How we do it

Our research products are a mix of innovative solutions developed on the back of current thinking in research, as well as more traditional techniques such as focus groups, accompanied shops and in depth interviews.


Qualibus consists of monthly or bi-monthly qualitative dips and is a cost effective tool to answer topical and ad hoc business questions.  Our clients find it helpful in a number of different ways: to assess the competitive environment; to flag up early warning signs of market changes; to identify the mood of the nation and its impact on the category; and to sensitively review how topical marketing campaigns land.

Clients who have used Qualibus include Sky, EDF Energy, Capital One and Sainsbury’s.

Irrational perspectives

Irrational perspectives is an overall approach to conducting research, using thinking derived from behavioural economics.  In order to identify consumer biases, we use techniques to mitigate research effect, such as:

– the capture of respondents’ own context prior to interview
– identification of instinctive responses via use of observations and other techniques
– identification of residual impact of research on respondents.

Most recently used to help with language, visual structure and messaging for a new online financial tool.

Online plus

Online plus combines innovative and creative tasks with a forensic and commercial analytical approach.  Our highly experienced senior moderators run the online forum, not junior execs or administrators.  The tool enables us to capture instinctive responses and thought-through views, considered opinions and ‘in the moment’ non-verbals via uploaded photographs and video clips.  Our senior execs provide granular and sophisticated analysis of the results.

Recent uses have been to assess the impact of seasons on marketing for different clients (retail and media) as well as a thorough exploration of the customer switching journey for a utility company.

In the moment

In the moment is a way to understand qualitatively how a campaign is landing as consumers experience the ads in their world.  This is a methodology to capture real advertising impact rather than over-rationalised reactions.  The key benefit of the approach is that it gives contextual understanding of the environment within which consumers are viewing the ad, as well as how the ad performs in relation to other ads being aired at the same time.

A recent online application of this approach has been to assess the impact of our client’s advertising in the crowded Christmas environment.


Co-creation allows for direct client (and agency) involvement in research where specific expertise is required.  It often involves meeting and working with customers to help develop new ideas, solutions or campaigns.  When using co-creation, we ensure careful selection of venues to allow for a viewed element as well as several break out zones.  We sometimes include a pre co-creation tutoring session for clients, on the basics of moderation.

Case Study

A company was looking to launch an innovative telecoms online-only service and was unsure how to position it. Value for money? High tech? Community oriented?

Via a stimulating series of co-creation workshops, which included a Diary Room break out exercise, we helped identify the optimum approach: an unusual mix of all 3 original ideas.

Iterative npd

Iterative npd is a longitudinal assessment of a new product, whilst the product is still in its trial phase.  The approach involves a mix of in-depth methodologies and rigorous measurement during the pilot period for the product.  It is particularly helpful for building detailed business cases and ensuring optimum implementation of new technology.

Case Study

Our client’s challenge was to minimise implementation cost and optimise B2C and B2B customer satisfaction and engagement, before commencing the national roll out of their smart meters.

We conducted semi-ethnographic depths to identify the impact of the environment and the role that smart meters played in customer homes/lives/businesses.  This included video footage of customers and their experiences.

Then over time we measured impact of having a smart meter, according to different sensitive criteria, and we developed hard measures to evaluate future impact. This enabled the business to improve ROI.

Churn minimiser

Churn minimiser is a toolbox of approaches to identify issues and solutions relating to customer churn, including ethnography, observation of household dynamics, rapid reaction deep dives and decision-maker workshops. These enable us to unpick real drivers behind churn decisions, often at variance to the stated reasons. We identify churn journeys, influences along the way and points of potential client intervention, before helping develop solutions, bearing in mind the business bottom line.

We are proud to have made a difference to retention for a number of clients in media and finance.

Inside Out

Inside out is our approach to ethnography – a pragmatic immersion into the environment and lifestyle of consumers or businesses in a cost effective manner. We adopt a 360 degree approach, contrasting self-collected views (using words, pictures, videos) with our observations, and we use photographic evidence to identify contradictions between what is observed and what is claimed by respondents.

Uses of this technique include: an understanding of consumer tastes and habits with regards to bedding, identifying gaps in home storage solutions, and understanding opportunities in m-shopping.


