong, LivingLens

  • Video will soon be the vast majority of internet content and in many ways its inaccessible
  • How do we get from massive video content to shorter accessible video
  • How do you beat one very articulate and passionate consumer so why don’s we use video more? Because it’s painful to gather and curate
  • Half of executives would rather watch video than read text
  • If you use video just to answer an open end question then you’re missing something
  • Video is more than a 2 minute highlight reel or talking head
  • How much time have you spent collecting data and how little time have you spend Rudly analyzing it, we can automate the collection part so we can spend more time on the analyzing part
  • Analyze layers of data including speech or sentiment, facial emotional recognition, tone of voice recognition, Extremely useful at scale
  • Use video to understand how long different cultures brush their teeth, how different they brush their teeth
  • How people feel about preparing dinner, conversations during dinner, and treat these as datasets
  • Understand emotional spikes by demographic groups
  • What happens to social media listening when we switch over to video?

Viz-Fest Day 1 – Visual Branding and Identity #MRX #NewMR

Live note taking from Viz-Fest Day 1. Any errors are my own.


The future’s bright, The future’s branded by Lucy Davison, Keen as Mustard

  • Know what you are and what you do, follow through in every aspect of your organization
  • What are the three most valuable marketing activities? Branding and strategy, website, content marketing
  • Biggest marketing problems: Awareness, don’t get on pitch lists, don’t know who we are or what we do
  • Need to get your brand right first, relevant messaging and strategy
  • MRX companies underinvest in marketing – More than half spend less than 5% of revenue on marketing. Average for a B2B company is 10%
  • Things are stormy but far in horizon there is possibility,
  • Big data is freely available, why do MR anymore? It’s faster, cheaper. Don’t need methods controlled by agencies. Now we have robots and algorithms doing our jobs.
  • Other businesses are encroaching on our space – Google, amazon. [oh, it’s not ‘our’ space!]
  • What can we learn from other B2B industries? Advertising – Saatchi & Saatchi reinvented themselves. M&CSAATCHI – Brutal, simplicity of thought. Cut back to only essential concept. BarleBogleHegary changed to BBH with a black sheep – it’s about being very different, going against the grain
  • How do clients pick agencies? Obviously, good people they trust, clients follow good people. Good technology to support what they say they can do. Want a new perspective, always be growing, better intellectual capabilities, end benefits to their stakeholders, make it easy to buy.
  • Look at logos of top 30 MR companies – all the logos look the same – blue acronyms.
  • If you aren’t buying legacy, what are you buying?
  • Most MR organizations are grey or blue, dull, boring. Even though we are dynamic and colorful.
  • It’s what they say about themselves – world, global, intelligence, insights, research, provider, strategy, growth, customer, unpredictable, precision, analytics
  • Must live and breathe the brand, it’s different, it lets you charge more
  • It’s time to change – we have so much content and intellectual property, we need to charge for business solutions not processors, we need to stand up to apple and google and be branded like they are
  • It’s how you behave with clients not just what you look like
  • MR is like a giant IKEA warehouse of flat pack companies, no idea how they’re different
  • Find your secret sauce – what is it that you have that is distinctive? Find your philosophy, make it meaningful, what culture do you have to deliver that
  • WHY do you do what you do, tell your company story
  • How branding helps agencies – pique client interest to get that first conversation, makes repeat business easier, methodology is far easier to copy than philosophy, more latitude on cost when proposals aren’t directly comparable, provides basis for staff recruitment, loyalty, and retention
  • How does this help clients? They know what final product they will get. Makes the final product predictable and reproducible. Reduces the need for pitching. More likely to partner on new techniques. More obvious which agencies are a good cultural fit. Makes my life easier.

