Author Archive

On Being Proud

Tuesday, July 12th, 2022

We’ve been thinking about ‘change’ and ‘activism’ and how these words attract and repel in equal measure.

Thing is a lot of people working inside organisations have things they want to change. These can be small things. They could be massive things that impact the whole organisation, a whole community, or society at large.

I think people feel quite powerless to make these changes. Indeed they feel dispirited. Why does it have to be like this? And is using the phrase activism disempowering rather than empowering for the majority of people?

If our end goal is to create more change more frequently, for more progressive ends, as I sit here in the car I wonder if it’s actually about thinking ‘personal legacy’?

Is it in fact saying to people “let’s help you work out what matters to you and help you to do work you can be proud of?”

Because I certainly know there’s been work I’ve done that I haven’t wanted to tell people about. Work or jobs that I felt ashamed about.

There’s also been so many projects where I couldn’t wait to throw open the doors and tell the whole world “hey I did this”. Or even better “wow look at what we did together”.

I think there are a huge number of people working right at this very moment who are wishing RIGHT NOW for a little bit more meaning in what they’re doing.

People who want to achieve something bigger than just their own personal gain. People who want to change something that they can be proud of.

What do you want to be proud of?

On Communities

Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

I am unsure. I don’t how to write this. But here goes:

Anyone else feeling that communities are becoming glorified sales funnels, rather than about genuinely connecting and helping people?

I am conflicted because I am in some brilliant communities, but also want a different world.

A world where anyone can change the world. A world where anyone knows how to use the mindsets, tools and tactics of insight research to create real, smell-able, definable change.

I want a world where people have the skills, knowledge and support to allow people to change the things they most passionately care about.

The changes don’t have to be big and flashy. They could be so small, yet be transformational for small groups of people.

– What if we could better serve carers dealing with anger arising from dementia or stroke?

– What if we could persuade ‘the board’ to take a stand on racism and misogyny in the charity sector?

– What if we could get a new safe road crossing for the local school?

– Or persuade the UN to ensure the genuine protection of children during peacekeeping missions?

The things we could achieve together, could transform lives. And it would be just the start.

We believe that people who (may not even) identify as activists knowing how to do research means change for the good.

We could broaden the range, and depth, of the people who start to use research. We could bring people into the industry who are as diverse as the research participants we seek to understand.

But communities too often seem to want a tame group of customers, ready, willing and able to jump into a master class.

What if a community was about changing the world first. And if people chose to then work with people in the community, that was a side effect, not the main reason?

We believe anyone should be able to change the world. We want to get the tools and confidence into people’s hands to make this happen.

On Abortion

Sunday, June 26th, 2022

The overturning of Roe vs Wade was painful. Painful for women. Painful for people who’ve had abortions or might decide to have one in the future. Painful for America.

Yesterday was a blow to progressives. Who knew progress wasn’t always moving forward.

Now it appears that the Supreme Court may want to go further in unpicking other incredibly hard fought legal precedents. All because of dogma and intolerance, rather than jurisprudence.

Daisy Doba and I are just back from speaking at a market research conference (#iiexeurope). Our topic was ‘Why brands also now need to be activists’.

Little did we know that 24 hours on, brands big and small, would be called on to do exactly this in the most full on way.

So here’s what we said then that brands, agencies and nonprofits might consider:

1) ask your staff what they feel and think, RESEARCH!

2) encourage your staff to speak out on social, on the streets, in debates, the media. Unleash your staff.

3) if staff get arrested for abortion activism, pay bail (h/t Beth Thoren and others)

4) pay special attention to those staff who don’t speak up. Those from different backgrounds, the lowest paid, those in your supply chain. Some will be hit far harder by the #roevwade reversal.

5) research with your customers. Find out where they stand.

6) decide what your firm’s position will be and communicate this internally and externally. Be consistent.

7) share your profits, donate

8) share your social media platforms to amplify the ‘voices seldom heard’ (h/t Theo Francis)

9) connect activists to powerful people you know. Share your privilege.

10) engage in politics and activism yourself.

11) Men, take action. You can get a vasectomy. I have.

This is no time for brands to go silent.

