Insights in the Boardroom

Making an Impact with Qualitative Insights

Date: October 4, Katrina Noelle

Our Company Mission at KNow is “To use qualitative stories to connect the heart of the companies we work with to the hearts of the humans they serve.”

However, as any agency knows, you don’t always know how far your insights go.  You’re sometimes not sure if they reached the ears of decision makers, much less their hearts.

We recently presented results to the board of the Chicago Humanities Festival (CHF), the beneficiaries of our 2022 Pro Bono Project.  The organization is in the process of rebranding the festival supported by a mixed method approach of quantitative and qualitative research.  The qualitative component used an iterative approach, with our research team working hand in hand with CHF stakeholders to build and refine the potential Brand Promises and Benefits along the way. This resulted in clean, clear directions for the organization’s rebranding and messaging. See the whitepaper here.

To showcase the learnings, we kept the collaboration going, working with the stakeholder team to develop a presentation that would catch the attention (and hopefully reach the hearts!) of the boardroom. 

3 Ways to Connect with Your Board

#1 – Preparation & Practice

The Director of Marketing and Communications led the way, creating a shared presentation document and setting up weekly meetings for regular refinement sessions. She tirelessly worked key slides from our report into the organization’s template and – working with other members of the taskforce – slimmed down the deck to the top-level insights the board needed to hear in an easily digestible form. And she made sure we practiced in advance, so we all knew exactly which points the team was making on each slide for seamless baton passing!

#2 – Curation & Storytelling

The CHF team also suggested we present in ‘chapters’, building and revealing the insights one chapter at a time.  We started with the target audience that we were looking to reach/understand, then we built-in category learnings, moved on to promises the organization could make, and finally revealed the benefits and proof points they could use to support their new promise.

#3 Bring Research Participants with You

We always recommend bringing participant voices into the mix when speaking to decision-makers.  In this case, we provided 2 ways for the board to connect, one before the meeting and one during the presentation:

  • We sent a ‘pre-read’ podcast episode, highlighting key research themes narrated by a KNow voice-over and sprinkled with participant quotes.  While the board members may not have had the time to review lengthy slide decks before the meeting, we hoped they would listen to 4 minutes of key findings. (And thank goodness they did, because due to technical issues one of the dial-in participants couldn’t hear the videos we played during the meeting, but he was quickly reassured that the content we were playing was a video version of what he’s already listened to!)
  • This brings us to video…we created a short video reel showcasing our participants talking through the impact of the potential promise statements to compliment the presentation. This way the board heard from their audiences firsthand, bringing the potential impact of the rebrand to life in the words of their new potential audiences and supporters.

Taking the time to do all this preparation, practice, storytelling, and participant inclusion benefits both researchers and stakeholders alike.  

Thank you all for supporting this whole process and knocking it out of the park today! CHF and I are very lucky to have you in our corner!” – Kristin Fallica, Director of Marketing & Communications, CHF

What other deliverables can you bring to boardrooms and stakeholder teams? Get inspired here: https://youtu.be/UqqbNdpqQl8

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Illuminating the "Human" in Humanities: A Rebranding Story
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