Communicating Beyond The Rational

Clean hands and fresh eyes.
Presenting qualitative research can
sometimes feel like a counter-intuitive
process. What good are charts when
you're trying to describe people's
emotions? Clients are also focused
on rationalising the results, often
according to long-held perceptions.
Millward Brown undertook to investigate consumer attitudes to a given handcare product, often described as 'harsh'. It launched a semiotic study, examining the signs and symbols more commonly associated with the idea of 'softness' in Colombia. The tricky bit was communicating the results to their client.

The agency decided on a multi-sensorial presentation. Yes, there was some PowerPoint, but that was just the start. Clients were then blindfolded, and exposed to tactile, olfactory, and audio cues. They literally moved through the product experience, dipping their hands into oatmeal and aloe, or listening to soothing sounds.

They may have been literally blindfolded, but, as the client put it: 'It was like taking the veil from our eyes and seeing the category from the consumer's perspective'.