Call +44 (0)20 7734 1166 or say hello@the-nursery.net

Call +44 (0)20 7734 1166
or say hello@the-nursery.net

Nursery Blog

Christmas comes early












We were talking in the office about how Christmas seems to start earlier and earlier every year – that old (roast) chestnut. No sooner have the “Back to School” posters come down at the supermarkets than the aisles are re-jigged and reconfigured to accommodate a wider range of Christmas essentials – from tins of Celebrations to jars of Pickled Walnuts and dog Christmas stockings to fairy lights. It used to be that Christmas merchandise didn’t really appear in...

Challenging Perceptions of Life in Uniform - Creative Development for The Army's 'This is Belonging' Recruitment Campaign

We’re really proud of the work we’ve done over the years for recruitment for the Armed Forces. And we’re delighted to have been shortlisted for the MRS Jeremy Bullmore Award for Creative Development. 

Our joint submission with Karmarama is for work on The Army’s ‘This is Belonging’ Recruitment Campaign. Developed against a backdrop of challenging Army recruitment targets and low consideration, our contribution included three stages of qualitative research (identification, development, evaluation) over 15 months, all of which were integral to the campaign’s development.

In January 2017, the campaign...

The researchers who never ask why

The more you learn about being a qualitative researcher, the more you value the power of asking fewer questions. Most importantly, you tend to stop using the word ‘why?’

‘Why’ is just not a terribly nice word. It’s sharp and aggressive. It’s accompanied by a challenging question mark or is asked with a quizzical lilt. It piles the pressure on. It impels people to rationalise their ideas, thoughts and behaviour. It encourages people to provide an ‘answer’.

But qualitative research isn’t about hunting for answers and identifying truths. It’s...

Are you getting the most out of your tracking? | Part 4

Don’t take your data for granted. A lot of work goes into the science of collecting accurate, representative samples of the audience you are shooting for. You need to know that the 500 people who say they love your brand look like the 5 million you really care about. Good research companies are like swans – elegant and peaceful, but believe me there’s a lot of hard paddling going on under the surface.

Survey respondents are not earning the minimum wage taking part in surveys. Keep it simple, deliver it...

Humour: it's a serious business

Come along to one of our Nursery Breakfasts in London or Leeds to see the findings from a fascinating qual/quant study we recently conducted into different types of humour. Humour can be a powerful communications tool for brands, but there’s been very little research into the power of laughter and how it impacts an audience.

We’ve created a humour segmentation which identifies nine different types of humour in the UK and establishes the predominant segment. It’s the result of research that included an online survey, consumer workshops, vox pops and...

Life's too short: The key to good communication

I recently went to see a performance at the Barbican. My brother had bought me tickets as a birthday present and, because I really love it there, I was unperturbed to find out that the show was a two hour one man play without an interval.

Well that’s two hours of my life I’m never getting back!!

As the rest of the audience got up for a standing ovation, I could barely bring myself to clap my hands together. How could it be that everyone else had enjoyed it so...

The two most sensitive subjects to research

Researching sensitive and embarrassing subjects fills you with dread as a younger researcher and with glee once you get older and have lost all capacity for embarrassment yourself. The first focus group I ever moderated was about adult incontinence. I had listened intently to my qualitative director who told me to always find some common ground with the people you’re interviewing. This seemed solid advice so I embraced it wholeheartedly and so told my audience of worldly wise older women that I wasn’t incontinent at the moment but I...

Lunchtime in Guatemala

One of the glories of life at the Nursery is the sheer diversity of brands, categories and markets we get to experience. In the last month alone I’ve spoken to UK parents about why they take their kids to A&E, asked Americans about holidays in Britain, explored why we Brits love Michael Parkinson and helped develop a property investment platform for Ultra High Net Worths.

Variety truly is the spice of life but you can also find variety in the unlikeliest of places, which brings me to my favourite project of...

Ramadan - it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

A recent project in Cairo during Ramadan made us think about the differences, but also indeed the similarities, between cultures. Christmas and New Year may seem different from Ramadan and then Eid, but there are also connections between them.

For me, going to Cairo as a non-Muslim, Ramadan can seem a curious mix of self-denial and pleasure. We are used in the West to one following the other, to have a blow-out at Christmas and then go through a period of detox in January, or perhaps the other way round where...

AQR Spark - Cultural Revolution

It was on a dark and rainy July day that two colleagues and I traipsed across London after work to attend a talk on culture and branding held by AQR Spark. Although it was only Tuesday, we all felt like we’d had a long week already, and even the idea of listening to an hour and 45 minute lecture left us feeling a little drained. Luckily for us, Dr. Nick Gadsby’s talk was engaging, uplifting and funny, we all went away with revived energy. 

The Association of Qualitative Researchers regularly hold Spark events, which allow qual researchers the...

The Liars of Love Island

As with the rest of the country, our office is split between those of us glued to Love Island and the rest who think it is, as the Spectator described it, braindead filth. But any researcher who does not watch Love Island is seriously neglecting their profession. This is because the essential joy of the show is not just looking at beautiful people having a two month holiday but in figuring out who is honest about their relationships and who is lying through their teeth. And figuring out lies from the truth is what research tends to...

Which side are you on?









Debate rages at The Nursery as it does in the wider advertising community at the new directive issued by the ASA about gender stereotyping.

