Nursery Blog

Smell the Brand!

On the corner of Dean Street and Oxford Street is a branch of Benetton. But several hundred feet before you get to it you can smell it. Benetton have developed a fragrance to brand their stores and it is called Ginger. You can’t actually buy it, although you can buy from a range of other room fragrances and eau de toilettes.

It is a powerful scent, not unpleasant, but it makes its presence felt...

How do you transform vast amounts of customer data into a successful marketing strategy?

With so many of our interactions today being digital, organisations are able to capture massive volumes of unstructured data from customer reviews, web enquiries, social media comment and feedback.  This creates a fantastic opportunity to really understand customer needs but the sheer volume of data collected often poses problems for anyone trying to extract any real insight of real value...

Critical Insight Skills Training

Do you want to develop Critical Insight Skills that get to the heart of your target audience? 

This course has been jointly developed by the APG and The Nursery to train a new generation of planners and strategists in the skills they need to understand target audiences and develop people-based strategic insights. 

For more information visit:


Are estate agents the masters of behavioural science?

I always dread having to look for a new place to live. For those in the renting game, like myself, this tends to be every couple of years.  This year my search started a few weeks ago, and already I’ve found many estate agents to be pushy, untrustworthy and generally stressful to deal with.

But when I started to analyse their tactics and techniques, I realised some of them were pretty...

Numbers are people too - understanding the impact of injury

I am a quantitative researcher. I don’t have a mug saying “I love spreadsheets”, but I do tend to be sat at a desk digging through Excel rather than speaking to people day in day out like my qualitative colleagues. 

We’ve recently worked with National Accident Helpline to explore the extent of the impact that injury caused by an accident can have on people’s lives as part of their “Make It...

Don’t forget the brand when it comes to customer experience

In today’s world where everyone is asked their opinion of goods and services they have used or bought, the brand is often forgotten about for the more functional and tangible elements.

This is often the case with visitor experience surveys and is often overlooked by large scale organisations, whose research and brand teams are not as cohesive as they could be.

A lot of visitor surveys we come...


In April this year, Netflix released a talk by Researcher-Storyteller Brené Brown on vulnerability and courage. Brown is a Social Scientist from Texas with 5 New York Times Bestsellers and a Ted Talk with over 38 million views under her belt. The Netflix Special is really great, she truly is a wonderful story teller, using personal anecdotes to clearly communicate well constructed arguments....


Last week I went to see Avalanche at the Barbican followed by a Q&A with actor Maxine Peake and director Anne-Louise Sarks. The play was really impressive, a one woman performance exploring the rollercoaster of IVF treatment. The Q&A also started strong, with discussion led by Sarah Hemming from the Financial Times. However, things took a turn when the Q&A was open to the floor.


Only is Massive!

Only is massive

One of my favourite tasks is reviewing other people’s reports. A fresh pair of eyes and a critical view is a great way of stress testing arguments and work data harder.

It’s also a great way to fine tune the headlines and cut out those words or phrases that ring alarm bells – the weasel words as we call them. Research unfortunately has a lot of these.

For example:

‘On the other hand...

Fighting Talk! - Brands that ‘attack’ other brands

If a competitor is the main barrier on your way to the top, one way to get around them is to bring them down so you can take their place (rather than elevating yourself up). We see it all the time in sport, with boxers psyching out their opponents at weigh ins and in the build up to a fight and performance stats constantly compared between football teams. But brands can do this too. Comparative...

It's not big and it's not clever

“It’s not big and it’s not clever” - Mums everywhere

I love a good swear.

Pain, humour, passion, frustration, anger all deserve a good cuss.
A joke can be funnier.
A point can be more pointed.
Anger can be angrier.

I wish the Queen would drop the f-bomb (but I’m pleased she doesn’t do it all the time).
A well placed swear can nail an argument, a barrage of expletives is best left to the drunks.

What can high street retailers learn from Supreme

This past year has not been kind to our high street retailers, nevertheless the popular streetwear brand, Supreme, appears to be stronger than ever. Amidst this year’s football fever the nation saw British High Street staple House of Fraser fall into administration, Marks and Spencer close down several branches and we all waved goodbye to our childhood favourite, Toys ‘R’ Us. Be that as it may,...

