NEWS ANNOUNCEMENT 2 July 2018: The Nursery Research and Planning has acquired market research consultancy Arkenford

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Nursery Blog

Lies and why we tell them

Pauline McGowan waxes lyrical, once again, on her favourite topic.

One of the most difficult reality checks a researcher faces is that human beings are innate liars. Timothy Levine, the chair of communication studies at the University of Alabama, has run some well-constructed studies and while they are based on self-reported lies, they have been repeated and cross referenced. He has found that...

What researchers can learn from a comedy writers' festival

Pauline McGowan and Kate Benson recently presented our humour research to comedy writers at the Craft of Comedy festival in Llandudno.

‘As Swift once said, haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate’ … as conference keynote speeches go, Dave Cohen’s at the Craft of Comedy was one of the most fun, inspiring, practical and creative we’ve come across. And you didn’t need to be a comedy writer to...

Uniqlo - LifeWear and the lifestyle it sells

Uniqlo sells clothes. They are not unique in that. Their clothes are not unique either, they make comfortable clothes with a slightly utilitarian aesthetic. Their LifeWear collection, well-designed basics designed for everyday, particularly embodies this.

Where they are different is in their adverts. Working with Droga5, they have grown further and further away from focusing on clothes in the...

Thinking Around Corners

On Tuesday 8 May Google hosted the APG Thinking Around Corners event at their Soho HQ. The evening saw Martin Weigel, Head of Planning at Wieden + Kennedy, and Richard Shotton, Deputy Head of Evidence at MG OMD, sharing their thoughts on two hot topics within the planning community:

  • How do you get people to entertain facts that don’t accord with their world view?
  • How do you get society/a client/a...

The Paradox of Tinder

Psychologist Barry Schwartz taught us that, paradoxically, the more choices he have, the less happy we are. Rather than enhancing our lives and allowing us to make the most relevant decisions, having more options can overwhelm us, and leave us feeling that the grass is always greener. As Schwartz says:

"Learning to choose is hard. Learning to choose well is harder. And learning to choose well in...

Feeling tap-happy: 2018 as the year of the contactless donation

In December, I predicted that 2018 would be the year that sees contactless charity payments go mainstream – you’ll be able to tap to donate for your poppy, daffodil or geranium badge, and I think it can’t come soon enough. In an increasingly cashless society, and with contactless payments now accounting for more than half of all transactions under 30, I’m hopeful that charities will be able to...

Coffee anyone?

In 2017 The Nursery predicted that 2018 would be the year of the Reusable Cup. As awareness of the waste built up by millions of morning latte habits has grown, we felt sure consumers would be seeking a better more permanent alternative to all those paper cups, plastic lids and corrugated surrounds clogging up litter bins. The shocking truth is that the UK throws away 2.5 billion paper coffee...

You're feeling very sleepy....

It’s time to get down to the real basics now.  Sleep is the current big thing we’re being sold.  It was my prediction at the Nursery predictions for 2018.  I’ve seen it mentioned in loads of articles in Jan and Feb, so thought I’d talk about it and remind everyone where they heard it first.

It’s relevant to everyone and with tech keeping us always on we’re heading for a sleep...

Nursery Rhymes

If anyone has read Dave Trott's latest blog
They'd find he has given our memory a jog
He discusses advertisers' use of rhyme
And reminds us of a more rhythmical time

A time when an apple a day kept the doctor away &
A mars helped you work, rest and play
The trick with rhyme is it makes things important
And can act as an effective prompt or portent

For an issue that needs addressing
That is urgent or...

Home hackers - what does the future hold?

Before Christmas, one of my predictions was that increased usage of the Internet of Things would lead to the first ‘home hacks’. Hackers will start to attack individuals by unlocking their doors, generating random online orders to Tesco or making their living rooms uncomfortably warm.

And although this may sound like a bad joke, or even an episode of Black Mirror, ‘home hacking’ is a growing...

Fantastical, free choice - why the site of Amazon's second US headquarters is of such interest

Late last year Paddy Power opened a book on where Amazon will choose to locate its second US (or rather, North American) headquarters, bringing with it 50,000 jobs, a surge of local optimism and a significant hike to real estate values.

Paddy Power’s action may not be any great barometer of significance, but the considerable number of column inches devoted to this topic has been avidly consumed...

The funniest place in the UK

As part of our year-long study into humour types in 2017, we asked our participants: ‘Where is the funniest place in the UK?’

