Can we hop on a quick call? Why we always want the backstory

Research projects are a big investment.  Even the small ones can have big implications.  Yet, we often seem to rush the process at the most critical time: designing the approach.  
Our belief is that a good brief at the start will lead to a better research design.  And a better research design will give you more actionable results.  

Before creating a proposal or estimate, we always appreciate a detailed brief/RFP and a conversation, so we thought we’d take a moment to talk about why they each matter.
The first thing that is helpful for us is the initial brief or RFP.  The more details that are provided in this, the more of a head start we have in developing a good approach.  

A good RFP will have:

  • Some background information about the brand and company
  • Goals for the brand, product, ad, concept etc. 
  • Goals for the research project being requested
  • Target specifications
  • Timeline

Many times the RFP will specifically ask for a methodology as well, but we don’t feel that is necessary because we’d like to talk with you further to ensure that we all agree on an approach rather than simply bidding on what’s requested. 

When we do have the opportunity to speak with you, we’ll be looking to dive into a lot of the things that the RFP may already have in more detail.  Specifically, we will focus on a few key questions:

  • Why are you doing this research in the first place?
  • What decisions is the company going to make based on this research?
  • And, why do you want THAT approach?

Let’s explore why each of these questions matters:

  • Why are you doing this research in the first place?

The initial request will likely have some background information, however a conversation usually illuminates additional information that can impact our design. 

What we really want to understand is the story of the factors that led to the decision to do research.  If we are testing a new concept or idea, why was it developed in the first place?   Are they new concepts, revisions to existing ones?  Who are the key stakeholders?  Is this someone’s passion project?  Are bonuses impacted by the outcome?  Does anyone have any ingoing hypotheses we should be thinking about?  Any biases?  And what is the team’s experience with research.  

And perhaps most importantly, asking “why are we doing this in the first place” is always a good idea.  It ensures that we aren’t just rushing to do something because we were asked in the way we were asked.  It makes us pause for a moment to make sure we are doing the right thing.    

Once we’ve gotten a better understanding of the background, we’ll want to dive into some more specifics in order to make sure the design is the right one, so we ask the next question…

  • What decisions is the company going to make based on this research?

This is where we are trying to dive further into what the specific goals of the research are.   

Are you looking to evaluate what about it is working and not working in order to make improvements?  This is probably qualitative, and we can discuss the merits of approaches like groups and IDIs or asynchronous methods.

Are you trying to validate that it’s a more relevant idea than an old one? 

Maybe we should discuss quant.  

Are you trying to adjust language, figure out which parts of the idea resonate most strongly, etc.  

There may be a role for a highlighter exercise or integration of other evaluative techniques.

This part of the conversation allows us to ensure that we are thinking through the right method for the objectives.

  • And, why do you want THAT approach?

Many times when we get a request, the person that is requesting the research has already given a lot of thought to the approach when they’ve reached out to us.  If they do, we can use that approach as a way to answer a lot of the questions posed above.  A lot of the backstory will come up naturally, and it will also provide an opportunity to discuss complementary or alternative methodologies that can make the research even more powerful.

When an approach isn’t presented, we view that as a blank canvas, and we just want to have the conversation so that we can create the best approach for you. 

We’d love to further this conversation with you, so please reach out and let me know what you think.  We’ll set up a meeting 😊