How we think
Every project is different and so should be thought of in terms of its own specific needs.
But research does not exist in a vacuum. We try very hard to see the needs of any given project in the light of other information or research, and the business or organisational context. Without this, any fresh research undertaken can seem naïve or even ill-informed. So the first thing we always aim to understand is the context from which the research need has emerged.
It’s important to be realistic about how much of our work consumers can do for us. They can tell us how they feel. They can, to the best of their ability, tell us what they do. We can dig deep to find why they feel or act in given ways. Ultimately though it is our role (as researchers, marketers, communicators) to work out what it all really means and what we should do about it.
The best projects take place when we interrogate our own understanding before and after the results have emerged. Only in this way can we make the best use of findings, views, and insights that emerge. Our aim is get to the heart of a problem, whether it’s about the direction of a business, a brand strategy, or a new campaign. What are the real issues? What are the strengths and weaknesses? What are the real research needs? What is the consumer learning? What is the right action to take?
Consumers or customers or citizens cannot give us all the answers. But we are more likely to draw the right conclusions if we involve them in our thinking.