Nursery Blog

We are now officially Investors in People!

We are delighted to announce that The Nursery has been officially accredited as an Investors in People business.  This recognises The Nursery as an industry leader in developing and supporting its people and followed a rigorous assessment process.

The Investors in People Standard sets out the criteria for high performance through people based on a framework of leading, supporting and...

What have you been buying other than loo roll?

We have all found ourselves in very unfamiliar and uncertain times. Like the situation, consumer’s buying habits are far from normal. This got me wondering - aside from bulk buying toilet paper, antibac gel and dried pasta - what unusual purchases have people been making as a result of COVID-19?

10 days ago, my breakfast bar suddenly became my home office. In an attempt to make it a more...

The virtual world of face to face qual research for Direct Line and others!

All of our working days have changed massively in the last week and although we wouldn’t wish it, we’ve all have had to adapt quickly. For the qualitative team at The Nursery, our biggest issue was that we had several weeks of face to face qualitative fieldwork set up for March and beyond, in both the UK and internationally. Some of our client’s first instinct was to cancel or go online, but...

Our approaches in lieu of in-person qual

While traditional in-person qualitative research isn't an option at present, it doesn't mean that face to face research is impossible, nor that qualitative insight gathering needs to be put on hold.

The Nursery has already completed a lot of live, online group and individual discussions this week leading to some reassuring observations:

1. People have been keen to take part - it's a welcome break...


Our research - they say it matters

When put on the spot, consumers will tell us they are ‘signed up’ for sustainable businesses. We spoke to 1000 consumers of whom

And the motivation is driven most strongly by factors relating to sense of self:

67% claim to feel more positive about themselves when buying from sustainable brands

And even 54% agreed that buying from sustainable brands was a form of...



The Nursery team have been pondering and researching issues around sustainability for brands over recent months. It is a hot topic and one that is growing in importance and shows no signs of dissipating. Fuelled by curiosity and a sense that this issue is one that touches most of the brands we help to grow, we undertook a three-stage research survey in which we:

  • Explored the...

People really like Mrs Brown's Boys and Twitter is yet again outraged

On Monday night Mrs Brown’s Boys won The Best Comedy Award at The NTAs, an award voted by the public. Twitter (not for the first time) exploded.

Ricky Gervais was 'robbed' by Mrs Brown's Boys at National Television Awards claim fuming viewers

… said The Daily Mirror. The Daily Mail felt people weren’t happy either:

Viewers are left fuming after Mrs Brown's Boys beats Fleabag to take home best...

Our Top Twelve 2020 Predictions

The Nursery predicts the big trends for 2020!

With so many of our predictions coming true in 2019 - single use straws being banned and re-useable food coverings replacing cling film - The Elizabeth line not opening - Brexit not happening and avocado ice cream becoming a thing, it would have been ludicrous not to have another stab at what the big trends might be for 2020!

So, we have consulted our...

Adwatch - It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

I have vowed that no mulled wine will touch my lips until December is here, but the Christmas ads have been coming in thick and fast since the start of November…

‘Holidays are Coming’ | Coca Cola 

It is universally known that Coca Cola invented the colour red, Santa Claus, lights and the magic of Christmas. The hypnotically soothing and instantly recognisable ‘Holidays Are Coming’ track is...

A Qualitative Manifesto: Why we should be using more Ethnography in Market Research

Part 1: For Ethnography in Market Research

As qualitative market researchers, clients come to us wanting to use tried and tested research methods such as focus groups and depth interviews to better understand their customers.

But let’s be honest, when we are conducting qualitative research, probing for opinions and views on a product or brand, we are removing participants from the lived realities...

Semiotics and why we should care

My only knowledge of semiotics, pre-research world, was from my Literature degree where it was used interchangeably for imagery or looking for the layers of meaning around language. My later encounters with the term in the world of advertising and research has been met with a mixture of enthusiasm, a knowing smirk or a passing ‘people have mixed feelings about it’ which soon brought me to the...

Understanding the Concept of Empathy

With Brexit continuing to loom large, the Extinction Rebellion raging and debate around the impeachment of Donald Trump reaching fever pitch in the States, there’s never been a better time to talk about the concept of empathy.

