Storytelling in market research: the secret to impactful insight

We live in a world that’s data rich and insight poor. We currently receive five times as much information as we did in 1986, and that number is only expected to climb as we become more bogged down with data. Why? Author Anthony ‘Tas’ Tasgal believes it’s because we live in an arithmocracy, a system where we worship numbers as gods and strongly believe in the safety of numbers and digits above all else. We’re afraid to make decisions without data, which is why we want facts – and perhaps why the art of storytelling in market research has been lost.

However, data alone isn’t enough. There’s no exact science to understanding people and what drives their behaviors; people aren’t predictable, controllable or susceptible to mathematical analysis and ration. So if researchers really want to start understanding why people behave the way they do, we need to abandon the worship of rationalism and start looking at the people behind the data. Basically, in order to unlock real, actionable insights, we need to start looking for the story behind the statistics.

Choosing insight over information

In this data-heavy age, it’s easy to think that the world revolves around numbers. But actually, it’s all about insight. Information (or data) is merely the fuel that drives the insight engine – and in order to access deep insights, the market research industry needs to make meaning the driving force behind brand and business development. Basically, in order to drive real change, we need to start telling stories and find the meaning behind the data once more.

Information is to be collected and insight is to be connected. Humans are not rational information processors, and that means we can’t use data to second-guess them. Instead, we need to focus on unlocking insights and understanding what drives behavior. Basically, instead of being in the business of data, the research world should be in the business of constructing and delivering meaning.

The problem is that market researchers are still nervous about losing their data duvet and going beyond data to make decisions. However, the fact is when it comes to communication, nothing beats truth, especially when it comes from a genuine, human source – and it is this level of in-depth insight that can allow researchers to unlock and share powerful customer stories that have a real impact.

The importance of storytelling in market research

Tasgal writes that if numbers numb us, then stories stir us. They translate information into emotion – and it is this storytelling in market research that makes your findings and conclusions infinitely more impactful and memorable. It’s all about finding the people behind your data and unlocking the story behind your statistics to engage and excite your executives and shake up your stakeholders.

Stories are patterns with meaning that the brain is hardwired to respond to. In fact, neurochemically there is even evidence that stories make us care, create empathy and build trust by producing oxytocin. Unfortunately, in today’s world researchers are often data rich but insight poor – however, all this needs to change. It’s the story that trumps information by turning information into emotion to create empathy, and empathy is the single biggest thing that can drive decisions. That means that in order to unlock real meaning, we need to start telling stories – and fast.

Using video to tell customer stories

And that’s exactly where video comes in. Agile video market research can help companies humanize their research and get to the bottom of what really drives customer decisions. It’s the single most powerful way to deliver real human feedback, giving researchers unbeatable access to how customers truly feel about different brands, products, and services. Basically, using video to uncover real human stories means you can give context to your data, get closer to what people think and make informed customer-centric decisions.

A typical, consumer-recorded video response is 6-8 times longer than a response to a text-based open-end. That means that in just a few clicks, video enables you to see what your customers truly think, feel and do by revealing real human responses. It goes beyond the information and data provided by scores and scales and instead unveils the true voice of the customer, unlocking real insights and telling the story behind the scores. The result? Multi-dimensional layers of insight and true customer stories that just aren’t achievable with scores and statistics alone.

Video cuts through the noise to obtain raw, unfiltered context so you can better understand your customers’ true feelings and build a deeper understanding of your consumers across your entire organization. Not only that, but it also increases customer closeness by allowing you to add depth, emotion, and authenticity to your data and build real human connections with your customers. That means instead of sharing yet more statistics with your stakeholders, you can humanize and add context to your data and deliver impactful, convincing and memorable stories that drive change.

Let’s take a look at how you can leverage storytelling in market research:

1. Bring your research to life

You can collect videos from consumers by adding open-ended video questions to your surveys or setting up projects with video at the heart of them through specialist apps and communities to bring a human voice to your data. Regardless of your approach, it takes just minutes to access rich, self-recorded video stories rather than bog-standard, five-word text responses.

2. See real human responses

Video feedback can help you see and understand genuine human interactions so you can get to the bottom of what your customers really think. And because they can share their thoughts in their own words and in their own environment, they’ll be empowered to share rich, insightful stories so you can make informed, customer-centric decisions.

3. Tell the story behind your results

Videos can be collected during or even after your research to boost the impact of your results. By supplementing your quant study with scalable video feedback you can add real weight to your research, find the golden thread and make everyone in your organization sit up and take notice by sharing impactful stories that drive change.

4. Find the insights you’re looking for

Once uploaded, videos can be searched by keyword or filtered by additional data such as age, gender or other customer tags so you can easily find the insights you need to tell customer stories. Additionally, because all videos are theme and sentiment coded you can easily discover what your customers are thinking and why – so in just a couple of clicks you can bring a topic to life and tell the story behind your scores.

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