I am not sure what your family traditions are at this time of year but one of the things that makes Christmas enduringly special is the suite of traditions which build up over years.

They may involve food, recipes which only come out at this time of year.

Sometimes it is a special drink – Snowball anyone?

Since the 1980’s it is the classic Christmas movies everyone sits down to at this time of year. Each family has its favourites I suppose and according to various polls I have seen Love Actually heads the charts closely followed by It’s a Wonderful Life; Elf and Muppets Christmas Carol. It is the sort of subject which can generate a heated debate on any Christmas Eve.

In our house we have a couple of other films to throw into the ring – one of which is a classically funny Christmas Vacation from which the image above is copied. The film opens when Clark Griswold drives his family into the frozen depths of the Michigan countryside to find the perfect Christmas tree, suddenly there it is; perfect in every way … except size! ‘Kind of full and loads of sap’!

This year has been a year where our search for real insight on behalf of our clients has been a bit like looking for the perfect Christmas tree in a forest of nearly perfect trees! Not easy – at all.

Sometimes I feel that insight is something clients believe they can just buy and get it delivered, gift wrapped and decorated so all they have to do is open it up. But uncovering something meaningful is hard work. It takes real effort, sacrifice and dedication and above all a partnership approach to working with your consumers and your insight partner.

Insight is not discovered like finding the perfect tree, all perfect and shiny and glowing in the middle of the forest. It is created, shaped and moulded through the determined questioning of existing knowledge, forgotten moments of learning and the persistence to find something simple, irrefutable and therefore intuitive about the way consumers think or feel.

In most families, Christmas doesn’t just happen. It has to be planned and budgeted and crafted and then it can be both enjoyed and appreciated by everyone involved.

So it is with insight – plan properly and allow time for ideas to generate, be questioned and tested; budget appropriately and don’t expect a 5 minute survey to deliver insight, and be prepared to take something and hone it down, craft it into something everyone will understand and then make sure it is embedded into the organisation. That is like having a Christmas Tree you can plant out in the garden and bring in each year!

When it is done and done this way – it is like the best Christmas tree you can remember!


Merry Christmas to anyone reading this and sincere best wishes for a fantastic 2018!