Our Thinking

A tailored approach

We are not revolutionary but we are different. Our emphasis on behavioural economics generates insights you can act on...

Insights not data

Too often research delivers a mountain of data but little insight. You might get a detailed readout on consumer recall of brand ‘X’ but nothing to explain why they bought brand ‘Y’.

Monkey See was set up to better explain consumer behaviour. We arm clients with actionable insights. Data that comes with context and narrative. Data that clearly points the way ahead.

Our approach is not revolutionary but it is different. We use conventional techniques to capture ‘reasoned’ consumer thinking (system 2) but overlay a bespoke behavioural economics schema on all our work to ensure ‘intuitive’ behaviours (system 1) are never missed.

Equally important, we always tailor our approach to give the best possible chance of delivering fresh ideas. Through long experience, we know off-the-shelf frameworks rarely do that.

In the end, we deliver research that is more people focused, more sensitive to nuance and better suited to its' time. You will get that recall stat for band ‘X’ but you will also know why brand ‘Y’ is selling so well - and what to do about it.


Why behavioural economics?

Graphic showing behavioural economics model in market research - Monkey See ResearchBehavioural economics has become mainstream over the last few years. But watch out for those paying lip service - it’s one thing to talk the talk, another to apply it.

The big insight it brings is that behaviour is as likely to be instinctive as it is reasoned. Our brains have a lot keep up with, so we spend a large part of our lives on autopilot, relying not on logic but on a series of mental shortcuts and social and environmental cues to guide us.

For market research, there are major implications. The first is that opinion and attitude are often less predictive of behaviour than we assume. We can hold strong views on the importance of charity, for example, but never cough up a penny.

The context in which consumers make decisions is also key. If our behaviour is shaped by a particular set of social and environmental nudges then the answers to questions asked outside of that context are likely to be partial or just plain wrong.

Last, system 1 decision making probably impacts brand and communications more than any other area of market research. As life speeds up and we have less time to ponder and contemplate, our everyday purchasing behaviours become ever more intuitive or ‘of the moment’.


Using behavioural economics

Market research, getting into the consumer mind, Monkey See ResearchAt Monkey See, we’ve been tackling these issues head-on since 2011 and have come to see them less as a problem and more as an opportunity for our clients.

As the marketeer Nick Southgate notes, behavioural economics explains why so much traditional research is prone to error but it also points the way ahead. “The results should be liberating, fascinating and a boon to the industry”, he says.

The trick, in our view, is a systematic approach. Monkey See has developed a model containing dozens of behavioural heuristics for which there is an established evidence base and we apply it to both the design of our research and its’ analysis.

It informs our choice of methodologies, how we ask questions and how we interpret the data we get back. It sparks ideas, removes bias and injects context. But most important of all it ensures that none of the many oblique heuristics known to influence behaviour are ignored or missed.

It's one of the main messages of behavioural economics - things work best with a checklist!


System 1 methodologies

Over the years we’ve become black belts in a range of techniques designed to overcome the issue of context. They are by no means exclusive to Monkey See but we use them regularly and think we apply them with greater finesse than most. They include:

  • Video self-ethnography - no interviewer, no direct observation, no bias other than a bit of early stage fright but that quickly fades
  • Rambling one to ones - it takes time but it’s worth every penny
  • Mental availability - like fame but with a greater stress on how quickly it comes to mind
  • Intuitive sliding scales for quant - no numbers, no words
  • Emotional reading - no just what emotions are conjured up but strongly they are felt

For more information on the range of research services we offer, please go to our market research services page. It covers everything from brand tracking to behavioural audits.

If you are a brand owner or agency interested in unearthing behavioural insights please get in touch - we love to talk research!


see our case studies