Finding Inspiration

Research presentations are not just about sharing charts and data, but also about taking the audience (even briefly) on a journey from the consumers’ point of view and experience. Whenever I’m working on a research story for a client, I have my short list of “go to” sources that I turn to for inspiration. Inspiration sources help keep the creativity flowing on even the most complex of qualitative and quantitative projects. Actually, inspiration sources have one other advantage. It helps to show the client a potential approach we could take to get the story across to their stakeholders.

One of my current “go to” favorites is the video Green Tunnel by Kevin Gallagher. In 5 minutes Kevin takes viewers on an amazing 2,200 mile journey of the beauty, ruggedness and changing topography of the Appalachian Trail. I’m not likely to ever hike the trail, but watching the video I get a sense of what that experience would be like. If Kevin can take the viewer on a 6 month journey in 5 minutes, I should be able to find a creative way to synthesize a mountain of qualitative and quantitative research data to share a compelling consumer journey. While I don’t have Kevin’s ability to edit such a masterpiece, I have drawn inspiration from this amazing video to brainstorm, synthesize and interpret research in new ways to build empathy and understanding.

  • Create and narrate a storyboard of consumers’ brand experience (e.g., field notes and images captured at an airport, navigating all the touch points with a brand).
  • Create a visually rich slide show of captured moments, places, interactions and items recorded or photographed, narrated with consumer quotes (e.g., Ken Burn’s documentary style).
  • Compile and edit video footage from ethnography, shop alongs, focus groups or interviews in a succinct 10 minute clip, organized by themes or topics or even key questions (e.g., similar to how Big Think presents interview segments).

Having inspirational sources helps keep story front and center whenever I’m pulling together a presentation. Are there other sources of inspiration that you recommend?

Image: © iStockphoto.com/Brandfurnace