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Paralympics!
Posted by Admin at 14:33 on 19 August 2013

We’ve had some exciting news recently. It’s been a year since the Olympics and the Paralympics in London, and we were remembering the day we spent there. The memory that stands out most for me was of having lunch in a local restaurant, and being asked – given how crowded everything was – by a lovely couple if we minded them sharing our table. Over the course of lunch, we eventually found out that they were the parents of Ollie and Sam Hynds, who were busy winning swimming medals for the UK! Made us very proud to be British.

 

Thanks to a new license, we are now proud to be able to say that Solutions was a Supplier of market research services (LOCOG) to the London 2012 Games. We did some work looking at spectator expectations of the Paralympics, in terms of facilities for people with particular health conditions, and of ways to differentiate the Paralympics from the Olympics. So meeting Sam and Ollies parents that day was a special moment for us, and we’re delighted that we are now allowed to talk about it in the context of the research we did for the Games.

 

Win a box of cupcakes (if you work in Northants)
Posted by Admin at 11:31 on 01 March 2013

Warning, this blog post contains a prize draw for cupcakes!

 

Just a quick blog today as it’s all go in the office! We have an in-house presentation to our neighbours in Caswell House next Thursday, to tell them more about us and what we do, and we thought it might nice to bring our presentation to life by presenting them with the results of some research we’ve done with them directly. One of the things we like to offer where appropriate is “vox pops” – these are short video clips of the people who take part in our research answering some key questions in their own words. I then cut the videos together so we can make a short film during our debriefs. These really bring our findings to life for clients, as being able to see and hear, as well as read about, what their customers actually think can be really insightful. It’s also more fun to watch than endless Powerpoint slides!

 

Normally these videos are strictly confidential, and we never share them outside of the debrief without express permission. We’re hoping in fact to make some more in the near future for this very website, but we’ll be making it very clear at the outset that that’s what the clips are for. (Fancy some fame and a little fortune? Get in touch...)

 

Anyway, today one of my 20 or so jobs involves running around Caswell House with my trusty Flip Video camera, conducting interviews with the other businesses in the building about what it’s like to work in Northamptonshire.

 

If by any chance YOU are a local business, and would be willing to answer a few quick questions about what it’s like to be in Northamptonshire (before next Tuesday!), drop me an email on caroline@solutions-research.co.uk. No video will be involved – we’re just looking for a few extra responses to our questions. It will take about 5 minutes, and one lucky person taking part will win a box of 12 cupcakes from local business Hearthrug Cupcakes (delivered within Northamptonshire within the next 6 weeks). We’ll do the prize draw next Friday, and I’ll announce the winner here. 

Writing proposals
Posted by Admin at 12:03 on 26 February 2013

Hello, Caro here again! I said last week I'd do a blog post every Friday, and I have already failed, due to (ironically) the very subject of this blog entry! Now I've finished the current piece of work, without further ado, here is a post about trials and tribulations of the first part of the research process – the bits that come before winning a contract.

Those of you who don't know about market and social research, and the life of an agency worker, may not have considered where contracts come from, or how an agency gets them. Although some potential clients do call us directly, it's more usual for us to receive an invitation to pitch for a contract. Most contracts usually involve a written proposal, sometimes with an in-person pitch as the final stage. Written proposals are labours of love (mostly love anyway) where we get together, discuss how we would complete the contract in the best possible way for the client's particular research issue, with innovative techniques and brilliant value. We always think creatively about a problem - although our website describes some of the techniques and research methods we can use, each and every research issue results in a different, tailored solution. There are always challenges - some clients have a very constrained budget, while others have really tight timescales, or an emotive topic where we really need to think about how to get beyond peole's knee-jerk or surface responses, to the heart of the matter.

We typically spend a couple of days writing a proposal, then send it off and wait to hear whether or not we’ve been shortlisted to pitch, or have even won the contract outright.  In the case of the latter, you’ll usually find us celebrating down the pub :-)

Caro's first blog: An introduction to what we do
Posted by Admin at 11:29 on 08 February 2013

Hello! Caro here. I’ve been at Solutions for over four years now; my official title is Associate Director, but given that we don’t really work in a hierarchy, my other titles include Recruitment Manager, Chief Report Writer and Tea Lady. I am also adding Chief Blogger to the CV as of today. I’m going to be blogging here on a Friday (most Fridays anyway), so check back often!

 

A lot of my friends don’t really understand what I do. When I say “qualitative market research” to them, the first thing they picture is me standing on a high street with a smile and a clipboard, trying to ask passers-by lots of questions about brands. When I tell them “qualitative market and social research”, they imagine me going door to door doing much the same. In fact, both of those things are more likely to be quantitative surveys, or even recruiters working for people like us, trying to find people to invite to interviews or focus groups. (Be nice to them – they might pay you :-))    

 

Over the next few weeks I’m going to kick off my blog here at Solutions by explaining all the bits and bobs, and ins and outs, of what we actually do. There will be tales of derring-do and high adventure –the tension of proposal-writing and submission! The excitement of pitching! The celebratory wine when we win contracts! (The commiseratory wine when we don’t win!) The extreme sport known as Fieldwork! All of these things are forthcoming. Watch this space. 

Welcome to our new website
Posted by Admin at 11:58 on 23 January 2013

We are very excited today to have our new site up and running - new logo, new site... Well done to Create-a-brand! Let us know your thoughts...