Would more empathy improve fraught situations, allowing us to build a better understanding of those we disagree with, and ultimately lead to a more harmonious existence?


Embracing Ignorance: Is Brexit really to blame for us not watching the news anymore?

Just a couple of weeks before the Brexit deadline, Sky News announced they would be releasing a pop-up channel with ‘Brexit free news’.

This new channel fuelled the fire of a longstanding debate – should people be obliged hear about events that will shape their lives, especially at such a critical moment? Or is it completely in someone’s right to turn a blind eye from news they don’t want to...

A brand that breaks all the rules


Last week the winners of the APG Creative Strategy Awards were announced. These awards are designed to recognise the contribution that great strategy makes to brand comms development.

We always look forward with great excitement to the results, especially as we sponsor the prize for Best Brand Development.

This year we handed the award over to a case study for brand launch like no other...

Smell the Brand!

On the corner of Dean Street and Oxford Street is a branch of Benetton. But several hundred feet before you get to it you can smell it. Benetton have developed a fragrance to brand their stores and it is called Ginger. You can’t actually buy it, although you can buy from a range of other room fragrances and eau de toilettes.

It is a powerful scent, not unpleasant, but it makes its presence felt...

How do you transform vast amounts of customer data into a successful marketing strategy?

With so many of our interactions today being digital, organisations are able to capture massive volumes of unstructured data from customer reviews, web enquiries, social media comment and feedback.  This creates a fantastic opportunity to really understand customer needs but the sheer volume of data collected often poses problems for anyone trying to extract any real insight of real value...

Critical Insight Skills Training

Do you want to develop Critical Insight Skills that get to the heart of your target audience? 

This course has been jointly developed by the APG and The Nursery to train a new generation of planners and strategists in the skills they need to understand target audiences and develop people-based strategic insights. 

For more information visit:


Are estate agents the masters of behavioural science?

I always dread having to look for a new place to live. For those in the renting game, like myself, this tends to be every couple of years.  This year my search started a few weeks ago, and already I’ve found many estate agents to be pushy, untrustworthy and generally stressful to deal with.

But when I started to analyse their tactics and techniques, I realised some of them were pretty...

Numbers are people too - understanding the impact of injury

I am a quantitative researcher. I don’t have a mug saying “I love spreadsheets”, but I do tend to be sat at a desk digging through Excel rather than speaking to people day in day out like my qualitative colleagues. 

We’ve recently worked with National Accident Helpline to explore the extent of the impact that injury caused by an accident can have on people’s lives as part of their “Make It...

Don’t forget the brand when it comes to customer experience

In today’s world where everyone is asked their opinion of goods and services they have used or bought, the brand is often forgotten about for the more functional and tangible elements.

This is often the case with visitor experience surveys and is often overlooked by large scale organisations, whose research and brand teams are not as cohesive as they could be.

A lot of visitor surveys we come...


In April this year, Netflix released a talk by Researcher-Storyteller Brené Brown on vulnerability and courage. Brown is a Social Scientist from Texas with 5 New York Times Bestsellers and a Ted Talk with over 38 million views under her belt. The Netflix Special is really great, she truly is a wonderful story teller, using personal anecdotes to clearly communicate well constructed arguments....


Last week I went to see Avalanche at the Barbican followed by a Q&A with actor Maxine Peake and director Anne-Louise Sarks. The play was really impressive, a one woman performance exploring the rollercoaster of IVF treatment. The Q&A also started strong, with discussion led by Sarah Hemming from the Financial Times. However, things took a turn when the Q&A was open to the floor.


Only is Massive!

Only is massive

One of my favourite tasks is reviewing other people’s reports. A fresh pair of eyes and a critical view is a great way of stress testing arguments and work data harder.

It’s also a great way to fine tune the headlines and cut out those words or phrases that ring alarm bells – the weasel words as we call them. Research unfortunately has a lot of these.

For example:

‘On the other hand...

Fighting Talk! - Brands that ‘attack’ other brands

If a competitor is the main barrier on your way to the top, one way to get around them is to bring them down so you can take their place (rather than elevating yourself up). We see it all the time in sport, with boxers psyching out their opponents at weigh ins and in the build up to a fight and performance stats constantly compared between football teams. But brands can do this too. Comparative...