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How to carry out Integrated Research

How to carry out Integrated Research

By Justin Gibbons at Work Research

A really simple idea:

• Research the message and the medium together

• Research that reflects where the money gets spent

• Research that informs the whole idea (not just the creative or   media bit)

• For integrated communications planners driving (and selling) integrated ideas

A qualitative study:

• Integrated Research is designed to offer more and better actionable findings than big quantitative studies

• Integrated Research costs a fraction of a big quantitative study

• Integrated Research is quicker and nimbler than a big quantitative study

• Integrated Research is better for developing and testing complex ideas

Using integrated research:

• Works in two ways

– A ground breaking technique. We have developed a market leading tool called which allows consumers to develop and evaluate channel strategies and integrated ideas

– A truly integrated process. All disciplines are invited to the research and the debrief, at work. we use research to literally bring the disciplines together

Work Map

How it works:

• After scene setting discussions we start with an exploration of every touchpoint the respondents have experienced in the category

– “thinking about Skincare products, can you tell me all of the different ways in which you have seen or heard about the brands in the market … (upon initial suggestions) this can be advertising, in shops, other people, things that come through your letter box”


Mapping the contacts:

• We then ask the respondents to arrange the cards into piles, mixing them up after each mapping

• Each time we probe a different communications dynamic, always rooted in the category we are working in

– “which of these contact points is good at improving the image of a brand, how people think and feel about it”
– “which of these contact points is good at telling you about the product itself, the details and the facts”
– “which of these contact points are most likely to influence your decision”

• And lastly

– “which of these contact points do you see a lot of in the category, and which aren’t used very much”

Exploring the mappings:

• For each mapping we explore a range of details

– Why are the contact points in each pile considered good / bad at the communications task?
– What tone of voice does each pile have? (using word board)
– What type of behaviour does each pile have? (using word board)
– Is the category usage distinctive in anyway?
– Looking at the individual contact points, what differences are there?
– Probe specific examples

• This provides a deep and detailed understanding of how consumers experience the different channels

Actionable findings:

• The findings relate to specific tasks
– Brand building vs product detail vs sales response

• We provide a detailed media rationale for each task
– For each medium: strengths, weaknesses, how best used, category conventions, tone and behaviour, specific executional detail

• And then map them against category usage
– Used a lot by the category vs used a little

Overlaying messaging:

• After the channel planning we overlay messaging

• We introduce messaging to the mappings (which we leave out on the table for reference), this can be:

– Existing creative work
– An advertising device
– A creative concept, at story board or statement stage
– A proposition – product detail, packaging, positioning etc.

• Consumers then overlay different elements of the messaging onto the channel mapping

• Alternatively the creative idea can be introduced right at the start of the process

Beyond ‘matching luggage’:

• This process provides the opportunity to explore truly integrated ideas

– How do ideas work in different channels
– How could ideas be developed across channels
– Can we justify all the channels
– Is there a holistic effect

• Consumers can walk through complex campaigns and explore the different elements

– What drives the awareness
– What triggers the response
– What provides the richness and depth
– What does the association with the media partner bring

Why it works:

• Given the right stimulus consumers are great integrated planners !

• Working at a category level they are liberated from a test of which brands and executions they can remember

• Using mapping techniques prompts discussion and debate and accesses subtle and sophisticated attitudes towards media effectiveness

• Consumers find it easy, which avoids the confused group syndrome

• Overlaying the message introduces genuine integrated communications thinking

Using work:

• At the start
– For developing strategies and ideas

• In the middle
– To get alignment with clients, other agencies and other disciplines

• At the end
– To give clients confidence in complex ideas


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