Why I ditched my insights notepad and picked up a video camera

I’ve always worked extensively with data and digital content in various industry contexts, pouring over information, drawing patterns, conclusions and using this analysis to make recommendations to my clients. Projects would often-times take months to complete, cost clients hundreds of thousands of dollars and result in a 30-60 slide PowerPoint reports shared with a C-level Director or VP.

Soon, I discovered that no one wanted to read these overwhelming reports (I don’t blame them). We would respond by condensing detailed findings into executive summaries to make them more easily digestible; but in doing so, reduce their potential to add value or influence decision-making.

It is a paradox: companies are willing to invest massive amounts to generate insights, but often fall short of effectively leveraging this investment to drive change in their organizations. Why is this? One of the biggest challenges agencies face involves transitioning insights and ideas: from researcher, to decision-maker, to implementer.

Over time, I developed a stronger understanding of how to better engage clients and share the richness in our insight work: use a video documentary. If key decision-makers haven’t the time to read a report, then don’t ask them to – and instead put them in the same seat as the researcher, face to face with their consumers speaking to them directly. This way, we are asking them to have empathy through sharing our experiences as researchers.

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Here are four benefits of transitioning to using a video documentary to share insights:

  1. Using video captures nuance in your findings that can’t be shared in a typical PowerPoint report. This includes the spectrum of emotions, the non-verbal communication and the context behind the insights and ideas identified.

  2. Great storytelling drives engagement with decision-makers within your organization. It is much easier to effectively share your findings through a well-edited short documentary. It stands out far better, and is much more impactful than the standard PowerPoint report.

  3. Great insights deserve to be shared without a filter. Hearing the insight from the consumer first-hand – and in the original language it was offered – invites stakeholders to experience for themselves an authentic ethnographic research process.

  4. It makes you look like a rock-star. It’s much easier to engage your team members with your research output in a ten to fifteen-minute documentary, than to ask them to sit through an hour of slides.

Yousef Hussein is a Creative Consultant with YH Productions LLC and a Producer with The Band Consultancy.