Matt Case / 9th January 2018

The visual client research revolution

One of the biggest faux pas in business is companies under-using consumer insight. In some cases, this is due to teams sticking to old market research methods.

They remain unaware, or simply too cautious, of new approaches. They discourage change, saying, “This is how we’ve always done things!” in their defence.

But this mindset can cause you to miss potentially rich insights, which often emerge due to glitches in tried and tested methods.

Some companies are even abandoning classic market research strategy entirely. Instead, these companies are embracing the notion of “big data” analysis.

However, what they don’t realise is that this data is potentially backwards-looking insight; big data is often formed from a backlog of past behaviour.

As such, these teams are actually compiling insights from old results (like some sort of Back to the Future parody), meaning this approach is causing teams to miss innovations, stopping them from anticipating disruption, and even removing their ability to predict long-term changes.

Introducing visual research

The method being taken on by the revolutionaries (and we aren’t just saying this because we’re a design studio ourselves) is a visual research methodology.

While the ‘old way’ thinkers are still conducting Ye Olde Focus Groups as one of their default approaches, the new thinkers have elevated that gathering to a giant, immersive game of Pictionary, as it were.

The emphasis is on ‘deeper immersion’ techniques, which deliver more sophisticated and personal/reliable insights.

The deep immersion exercise requires respondents to create a collage or picture. In this way, they can more easily convey those things that are difficult to articulate. This may be their emotions, their fears, or even barriers they face.

A picture is worth 1,000 words. Visual research is worth even more.

This tool of unraveling thoughts via the Power of the Picture places the audience into a context of cultural interpretation. It’s a bit like cavemen painting on rocks and walls, not that we’re calling anyone a caveman here!

This technique elevates the direct understanding of an audience’s point-of-view to a whole new level. It generates profound, forward thinking, and real-life interpretations of a product or service.

Obviously, leveraging the power of digital and mobile platforms to gather your insights is a perfectly good approach. That is why so many are utilising this method in the modern day business solution.

But if you want to be a true visionary, invite your audience to your very own game of Pictionary. Sorry, I mean a ‘deep immersion’ session.