I’ve Been Baking

Shortly after stay-at-home went into effect, I—and countless others—decided to take up bread baking. After searching for the “best bread recipe ever,” I followed the instructions the best I could, but the bread never rose: the yeast was expired. I spent weeks on a quest to find a store with yeast in-stock. Soon, my obsession paid off, and I went to work baking my perfect loaf. It came out super average. Even with the right recipe and the right ingredients, something prevented the supreme bread experience I sought.

Applying this example to research, it is obvious that the right methodology, the right tools, and the right thinking/expertise are all critical to take high quality ingredients and turn them into excellent output. 

In terms of REAL Insight methodology, this means capturing behavioral and System 1 feedback whenever possible and weighing those differently than stated responses. Methodology is also important in ensuring those high quality ingredients are deployed with the right scope for the question and in the right way.

Technology has always played a role in research, but this year, its use has accelerated and hit high gear. We benefit from having access to these technological tools that we could not have developed ourselves, but technology isn’t a solution; it’s a tool that needs to be expertly utilized. Technology shouldn’t distract respondents, and we want to ensure their focus remains on the task at hand—not on how the data is collected. Tools that are too complicated, unreliable, or distracting only frustrate and disengage participants.

With DIY experiencing exponential growth as well as faster and cheaper research taking focus, the question remains: What is the role of specific expertise? As with any business investment, it comes down to value. However, it often takes time to determine if the trade-offs with faster and cheaper are worth it. Suppliers delivering average value with standard pricing will likely fade away. But partners delivering true value—one that drives brand growth—will continue to be worth the budget line-item over the long run.

At REAL Insight, we conduct authentic research that reflects the truth that leads our clients to make the right decisions and avoid costly mistakes. In this era of research where real ingredients are harder to come by and manufacturing timelines are tighter than ever, you need partners who can efficiently and cost effectively deliver recommendations you won’t regret acting on. 

We are here to make sure your bread turns out perfectly every time.

Check out Part One and Part Two of these series!

It’s Patio Season!

In Minnesota, there are 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter, and patio season. As soon as the snow melts (May 5th this year), we clamber outside with alacrity to make the most of those few months where you don’t need to keep a snow shovel in your trunk.

Ingredients for an ideal patio happy hour:

  1. Delicious eats and a tantalizing drink list
  2. Not being subject to clouds of exhaust permeating the atmosphere or saturating the libations.
  3. Some like it hot. Others have skin fair as the Minnesota snow. Sun and shade dual options foster a comfortable environment for all.
  4. Big tables because hey, we like each other (and want to sit with each other).
  5. Good people enjoying the company of one another

As a team, we enjoy a fun patio happy hour as much as anyone. Situated in the NE neighborhoods of Minneapolis, the toughest question we face on this issue is which awesome spot should we visit this time? While you really can’t go wrong (especially if you incorporate our 5 ideal ingredients), here are a few REAL recommendations:

Bauhaus: Rain or shine, this covered gem is conveniently located across the parking lot from our office. Play some bags, drink some beer, eat from a food truck, and take in a scenic freight train or two.

Eli’s: Tucked back off Hennepin, Eli’s is a favorite lunch spot due to its varied menu and sunny tables. Always check the specials list.

Able: Can you be a seedhouse and a brewery and have an amazing patio all at the same time? Only if you are Able.

Stanley’s: One of the spots most capable of seating our growing team outside, Stanley’s offers a variety of eats and drinks that keeps everyone happy.

Masu: A popular spot on fielding Fridays when the office crew is smaller, Masu’s fresh Japanese fare is the perfect food to feast on when the forecast is fiery.

Fair State: Tucked behind the brewery, the Fair State patio is a hidden respite from Central Avenue that provides the sun and shade we’re always seeking. We dare you to try the Roselle and not become a sour convert.

Tattersall: Words cannot describe the cocktails available at Tattersall. They have a nice patio outside for the warmer weather, but we almost prefer the cocktail room inside with its cozy club chairs. It’s worth it to visit, rain or shine!

Small Business

In a land where bigger is generally equated to better, we at REAL Insight dare to take an alternate perspective: Innovative is better. Flexible is better. Faster is better. Affordable is better. Personable is better. These qualities are all part of the value-added offerings our small business brings to the table.

With 12 full time employees and an extended team of about 20, we embrace our small business status, but also challenge the title—we are small in size, but not in capability or impact. We are undaunted by large projects or tight timelines. Customization isn’t a dirty word; we prefer it. We do not shy away from hard-to-find consumers or needed nuance. We enjoy keeping current on innovation, both human and technological, and have a repertoire of tools, ideas, and methodologies that stand up to any task. We are ready to pivot as projects develop and inevitable obstacles crop up. We also enjoy being able to fit the whole team at a restaurant table to celebrate birthdays, sunny days, or happy hour 🙂

This week we celebrate all those businesses that are fast and flexible, innovative and imaginative, creative and capable, and also have small employee numbers. Happy Small Business Week!

Spring into Action

Spring in Minneapolis is quite the spectacle. Sounds such as birds chirping and creeks babbling return to the daily soundtrack; Target Field begins its thaw from the cold as opening day approaches; a collective sigh is heard as winter jackets are packed back in closets and snow boots are tucked away in favor of galoshes or, for some brave souls, sandals. And with spring, comes the green.

Here at REAL Insight, we have a particular preference for the color green and find spring to be a wonderful time to celebrate those warm feelings. With Earth Day on its way, our internal green team teamed up with our volunteer team to celebrate the planet and show our support for the continued “greening” of our community and world.

Earth Day is a great reason to think both globally and locally: what can be done in our neighborhoods, and how can we fit in with the bigger picture? To address both of these perspectives, we decided on supporting both a global initiative and a local need:

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One Tree Planted is a non-profit organization focused on planting trees throughout the world. For every dollar donated, they plant a tree in one of their six global locations, selected based on the needs for reforestation in those regions. We decided to start a collection for One Tree Planted in the office and offered to have our volunteer/green team match all donations, which resulted in REAL Insight planting 100 trees throughout the world!

PeopleForParks
Locally, we decided to make a donation to support Arbor Day efforts and plant trees here in our fair city through giving to People for Parks, a local non-profit with the goal of enhancing and promoting Minneapolis parks. Giving back to the city that gives us so much is an important goal of out volunteer team and green team.

April showers bring May flowers, and nurture trees throughout our backyards and the world. Happy Earth Day and Happy Arbor Day from all of us!

-Mary Dolan O’Brien, Project Coordinator

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