It's no secret I am a huge Star Wars fan. Those of you who follow the Drive Research blog might have noticed a few Star Wars Easter eggs in prior posts here or here. So I suppose it's no surprise I would use my movie-going experience the other night and blend its takeaways into my other passion of market research. With this in mind, here are 3 market research lessons from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Lesson 1: Dig Deeper in Analysis
Just like rebellions are built on hope, market research is built on data. Although I sometimes wish I had a giant claw machine to access old files like on the planet of Scarif, I much prefer the convenience of a few clicks of a mouse to pull a data file and run analysis. As the industry has progressed to more automated tools, it creates more time to interpret and assess data rather than spending time building charts and graphs.
This additional time allows a market research analyst to dive deeper into insights and uncover hidden themes. This is even more true with critical projects like the Death Star. The analysis should continue to evolve as you develop strategy. In many cases, you'll go back to the market research to help answer key questions. This additional work typically sparks new insights and recommendations, and in the case of the Empire, prevent re-work when it blows up because of the inability to uncover flaws.
Lesson 2: Don't Choke on Your Aspirations
The outcome of a customer satisfaction survey or concept test is largely unknown. The unpredictability of the research findings is what makes research so important. However, regardless of whether you are concept testing a product, evaluating customer service, or testing creative, those involved will have hope and aspirations. "I hope the data says this..." or "I hope they choose Product A..." Market research needs to remain objective. No matter how bad the news is, the truth must be told. Guiding decisions and strategy through unbiased data is a core value of market research. Never lose sight of this.
In Rogue One, Director Krennic (who played a major role in the Death Star project) had aspirations to be a leader. Ultimately, these aspirations were his ultimate demise. Be objective, be unbiased, and use your market research wisely.
Lesson 3: Find a Diverse Team, Share a Vision
The rebel team which eventually stole the Death Star plans was a make-shift bunch. However, they all shared the same common vision of defeating the Empire. This was ultimately the only passion and drive they needed to share together to get the job done. Sharing a vision and finding those who support the vision is a large part of company culture.
Working in market research or in business, each person in your company doesn't have to be great at everything. It takes leadership to understand where gaps exist. The best teams work together by addressing weaknesses and finding resources to fill those gaps. At your market research company or on your market research team find talented people who can manage projects, manage clients, excel in graphic design, excel in analysis, excel in reporting writing, and excel in sales to name a few. Then put them in situations where they can succeed.
A simple example would be finding someone who would raise their hand and suggest putting a cover on a thermal exhaust port which leads directly to the reactor on a major battle station.