Immersion delivers fresh insights and business opportunities

17 June 2019
Jeanette Hodgson

Global Head of Qualitative Strategy, United Kingdom

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"Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change".

Here in lies the true value of Immersion workshops. Until you step into the shoes of your customers it’s hard to understand their day-to-day experiences whether our attention is on the prescribing decisions of physicians, or the decisions people make about their health management. And these views only represent one side of the coin, the customer perspective. What about our own clients? How often do we help them create the time and space to step into their team members’ shoes and understand the challenges and aspirations each has for their brand, which they will almost certainly be viewing from different perspectives?

The Immersion workshop provides the perfect playing field to discover and flesh out the possible intersections between what customers are looking for, what brands can offer, and where a deep understanding of internal and external perspectives can be brought together so that the brand may flourish.

At Kantar, we have a unique approach with four areas of focus:

Four areas of focus

Focus 1 - defining the central behavioural goal upfront is a game changer.

At the heart of any marketing initiative is the desire to influence behaviour. Behaviour change principles therefore apply to most, if not all, facets of our commercial business; prescribing choices and decision making; patient behaviours, including adherence to medication; brand positioning and communications, etc. A clear definition of the central business question of the brand team, and ultimately the change in behaviour the initiative is designed to achieve, is therefore crucial to the design of any brand-related workshop. By interrogating the behavioral goal and applying our 6-lens framework to unpacking the central business question will ensure that we stay on track to deliver business solutions that are impactful, specific and actionable.


Focus 2 - drawing customer profiles.

Making the most of already available information by consolidating it in a way that is meaningful to the challenge ahead and clarifying "what we know we know" about a given challenge is a critical part of the preparation process. Essentially, we assimilate existing knowledge about our customers into "user personas" by bringing them to life through descriptions of their desires, needs, skills, frustrations, motivations and goals. This immersion allows us to see customers as people and reveals insights otherwise obscured from view.


Customer profile post-it notes

Focus 3 - perspectives of client stakeholders.

We then incorporate the internal stakeholders’ perspectives into the mix. For each stakeholder group, we explore their goals and definitions of success, as well as the challenges and pain points relating to the brand. They are invited to share their plans via interviews that are debriefed speed-dating style, or through presentations or group work.

Sharing ideas via group work

Focus 4 - facilitators prepared well enough to not have to follow the plan.

Detailed planning and imagining of "what if" scenarios are the foundation of every successful Immersion workshop, and behavioral flexibility on the part of the facilitator is key to that. The more choices we have and the more scenarios we anticipate, the more likely we are to achieve positive outcomes. Successful facilitators will frequently attribute the success of a workshop to the structure of it; as participants, engaged in energizing, stimulating activities, tasks and exercises, the workshop structure is perhaps the last thing we are consciously aware of, and perhaps that’s the secret of success!

Group work


We are all very aware of the difficulty in getting the right people to dedicate uninterrupted time to the job of thinking about the business rather than doing it. Yet it's in these sessions that fresh insights are ignited and current thinking about the business shifts. To approach and design Immersion sessions with the purpose of simply "aligning on business questions and research specifics" is to miss an opportunity to harness deep knowledge and insights from those closest to the brand. Our approach focuses on the central business question and behavioral challenges, leverages the skills of experienced facilitators, and places equal weight on the customer and stakeholder perspectives.

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