Why Do Most Leaders Find Research Reports Boring? Because They Usually Are

Writing compelling research reports — the kind that engage C-level execs — is difficult. It’s not just enough to be clever or smart or to layer on a bunch of language that sounds strategic. Compelling research reports need to make people think differently. Drive change. And, ultimately, lead to profitable changes in products, services, positioning and go-to-market strategies.

So, how can you make this happen on your next research project? How can you deliver a report that’s so impactful and so valuable that even the CFO says that it was money well spent? Here are just a few ideas:

Say goodbye to the report. Who reads a report for fun?  Think of your report like a short film, an Instagram feed, or an engaging magazine article.  How about a game?

Visualize insights through mapping. Compiling insights tells one story. Illustrating them into a map that paints a complete picture elevates those insights to a new level of usefulness.

Profile a whole person. Why do market researchers think it’s inspiring or informative to dissect real humans into a series of bullet points and verbatim quotes?  Bringing whole, real people to life inspires business partners and gives them an instinct for their customer.

Leverage respondent-created media to capture compelling points of view. This typically centers on video, but can also include still photographs and audio recordings. Since a majority of consumers own smart phones, they are already equipped with video cameras and other recording devices. Keep it real and let the respondent do some of the work.

Create experiences through interactive presentations.  Involving team  members with a study’s findings helps them understand the insights better and often leads to impromputu brainstorming on application of the data.

The more it becomes part of your process, the conceptual task of creating reports that are more engaging and more strategically relevant  becomes easier. The possibilities are almost endless. Other ideas include interactive presentations, workbooks, placemats, gamification, immersive role playing and co-creation sessions with respondents and client representatives.