The Future Of Insights Project is HERE

We’ve been looking forward to posting this one! Last year we did some work with the World Federation of Advertisers on a very juicy topic – the future of the insights business. With 2016 being the 100th birthday of market research (don’t believe us? read the report!) we thought it was time to take a look at what’s coming up NEXT. Today the Future Of Insights Project releases its core report. And it’s fascinating.

WFA report photo

Chief Juicer John Kearon launches the report in Kuala Lumpur.

There are a few “research on research” studies knocking around and most of them have interesting things to say. What makes the WFA one particularly exciting? Continue reading

Our Best Blog Posts Of 2014

It’s been a busy year at BrainJuicer and on this blog, and with the end of 2014 fast approaching it’s time to take our annual look at the posts you read the most – our most popular content, as voted. Can anything beat last year’s runaway winner, “How To Eat A Sandwich (The Daniel Kahneman Way)“? As it happens, yes. Let’s count down and find out what…


10. So, How Many Basic Emotions Are There Again? Like most successful theories, Paul Ekman’s “7 basic emotions” makes a juicy target for a news story looking to debunk it. This year’s attempt spotlighted a claim that there are only four basic emotions. Bad news for Ekman? Not really – the new work identifies primal emotions that may have evolved earlier, but Ekman’s ideas are still the relevant ones to humans as we are today.

9. The Best Graduate Job In The World? Micha Dudley joined BrainJuicer in 2013 in our Behaviour Change Unit team. In this post, she offers a look at what working here is really like from a graduate perspective. (Spoilers! It’s awesome!)

8. Reclaiming Research’s Radicalism Back in May, planner Martin Weigel published a mini-manifesto about restoring planning to its radical roots. This was our cover version, looking at how well research lives up to his ideas. And in a lot of places, it doesn’t – things the industry should embrace, like learnings from marketing science, get ignored in favour of received wisdom and “zombie ideas”.

7. South-East Asian Advertising: What Works? Happiness is a universal emotion, but not every culture reaches it in a similar way. This post looks at some self-funded ad testing we ran in Thailand and Indonesia, exploring the different drivers of 5-star advertising in each country.

6. 7-1! There was a World Cup this year, you might remember. And if you’re Brazilian or German, you surely also remember the shock outcome of the two countries’ semi-final. In the aftermath of Brazilian despair and German triumph, we turned a behavioural science lens on the match: how on earth had it all gone so wrong for Brazil, and what lessons could be drawn from it using psychology and decision science?

5. Meet The Most Successful Research App Of 2014 The research industry has spent decades making trade-off analysis as tedious as possible for participants. The runaway success of a tough-decisions app for teens should make them think again.

4. 2014 Christmas Ads: The Emotional Winners Revealed This post only went up a couple of weeks ago, but with the UK Christmas ad race these days a lot more interesting than the race for the Christmas No.1, it’s no surprise it’s proved very popular. Monty The Penguin takes on raving Christmas lights, World War One soldiers, posh fairies and a kid on a chopper bike in this highlights and lowlights review. (For the full story – with over 15 ads rated – get in touch!)

3. These Aren’t The Insights You’re Looking For The second in a series of posts exploring the demise of the traditional research concept, and how to get testing new ideas right. The conceit here – what if Star Wars had been put through the research wringer? – helped make it one of our most-tweeted posts, as well as one of our most-read.

2. The Behavioural Economics Guide 2014 – A Free Behaviour Change Resource Want people to visit a blog? Give them free stuff! Longtime BrainJuicer associate Alain Samson wrote a Behavioural Economics guidebook this year, and we linked to a free PDF of it. It’s still up. It’s still free. What are you waiting for?

1. Obituary – The Traditional Concept c.1960-2014 And our most successful post of the year was probably also our most fun to write – there’s a lesson in there somewhere! A mock obituary of the traditional research concept, explaining how it can’t keep pace with a System 1 world. The interest in our proposed solution – VisiCepts – has been enormous, but the story starts here.

So that was our 2014 – how was yours? There will still be a couple of posts to go before the year ends, of course, and right at the end of the year there’s our 15th birthday (which we’ll be celebrating in January – that time of year needs a bit of cheering up…!)

Thanks for reading this blog, and have a fantastic holiday season.