Out with the old: Internal branding and you by Virginia Monk, Network Research

  • Move from being information providers to knowledge providers to providers of wisdom, a three or four-year journey, need to do this internally and externally
  • Rebranding isn’t easy, must be all consuming, across all media, all interactions, staff, stakeholders, partners, clients; should impact everything you do not just cosmetic changes, must be sold to the business so they feel comfortable with it
  • New visual identity need to align to new positioning, which signal change internally, and positioned the company appropriate externally
  • Needed to work out SWOT, find their philosophy
  • Competitors are technology providers, data providers, analytics providers not just other MR companies
  • Old logo looked exactly like the generic logo Mustard had built, fifteen years ago it was cool and new but now clients and new employees didn’t know what the logo was network research old
  • Now the logo is a bright blue supported with orange for slight differentiation and a strapline, something to fit their identify around, tells customers who they are and what the benefit itnetwork research new
  • Needed to change colours/branding on more than just the logo
  • Asked a long-time client and a new client what they thought of the new logo with no prompting. They understood what was being said. Liked the three dots as a ‘watch this space’ more to follow
  • Invested money so people connected emotionally with the branding and how it impacted them personally, had to work with all employees not just client facing employees
  • Had a launch party for staff, not just a few drinks after work. Used an external location that related to the branding. Chose St. Paul’s in London. Strong, beautiful design, internal and external strength, and has a great view just like the strapline.
  • Needed a sensory impact too. See, hear, taste, and smell the branding. Redecorated the office over the weekend, new paint, new decorations, new kitchen appliances and dishes, new furniture.
  • Gave every employee branded gifts – cups, paper, water bottles, orange chocolate, oyster card holders, stress balls, new business cards and collateral
  • Felt cheesy but it made a different. People love the oyster card holder, non-employees want them too
  • Changed some job titles, changed email signatures, people were excited when this happened
  • Circulated a brand book to everyone, new set of key works and terms for report and proposals, new iconography as well, lots of training on how to talk about it in this new way, training on new story-telling, operationalized the values for non-client facing staff – have an opinion on everything they do
  • Use it in their appraisal forms and scorecards
  • Branding is flexible and permits brand extension
  • Must start with the business strategy, what are you and what do you want to be; staff engagement must come at the beginning; executing the brand is more important than the branding itself; more effective to have multiple strands to an internal rebranding strategy with constant repeats
  • Recognize different learning styles, some people want a book, some want to be told, some want to play with it
  • Bedding in the brand takes time and is a cumulative process
  • Senior employees must live the brand and believe it, act it, not just lip service
  • Business must be prepared to adapt for maximum impact – redecorating the office must have seemed excessive but it wasn’t
  • Consider how it affects proposals early
  • Create a handbook of terms and meaning for all staff
  • Training never ends

Branding your insights by Mathew Sell and Daniel Tralman at Northstar

  • Advertisers and public relations know how to sell themselves, hard for researchers to do the same
  • Research has become too commoditized, need to make it more interesting, actionable, easier to access, it has a PR problem, we forget basic branding for ourselves
  • Our research needs to stimulate creativity and inspire action, need to value individuality and creativity
  • Insight doesn’t cut through the noise, so much is jostling for attention
  • Insight Campaign Strategies – we need to practice what we preach, concepts not projects, interpretative visualization, disruption and dissonance
  • Concepts not projects – we create concepts and clubs that people want to be a part of
  • #20ExtraordinaryStories was the name of a new project, promoted storytelling not just research findings, gave it life, told clients that they were one of only 20 in the study
  • Needed people to want to be part of the club, put the logo on every piece of content
  • Font echoed a sports team, hashtag showed digital, color indicated luxury, club word was for unity and participation
  • Created an online portal and membership packs, keep respondents engaged in the project and part of the community, required the skill of a journalist to give real time information
  • Community allowed two-way communication, everyone had the same information at the same time, strengthened emotion engagement
  • Interpretive visualization
  • Design isn’t just logos and fonts, it’s symbolic representation not just design and not just direct, need to capture qualities of things
  • Client wanted to center around a single word in multiple EU markets “good”
  • Created a character around the word good, needed as few words as possible backed up with visuals
  • Same with the word sustainability – use colors and images to support the word, even use those things as the font
  • How light hearted does the style need to be to bring people along the journey, particularly when the image needs to be dark or negative
  • Don’t worry about communicating directly with life like imaging, avatars indicate characters without specific details, removing facial expressions means you concentrate on other attributes of an image
  • Disruption and dissonance
  • Insight is easy to file, it’s linear with a start and finish
  • Hand out booklets as people leave a presentation
  • Use teaser campaigns to highlight studies, hand out popcorn, make posters and mugs, use physical assets along with digital [people love free stuff!]
  • Performance is the next level of engagement

Workshops: Video insights and Second City for humour in storytelling

Live note taking at #IIeX in Atlanta. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.