It’s critical brands, nonprofits, charities, Bcorps read the room. Even if you think and say “we don’t DO politics”, this decision shows that politics can still DO you in profound and unexpected ways.

Ps- for context, we regularly do 7/10 of these and are working on the other three.

#marketresearch #lightthefuse #readtheroom

On Inheritance

Tuesday, May 31st, 2022

“You and your brother in law, you’re the ones who are going to change the world.”

These were some of the last lucid words my dad said before he died last year.

At the time these seemed like a platitude, a passing comment. But the more I’ve reflected the more I realised that this IS what drives me as we are building Outrageous.

We believe passionately that the world is not fair. We know that huge inequalities and injustices prevent people from unleashing their awesome.

I mean isn’t it crazy that people are more afraid of cyclists than fossil fuels? That people can’t be themselves? Or love who they love? Or are stuck at home because they can’t access the bus?

We stand for the people and groups who challenge the system and stand up. The activists. The truth tellers.

Our Activist Legal Fund will divert a portion of our sales to fund the legal fees of arrested activists.

Our research for clients will power them to light the fuse on tackling social injustice.

We stand for those who want to use their organisations for good and demand better. Those who not only want to understand their supporters and customers. But to delight them. To energise like them never before.

We train charity teams to do this research themselves. So they can have the skills, knowledge and confidence they need in-house.

We do research projects. Qualitative research at scale. All without a loud mouth called ‘David’ ruining the session for everyone else. David? Put a sock in it.

We believe in the power of rest, Warhammer and pizza. We are building a business that is explicitly anti-racist, explicitly anti-patriarchy, pro-neurodiversity and disability.

We are a four day business. Changing the world faster demands lots of rest.

Who knows what will happen. All I know is that I miss this guy. And the guy in the cap.

On Guns

Thursday, May 26th, 2022

I’ve been around guns my whole life. Always unwillingly.

I’ve been in the Army cadets; I’ve gone to clay shooting events; I have been to people’s houses who proudly display their rifles; where people mention, in hushed tones, that there’s a locked shotgun cabinet somewhere in the house.

I was scared then. I am scared now.

We do not need guns. We do not need them around homes. People should not be able to buy and own elite grade assault rifles, handguns, or any guns.

Yes, it is a restriction on liberty. But so is wearing a mask to protect others in a pandemic. So is a seatbelt while driving. So is not selling beer to youngsters.

There are certain things we just don’t do. This is one of them.

On ‘YOUR’ customers

Thursday, May 26th, 2022

What the HECK do you ACTUALLY know about ‘your’ charity’s supporters, donors & campaigners?

In fact, were they ever ‘yours’ at all?

People, (donors et al), are situational, complex, wear masks, have shifting allegiances. They’ll be extremely loyal to you for a decade. And then move on, without warning, to the next big, shiny thing.

Some in the charity sector believe you should never ask ‘why?’

-> Because people don’t know what they want.

-> Because people can’t tell you what they do want (other than love, life, free Wi-Fi and the occasional free latte at the coffee shop).

Thing is this ‘why?’ question is a foundational piece of your charity’s success:

-> Why are my staff here?

-> Why are major donors donating to us not another charity?

-> Why are direct debit donations down but monthly support up?

-> Why are my service users so dissatisfied?

The purists will say oh but the quant data, the financials. We’re drowning in data. Analytics. Dashboards. Reports. This is where the answers lie. THIS is the truth.

But these will only tell you what. And will only explore the past. All the data in the world can’t tell you why.

Purists will say well qualitative (why) research is 🐴 💩. Small numbers of people. People lie.

But again this is wrong. Now qualitative research can be done at scale, with numbers even your board can get behind.

Qual research is NOT about taking your people at their word AND IS about interpreting what customers really want and need. And this takes researchers with skill, experience, and confidence.

If you are leading Marketing, Comms, Campaigns, Fundraising or even a charity, ‘why’ is about to become the most important question you’ll ask in the next 18 months.

Nothing will matter more.

This means market research. This means qualitative data at scale. This means answering and understanding people’s why.

