Posted by: panoptika | March 13, 2012

Distilling the Meaning for Better Research

This week, we’re in the midst of planning for our annual St. Patrick’s Day dinner. But Last week we attended a full-house meeting of the OPMA, where Hélène Moore gave a high-energy talk on new perspectives in brand strategizing. Professor Moore also pointed out that the days of the 200-slide research deck are over. How can you avoid having your Research partner show up with one of those yawn-inducing behemoths? Since we have research and St. Patrick’s Day on our mind, we thought a triple-distilled Irish Whiskey might yield some clues…

Choose the Recipe Carefully

Every great Irish whiskey starts off with a closely guarded recipe. Like this, your team can begin with clear, well-formulated set of research objectives. Invest in a great presentation at the outset – by making sure everyone who will be contributing to the process and receiving the results buys in to the objectives, right at the start. Beer and whiskey can’t come out of the same cask at the same time, no matter how hard you try.

Don’t Pollute the Batch with Excess “Fixings”

“Add-on-itis” can happen when there’s a legacy questionnaire (think tracking study) that has been around for so long, no one remembers why some of the questions were asked in the first place. Yet, fearful of missing something important, no one wants to pull the plug on outdated lines of exploration. After you’ve taken time to select a recipe, beware of someone sneaking extra fixings into the mash. Be a ruthless editor – cut everything that doesn’t contribute to the objectives of the research, and if someone wants to keep something that doesn’t fit, ask them to justify how it does.

Distillation Takes Time

There’s plenty of information out there to be had in the public domain. We’re so used to simply plugging in search terms and coming up with quick answers, that it’s easy to forget that just because the results are in, doesn’t mean the answer is ready. But if the information you need is precise enough that you need to ask the source directly, don’t settle for data. Look for meaning. A great research partner will sort through those 200 slides and distill the meaning. Jameson’s, that great Irish Whiskey, is triple-distilled for a reason – because taking time yields a better result.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day,

Megann and Steve

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