Insight as Art: An Introduction to the Consumer Postcard Project
Engaging key stakeholders and decision makers with pivotal insights and data can be the bane of every insight professional’s career. A large variety of techniques and tips are being trialled and tested as we speak, but yet the issue still remains.
At FlexMR, we are throwing our hat into the mix and proposing a new and unique way of capturing the full engagement of stakeholders: Insight as Art. Our Consumer Postcard Project is paving the way for innovation in this area, and provides insight professionals with a new medium that conveys the complex relationship consumers have with industries and brands.
The Creative Process
As these experimentations are meant to represent insights, it was vital that we generated some insights to represent. After some thorough discussions, we discovered that Question Boards were the best tool to use for our purposes, as they provided a space for participants to record their perceptions, feelings, and experiences of each of the six industries in detail.
Unlike Surveys and Live Chats, these question boards don’t have a short time limit, and as such allow participants to really think carefully about their answers before committing to a response. Using this tool also means that this study can continue on for the duration of a few days, with participants able to come back to their answers and add more clarity or data if and when needed.
After the question boards are closed down, the data is easily downloaded and condensed into key themes and quotes, ready for brainstorming. This part of the process is slightly more intensive, but only because the connotations of the insights need to be matched with artistic concepts and styles in order for the insight to be conveyed as accurately as possible within the postcards.
Once the postcards have been drafted, it takes a number of edits to refine them into the perfect engaging art piece for the purpose of conveying the right insights. And after the art pieces have been made, written explanations are created for the back of the postcard, completing the postcard project.
Postcards and Explanations
This postcard highlights the polarising consumer retail experience. A sparse, industrialist, Lowry-inspired depiction contrasts with the wonderfully colourful and detailed impressionist element.
These visuals bring to life contradictory aspects of the consumer experience, ranging from the “over-the-top” and experiential glamour of the high street to the dull, depressing and dying town centres. As represented by the clear dividing line: “to survive in an increasingly online world, customer service is a key differentiator.”
Food Service Sector
Feedback most suited to the digital illustrative style that represents a modern, clean, and atmospheric dining environment that is primarily associated with the food service sector. Behaviour and choice and highly review-driven, both by online sites and word of mouth.
Many will “always look online for reviews” before trying a new establishment that is not one of their “existing favourites”. Ultimately, consumers believe restaurants service experiences; service and atmosphere are just as important as the food that they cook.
Food Production Industry
Inspired by Dada-style collages, this postcard draws on common themes that consumers highlighted. The vast range of choice portrayed in the collage encroaches and overshadows the only natural food source; emblematic of the perception that while the variety of products is impressive, it only serves as a distraction to core issues.
Consumers care about “animal welfare, the high degree of competition, the potential for deception” and questioned whether the cost of highly-processed foods was worth the impact.
Financial Services Sector
The cubist imagery of this design represents the clean-cut professionalism that consumers associate with the financial services. The geometric rigidity of the industry is startling; but consumers believe money is the sole focus, while customer service and experience are given very little attention.
The dash of blue in this piece symbolises the expressed hope that the industry will see them soon. But for now, the overriding impression is still that “institutions do not care about you as a person anymore. All they care about is reaching their targets.”
The travel sector is represented in a retro, pop art-style in order to highlight two key themes: the vibrant and colourful visuals depict the expectations of “fun and relaxation” that consumers have come to expect.
Transport, hotels, and location were all considered contributing factors to the experience, but fun appears to be the main metric travel is judged on. Travel agents were also a source of nostalgia for a number of consumers – remembering past experiences from both recent years and decades past.
The design of this postcard reflects that while consumers may enjoy the furnishings and décor of a hotel, the single aspect of the experience that can make or break an experience is the service provided by the staff. Hotels were described as a “much needed resource” highlighting that the experience is often viewed in a utilitarian light. As such, elements such as cleanliness, convenience, and comfort are important in that moment, but not memorable after a stay.
To demonstrate how the power of artful insights could positively impact your business, we’re offering to create custom art pieces for the first 200 client-side researchers who express their interest.
From there we will conduct a three-day exploratory research study using out qualitative Question BoardMR tool, to understand consumer perceptions towards your brand. These insights will then be sorted into key themes as per the process above, and transformed into a run of 15 artistic postcards designed and created with precision specifically for you, along with a brief explanation of the feedback that influenced it.
As a graduate of Creative Writing, Emily has a passion for content creation. She brings our global vision to life through her excellent writing and editorial skills across a broad selection of our content, and manages communication through social media channels. You can follow her on Twitter and connect with her on LinkedIn.