This article is written by Alexandra Clark, founder of Telltale Research and individual member of the DKUK. 

In June 2017, after 7 years of working for various market research agencies, I created Telltale Research. I wanted to create a research company that had ethnography at its heart and brought findings to life for clients through visual storytelling.

After just under a year I received a brief from The Prince’s Trust, the UK’s leading charity for young people. They were in the process of developing their next five year strategy and needed a better understanding of their audience. They specifically needed an answer to the questions: ‘What are young people’s aspirations in life, education and work in the UK? And what is holding them back from achieving their aspirations?’

They had previously relied heavily on quantitative surveys and big numbers to understand the needs of young people, but these had inevitably left gaps in the findings. Surveys are great for capturing broad trends, but can be limiting if attempting to understand underlying causes, motivations and behaviours. Many niche audiences simply aren’t found on survey panels either. 

We therefore proposed the winning combination of a nationally representative survey along with a series of filmed ethnographic interviews, which were designed to help the Trust get closer to their audience, whilst allowing the young people a chance to freely express themselves.

Conducting the interviews in the familiar environment of their homes made the young people feel comfortable talking about sensitive topics and sharing their honest answers with us. Observations of their homes and day to day lives added valuable context to their answers, including that which may otherwise have been omitted or difficult for them to verbally express.  

The interviews were all filmed using our iPhones, which offered our client a low-cost option for including an audio-visual element and the respondents with a less intrusive experience (than bringing along a professional camera person would have). Combining insights with video made for a visually engaging output that brought the research findings to life and the client closer to their audience. 

Senior management at the trust expressed great satisfaction with how the research had helped shape their strategy, delivered further insight into their audiences and made a significant impact on the development of new outreach programmes.

This is what the client had to say about their experience of working with Telltale Research:

 Telltale aren’t a ‘normal’ market research agency. The brief was complicated and they worked really hard developing a proposal that fully met our requirements. This was a mix of quantitative, qualitative and think tank. They also provided us with a couple of delighters in the form of video summaries from the qualitative research.  These videos are very powerful and are a great way to engage a wider audience in The Prince’s Trust.

Alexandra and her team are a joy to work with.  Nothing is too much trouble, and their working style is very collaborative and flexible. Our project was completed on time and on budget.  Their deliverables are to a very high standard and the findings are being used across the organisation from fundraising to operations. Appointing Telltale was a good decision and we will no doubt work with them again.” Richard Todman, Strategic Change Manager, The Prince’s Trust

If you would like to know more about Telltale Research, contact Alexandra Clark at telltaleresearch.com

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