Research as a market differentiator

Miguel Blanco

16 December 2020

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Many years ago, when I was working at the CERN (European Centre for Nuclear Research), my supervisor told me something that struck me:

Miguel, because your colleague is an engineer, he is a man of action. However, you and I are physicists, therefore we have to sit down and look at these charts.”

Then he spent ten long minutes looking at a table littered with papers showcasing various graphics I found totally indistinguishable. For him, however, those drawings were full of information relating to the trends, features and capacities of the physical phenomena that we were investigating in the particle accelerator.

Years later, having left academia and immersed in the business world with Good Rebels, I have discovered that analytical skills are not exclusive to research centres. At the end of the day, in order to develop your tasks correctly and efficiently, mastering what you are working on and deep diving into the results and main driving factors is key. 

Just as my supervisor used to scrutinise those charts persistently, in Good Rebels I have developed a well-trained analytical perspective that allows me to see beyond the surface. As Musashi Miyamoto, author of the famous “Book of Five Rings”, once said

The observing eye is stronger, the perceiving eye is weaker.”

A lesson learned

As the years (and my PhD) went on, I realised that what seemed like magic or like an inexplicable superpower at the time, was actually all down to technique. Analytical and research skills are something you can build, both in yourself and in corporations. In the case of Good Rebels, this technique is based on three pillars:

  1. A multidisciplinary team: we work with varied profiles, which allows us to obtain a diverse perspective on the different phenomena influencing how brands interact with people, media and technology.
  2. Our extensive experience: for many years, we have been developing our own methodologies and mastering different ways of analysing reality.
  3. A wide range of different specific techniques that provide us with a complete picture of the elements we are analysing.

The different techniques that allow for such a thorough analysis can be classified along two main axes: offline and online; qualitative and quantitative.

research methodologies

Techniques such as social listening, online communities, panel surveys or  audience profiles will allow us to find different trigger points according to the features or objectives of each project. However, there are other techniques beyond these two axes that are also important, such as observation methods based on data or on interaction with people.

The idea is to cover all the possible angles of analysis, because we are aware that the interaction processes between brands and people can be extremely diverse and complex nowadays.

The most profitable investment

At Good Rebels we think of research as the most profitable investment of all. On the one side, research is what will help us understand the opportunity cost of what we do not do. On the other side, it will allow us to minimise our own biases, broadening our view and our spectrum when making decisions. 

This is why, apart from the research associated with each project (which usually has a very specific purpose with its own applications and activations in the short- and the mid-term), it is interesting to open up the research objectives to more generic areas in the mid- and long-term. 

This kind of research, developed with a broader, more global perspective, permeates the specific topics that are analysed in each particular case, enriching every project with the initial knowledge that drives the final results. At Good Rebels we have developed several investigations following this approach, but we are especially proud of the two latest ones. Keep reading!

COVID-19: Implications for CMOs

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been pouring different analyses into this space for reflection, with the aim of helping CMOs understand how the global pandemic was affecting the marketing and communication function. As with any other study involving COVID, our learnings have been changing throughout the year, which is why we have devoted an extra effort to keep the website updated.

As a result of this effort, we have also developed some specific publications relating to the rise of direct-to-consumer, to home-driven marketing, or to forecasts on consumer confidence, which we developed back in March, when the whole market was plunged into the darkest uncertainty.

Have you met Zen Gen?

The other major research which we have been working on over the past few months focused on the digital behaviours of Zen Gen (people between 55 and 75 years old, often known as ‘baby boomers’). The study, developed in the United Kingdom, Spain and Mexico, analysed their relationship with technology, as well as their online purchasing habits. 

This research has shed light on some insights that many (us included) would find surprising. Why? Because our findings have blown away many of the preconceptions that are often held about this generation. For example, more than 80% of our respondents buy online regularly, and 27% of them use Pinterest to look for inspiration and ideas. 

Moreover, following our strong belief on the importance of universal access to knowledge, the data from this research is published and accessible to the general public, so that the conclusions can be analysed in detail or expanded further according to each person’s view and perspective.

Rebel Thinking

As part of our commitment to publicising all the research we develop and sharing knowledge, the Rebel Thinking think tank has been offering content related to digital marketing for 15 years, both in the form of articles and more extensive publications (white papers). 

Rebel Thinking contains more than 7,000 articles classified by topics and categories, to facilitate user immersion and guide their research. Although we have far fewer whitepapers, they have a greater level of depth, addressing topics that are critical to Good Rebels as a company, such as People-Centred Organisations, our Smart Social methodology, or data science. These articles not only explain past research in a broad and detailed manner; they have also helped us connect with our clients by expressing and transmitting our values and capabilities.

The observing eye is not a magical eye: at Good Rebels we have been training it for many years to understand reality, in order to be able to help the people and brands we work with. We have been mastering research techniques, creating diverse teams and compiling all the knowledge so that when we observe that reality, displayed like a sheet of graphics on our table, it is all crystal clear to us. 

Miguel Blanco holds a PhD in Physics from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie and is a Data Scientist at Good Rebels.