Workshop: Empowering people with video insight by Dave Carruthers 

  • People remember stories not statistics
  • Video is important because edit gives unrivalled depth, replace open ends with video, get 50% more content with video
  • text boxes are becoming less and less effective, “it was great”. “I liked it”
  • Video gets us closer to the moment of truth, adds authenticity, video brings consumers to life with emotion
  • Video is at the heart of everything we do, Facebook, Instagram, snapchat, this is how people want to do thing snow
  • Challenge is doing video at scale, but we are solving this problem
  • Early video research was difficult, cumbersome, time consuming, need to watch and code all this video
  • Got 350 videos this morning in just a few hours, asked people to rank Hillary and Donald on numerous issues, how can you build a report in 20 minutes, that’s what we’re going to do
  • [now we go into three workgroups to turn hundreds of videos into reports. The room is FULL so introverts are safe if they stick to the back. 🙂 ]
  • We’ve got fifteen minutes to make a video
  • The videos have verbatim text beside them and the words are coded with the time they were said so you can extract it easily, people have manually transcribed the videos
  • Words have frequency counts so you can see what topics come up the most, can set aside topics to review
  • Can select what is relevant to you [could be very biased depending on who is selecting the topics and videos]
  • Software snips out the piece of video related to the topics you chose
  • Can add sentiment score to video, overlay captions
  • Videos are put online with passwords to avoid some privacy issues
  • [quite like this system as long as caveats around research bias are transparent]

Workshop: adaptive storytelling – know your brand, know your audience by Piero Procacci

  • Do corporate entertainment, training, facilitating, and using the tools of improve to understand brand insights
  • How to move from iprovisation to storytelling – go big then go small, wide then narrow
  • Improv is a mind body experience
  • [Here goes, everyone is asked to stand up and now we’re going to do the wave  and some screaming. ]
  • Half of people nervous about improv, easier to engage if there is unconditional support from everyone, create an environment of no judgement, show this through lots of applause
  • Volunteer on stage, huge applause for the first nervous person, we are asked to applause every single thing she does, even if it’s just saying her name, We are now applauding her every tiny word
  • She liked the applause but was still really nervous even thought everyone was clapping, she got to experience full cycle even with a tiny event , she trusted what she said was right and moved forward from there
  • Today, we assume everything we say is right, say the first thing that comes to mind, say it, then censor it so that it’s more funny the next time, build on what you already said
  • Reserve all judgement of self and others, we tend to judge ourselves first, we focus on ourselves first even though no one really else is
  • Now we’re asked to introduce ourselves to partners and chat with each other, one person in each pair is asked to raise their hand, and the other perso will begin, the risk taker gets to go second; asked to plan a party for your own birthday party, respond to every idea with “no, because”; next person takes their turn and responds to every idea with “Yes” and add something to the idea
  • Hearing no makes it hard to keep going, had to come up with more and more safe options, just want to quit, ideas are less innovative and risky, it’s a normal experience, we hear no a lot in life because it keeps us safe, we default to no when yes would benefit us more, it’s okay to say no but don’t default to no
  • Hearing yes let people be even more outrageous, couldn’t have a bad idea, took more risks, more laughter, more fun, less scary, puts us at ease
  • Brand stage event – company is in theatre, invite consumer audience, have a cast of improvisers and musicians, see connections that we wouldn’t notice otherwise, alternate discussion and iprovisation, discussion gets to emotion more quickly
  • Find a new partner now, pick a favorite story you both know, tell it to the other person in less than a minute, now the other person has to tell the story in only 30 seconds, now it has to be told in ten seconds, and now in a reasonable length single sentence, now tell the story in the “I” form, now tell the story from the point of view of a different character in the original story
  • Shortest story needs you to make a key point, more theory and images  than details, focus only on what matters, short takes more time than the longer story, (have to talk faster), have to eliminate information that is irrelevant to the audience, have to focus on the audience more than yourself, not eliminate what you think is uninteresting but what is irrelevant 
  • Telling story from another point of view generate different details, more intimate, more emotional, more vulnerable
  • Workshops help people see a new way of communicating, being more open and accepting
  • Get feedback before something is fully baked
  • Don’t take yourself so seriously, lighten up and be open to a different perspective, play gets teams more engaged, improv is about compassion and empathy, can deal with delicate issues this way, people become more willing to share because they create a safe space
  • Use humour to empathize not to entertain, play humour to help the conversation, may not be humor in the end but motivational