It will guide your every decision. It will consume you. It will become your obsession. Goodness this sounds like a French perfume advert.

At Outrageous, we are obsessed with ‘why?’

We are a micro-SWAT team of activist researchers.

We hate long PowerPoints and dusty reports.

We believe charities need to ask more why questions.

Why?

Because ‘your’ people will only stick with you if you understand them. And if you help them.

On Authenticity

Saturday, May 21st, 2022

When people (never) ask me; Patrick, what are your top skills? I would softly tell them:

– BBQ

– Following North America’s perennially least successful sports franchises (Cowboys, Leafs anyone?)

– Building Brio trains with our junior dragon (pictured)

– Using insight training and research to tackle stubborn, awful inequalities that prevent people from unleashing their awesome.

– And running Outrageous’ ‘Light the Fuse’ podcast.

Thing is, a bit like that massive pile of train and track (in the picture), Light the Fuse is about how change happens. And it can be chaotic.

Each week, me and my co-host Daisy Doba, real talk. Fair and balanced? No way.

It features:

🦄 designer diapers

🤣 swearing

🐰 laughter

🔥 amazing revelations from considerate and wonderful guests

💯 political rants.

🐗 It is DEFINITELY not safe for work.

We bring together activists, brands, marketers and inspiring people to discuss how to change the world faster. And we love it.

We want the world to be better. Now. And we’re gonna tell you straight. In just 30 minutes each week.

It’s also how we explore what we like and don’t:

😡 Research that sits festering on a shelf? Not for us.

🤬 Beige offices where dreams go to die? Nein Danke.

🥶 Teams asked to do research themselves without having the skills, knowledge and confidence? Maverick, you are too dangerous and can’t fly on my wing.

That’s why we are over the moon that Light The Fuse is the podcast sponsor for the wildly professional and slick Insights Marketing Day in Amsterdam this coming June.

If you’re about changing the world faster:

🤓 Listen – https://lnkd.in/e3nBj6uk

🥸 Or contact us to be a guest. But bear in mind nothing in life is certain.

Love ya.

On LinkedIn

Saturday, May 21st, 2022

If I asked you why do you use LinkedIn, you’re likely to say something along the lines of “to grow my network and find new clients.” Well you’re not wrong but there is so much more to it than that.

Because Linkedin is not just ALL about reaching out to clients. Instead, think of LinkedIn as a crucial part of your awareness building for your brand or organisation. With the occasional dose of sales activation (here’s what we do and how we can help you) thrown in.

It is not. NOT. Repeat after me. For pitch slaps.

It can be tough sometimes to find the right people to connect with, to follow, to comment on (sporadic) posts, and to engage with.

But I have some advice for you; be bold!!!

Create content that will shock your audience (in a good way of course). Make them say s**t that’s cool, I need to work with them!

Think about how can you help people? What problems can you solve for them? What measurable, appreciable gains can you get for them?

Gone are the days of cold selling and connecting with randomers just for the hell of it. Use LinkedIn as a way to develop relationships and trust with the people in your network.

THEN you can move them down “The Sales Funnel” (or the ‘human relationship helter-skelter slide’ as we like to call it) and convert them into sales for your org.

On Therapy

Saturday, May 21st, 2022

It has been 4 years. Over 200 instances. I have finally finished therapy. God what an awful way to spend time and money. What a vital way. What a privilege.

When I started this journey, I was convinced that “six weeks and I’ll be done.” I even said this to the therapist. But I knew that things were much deeper than that. The evaluation meeting had seen me in tears for the whole 40 minutes.

It is easy to see the surface and think; generic white bloke, public school educated, the network, all is good. But the reality is that beneath the surface I was hurting in lots of ways. Ways that impacted my self confidence, my self view, my ability to engage with others.

And it was inter-relations with others, this inability to trust, that was what convinced me that I needed to talk, needed to listen.

It is tempting to say that this was a linear route to success. But I can tell you it wasn’t.

There were many times when I thought about quitting, and not going to the session. I’d text the therapist and they’d say to me, “this is when you MOST need to come, see you in an hour.” I always went.

