Research shouldn’t be haphazard. There should be a plan and a design for conducting it, not a rough idea of how things should be done. Every detail matters, and it begins with breaking the plan down by understanding what type of research needs to take place, when it needs to take place and how it will be used. A design is used to structure the research, to show how all of the major parts of the research project — the samples or groups, measures, treatments or programs, and methods of assignment — work together to try to address the central research questions.
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:
- 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.