Friday, 14 January 2011

A Brief Meeting & Meeting a Brief

In my early days as a researcher I was asked by a senior executive from Barclays Bank at the end of a presentation, whether I felt the project had answered the original research objectives. Strange though it seems now, it was a question which I hadn’t specifically addressed in my final summary and conclusions. In the nervous moments that followed I returned to the objectives and was able to explain how each aspect of the brief had been addressed and this seemed to satisfy the client enough for him to commission more work at a later date.
Since then I’ve always been conscious of drawing attention to how objectives have been answered and how briefs have been met before I finish any debrief or presentation.
I mention this point because our recent experience of having a business make-over and investing in a new website has focused my mind again on how important it is to meet a brief. And indeed, how satisfying it can feel, as a client in this instance, to see a brief being met.
This project began with a brief meeting. Here, the design agency, Pitch & Co. ( urged us to tell them what we felt was different about our company and what we felt set us apart from our competitors. These were questions I’m more used to asking than being asked, so the meeting didn’t feel the most comfortable.
That said, between us, we came up with some key words which we felt summed us up, and some key aspects of our business which we felt we really wanted to be put across through our new look and our new website.
A couple of weeks later, we were being shown ideas for a new logo and having chosen that, we were then onto website design.
It is fair to say that before the launch of our new look, we were becoming giddy at the prospect of revealing all to our clients and our peers. But whilst we were excited, we hadn’t envisaged the reception we were about to receive from those who had not been involved in the briefing and design process.
The feedback we received, and continue to receive, suggests that not only did we put our message across to the designers, but the designers totally and utterly took it on board and ran with it. One brief meeting led to one brief being fully met.
Praise for the new look and the website has been fulsome. And certain comments made have matched sometimes word for word the points we made at the first briefing meeting.
The most recent phrase someone used was ‘it’s very you’, exactly what we had asked from the designers. Another ad agency client commented how he felt the new website ‘lifts your spirits’, and proceeded to commission a piece of work which has already helped pay for the website itself.
Others have also claimed it makes them smile, it cheers them up.
We feel the website conveys much more than just fun, however. It also clearly addresses some serious issues we wanted to raise about research generally and about the Park Lane Research approach to research specifically.
A key aim was to say that the world of market research doesn’t have to be dull. And that those working in it aren’t necessarily dull either.
Another aim was to say that we work across a number of key sectors, and what better way than to invent a virtual
Park Lane
on which many of our clients are seen to reside.
Our continuing delight with the new look and the new website has helped us to look forward to 2011 with added vim and vigour. We feel Pitch & Co, not only helped us develop our brief but also then went on to meet it, to smash it even, I’d say.
So here’s a toast to a new year, a new look and a new us. And here’s to brief meetings and meeting briefs.
And if you haven’t done already, take a look at our new website for yourself at