Into the woods: how stories work and why we tell them by John Yorke #MRSlive @TweetMRS #MRX 

Live blogged at MRS in London. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.

  • Why do stories work? Lets us understand what it is like to be someone else. 
  • Stories are what make us human
  • Why do people tell stories? We want to communicate with other people. We don’t want to live in perfect isolation.
  • Poweropints and numbers are fine but we don’t get an emotional response from that 
  • Stories reduce chaos to order, seek order shape and balance, sense of ending and world is okay
  • Stories don’t have to be nice but you form an emotional bond and you have to care
  • Jaws – sharks goes into public beach an eats person. Now that’s boring but a story turns it into a problem to be solved. 
  • Every story is fundamentally the same – go on quest, overcome problem, meet romantic partner, all is well.
  • Why do we want to see more stories if they are basically all the same? Well, we don’t know that, plus it’s the power of curiousity of what happens next
  • It’s all driven by curiousity, also happens in advertising, in politics.
  • We cannot cope with chaos and randomness, we have to wrap it in a narrative
  • Stories are how we learn
  • Tragedy – I expected good but got bad
  • Heroic story – I expected bad but got good
  • First half of story is you get the information, second half is you respond to the information, halfway through is when everything changes
  • Best writers didn’t study structure and yet they all use perfect structure
  • Ronald Reagan was good at making a large group of people empathize with him and delineating an enemy
  • Politics is the power of story, people get elected based on their story, it can be a very simple story
  • People don’t respond to logic, they respond to story
  • AirBNB, two guys with nothing and nobody believed in them but they went after their dream – it’s the Cinderella story
  • Narrative advertising is amazing when you don’t even have to name the brand
  • Google commercial of man missing an old friend who is then found by daughter who searches Google, implication is they have reunited a continent 🙂
  • Most powerful stories are when the audience infers the story, more emotional involvement, show not tell
  • Never give the answer until you obsolutely have to
  • Politicians need a goal and lots of people who will sympathize with the goal. Bernie has a great story, Hillary doesn’t seem to have a story
  • [John is a fun speaker! Lots of good tweets, head over to the #MRSlive twitter stream]

Storytelling: From Insights to Impact by Kristin Luck#MRIA15 #MRX

MRIA15,MRIA2015Live blogged from the 2015 MRIA National Conference in Toronto. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.

Keynote – Storytelling: From Insights to Impact
Kristin Luck

  • Two truths and a lie – Did she eat a one pound block of cheese for $20? Lie!
  • Her family surrounded her when she was diagnosed with breast cancer (and her husband left her in the same week). She found her brother furious at her after her surgery. Apparently, he’d just found out she ruined an album of his years ago when they were kids. 🙂
  • 220px-Kristin_Luck.jpg (220×146)These very personal stories help the audience to establish a connection with her.
  • Selling research is the most painful thing you can do when you are a shy introvert, especially if your first meeting is with P&G.
  • Never ask a yes/no question because it doesn’t allow the conversation to keep going.
    • I heard you went on vacation last week – yes
    • Did you do anything fun – yes
    • What did you do – i went to guitar camp (she knows nothing about guitars)
    • She recalled an episode of the simpsons and suddenly had a great connection with the person

