The answer is always yes. Would you like to hear an anecdote? Maybe, depends if it’s any good. So what’s the difference?

It’s all about the structure. Nearly all stories have the same simple components, and for humans, they are irresistible. You have a protagonist in a particular situation with some obvious need. You also have an antagonist and then some necessary conflict between them that sets the story off. Finally, there is the unfolding of the plot and then a resolution. Along the way, the protagonist makes choices that means that she learns and develops in certain ways, which makes the resolution satisfying. And that’s it.

Now guess what? Briefs are like that too. You have a brand in a particular situation, with some obvious need, along with an opposing force that creates conflict.

Our job, as researchers, is to pick up from the brief, and tell the rest of the story. Which really is about examining choices and decisions. Choices they give to customers, how customers respond to those choices with their behaviour, and what all of this teaches us in the lead up to the resolution.

What we find is this – the closer we can stick to those storytelling principles in our reporting, the more impactful our recommendations are. Because no one can resist a story.