The research industry is facing new innovations every day; yet an area that often gets overlooked when it comes to introducing innovation is how we report insights. The focus of these reports are more towards data collection and analysis, but the insights are fundamentally the most important deliverable.
Reporting on insights currently comes in few different forms; but whatever reporting form researchers currently use, the most common challenge we face as insight professionals is how to fully engage key decision makers and stakeholders with these reports.
Current Reporting Styles
Within our current reporting styles, we’ve adopted tools from other creative professions to enhance the impact of the insights. Current techniques range from crafting story-driven reports to producing compilation videos and visually stimulating infographics. But despite these tools, the challenge still remains.
The reliance on insights these days is much greater; with higher risks in decision-making, largely due to smarter technology, increase in automation and big data becoming even bigger, we can no longer rely on gut feeling to make business decisions. But the biggest issue faced is the time these key decision makers have on their hands to actively try and engage with the insights.
Here are two of the most common techniques insight professionals use today and the challenges we face with each:
Storytelling in Written Reports
The most common way we report insights is through PowerPoint presentations, which aim to draw of the story from the research and outline the ‘aha’ moments in terms of what that means for the business. Whilst researchers can engage the audience through the storytelling approach in this medium, complemented by nice, visual graphics, too many reports fall into the trap of ‘death by PowerPoint’: overloading the reader with too much detail and not getting to the point quickly enough.
|Actively embedding storytelling techniques into research reports helps avoid the trap of 'data overload' and find the compelling narratives that hold points of information together.|
It also falls into the trap of being a very time-consuming, drawn out process to actually create, and can lack the element of fun for both the researchers and the audience.
Infographics is another common method and became the next evolved step from the research report. Going back 5 years ago, this was the new, innovative and creative way to present research insights and engage stakeholders. We use graphics to visualise the key findings out of all of the insights generated, but they’re not as cutting edge as infographics used to be. While they aren’t being phased out any time soon as they certainly still have their value, they just don’t quite have that ‘wow factor’ anymore that immediately captures and retains the attention of the stakeholders.
The Future of Reporting
So, now comes the big question: what next? What else can we do to really innovate insights? How can we integrate more creativity within the reporting process to paint the brand through the insights generated?
Virtual and augmented reality
Much has been written about how we can use virtual and augmented reality for data collection, creating real-life ‘what if’ moments for participants to engage with. But what if we took it a step further and applied this technology to displaying insights around consumer behaviour?
With both virtual and augmented reality, it presents an opportunity to create a realistic environment and truly enable you to see the story through the eyes of the consumer. Take your stakeholders straight to the real-life scenario being researched and visually immerse them in the insights.
This type of immersive experience would be perfect for a product placement study. For example, imagine taking your key decision makers right to a store and being able to show them where research recommends certain products are placed. This brings the research to life and allows quicker decisions, allowing decision makers to see first-hand how the store would look and discuss the logistics of applying the feedback much more easily.
What’s more engaging than being able to change what is presented in front of you to get the insights relevant to your own decisions? With classical research reports, you are presented with the data the researcher feels relevant for you to know. But not everyone who sees that report will find every detail relevant for them.
With interactive reports, you can present one insight that leads to another by clicking through the information. This is great for de-cluttering reports and making the insights more visual and engaging.
|Interactive reporting presents a real opportunity to involve research stakeholders in the insights process and generate authentic buy-in.|
Animated video reports
Most of us are already quite familiar with Prezzi-style presentations and the type of thing I’m thinking of with animated video reports is not too dissimilar.
Imagine taking that one step further and showing your customer journey come to life in an animated video. Recently, I worked on a research report that looked to understand daily beverage consumption behaviours. The results allowed me to demonstrate a ‘day in the life’ of the average consumer, showing their key drivers for consumption, the types of beverages they consumed at each time of the day and how they felt. Although I can already embed videos into a storytelling research report to show the experiences through the eyes of the consumer, this process could certainly be more creatively engaging.
By creating an animated video, I could show the story of the consumer who plods through the day, demonstrating their daily path to hydration and pulling out the key insights and messages that decision makers would need to know.
It is true what they say - a picture is worth a thousand words.
Something we have been experimenting with recently at FlexMR, is showing consumer representation of brands in a variety of artistic styles on postcards. Taking the voice of the consumer and their opinions of brands, we were able to visually represent the brand or sector they were discussing and not only understand the consumer viewpoint but also the emotions and feelings behind it.
I think it’s safe to say there are many opportunities in front of us to take reporting of insights to another level and to express feedback in visual ways. Engaging key decision makers with what is arguably the most public and essential part of market research.