Introducing Tracking Plus

Helping brands grow | helping businesses grow

Life for brand marketers is getting tougher; it’s never been more important to find the edge that makes communications spend go further. That’s why The Nursery has reinvented tracking for embattled marketers. We call it Tracking Plus, because conventional tracking isn’t always enough.

Nursery Tracking Plus explains not only how your marketing is...

Empathy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another

Last week I was fortunate to attend the APG strategy conference, a fantastic event with seven brilliant and eclectic speakers.

A reoccurring theme running through a number of the talks was our preoccupation with our own world, our privilege and our middle-class, London-centric professional bubble.  

Margaret Heffernan reminded us of our tendency to surround ourselves with people like us,...

APG Conference - On the Contrary | The power of contrarian thinking to sharpen strategy and inspire creative

The APG conference took place this year on Monday 8 October at the Royal Institute in London. The day consisted of seven engaging and wide ranging talks, delivered by speakers including a psychologist, a police officer, a lawyer and an organisational change expert. Here’s the Nursery’s round up of the day’s offering:

Professor Nick Chater – The Mind is Flat
Professor Nick Chater kicked off...

The Nursery at the heart of effective campaigns

It's Effectiveness Week (and Vegan week for Bake Off fans). Agencies and clients have been immersed in seminars, festivals, dinners, webinars, conferences chasing the holy grail of finding the secret to making effective ad campaigns.

Perhaps it isn’t such a secret

Because every week is effectiveness week at The Nursery – and whether we are sowing the seeds of new campaigns in creative...

The Nursery acquires market research consultancy Arkenford


Market Research consultancy, Arkenford has been acquired by award winning London based brand research agency, The Nursery Research and Planning, for an undisclosed amount.

The combination of Arkenford’s innovative quantitative research methods and analytical skills together with The Nursery’s inspiring and constructive brand research will make this a powerhouse of...

Data Visualisation: Top 5 tips for bringing data to life

With the wealth of data available to us today, it is more important than ever to present it in a way that makes sense to your audience. Having a vast quantity of data at your fingertips is all well and good, but if you can’t utilise it to make decisions, or even make sense of it, it has no value.

That’s where Data Visualisation comes into play.

The primary objective of visualisation is to help...

Lies and why we tell them

Pauline McGowan waxes lyrical, once again, on her favourite topic.

One of the most difficult reality checks a researcher faces is that human beings are innate liars. Timothy Levine, the chair of communication studies at the University of Alabama, has run some well-constructed studies and while they are based on self-reported lies, they have been repeated and cross referenced. He has found that...

What researchers can learn from a comedy writers' festival

Pauline McGowan and Kate Benson recently presented our humour research to comedy writers at the Craft of Comedy festival in Llandudno.

‘As Swift once said, haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate’ … as conference keynote speeches go, Dave Cohen’s at the Craft of Comedy was one of the most fun, inspiring, practical and creative we’ve come across. And you didn’t need to be a comedy writer to...

Uniqlo - LifeWear and the lifestyle it sells

Uniqlo sells clothes. They are not unique in that. Their clothes are not unique either, they make comfortable clothes with a slightly utilitarian aesthetic. Their LifeWear collection, well-designed basics designed for everyday, particularly embodies this.

Where they are different is in their adverts. Working with Droga5, they have grown further and further away from focusing on clothes in the...

Thinking Around Corners

On Tuesday 8 May Google hosted the APG Thinking Around Corners event at their Soho HQ. The evening saw Martin Weigel, Head of Planning at Wieden + Kennedy, and Richard Shotton, Deputy Head of Evidence at MG OMD, sharing their thoughts on two hot topics within the planning community:

  • How do you get people to entertain facts that don’t accord with their world view?
  • How do you get society/a client/a...

The Paradox of Tinder

Psychologist Barry Schwartz taught us that, paradoxically, the more choices he have, the less happy we are. Rather than enhancing our lives and allowing us to make the most relevant decisions, having more options can overwhelm us, and leave us feeling that the grass is always greener. As Schwartz says:

"Learning to choose is hard. Learning to choose well is harder. And learning to choose well in...

Feeling tap-happy: 2018 as the year of the contactless donation

In December, I predicted that 2018 would be the year that sees contactless charity payments go mainstream – you’ll be able to tap to donate for your poppy, daffodil or geranium badge, and I think it can’t come soon enough. In an increasingly cashless society, and with contactless payments now accounting for more than half of all transactions under 30, I’m hopeful that charities will be able to...