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June 21, 2012


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Great post Andrew! However I sometimes found myself in this kind of situation: we at the agency had come up with the findings based on the observation of the situation from people we interviewed but these findings are quite the opposite from client's research agency findings; we at the agency always ended up being told by client "It's quite interesting but we want you guys to follow the findings from the research agency".

Perhaps you have some suggestions on how to respond in this kind of situation mentioned above?

Thanks a bunch :)

Hmmm. Unfortunately, in SOME cases, the reality is that once the client has paid for research and accepted the findings, there is little you can do to sway them. If that's the case, your top priority is make friends with the research company and try and work more closely with the them for next time.
On the other hand:
Quant, or qual, ask if the raw data, or interview tapes are avaliable and closely analyse for the story that usually hides underneath the topline analysis, That could be an opportunity to show the client their research wasn't 'wrong' it's just that it's more 'right' than they might have appreciated.
Which leads to another cunning suggestion- usually, research isn't 'wrong' it just scratches the surface, the trick is to make the client think that you found the research fantastic and it was a springboard for your own understanding. For example, I once got a brief about haircare where the research said women felt more confident on a good hair day - which is as generic as could be and sort of wrong, it's the only articulation women tend to find about how they feel. Not to mention, a 'good hair day' that's around the morning rush is very different to the slow drama of getting ready to go out. The trick was to show the client how confidence was right, but was really a 'catch all' more more meaty stuff about independence, identity construction and being in control.
In other words, don't tell them their research was wrong, tell them it was right and was the launchpad for even deeper stuff.
Even more cunning, while, of course, you want proper category truth, if bad research has blocked that off, you want thinking that takes those findings and transforms them into aceness through cultural input. That be linking the research to what it means in contemporary culture and proving THAT (for example, pre-tested brand positioning where research has pulled out a single minded essence that's not motivating in the real world - just what people can understand in groups - let's say brand for blokes that is about strength, that is then linked to male anxiety where a 'mans strength' can mean all sorts of stuff)
That culture thing CAN simply be about execution- T-Mobile 'Life's for sharing' is dull, but flash mobs and dramatising what happens when the British reserve is punctured is not.
Hope this 'stream of conscioussnes' is useful

Thanks a lot Andrew, I sure will put your advice in action :)

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