  • Nicknaming makes people more memorable [what’s your nickname for me?]
  • Tell a story that’s memorable
  • You’ve read research on alcoholism. You also know that James Bond drinks a lot. Is there a reason that James Bond likes his martini’s shaken not stirred.
  • Researchers did a CAGE analysis – if you answer yes to at least 2 items, your drinking pattern needs to be reviewed. – James Bond could probably only shake his drink because he was too inhibited to stir it.
    • Cut down on your drinking
    • Do people Annoy you by criticizing your drinking
    • Have you ever felt Guilty about your drinking
    • Have you ever needed an Eye opener drink in the morning
  • The James Bond story is so intriguing you likely won’t forget it
  • It can be hard to find meaning in what you’re doing everyday, it might seem really boring. Testing ten soup cans or 40 movie trailers, there’s just not a lot of meaning there. The same with business strategy.
  • When she joined Decipher, the company was all about WHAT they did. They needed to work towards an aspirational business strategy. Changed the tagline from Survey Reporting to Illuminating Opportunity, and told that story at every chance they got. Increased brand awareness 60% every year, increased social media reach 40%, email open rates 10% higher than industry averages.
  • Don’t discount storytelling for your own business strategy.
  • You need the hook and the link. The hook draws people in, she likes to use personal stories. The link is what connects the story to the purpose, holds the story together – present research results in a unique as in using the James Bond story.
  • Words are how we think, Stories are how we link.
  • 92% of consumers want brands to makes ads feel like a story. Brain processes images 60% faster than words – images are both pictures and stories that you turn into an image in your mind.
  • People only make fundamental changes to their behaviour when they think they are dying. Don’t apply this to marketing research. Don’t let MR die.  Get out of your traditional thinking and simplify your research process.
  • It’s harder to simplify than to make things more complicated. People don’t need fancy stuff – they needs stuff that lasts and works well.
  • Data visualization is way of distilling information down into easy to digest pieces. It’s easier than it looks. There is a lot of technology that enables it.
  • Tableau, Dapressy, Prezi, Infotools – all help with visualization
  • Look at alternative forms of reporting data – many people are already on the hot track to do this so don’t get left behind
  • “But i’m no creative” (said in a whiny voice) – Being an economist could be the most boring job. But freakonomics was written by an economist.

  • Legalized abortion decreased crime rates. The story about boring economics is not boring.
  • Great stories happen to those who tell them. Great things will happen to you if you tell great stories.

Lead with a story by Paul Smith #MRIA15 #MRX

MRIA15,MRIA2015Live blogged from the 2015 MRIA National Conference in Toronto. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.

Lead with a Story, by Paul Smith

  • Paul Andrew SmithHe doesn’t mean just tell a story to start your presentation
  • They asked jurys how to improve the deliberation process. It had nothing to do with the food. It was all about the shape of the table. Rectangle tables led to quicker but less fair deliberation because whoever was at the end of the table ended up speaking the most. It was a very easy thing to fix and cheap. They asked to change all rectangle tables to round tables. However, the judge asked for all round tables to be changed for rectangle tables because that made the deliberation faster. He didn’t care that round tables led to better deliberation. Researchers regretted being part of this because it didn’t make the world a better place.
  • Why tell stories?
  • Simple – everyone can do it, timeless, demographic proof – no one is immune to a good story, contagious – if you tell a great story it will travel all around the world on its own without being pushed, easy to remember though you won’t remember this list of six things are tomorrow morning, inspirational stories but slides aren’t so inspirational
  • Make fewer powerpoint slides and tell more stories
  • Storytelling isn’t a great management tool for financial analysis or business plans, but it is great for leadership. If you feel like you are leading people, then you need to be telling stories.
  • In 1983, market saturation of diapers occurred. Completely changed the high relationship between sales and profit – sell more diapers and profits will happen. But that all stopped in 1983. He used two slides to show this relationship and he never need recommendations or conclusions slides. He let the audience figure out the reason and then the audience decided on their recommendations. Those recommendations were implemented almost immediately because they discovered the recommendations themselves. He stopped right before the big aha and gave the gift of the visceral moment to them.
  • What does a story look like? Beginning, middle, end is what a kid would say. A filmmaker would say six stages – set up, catalyst, turning point, climax, final confrontation, resolution. Cognitive psychiatrist would add more stages.
  • In business world, you have three minutes to deliver your story. You need the shortest structure that works for you. The ten year old kid was right.
  • Context, action, result are the beginning, middle, end.
  • We usually skip or butcher the where, when, who is the hero, what does hero want, who is in the way. We miss credibility, relatable, worthy, relevant.
  • Audience needs to see themselves in the hero. It shouldn’t be a story about superman or a football hero because people can’t relate to him. It’s entertaining but I can’t fly and I can’t throw a football like that. You need a villain your audience can relate to, a worthy objective, a relevant change.
  • Appeal to emotion – humans make subconscious. A story is fact plus emotion.
  • Most stories go untold because people don’t realize the value in them. When you feel something happening, a great story is about to be born or last forever.
  • Element of surprise – at the beginning, it gets the audience to pay attention. At the end, it seals the lesson in your memory.
  • People always remember the facts differently. You need to take facts with a grain of salt.
  • Example of a relevant surprise

