BERLIN: Both researchers and clients often dread the PowerPoint presentation that typically completes a project and manages to communicate few insights, but a novel approach for Jaguar Land Rover has the potential to be a game-changer.

When the automotive company was conducting target customer research in a new category, it wanted to move away from its traditional methodology involving a one or two day ethnography with multiple customers in multiple markets, leading to the creation of a 50-minute documentary illustrating key target customer themes, mindsets and behaviours.

This approach has been “incredibly effective”, James Livingston, customer insights analyst at JLR, told the recent Qual360 Europe conference, but he was concerned about the onset of “audience fatigue” with such long-form output.

Accordingly, Northstar, JLR’s research agency, devised a methodology for gathering impactful insight, which would also be the mechanism for sharing it

It created a version of reality TV show The Apprentice where researchers could learn a lot about their target customers as they interacted with each other, completed tasks and spoke to the camera. (For more details, read WARC’s report: You’re hired’: how Jaguar Land Rover took gamification in research to a new level.)

The use of The Apprentice format not only enabled what was essentially “a massive projective technique”, it also made possible a more engaging way of reporting back: three short 15-minute “episodes” rather than a long-winded 50-minute documentary, with trailers promoting each of these.

The episodes included content from each of the three markets under consideration, with customer themes conveyed while also following a linear narrative and striking a balance between delivering target consumer insight and entertainment.

The video has been watched over 4,000 times internally, Livingston reported, “which, compared to the traditional ethno, is just chalk and cheese, it’s incredible”.

He hailed the methodology as a massive success within the business and added that there had been “some tremendous feedback”.

And he cited one example of a manager explaining that not only was The Apprentice format engaging to him and his team, “but it also delivered on that promise of untapped insight that they traditionally wouldn’t have picked up”.

By Rhiannon Price, Head of UK Qualitative Research and Global Client Engagement & Daniel Tralman, Associate Director

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