Reasons To Be Cheerful: 6 Ways Research Has Changed For The Better

Last week BrainJuicer Labs Content Director Tom Ewing presented the opening keynote at the AMSRS (Australian Market And Social Research Society) conference in Melbourne. This is a very edited summary of what he talked about!

Keynotes at market research events often have a rather depressing air – constantly stressing the research industry’s need to change, to become more like consultants, or technicians, or entrepreneurs, or else face extinction. Those doomy prescriptions have one thing in common: they assume that research can’t change, or is slow to do so. But it can. In the fifteen years I’ve been in the industry, research has changed enormously and that change is ongoing.

My AMSRS keynote was a celebration of that change, and of an industry with a marvellous capacity to change and adapt. It’s not about the future of research, but its present – the day-to-day reality of forward-thinking research companies. As Ian Dury put it in his song “Reasons To Be Cheerful”: “Yes yes my dear / perhaps next year / or maybe even now”. Why wait?


I talked about six main changes I saw happening in research. Continue reading

Research Steps Out Of The Playground

If you become a parent, a fair bit of your time is spent boggling at the things that your kids get to enjoy that you didn’t. Take playgrounds, for instance. When I was little, playgrounds involved skinned knees, peeling paint on wood, and skeleton frames of rusted metal we were sent off to climb like chimney sweeps.

1970s playground

These days, everything is bright and gorgeous and my kids get to go in a “Soft Play Area”. This is a paradise: torrents of foam balls, carefully netted walkways, all sorts of squidgy towers to climb and explore. The only bad part is that at some point you grow up and leave the awesome soft play area behind.

But on the other hand that isn’t so bad – there’s more fun to be had in the real world, even if it’s not all quite so simple and colourful. Continue reading

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

Our Best Blog Posts Of 2013

It’s been a fine year for the Brian Juicer Blog – we more than doubled our readership and views from 2012 – and it feels like a good time to spotlight the posts you liked most this year. A countdown, no less, of our most popular content this year!

10. Packaging – The Plain Truth? The Australian government has introduced Plain Packaging laws on cigarettes – this post took a look at the intitial results. It’s ambiguous whether the packs are reducing tobacco consumption – but they do seem to be making it less enjoyable, which raises a whole different set of questions…

9. Doctor Who And The Anchoring Effect Back in November, the BBC announced it had recovered some of the “missing episodes” of long-running sci-fi show Doctor Who – but not quite as many as had been rumoured. The reactions were a perfect encapsulation of psychology’s “anchoring effect”….

8. Research And Big Data: Seven Roads To Enlightenment In February, BrainJuicer partnered with the AMA to organise the first ever Analytics With Purpose conference. (The second one is coming up!) Here, conference chair Tom Ewing summarised the themes of the conference and of research’s relationship to big data.

7. Moving The Elephant If you’ve seen one of our Webinars this year (and if you haven’t, check them out!) you’ve probably seen “the elephant and the rider” – our favourite metaphor for decision making. This is the post which explains why we like it and where it comes from.

6. When Stories Suck The more specific a story is, the more likely it is to be believed… but the less likely it is to be true. This post looks at the dark side of “storytelling” and its dire implications for common research techniques like segmentation.

Any excuse, frankly.

Any excuse, frankly.

5. Taming The Panda “Brand Trackers are the Giant Pandas of research”. ‘Nuff said.

4. Eight Days Of Emotion Emotions matter – so back in March we took the opportunity to throw a spotlight on each of our basic emotions in turn. This master post collected the series – find out which ads use sadness best, the difference between contempt and anger for a brand, and the uses of happiness (and lots more).

And now, the top 3…. Continue reading

Research Is Doomed! (Part 759)

Every few months one of the business sites publishes a piece having a go at market research. Usually these articles are a heady mix of dramatic predictions, weirdly dated assumptions about what researchers do, and – let’s be honest – a few sharp truths.

This one, in Forbes, is no exception. The gist is that “Big Research” is going to get kerb-stomped by “Big Data”, so the piece combines its downer on research with a bouncy optimism about the infinite powers of big data. I’m not going to go through it point-by-point, and anyhow plenty of other commentators have outlined where big data and research fit with each other. But this line stood out.

“What possible similarity is there between a person in 1972 and today in terms of how they respond to an ad?”

1972 fashion

1972 – too remote to matter?

What indeed? Let’s start with biology, psychology, emotions, how they make decisions, the fundamental needs they might be trying to fulfil… but no – in a world transformed by technology none of those things matter. Continue reading