Why does a world-class chef eat Spam? Why does a 60 year old woman buy a Mini Cooper? It’s understanding this sort of thing that produces new, compelling design and marketing. It changes the way a company talks to its customers. It isn’t enough to know what people do (or say they do), you need to know why.
All good messaging begins with understanding what makes your customers tick on a rational and emotional level. We approach research with four phases in mind. There are, of course, other ways to approach it, but conceptualizing your exploration as separate but related phases helps streamline the process and keep you on task:
- Study and Learn – This is due diligence work. It can be used to prep before doing more involved, primary research or once a campaign, product, etc. has been launched.
- Explore – This is where you find unmet needs, subtleties of behavior, patterns of consumption and all of that information that leads to breakthrough innovation and insights. These are the most time intensive processes, but are the most powerful for understanding the right questions to ask and the right solutions to provide.
- Create and Execute – this is the creative stage, where you have assumptions and hypotheses to work from. These methods push to understand individual motivations and perceptions (not necessarily reality, but what people believe).
- Test It – This is the nuts and bolts phase, when the creation phase has effectively come to a close and it’s time to make sure all the details are in place. This stage is crucial to a solid execution. It also identifies any pieces of the puzzle that may have been overlooked.