  • Example of a not relevant surprise – what does releasing wolves on a marching band have to do with computer parts?

  • you can create relevant surprises. without one vital piece of information from the beginning of the story and move it to the end.

Analyze, Synthesize, Storyize, Consumers you have organized by Annie Pettit #MRIA14 #MRX

Live blogging from the #MRIA national conference in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.saskatoon

Annie Pettit, Chief Research Officer, Peanut Labs

My #MRIA14 presentation in just 5 minutes…


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The Future of Research Storytelling: Ethnographic Animation by Kate Ertmann #CASRO #MRX

Live blogging from the #CASRO tech conference in Chicago. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.

The Future of Research Storytelling: Ethnographic Animation by Kate Ertmann, President, Animation Dynamic, Inc.

  • grew up in film and tv, in front and behind screen
  • is animation just cartoons and  moving things? it’s not just steamboat willie
  • in snow white, everyone can related to at least one of the characters because it is such a great story
  • “The Don” changes everything, he is a digital native, he is an animator at her company, he looks at all types of media on any screen, doesn’t care what kind of screen tv theatre mobile tablet, doesn’t matter if it’s live action or cartoon
  • animation can be more engaging for the brain than real actors
  • animation generates significantly higher conceptual understanding
  • comprehension is higher for students who used computer animation – not just storytelling but comprehending
  • animation can show what your eye can’t see, present something that doesn’t exist, convey complex information, exist in time, allow you to feel an experience [the movie “UP” makes me cry and how fake is that!]
  • ethnography is the study of people today, from how people shop, at a certain, how do they clean their house, with this specific product; could be writing or videos, but how do you find meaning in that data, animation can be another tool for this
  • marble answering machine – 1992 Durrell Bishop’s visualization of a machine; get a visual and you experienced it for yourself, if it’s only in writing or a list, you wouldn’t experience the timing, the texture, the sound, can critique both good and bad of the system – what happens when my 3 year old gets ahold of the marbles?  the machine was never built which saved a lot of time and money
  • when people watch other people, they unconsciously look at the specific people – she’s too young/old, is she american, look at her shirt, i want her shoes – but if it’s just a blue outline of a person, you focus on what they’re doing not what they might be like
  • video of opening a package, for a left handed or right handed person, now test if your hands are wet from something else
  • test new products or processes out using an animation
  • scale the assets – ethnographic animation, ideation, new product visualization, virtual prototyping, working simulation, user testing, market introduction
  • people eventually get attached to the characters, name them, and talk about them as if they’re real, a visual can bring people together
  • it allows developers to see and feel what needs to happen, not just put a requirement to start building something, actually gives the beginning of the specs that engineers need to build it
  • Video connects real people in real situations, testimonials, talking heads, but animation means you can’t temporarily ignore demographics, nationality, gender. it’s not to manipulate the data, it’s to focus the data.
  • show off a new product with video but animations let you show it off before it exists
  • video lets your capture a moment like surprise and delight, but animation lets your iterate, change, customize and do it again
  • animation is not funny cartoons anymore, it’s a business tool
  • ethnographic animation captures people’s experiences – weight, children’s products
  • it does indeed scale
  • don’t be afraid of failing, don’t freak out about solving a problem perfectly right away

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