Research, the brief and personas


The challenge of every research project is the end bit – when you see if you managed to create value or just waste a lot of time – this is the handing over part – the brief – delivered from you the planner or researcher to the creative team solving the puzzle.

Have you mustered together enough information, covering a rich enough perspective, to arrive at a solid brief? Are you able to communicate this in a way that conveys the core, ads richness, and understanding but doesn’t water out the three things you want them to remember? Have you gathered enough proof to withstand the questions and challenges from creatives, consultants and clients who aren’t getting it right away?

(Are you using stuff you learned from Made to Stick?)

The goal is not to hand over a set of facts that leaves the receiver with the responsibility to articulate the need – the goal is to tell them DEAD ON what the need is

. What is the customers “benefit of the benefit of the product”, which buttons can we push – in what way, When? Where?

The brief is a set of answers, not more questions.

From the brief the creatives’ job is to articulate an answer to it using the instruments they know and need
.

The fright that some research projects end up as a lot of papers in a binder being thrown over a fence to waiting creatives have lead to a range of new deliverables from the researcher. One of these are personas

. What do I think of them?

I think personas end up in the category where the research generates “new” questions instead of answers. A persona is a loose set of facts set up in order to define the culture and mind of a target group. It is a very good idea to personalize them, but more than that personas only leave the interpretation up to the individual creative and is not done by the researcher as it should be

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Image by Vakas on flickr.com.

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