We expected ‘the north’ to feature highly and indeed it did. In fact, Northerners believed that humour barely exists down south; that life is too corporate and driven by profit and this is prioritised over humour and relationships.

But Southerners also said that life and...

MRS Awards Dinner

On Monday 4 December over 900 people gathered to celebrate at the Market Research Society’s annual awards dinner. Market researchers don’t often shout about the contributions we make, so the MRS award dinner is a great opportunity to celebrate the impact we have on all the industries with which we work. It’s also a chance for us to learn about what everyone’s been up to over the previous year.

...

Unpicking anger

On 8 November the Cultural Insight Forum and BMB held an event on anger. The evening comprised four talks from very different speakers, all touching upon how society views anger and how it can become a force, with both positive and negative outcomes.

We first heard from Ian Murray the founder of House51, a research and strategy agency. His talk centred on the idea that anger is natural and...

Branding Bigness

Some things, surely, are beyond branding – like numbers or bigness for example?

I was listening to the wonderful Tim Harford on More or Less (compulsory homework for market researchers), and they were discussing the names for ever-increasing hard drive, server storage capacity – Giga, Tera, Peta etc – each equivalent to 1000 times the previous one in the series.

As with the annual launch of the...

Thirty Years of IKEA

Thirty years ago IKEA arrived in the UK and transformed the way we live. There cannot be a house in the country that does not contain something from IKEA whether it be a flat pack desk, a Klippan sofa, or a pack of tea lights.

Its mission is simple, ‘to create a better everyday life for the many people’ (ring a bell Jeremy Corbyn?) and whilst many of us have battled to assemble a Billy bookcase...

Christmas comes early












We were talking in the office about how Christmas seems to start earlier and earlier every year – that old (roast) chestnut. No sooner have the “Back to School” posters come down at the supermarkets than the aisles are re-jigged and reconfigured to accommodate a wider range of Christmas essentials – from tins of Celebrations to jars of Pickled Walnuts and dog Christmas stockings to fairy...

Challenging Perceptions of Life in Uniform - Creative Development for The Army's 'This is Belonging' Recruitment Campaign

We’re really proud of the work we’ve done over the years for recruitment for the Armed Forces. And we’re delighted to have been shortlisted for the MRS Jeremy Bullmore Award for Creative Development. 

Our joint submission with Karmarama is for work on The Army’s ‘This is Belonging’ Recruitment Campaign. Developed against a backdrop of challenging Army recruitment targets and low...

The researchers who never ask why

The more you learn about being a qualitative researcher, the more you value the power of asking fewer questions. Most importantly, you tend to stop using the word ‘why?’

‘Why’ is just not a terribly nice word. It’s sharp and aggressive. It’s accompanied by a challenging question mark or is asked with a quizzical lilt. It piles the pressure on. It impels people to rationalise their ideas,...

Are you getting the most out of your tracking? | Part 4

Don’t take your data for granted. A lot of work goes into the science of collecting accurate, representative samples of the audience you are shooting for. You need to know that the 500 people who say they love your brand look like the 5 million you really care about. Good research companies are like swans – elegant and peaceful, but believe me there’s a lot of hard paddling going on under...

Humour: it's a serious business

Come along to one of our Nursery Breakfasts in London or Leeds to see the findings from a fascinating qual/quant study we recently conducted into different types of humour. Humour can be a powerful communications tool for brands, but there’s been very little research into the power of laughter and how it impacts an audience.

We’ve created a humour segmentation which identifies nine different...

Life's too short: The key to good communication

I recently went to see a performance at the Barbican. My brother had bought me tickets as a birthday present and, because I really love it there, I was unperturbed to find out that the show was a two hour one man play without an interval.

Well that’s two hours of my life I’m never getting back!!

As the rest of the audience got up for a standing ovation, I could barely bring myself to clap my...

The two most sensitive subjects to research

Researching sensitive and embarrassing subjects fills you with dread as a younger researcher and with glee once you get older and have lost all capacity for embarrassment yourself. The first focus group I ever moderated was about adult incontinence. I had listened intently to my qualitative director who told me to always find some common ground with the people you’re interviewing. This seemed...

Lunchtime in Guatemala

One of the glories of life at the Nursery is the sheer diversity of brands, categories and markets we get to experience. In the last month alone I’ve spoken to UK parents about why they take their kids to A&E, asked Americans about holidays in Britain, explored why we Brits love Michael Parkinson and helped develop a property investment platform for Ultra High Net Worths.

Variety truly is...