When was the last time you presented the results of research or strategy work to an internal stakeholder team or to a client and they said, “Hey…nice process!”?
I think that in this business, especially on the supplier side, we spend a lot of energy trying to explain why our processes and methodologies are different and therefore better, or vice versa. This is a great and beneficial internal exercise. It keeps us motivated to innovate and to document a framework within which we have that freedom to build and grow. However, when it comes time to talk to a client about the value of what we do, I think we sometimes tend to get too mired in how we do it and don’t focus enough on why and most importantly how the end result will be shaped in a way that adds the most value.
Especially in brand strategy practices like mine where the consumer and cultural insitghts practice is one rooted in social science, we recognize the importance of considering the end user and their needs for socializing information within their organization in order to facilitate buy-in and ROI. We realize that at the end of the day, research that sits on a shelf or has trouble being digested by diverse audiences starts to produce diminishing returns the minute it’s delivered. As a big part of my job is working with client and consulting partners to address those challenges and develop solutions that are above all compelling and actionable.
It is important for suppliers who sell innovation with research as a part of that process to always begin with the end in mind…and that end is not the insights and implications themselves, but the context in which they are framed and will ultimately be used. It is something we challenge ourselves with here every day and a direction that is imperative for all of those in strategic roles who want to continue to forward the interest of our industry.
It is a very exciting and interesting time in the world of brand strategy and consumer research. More and more the motivations, stakeholders and processes are moving toward collaboration of efforts. We work with many world class brands and organizations who strive to eliminate process and streamline activation as a necessary adaptation to a rapidly changing and accelerating world.
As we continue to learn and grow from our past and identify the patterns that will drive growth for the future, both in our business and our clients business, we always keep an open ear and an open mind. That being said, I love to hear from anyone with a point of view, especially my clients and potential clients, on the types of challenges they face as a part of their research and strategy practices.