A range of tools to deliver solutions

Many of our projects are multi-stage, harnessing consulting services such as ideation and immersion, as well as a range of qualitative and quantitative techniques. Like people, each client and project is different. We don’t do cookie cutter, but select the tools to deliver against the business needs and provide commercial solutions

Facilitation, Planning & Consulting: Working in partnership

Great work takes place because of great thinking through collaborative processes that land outcomes. We offer a range of planning and consultative services that work in conjunction with, or separately from, the research process.

Facilitation and planning: Engaging workshops that define the strategic aims of a project, or utilise insights to land solutions. Often these are integral to a broader work stream where we adopt an embedded mindset to work closely and effectively with clients.  

Sprints – moving faster and smarter: Sometimes we simply don’t have the time for multiple stages of activity over weeks and months. Short, sharp immersion processes and/or ideation and evaluation sprints can push the process forward. We manage, or support, 2-day sprints both as facilitators and researchers

Ideation: Harnessing client creativity across disciplinary teams and/or drawing upon analogous markets for inspiration. Inspiration is a key Cognition skill set.

Cultural Insights and Strategy: Via the lens of culture, brands discern what they are and where they want to go

Brands are symbolic entities which are impacted by and also inform the culture in which we all live. Without understanding this cultural context, it is difficult for brands to maintain their most valuable asset – their meaning. A brand’s meaning is primarily influenced at two levels. From the top, ‘macro forces’ shape our collective consciousness, form the zeitgeist and unify the human experience. From the bottom, ‘micro forces’ galvanise trends, inform fashion choices and establish category paradigms.

Through a combination of culture audits, discourse analysis and semiotic enquiry, we help clients understand and leverage cultural cues across these levels. The result is sharp, relevant positionings which inform communication strategy and drive salience. A process that is as appropriate in domestic research as it is for international studies.

Advanced qualitative techniques: Seeing deeper, knowing more

Qualitative research is the cornerstone of understanding why people do what they do and crucially how they feel. For this reason, it’s the cornerstone of our business too. We harness advanced qualitative techniques to access emotions, motivations and attitudes, as well as support ideation using Consumer Groups and Workshops, IDIs and Concept Clinics. 

Yes, it’s good to talk, either face-to-face, or via Zoom, or online communities:

  • Direct questioning techniques, projectives techniques and laddering, regression and roleplay to explore attitudes, emotions and motives.
  • “External” projectives to help explore the social dimension
  • Co-creation and ideation.

Behavioural Economics: A means by which we understand & drive change

Sometimes people are aware of the factors influencing them, and sometimes they are not. Behavioural economics (BE) is a lens by which we understand decision making and identify ‘nudge points’, as well as optimally frame communications. We explore heuristics, cognitive biases such as priming and framing, and the sensory anomalies and environmental impacts that shape what we do.

We identify solutions and growth opportunities by utilising BE in conjunction with behavioural research such as ethnography, or as a standalone behavioural consultancy.

Ethnographic approaches & Phenomenology: Getting a real-world view

The central belief behind ethnography and phenomenology is that in order to study different populations, we have to understand the total environment in which they live, or as Husserl, the founder of Phenomenology, called it, the “Lebenswelt” – quite literally the ‘living world’ that people experience. This holistic, behavioural approach to research and human-centred design is central to Cognition’s approach and a launchpad for NPD, optimising the retail experience and relevant comms strategy. 

We utilise a range of techniques and often use video to bring behaviour to life.

  • Observation and intercepts (sometimes guerrilla)
  • Self ethnography (diaries and task fulfilment using self filming)
  • Location profiling, shopper safaris and journey mapping; getting to know people for example in a shopping location, or suburb, by observations and interviews.

Quantitative research & analytics: Sizing issues, driving growth

We harness a suite of quantitative methods and analytical tools to generate insights such as Concept Testing, Ad Pre-Testing & Tracking, U&A, Segmentation and Choice Modelling. Our output is always clear and easy to understand and we work hard to ensure that in the handover between qual and quant learnings are not lost.

However, numbers mean nothing without interpretation, so we always work closely with our clients to define the issues and deliver impactful actionable insights with a commercial focus.

Online communities: Cost-effective, longer engagement to explore issues and identify solutions

We utilise online communities in a number of different, but highly effective ways. Either in a short format, as an alternative to classic face-to-face qual to ‘prime’ the study by achieving critical foundation learning, or over a longer period, to better engage with consumers and gain a deeper understanding of who they are and what they think.

Our platform provides an intuitive, attractive space for forums, survey and ideation, as well as a range of task fulfilment tools.

Concept stimulus generation: How we show ideas to people is as important as what we show

With our in-house design team, we help clients develop concept material that not only gives the ‘idea’ its “best chance of success but also, post-research, expresses it in the clearest and most compelling way” to help ‘sell it’ through the business.

We utilise a range of our own and clients’ concept constructs and increasingly look at imaginative ways to convey the emotional sense of an idea.

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