Storytelling and Market Research : A Practical User Guide book cover
1st Edition

Storytelling and Market Research
A Practical User Guide

ISBN 9781032064857
Published November 11, 2021 by Routledge
198 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Showing how market researchers can get a seat at the decision-making table, this book is the essential guide to mastering storytelling techniques that can dramatically enhance the impact of research reports and presentations, commanding full audience engagement and buy-in.

While demand for storytelling in marketing research reports and presentations has mushroomed in recent years, there can be confusion about what decision-makers mean by "stories." Leading market research expert C. Frederic John eliminates this confusion by defining four specific types of story in the business arena, and providing a series of "how-to" guides for generating effective solutions when communicating learning and other information. This book is the first to emphasize the needs of the report reader or presentation audience.

Drawing on examples from ancient and modern literature, drama, opera, and other arts, this book will help today’s (and tomorrow’s) market research professionals to thrive in a world demanding insights, real-world recommendations, and more relevant deliverables.

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgements; Introduction; A) A Human Condition; B) Getting Down to Business; C) The Need to Evolve; Chapter I: The Fundamental Power of Story; A) The Ubiquity of Story; B) The Transformative Properties of Story; C) The Sacred Role of the Storyteller; D) The Market Researcher as Storyteller; Chapter II: The Immediate and the Essential; A) Story as Novelty; B) Story as the Essential Learning; C) Extracting the Essence; Chapter III: Tales Clients Tell; A) What Clients Believe, What They Tell Us; B) Sources of Client (Mis)Belief; C) An Added Benefit; Chapter IV: The Written Report as Narrative; A) Approaching the Report; B) Incorporating Storytelling into the Preliminary Sections; C) Selecting Content for the Detailed Findings Narrative; D) Managing the Flow; E) Suspending Disbelief: Accepting our Reality as "Authentic"; F) Juxtaposing Elements; G) Stimulating Identification and Empathy with Characters/Situations; H) Achieving Closure in Closing; Chapter V: A Radically New Approach to the Presentation; A) A Wasted Opportunity; B) Introducing a Radically New Approach; C) Selecting Content: Less is More; D) What About the Deck?; E) The Manipulation of Expectation; F) Juxtaposing Elements in Presentations; G) Suspending Disbelief from the Get-Go; H) Wrapping-Up with a Bang; Chapter VI: Humanizing the Presentation; A) Humanizing the Material; B) Humanizing Yourself; C) Introducing the Extraneous; D) Humanizing Through Storytelling Techniques; Chapter VII: Recasting the Narrative as an Imaginary Tale; A) A Daring Leap Through the Looking Glass; B) The Nature of the Beast; C) Sample Tales; D) Taking the Plunge; Chapter VIII: The Story of a Company or Brand; A) What Is/What Isn’t a Corporate / Brand Story; B) Comparisons with Other Communications; C) Crafting the Successful Corporate Story; D) Focus on the Brand; Chapter IX: Continuous Learning; A) Internalizing the Learning; B) A Day in Your Life; C) A Longer Arc of Your History; D) Continuous Engagement with the Arts; E) Applying the Learning; F) Parting Words; Appendix: "Landscape and Narrative" by Barry Lopez; Index

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C. Frederic John enjoys a global reputation as a strategic researcher with a career spanning over 40 years. He specializes in melding profound insights into concrete recommendations for clients, and in crafting compelling research deliverables using story-telling techniques.


"Turning data into a compelling narrative is essential if we’re to make the most of our investment in research. Fred’s book acts as guide and his thinking helped us as we built Crater Lake, where we aim to ‘make sense of it all.'" -- Brian Jacobs, Co-Founder, Crater Lake and Company, UK


"Fred John beautifully explains the art of story-telling in a business context. We all need the skills to tell our stories in a compelling way – this book can help us to do so." -- Fiona Blades, President and Chief Experience Officer, MESH Experience, New York and London


"The ability to create an elegant and compelling evidence-based story is a must-have skill for insight professionals. This book, in one volume, will provide insight professionals with everything they need to know to take their storytelling skills to the next level. The author, as an experienced client-side market researcher and also insight consultant, knows what is required to deliver powerful narratives to capture the imagination of stakeholders. The book provides the reader with a grounding in the principles of storytelling. At the same time it is laced with lots of wonderful storytelling examples and provides the reader with many practical things they can do to bring their data stories alive.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book to insight professionals and those in business who need to create evidence based stories." -- DVL Smith PhD, Director DVL Smith, UK


"Once upon a time I worked with Fred John. He is a veteran marketing researcher, a solid thinker and a succinct writer. Reading his book Storytelling in Marketing Research, you will learn that none of this matters. Fred’s argument is that marketing researchers cannot deliver the goods they are being paid for if they cannot tell a compelling story. And then he tells the reader how to do this. And if you do this, you will live happily ever after." -- John Gilfeather, President, John Gilfeather & Associates, Stanford, Connecticut


    "In my experience, learning by doing is not enough. But a sound theoretical background boosts you from a do-er to an expert. This is why Mr. John’s book is an actual guideline, starting with the stories of stories, their impact, their resourcefulness and moving on to simple, easy, applicable examples, then step-by-step guiding you to become a skillful, maybe a master storyteller in MR." -- Diana Sonea, Independent Qualitative Pharma Expert, Bucharest


      "Articulate, insightful, and inspirational book for new and seasoned researchers. Fred John – with his reputation of an outcome-focused, provocative expert in international marketing research – gives us a practical guide on how to design and share research. Focus on novel learnings, and keep your audience engaged as you tell the story. This book is a treat for the mind, filled with practical wisdom and concrete examples. You will no longer have dull reports and sleepy audiences after reading this book." -- Dr. Tatiana Barakshina, Co-founding Partner, Bazis Group, Chicago, & Ekaterinburg, Russia


      "I was not surprised but nevertheless amazed by the level and volume of erudition Fred John reveals. This could…should…truly become The Textbook for the advanced course in research and insights leadership. There will not remain a doubt or question left unanswered in the path to effective presentations. If only we all could have had this course and these learnings way back then…." -- Alan Grabowsky , President, ABACO Marketing Research Brazil/USA


      "We market researchers are always passionate about our material; sometimes so much we feel the need to share 100 horizontal bar charts. Fred John’s book shows us how to make research findings totally engaging. It is a vital addition to every market researcher’s bookshelf." -- Paul Hague, Founder and Director, B2B International, Manchester, UK


      "This is a book written by a consummate insights professional and storyteller. Fred John has never shied away from reminding all in the insights profession that their role is not only to inform business decisions but to do so in a manner that ensures action. In this hugely thoughtful book, he distills all the key elements of business storytelling that lead to action and business impact. A must read for all going into the profession - and a great refresher for those already in it." -- Simon Chadwick, Managing Partner, Cambiar and Editor-in-Chief of ESOMAR’s Research World


      "The book illustrates the difference between making research information available and actually showing the audience what that information represents. It invites analysts to embrace their position as influencers rather than just reporters. It's a must-read for anyone seeking more compelling market research deliverables instead of the forgettable dust-gatherers most of us have certainly produced at some point in the past." -- Paula Goerg, Project Manager at Llama Research, Scotland


      "As one might expect from a book about stories, this book is engaging and relatable from the first page...will leave you with not only resources for better performance in the workplace, but suggestions for a new and more rewarding way to look at how we live our day-to-day lives...every page of this book is deeply applicable to the work I do, and I am already using the insights from this book to inform how I create and deliver findings to my clients." -- Lucie Holiday, Research Director, Quantum Market Research, Melbourne, Australia