Reporting is one of the most important stages of market research, and isn’t really given the attention it deserves in favour of the arguably more exciting data collection and analysis stages. However, in the past few years, the evolution of research in the aim to become more engaging for stakeholders has meant that curating methods have had a few injections of innovation to make sure our efforts in insight generation aren’t in vain.
1. Regular Insight Newsletters
Curating insights isn’t just about the big report at the end of a project, if the research strategy is a longer-term or continuous research experience then one of the better reporting formats to consider is the newsletter-style report. These are curated on a weekly or monthly basis and capture a snapshot into the research experience in that timeframe.
These are particularly good for keeping senior stakeholders engaged throughout the research process without the increased involvement, these newsletters can help stakeholders decide where to go to next as well as inform decision-making processes that occur before the research ends.
|Curating insights isn't just about the big report at the end, how can we update stakeholders during the research experience to keep them engaged?|
2. Executive Summaries
These summaries replicate and condense the more traditional written report without stakeholders having to leaf through numerous pages and sections detailing the data collected, analysed, and insights generated.
Typically, the size of an A4 page, these summaries are created to capture the key pieces of information and insightful themes to pop out of a research project. Condensing the information into this format after getting used to the full written report could be tough for some insight professionals, but it will help their written and prioritising skills as they try to cover the full scale of the research in a few key bullet points.
3. Infographic Insights
Infographics are another way of curating insights, similar to that of the executive summary as only the very important insights and themes make the final cut, but in a more visually appealing way.
The visual aspects of the infographic support the insights portrayed as well as draw in stakeholders’ attention as they form their interpretations first from the visuals itself then from the text. These infographics could be used as newsletters or executive summaries themselves with the amount of information we can display on them. They can also be used for in-office displays too on posters, or as screensavers, etc. to reach a larger audience after senior audiences have had their fill.
4. Video Outputs
Similar to the infographics, these visual presentations of insights are instantly more engaging than written reports. However, with the potential for animation this particular mode of insight curation, video insight reports are capable of capturing the attention of stakeholders and communicating the insights in less than half the time and effort that it takes to read a report.
As with the infographic visuals supporting the copy, video styles and structures can be used to create an engaging and easy-to-follow narrative that enhances the insights and communicates the true depth of the insights generated.
5. Interactive Insights
The one thing missing from all of the methods above is stakeholder interaction. The extent of the insight curation transaction is typically the handover of insights, and then stakeholders take those insights to use in their discussions and decisions. But what would happen if we took that transaction into more of an interaction?
We could truly enhance their knowledge of the value of insights if we took the time to take stakeholders through the report we create. Insight workshops for example would give stakeholders time to understand the depths of insights in their entirety, while also discussing what it would mean for the business, service or product that’s being researched.
Choosing the Right Format
With a few staple insight curation formats under your belt, it’s time to look at why they work. Senior insight professionals typically don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to leafing through large reports, but they’ll also have their own preferences on how they would like to be communicated with. Charles Guilbeau, Vice President Consumer and Shopper Understanding at Ferrero, has provided some interesting insight into his experience on engaging senior stakeholders.
When asked what senior audiences are looking for in research reports, Charles explained:
Senior audiences are ultimately looking take actions based on facts. Consider a simple copy test for example. The report should clearly communicate what the result was, why that result occurred, and what actions should follow (air the copy, modify the copy in specific ways, abandon the copy).
|Charles Guilbeau from Ferrero shares some of his great experience as well as some considerations insight teams should take into account when curating insights for senior audiences.|
So whatever format insight teams choose, they should remember to keep asking the questions: is everything in this report relevant, accurate, and necessary to my audience? Will they be able to take this insight and directly action it once the report is handed over? These are just a couple of questions that help insight teams understand the most important considerations for writing for senior audiences. Charles expands on the considerations, stating that:
I think you need to first imagine if you were in their position and ask yourself, ‘what do I need from this report in order to take action?’ Often that is little more than 1 or 2 key numbers with the greatest bearing on the decision. I often find 2 problems in reports I get from vendors. Either there is no number reported in the summary at all so the basis for the conclusion is unsubstantiated, or, multiple numbers are reported without calling out what is most important to the objective. For me though, the absolute worst thing is getting the summary of a quantitative study that lacks quantitatively referenced conclusions.
Finally, Charles provided some great insight on what methods and formats for presenting data work best for engaging senior audiences:
I think the formats that companies prepare for their investor days provide a good model of best practices with respect to combining visual appeal, essential data, and storytelling. The stakes are high so the content and clarity has to be top notch.
This is a great tactic to find out more about the company you're working with. The formats and conversations insight teams have with stakeholders say a lot about the audience we're catering to and what presentation formats and communication methods we should use in this vital insight curation stage.