What will be the outputs from the research?

I am nearly always asked by new clients “What will the outputs of the research project look like?” This is a perfectly reasonable question as they need to know what they will be getting and how they will be able to use these outputs to progress their particular project.

However, it is not always an easy question to answer. The outputs will depend partly on the questions that you are asking and, even more particularly, on what we find out and how we think these findings will be best communicated to your team.

Yes, we do have some commonality about how we approach our debrief outputs, but these will always be shaped by what we need to communicate:

Our debrief will always be written to tell you the story. How have your consumers’ lifetime experiences evolved to create the emotional drivers that motivate them now. If you want to understand the adult, you need to understand the child that they once were. How and why they have the attitudes and motivations that they now do. Once you understand this story you start to understand your consumers.

Next, we will explore how your product and your competitors interact with those attitudes and motivations. Your brand positioning, communications and product experience take the consumer on an emotional journey. How well does this journey match what the consumer is seeking. How does the emotional journey of your brand compare to those of your competitors, and how and why are they perceived differently. Which parts of your emotional journey are better than your competition, which parts of their emotional journeys are better than yours.

Different people find different presentations of the information will suit them, so we present this in writing, verbally and graphically. We have some standard graphics that we may use such as a Shape of Taste with our Blue copy – the Sensorial Transcript – and our Green copy – the Emotional Transcript. We may use a Taste Signature to show how the sensorial factors contribute to the emotional outtakes. We may use something completely unique that just seems to work for this set of findings.

At this stage of a debrief, we often find the room livens up as everyone is starting to see their brand differently and they can see what they need to do next.

We will, however, go on with clear conclusions and recommendations. Our debriefs usually conclude with an in-depth, detailed conversation about the next steps in terms of communication and product development objectives and briefs.

That, however, should not be the end of the project. Value is not gained simply by obtaining insights into, or a different way of looking at, your brand. Value is gained when the knowledge learned is put into profitable action, and The Marketing Clinic will continue to support our clients until this is achieved. We will re-present our findings to different internal teams or agencies working with our client. We will be available to view and comment upon communications as they are developed, to try product samples…

In short the answer to the question “What will be the outputs be?” is that they will be whatever is required to ensure comprehensive understanding of our findings and the profitable implementation of the knowledge gained.

Chris Lukehurst is a Consumer Psychologist and a Director at The Marketing Clinic: