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kevin mclean
London, UK
Qualitative research with a behavioural flavour
Recent Activity
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When my daughter was born the midwife said, ‘she looks like she’s been here before – and she wasn’t so impressed then, either’. A good line, however often it may have been used. Two things are often overlooked in research,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 16, 2021 at the art of conversation
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Photo via Flickr by Ian Boulton It is not often that qualitative market research hits the headlines. Is all publicity good publicity? I think not in this case – but I hope to be proved wrong. A former Government adviser... Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2021 at the art of conversation
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Photo by Tom Dennis https://www.flickr.com/photos/tgden/ I’ve been doing research in the DIY sector and I came across a concept which explains a lot about DIY, engineering, men, the English language and British society, the bodge. The word/concept comes up a... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2021 at the art of conversation
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The UK government just changed its COVID-19 slogan, from ‘stay home, PROTECT THE NHS, save lives’ to ‘stay alert, CONTROL THE VIRUS, save lives’. It has been controversial, to say the least. The change also reveals a common ‘blind spot’.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2021 at the art of conversation
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Remember parties? Meeting new people, small talk, bad wine, and at some point, that inevitable question, ‘so, what do YOU DO?’ The best response I ever heard was at an AQR/QRCA party in Dublin, ‘I’m a part-time assassin’. This led... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2021 at the art of conversation
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I was recently asked to give a view on a brand communications issue. What was my instinct? This is a familiar dilemma for a research consultant – maybe any consultant. We want to be positive and constructive, to maintain good... Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2021 at the art of conversation
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photo by Michael Ryno https://www.flickr.com/photos/michaelryno/ I have been doing research on charcuterie, of all things. Online, during COVID-19, participants (UK) in lockdown. As a qual researcher, I have used online platforms before. But rarely has it been so productive, conversations... Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2021 at the art of conversation
I have been working on a Brexit project, which is equally fascinating and frustrating. It is a subject which divides people in this country like no other subject I have encountered. One of the many strands in this complex topic... Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2018 at the art of conversation
I associate Heineken adverts with those polished baubles of lifestyle fakery from the Champions League ad breaks. Now comes a very different and rather good advert called ‘Worlds Apart’. Two strangers with opposing views meet and complete a task together,... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2017 at the art of conversation
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I have started co-hosting Unhurried Conversations in London with Johnnie Moore. They are advertised on meetup.com and are open to the public. London Unhurried Conversations can be found here. Johnnie has run many of these in Cambridge. Unhurried groups have... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2017 at the art of conversation
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You’d think that communication does not get much simpler than a sign. But many signs fail to communicate clearly. This was dramatically illustrated at the recent Oscars ceremony, where the wrong card was read out for Best Film, but the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2017 at the art of conversation
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I always buy Gillette razor blades, which makes me ‘brand loyal’. But what does that mean? And why does it make me feel uneasy? The answer struck me recently in our local Savers - you never know when insight will... Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2016 at the art of conversation
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Photo by Boaz Guttman We interrupt this blog with breaking news. The UK voted by 52:48% to Leave and break away from the European Union (EU). More break-aways, in the EU and within the UK, are not unlikely. Politics is... Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2016 at the art of conversation
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The practice of photography is closer to the qualitative research inquiry than I had first realised. Maybe this is why they work so well together. In the paper we referenced the fact that more images have been taken in the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2016 at the art of conversation
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What did we learn by using our 'Seeing Interview' method, in our experimental research for Akzo Nobel? The method was to take photographs over two visits to participants' homes, show these photos to participants during our conversations and analyse them.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 13, 2016 at the art of conversation
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THE VISUAL AGE We live in a Visual Age, the age of Instagram, Facebook, Flickr, smartphone selfies. More images have been taken in the last 12 months than in the whole of history to date. 350 million photos are uploaded... Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2016 at the art of conversation
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Celeste Headlee is a radio host who gave a really good TED talk about how to have a better conversation, summarised recently by Claire Labrum for the ICG. Celeste's recipe for better conversations focused on honesty, brevity, clarity and (especially)... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2016 at the art of conversation
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I have been listening back to people I have interviewed, mainly women, talking about meals, families and cooking. What I noticed was a kind of “Law of Thirds” rule. About a third of the content was good, insightful, useful, a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2016 at the art of conversation
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Here at The Art of Conversation we believe that spoken conversation is an important and revealing human activity. We would say that, wouldn't we? This, despite the current trend in research and marketing to decry or play down spoken conversation... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2016 at the art of conversation
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The Art of Conversation is back after a nice Summer break. These last few months turned out to have been quite eventful. In the UK, the Conservatives won an overall majority to become the sole party in government, after hundreds... Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2015 at the art of conversation
I am lucky enough to have seen 'Paddington' recently and also to have flown with Etihad Airways. So I can say with some confidence that Nicole Kidman is a fine actress and that Etihad provides excellent customer service. Nicole fronting... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2015 at the art of conversation
You'd think that the combination of global superstars and big ad budgets would lead to some good adverts. Qatar Airways, €150m sponsors of the FCB all-stars, show us how not to do it. This lame, half-hearted, cliche-ridden effort does not... Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2015 at the art of conversation
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Market researchers Ipsos Mori have an intriguing slogan ... An apt idea for a research company, but is it true? Can we predict what value means to people, for example? I've been researching pound shops, as it happens. Everyone loves... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2015 at the art of conversation
Sometimes we play 'what's my Brief?' Guess the strategy behind the ad. This one was deceptively tricky - a man drives around, re-fuels, drives some more. "This is Mark and Mark is energy." The American version (shown here) is Gordon.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 3, 2014 at the art of conversation
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The time is nearly upon us. Or rather, upon those who live in Scotland. Whichever way the vote goes tomorrow, this is the beginning, not the end of a highly significant political conversation: UK politics changed forever. As one of... Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2014 at the art of conversation