The team at The Nursery always give a point of view - in this case Lucy and David offer two different ones for the price of one. Which side of the fence are you on?

Lucy - It's 2017

So the ASA has stepped in to the hot topic of gender representation and decreed that advertising should not perpetuate gender stereotypes. Quite right too.

And significant that the ASA has...

International Soulmates

It’s hardly a surprise to say that when you travel around the world doing research, you see, hear and observe far more similarities than differences. Our core human nature trumps cultural quirks. So while twenty-somethings in Vietnam sit in bars sharing a bottle of spirits rather than the round of drinks they have in the UK, they’re all people watching, dancing and flirting like the rest of the world. Every country has a different educational system but we’ve seen parents in Saudi Arabia and Mexico ironing uniforms, packing bags and worrying about grades in the same way...

Are you getting the most out of your tracking? A further five points to consider...


Friends, Media Buyers, Agencies lend me your experience...

Contrary to what some tracking agencies might tell you we don’t know everything, in fact we don’t know much at all. Our job is to be experts in our business and work with you to become experts in yours. To do that we need all the friends we can get so the more information and knowledge we get, the better the advice we can offer.



There’s gold in them there cross tabs...
Alright - tracking data isn’t big...

It's not just gardening...












We are now in our fourth year of supporting Thrive - a brilliant charity using gardening as therapy for a range of physical and mental disorders.

Each year the team heads en masse to Battersea Park and attempts to be helpful with some heavy lifting, advanced weeding, geranium sorting and general shovelling. That’s where we were last Friday.

There was extensive philosophical discussion of what constituted a weed, followed up by gratuitous destruction of some carefully cultivated flora – but at least we were trying to help. Check out the gardens...

Authenticity and Humility: What brands can learn from the election...

Authenticity and humility

‘Authenticity’ and ‘humility’ – or the lack of – both loomed large as issues in the election. Both have also been cropping up consistently in research in recent times. ‘Authenticity’ is an issue many brand owners have been thinking around, and ‘humility’ is a growing concern of consumers who sense that brands may be overestimating their importance to the world. Much has been written and spoken about authenticity (not least by us), but humility is emerging as an issue brand owners need to be conscious of.


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How Important Are Target Audiences? Report on the Recent APG Event…

Noisy Thinkers

The APG recently hosted one of their Noisy Thinking events on target audiences and whether we need them anymore. Since target audiences are part of our day to day in the research world, this immediately piqued our interest.

The structure of Noisy Thinking is a bit different from your average talk or presentation. 5 speakers get a short slot in which to deliver their point of view. The audience then splits into groups to discuss what they’ve heard before feeding back to the room.  

Target Audiences

Lucy Jameson, former CEO of...

Are you Getting the Most out of your Tracking? 5 more things to consider...

Know thy enemy 

Too often competition is defined as other brands just like yours. Well you know what, the real competitive set is anything else our consumers might choose at that moment in time. You know the feeling – opening the fridge door and choosing between a bunch of grapes, a Babybel or a piece of chocolate cake. If that is what is rattling through consumers’ brains when making these decisions, perhaps research needs to reflect this better.


Experience is the best value media

We need to measure all the different advertising channels...

Are You Getting the Most Out of your Tracking Research? 5 Thought Starters...

Don’t let the tail wag the dog

Your tracking is there to help. You are paying big money for it – challenge your supplier to explain why they do things the way they do, don’t let them blind you with science and fancy indices and complicated metrics. If they can’t explain them maybe you’ve got the wrong tracking.

Don’t be afraid of change 

Tracking is a great way of generating lines across the page and these lines can earn people bonuses...

Key Take-Outs from our Brand Authenticity Research

Here are some of the key take-outs from a fascinating qual/quant study we recently conducted to explore just how important authenticity is in evaluating brands and creating loyalty amongst millennials. 

If you would like to hear more on this topic please get in touch at hello@the-nursery.net

Nursery Breakfast Presentation - Brand Authenticity

How Important is Brand Authenticity for Millennials?


Come along to our next Nursery Breakfast to see the findings from a fascinating qual/quant study we recently.

We explored just how important authenticity is in evaluating brands and creating loyalty amongst millennials. We particularly selected a wide range of different product categories to give us a broader understanding of how authenticity works against this audience.

One of the learnings was that brand authenticity can mean...

The Nursery View on the Year Ahead

It’s that time when everyone seems to get out their crystal ball and makes their predictions for the coming year. Here at The Nursery, we decided to throw our hats into the ring, so we crowd-sourced some ideas about we think might happen in 2017.  

Some predictions are perfectly possible, some quite bold and some just plain silly, but mildly amusing.

Just one caveat – as none of the predictions are based on insider knowledge and none of us are descendants of Nostradamus, we’d urge you not to make any life-changing decisions based upon them.

Food for Thought – Is September the New January?

The start of a school year can be a trigger for healthier eating in adults

We’ve noticed that Back to School is increasingly becoming a time for adults to make New Year style resolutions with regard to their eating habits, either determining to continue with healthier choices established over the summer months or deciding that they weren’t beach body ready after all. And as food manufacturers continue to pile into healthy eating, there’s never been more choice.During a recent project prior to the launch of the new range of Planters Nuts...