Here's an art project from which research companies could learn a lot.
Everything We Touch
literally illustrates one of my basic marketing axioms. Don't ask people what they think they do, find out what they actually do.
Every thing that each person has touched in a twenty four hour period is laid out chronologically on the same sheet. You don't see opinions, you see actual data and from that starting-point can construct and interrogate a day's narrative.
In the book, the photo creates a double-page spread that the reader can peruse and guess about before turning over to find a diagrammatic breakdown that identifies every item and a brief profile of and intereview with the person concerned.
The prevalence of Apple products and fresh food rather gives the game away that this is an affluent and creatively-skewed group of people, but there's no reason that the concept couldn't be expanded. Research that attracts and engages. How's that for differentiation?
As an industry colleague commented: "Few researchers do that because they only want to do what they’re going to
be paid for rather than what we may find interesting."