A Research Christmas Carol: Chapter Four

The end of our special Christmas research story. In Part One, data-obsessed Insight manager Ebenezer Brand had a ghostly visit warning him to change his ways. In Part Two, he learned to look at real not claimed behaviour. In Part Three he was brought up to speed with new technology, and is confident he can change. But there is one ghostly visit to come…

Ebenezer Brand’s happy and determined mood was not to last. He first began to notice a steady drop in temperature in his room, then a certain clamminess to the atmosphere, and the emotional disturbance this caused was certainly not helped when a grey-robed, cowled figure emerged from the plain wall of his room, and extended a frankly skeletal finger at the terrified researcher.


“A-are you the G-ghost of Research F-Future?” asked Brand.

The spectre’s cowl dipped briefly in acknowledgement.

“Bit of a rough year for the industry, then?” said Brand. But the Ghost was not one for small talk. Continue reading

A Research Christmas Carol: Chapter Three

Continuing our special festive story! In part one, data-obsessed insight manager Ebenezer Brand was visited by a ghost telling him to change his ways. In part two, a second visitor warned him against looking at claimed, not real, behaviour. But there are still two visitors to come…

When his second visitor arrived, Ebenezer Brand was midway through a rather uncomfortable dream about a board meeting and a missing pair of trousers. His mumbled apologies to the CEO began to be drowned out by insistent, repeated phone alerts.

Brand rolled over sleepily, looked for the rectangle of screenlight in the dark of the room, and picked the device up. “74 new Twitter alerts?” he murmured, “But…. I’m not on Twitter….”

“That’s your problem!” said a friendly voice. “No Twitter. No Tumblr. Are you on Medium? Have you heard of it?”


Brand blinked in befuddlement. Standing over his bed was a young man, very tall with a shock of dark hair and a pair of blaring red trousers. He also held a phone in his hand, but there was a tablet in his other hand and a third device glowing softly in his breast pocket. LEDs pulsed on a wristband, and he had what looked like a memory stick attached to his glasses.

“Ghost of Research Present,” said the vision cheerily. “Let’s go. Things to show you. Must be quick. Get changed.” Continue reading

A Research Christmas Carol: Chapter Two

The second part of our special Christmas tale – check out Part One here. Data-obsessed insight manager Ebenezer Brand has been visited by the ghost of his former boss, who warns him to change his ways and expect three more ghostly visitations…

It will not astonish you to learn that Ebenezer Brand took some time to go to sleep that night. His rational analysis of the situation was unconvincing even to himself – it seemed all too likely that Jacob Crosstabs had been a genuine visitation from beyond, and that there were more to come.

So while he did drift off to sleep, he was not surprised to soon be woken by a voice calling for his attention. “Excuse me – excuse me!”

spooky clipboard

Brand shook himself awake. At the foot of his bed stood a woman wearing flat shoes and a sensible coat, clipboard in hand. She gave a businesslike smile as she caught Brand’s eye and held it firmly.

“Good evening – I wonder if you could just answer a few questions. It’ll take about 10 minutes.”

“Well, I suppose – but – “ Brand sounded suddenly concerned, “I am not sure I’ll be able to answer. I’ll probably be screened out. You see, I work in the research industry –“

“Oh, I do know”, said the woman warmly. “I’m the Ghost of Research Past.”Brand was suddenly aware that he couldn’t exactly tell how old the woman was, or even get a clear impression of the style of her coat – 1970s, 1950s, even earlier? Only that businesslike smile and firm gaze seemed constant and solid, and the biro that dangled on a raffia string from her clipboard.

“I’m so glad you’d like to participate,” the Ghost was saying, “And it seems you do fit our quotas, so if you’d like to just walk this way, I can start by showing you the stimulus.” Continue reading

A Research Christmas Carol: Chapter One

It’s a BrainJuicer tradition to present something a little different at Christmas time. Here, with apologies to Charles Dickens, is part 1 of a 4-part insights fable for Christmastime. Check back for part two on Wednesday….


It was a snowy December night, and Ebenezer Brand, Head of Insights at a festive confectionery firm, was walking home. He passed pubs heaving with merriment, old friends greeting each other in surprise, shoppers trudging along with heavy bags, lone travellers poking crossly at their phones as they passed. Brand observed none of it: his head was full of data.

As he picked a coffee for the walk home, a sudden thought struck him. He pulled out his own phone and called Bob Crunchit, his Chief Analyst. He frowned as Crunchit answered: in the background Ebenezer could hear children’s voices.

“Yes Mr Brand?” Crunchit said nervously.

“Have you… gone home, Crunchit?”

“Yes – it was the kids’ carol service and.. well…”

“Crunchit!” snapped Brand furiously, “It’s only 7! That pre-test data won’t analyse itself, you know! And we have several more modules to add to the Easter Eggs U&A – and where are our internal satisfaction survey results for the Insights Team?”

“But Mr Brand… only you and I work in the Insights Team – I didn’t see that a survey was needed…you could always have had a chat…”

Ebenezer Brand went an unpleasant shade of puce.

“A chat?” he spluttered, “And how, precisely, do you measure a chat against our norms database? Remember our team mission statement, Bob! You do remember, don’t you?”

“We make chocolate….” Crunchit began miserably.

“…but we eat data!” Ebenezer Brand finished triumphantly. “Words to live by! See that you do.” He pushed the phone back into his pocket in satisfaction, and found that he was almost at his front door. Continue reading