I felt like an imposter at times. But I have realised there is no hierarchy of trauma, grief. We are each in our own private struggles. Comparing ourselves to others, distances us from those we need to get closer to. To heal.

I look back and remember very few of the individual sessions. But I do remember these concepts:

– The physical body keeps a tally of all the mind has been through.

– We all wear masks. The key is to put them on at the right times.

– When the emotional tank is too full, there is no space for new emotions and so you have to understand those long standing questions and queries in order to move on.

– Change externally is possible. But it starts with the mind.

– Don’t fear feelings. Fear ignoring them. Or making them the only reality.

If you can and are considering therapy, I’d say do it. I know just how lucky I have been. I know my privilege has made this possible.

It has transformed my view of my self, and I now feel ready to help unleash others’ awesome and change the world faster. Both things that felt too difficult, just four short years ago.

Activist Legal Fund

Sunday, May 15th, 2022

What is the Activist Legal Fund?

We divert a portion of our sales into our Activist Legal Fund, which we use to help arrested direct activists active in critical struggles. At Outrageous, we only work with charities, nonprofits, and purpose organisations.

What are our overall goals?

We want to fill the courts with so many social injustice activists, that everyone else will have no choice but to take notice of the climate crisis, and the linked crises of patriarchy, ableism and racism.

Why now?

The world is dragging its feet. Societal traditions and standards are outdated. We are facing a climate emergency that is a threat to us all. We need change now.

Who is eligible?

Anyone who is involved in critical struggles. Activism is ‘simpler’ and less dangerous for a straight white dude, than someone who is LGBTQI+, disabled, neurodiverse, younger, or who may be at the intersections. Our cash boosts are aimed at these folks!

What do we need from you?

As little as possible. We are aware that governments are increasingly using conspiracy charges against activists. We just need a one liner about why you need a boost. Then, as long as we have money in the Activist Legal Fund, we send you the cash.

Do I need to do something in return?

No. We don’t expect you to do anything just keep up the amazing work!

How will I get the money?

We use PayPal to transfer you the money.

On 300 years

Friday, May 13th, 2022

We didn’t get the candidate we wanted.

They went somewhere else. Somewhere different. A place with a big reputation, a flashier brand. I was gutted. And said so. Even though I could see it was the right move for them.

Through our recruitment process, my firm Outrageous Impact Ltd aims to lead the field.

Sure, we are not the biggest payer, but our impact is outsized. That’s because we see #insight as a tool for social justice. A tool for revolution. A method for changing the world faster.

Our policies and practices are unfussy, straightforward, respectful and aim to dismantle power injustice (what others have told us!)

People make choices for many, complex, layered reasons (heck, without this, #marketresearch wouldn’t exists). But as I reflect on not bringing the next awesome team-mate to the group (this time), I am committing myself to making Outrageous an even more attractive place to work:

– A place with an evidenced, externally demonstrable track record of dramatically changing stuff for the better faster.

– A place that sees #Marketing as a top-priority for the entire organisation, invests in brand, design and insight.

– A place that loves to pop the bubble of the pompous.

– A place where people come to learn, progress, and where we celebrate when they move on to their next adventure.

– A place where the entire team share in the profits of our combined success.

– A place where we don’t just write reports that sit on shelves, we spend time in refugee camps, we donate part of our profits to pay arrested activists legal fees, we speak out (without fear, ok with a bit of fear), and we never slack from trying to change the world (except when we are knackered. Elite level rest = elite level performance).

This is the jagged mountain path we are following to design an organisation that we aim to still be here in 300 years’ time. The path, that becomes a track, a park, an ecosystem.

Yeah, sometimes you don’t get the breaks, but after this, what do I learn? Onward. Better. Faster. Always learn.

On Crises

Friday, May 13th, 2022

During the pandemic, we nearly stopped being a business. There was four months without work. It was scary as all hell. At the same time there was homeschooling. Nuff said.

During that time of isolation, despair and sadness, I started connecting with folks across the world via Linkedin and asked them, “what help do you need?”

These online coffees led to new friendships and colleagues, 40+ not for profits being connected to free 1-hour advice sessions, and even new products.