As important as our tools, is our interpretation of the information we collate, which differentiates us from many other agencies.

Look back – We never start from scratch but always build on clients’ knowledge.

Look for – We believe that research is most effective when stakeholder hypotheses are tested and explored, ensuring the output goes to the core of business beliefs.

Look in – We apply forensic interrogation to all disciplines of research – it is as relevant to qual as it is to quant.

Sort out – We distinguish between instinctive reaction, judgment or behaviour, and what is thought through – this enables us to unveil the real story.

Weed out – We have found that nothing irritates clients more than feeding back what is already known or a contradictory story.

Work out – There is always a story to be told; we will find it, and tell it clearly and concisely.

Seek out – When a participant says something really insightful, we make it our business to explore that idea, or moment of inspiration, even if it may not seem directly relevant to the question in hand.

Pull out – We pull out the insights or identify the challenges, the unexpected and the ideas with commercial potential - delivering pure findings is not enough.


  • EDF Energy

    Outlook have consistently been a close research partner for over 10 years despite a changing client team and different priorities and direction internally – which is testament to the high quality of insight delivered.
    Outlook always ensure they understand the research problem fully at an early stage which means they drill down on what’s important for delivering actionable insight. Internally, stakeholders from right across the business always feedback positively on how they challenge our thinking, in a constructive way, to put the customer first.

    For me, Outlook has three main points of difference:
    1.  They always make sure to properly understand the problem at the briefing;
    2.  They challenge us (but in a way that is constructive and people like);
    3.  They understand us.

    Nick Eves, Customer Insight Manager, EDF Energy
  • O2 - Telefonica UK

    I have often recommended Outlook to colleagues and would not hesitate to do so now. They are a trusted agency that never fails in delivering fantastic insight. We have worked closely together over many years. Outlook has the ability to cut to the core of issues and to represent the customer and is therefore called upon to advise on issues regardless of whether they have actually conducted any research on the matter. Outlook truly understands what clients need and in that sense they completely ‘get’ what a client/agency partnership is all about.

    Danny Russell, General Manager (Business Intelligence), Telefonica UK
  • Hastings Direct

    Hastings Direct was looking for an agency to support us in better understanding the relevance of our products to our customers.  One of the main reasons I chose to work with Outlook was because they were able to demonstrate a real understanding of what we were trying to deliver and it was clear they had done plenty of research to make themselves familiar with the industry and associated regulation.  This put Outlook in a great position when completing the research and by the end I believe they knew the fine print of our products as well as we did! Importantly, I also really enjoy working with Diane and her team – they are insightful, direct, action oriented and fun to work with.

    Lucy Johnson, Commercial Director, Hastings Direct
  • Sage UK

    We have worked with Outlook for a number of years and have always received a first class service. Whether it be through working with them on key projects or simply being able to pick up the phone to chat, they are always available to offer expert advice. The team are friendly, provide excellent value for money and make sure the research always provides insights to help drive our business forward.

    Simon Moll, Customer Insights Manager, Sage UK
  • Utility Company

    We have built up a close working relationship with the Outlook team over a number of years. Outlook’s honest and pragmatic approach is especially valued, and we have found their flexible way of working particularly useful in helping us to meet the business’ varying research needs.

    Head of B2C Research, Utility Company
  • Train Operating Company

    Outlook is a close and trusted supplier.  Unlike many other research agencies, with Outlook we always know that we will get the same senior level of input at all stages of all projects, the research will be costed very competitively, it will be robust, and the output will be insightful and pitched at exactly the right level.

    Head of Insight, Train Operating Company
  • UK Charity

    We have always been very impressed by the service we receive from Outlook. They provide excellent value for money, are always very responsive and easy to work with and bring a great deal of experience, thought and enthusiasm to their work on our projects.

    Insight Manager, UK Charity
  • Media Company

    What really sets Outlook apart from other research agencies for me is their genuine integrity. I am always left with the impression that from the outset Outlook are focussed on the best possible outcome for their client, and not just on winning and completing a project. The fact that they are confident to challenge a brief, propose alternatives and be flexible throughout a project always confirms this for me.

    Insight Account Manager, Media Company