Every VP of Insights we know has a best practice research brief they want their researchers to use whenever they conduct custom research. Why? To clearly articulate the business motivation of research. To ensure standard methods are applied. To commit the business to agreed actions based on results. To make sure each stakeholder is on the same page – budget owner, business team, internal research team, and research agency team.
For all these reasons, our friend Maria Gomez-Soler, Global VP Insights at Newell Brands, confesses “I’m a complete pain when it comes to research briefs”.
“I spend more time on the brief than almost anything else, because I truly believe that if you get the brief right, then all of the rest should flow seamlessly. A lot of the questions and challenges in the research process like, ‘Why didn’t you ask this or that? … are resolved when you go back to the brief and see that wasn’t even the purpose of that particular study”.
According to Maria, “With a standardized best practice research brief, things are automatically clear.” But how to achieve this, when your research teams are working in different locations, for different business units, and under tremendous pressure.
At Market Logic, clients including Newell Brands turn the situation around by embedding their best practice briefs in collaborative workflows that sit on top of their insights platform.
For example, a best practice research brief for a quantitative concept test could include the knowledge gap, research objective, research method, action standard, sample, composition, stimulus material, etc. Completion of the brief evolves in a collaborative effort across the team. For example, marketers request new research by completing an online request form where they state the knowledge gap, research objective, research method, etc. The researcher checks the questions against past research to prevent duplication, and then completes those same fields. If desired, drafts can be shared with the team for alignment or fed into an approval engine.
Let’s give the last word to Maria, who says “having a proper brief is fundamental. This is where the structure of Market Logic ensures that everyone has one brief that is consistent and by default, very helpful. It forces us to make sure that we have every single piece in place and that we don’t forget the questions we want to answer or to clarify the background or strategic questions. Personally, I think it’s critical we have a brief as it’s something we go back to all of the time.”
How do you manage your best practice research briefs? We’d love your feedback.