This time also strengthened our belief as an organisation in the power of explosive insight research to change the world faster.

We have seen how a single insight CAN lead to millions in profitable revenue, and demonstrable improvements in peoples’ lives, but people need to be trained and ready to listen.

There needs to be psychological safety for participants and researchers. There needs to preparation in how to sell in findings, as part of the research design. And so much more.

That is why we are delighted to share our ‘Interviewing for Innovation‘ coaching and training with you.

In just 4 weeks of learning and coaching, we will get your teams being AWESOME at online insight research interviews. But don’t take our word for it. It is rated 4.7 (out of 5) on Trustpilot with Marketers.

During this hands on, group learning your team will learn how to plan, recruit, run qualitative interviews to bolster your sales and grow your innovation pipeline.

If you’d like to give YOUR team a transformative, highly motivating and supportive learning experience, let’s have a coffee.

 

On Having It All

Friday, May 13th, 2022

If you’re a charity or non profit that has not done insight research or market research lately, a lot has changed.

🐰 Now you don’t have to choose between qualitative and quantitative research (the why or the numbers). Online research platforms can give you both.

🐇 Surveys are not the only way to hear from your staff, customers, supporters, donors suppliers or even your customers’ customers. Now you can use video and mobile ethnographic tools that give you a view into people’s lives that go far beyond what people purely say.

🥚🍳 Sample providers (the people who get you the people who you hear from) are recognising the world isn’t fair. And are making strides to ensure that samples represent all races, religions, disability, sexuality, gender. And crucially the wonderful patchwork and intersections of all these.

Barriers are falling. The world is waiting to uncover its next mystery. It’s time to get out there and listen.

On Legacy

Friday, May 13th, 2022

When you get to the end of your life do you want to be remembered for nailing four consecutive quarters for America’s third most popular dog food brand? Or do you want to show how YOUR insight research has materially improved people’s lives?

How it has tackled injustice? And helped brands navigate more confidently through the world’s most pressing social issues? How you’ve supported others to shine?

THIS is what we mean when we say ‘ACTIVIST INSIGHT RESEARCH’. It’s not yet a well known phrase, but it WILL be:

🚀 Is explosive research that creates change in people, communities, laws, decisions and boardrooms.

🤧 Hates dusty reports, in beige offices.

❌ Involves telling ‘Office politics as game of thrones fan’ Geoff to ‘jog on fella’. Go on, take a hike.

💥 Means seeing what customers want and decoding what they don’t yet know they need.

🧟‍♂️ Will see you abandoning some plans, projects, and products because they are bad, evil, wrong, or just plain ugly.

✅ Involves leaving the confines of the research centre, or the cosy sample panel and saying “what do people really think?”

As the famous ad campaign here in the UK says (shout out to Engine UK for their Royal Marines campaign) “it’s a state of mind, you may already have it”.

Activist insight research. Let’s change the world faster.

On Roe v Wade

Friday, May 13th, 2022

I am not sure I have the right to make this post. But I need to.

– The restrictions around protest here in the UK
– The potential SCOTUS decision on reproductive health
– The exclusion of trans people from conversion

None of these impact me. So why I am even speaking? Why am I jumping on this bandwagon?

The reality is that I won the genetic lottery. Straight. White. Dude. I am in the box seat. The major domo. The person whose voice gets heard more than others.

What do they say? With great privilege, comes great responsibility?

At Outrageous we believe in the ability of people to challenge injustice. We stand for the power of the collective to effect change. So here’s how we will be responding:

– We are keen to invite progressive activists on to our Light The Fuse (30 minute LinkedIn live) show for a paid chat on their work in this issue. We pay £100. Shout if this is you or someone you know.

– We HAVE already amended our Pay, Reward, Promotion policy to include paid time off for ab***ion.

– If direct activists, take action on the issues above, we will also include them in our legal costs funding through our Activist Legal Fund. This builds on our targeted support for LGBTIQ+ activists taking action on the climate.

– We will not be entertaining any patriarchal nonsense from people telling us this is not a) for LinkedIn, b) not professional, c) or engaging in any ‘Whataboutism’ on these. Chef’s kiss.

 

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