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The MRS Storytelling conference will showcase creative examples of how to turn research findings into meaningful and persuasive narratives that stir emotions, embed deep understanding and drive change. Learn the tools to craft compelling stories from your research and hear innovative ideas for how to communicate insight stories that maximise the reach and impact of insight projects with stakeholders.

Book your place to:

  • Hear examples of insight stories that have been skilfully crafted and expertly communicated
  • Hone your storytelling skills based on lessons from journalism and film
  • Realise the power of the visual in research communications 
  • Determine how to develop and embed storytelling capability across your organisation
  • Examine innovative storytelling techniques that grab the attention of your target audience
  • Assess remote storytelling approaches to powerfully convey your message from a distance


No Biography Available

09.30 Welcome from the Chair

David Smith, Director, DVL Smith


09.40 Using journalistic storytelling to transform insights and research

Too much business-to-business storytelling is made unnecessarily complex by following the orthodoxies of narrative ‘arcs’, heroes’ journeys and convoluted strategies which get in the way of effective research storytelling. Journalism offers a different approach to this.

Journalists tell stories that have impact, change behaviours, inspire curiosity and spark decision-making. Hear Grant describe how the principles, skills and approaches of journalism can transform insights.

Grant Feller, Journalist & Director, GF Media


10.10 Building a culture of storytelling at GSK 

GSK’s Consumer & Business Insights & Analytics team has been working on strengthening, adoption and usage of the company’s storytelling capability.  

In this session, GSK will talk about the challenges that insights and analytics professionals face in storytelling and how the company is working to overcome this. Join Tara and Bilge as they discuss an innovative storytelling method that has been used in the Cold & Flu category to convince stakeholders to target a new audience. This was based on GSK’s programme to build capability and develop a strong, new storytelling framework that can be replicated across other divisions.   

Tara Beard-Knowland, Director of Transformation & Capability, GSK 

In conversation with… 

Bilge Balci, Global Insights Lead, Cold & Flu Category, GSK 


10.40 Break


11.00 Presenting insight: finding a path through the woods

What are the biggest challenges we face when trying to identity and transmit insight? In this session, Tas will reveal the greatest challenges research and insight departments cite about their ability to influence and persuade stakeholders.

Hear how to devise a path through the woods and determine your hypothesis, argument, angle and direction of your presentation. Consider how to optimise the start of any presentation – why start with the banalities? Apply the lessons of behavioural economics & storytelling and finely tune the emotional objectives of your presentation.

Anthony Tasgal, Trainer, Author, Strategist, P.O.V. Marketing and Research


11.30 Innovative insight to drive a creative brief, and engaging social influencers to tell your story 
‘Listen + Learn’ is a year-long project, commissioned by Movember, to explore young men’s mental health and relationships with masculinity through the pandemic.  Saul and Sarah will tell the story of an innovative insight process and creative strategy that engaged social influencers to address taboos around men's mental health in a powerful and engaging way.  
Hear how young men's voices inspired 8 YouTube creators to make 12 original films about mental health, with a combined viewing figure of 8.8m and counting, and over 15,000 positive comments from viewers. 
Saul Parker, Founder, The Good Side 
Sarah Sternberg, Strategy Director, Movember 


12.00 Beyond words: how art can tell impactful insightful stories

Over the past two years, more than 50 leading consumer brands have worked with FlexMR to transform complex and nuanced consumer opinion into artistic abstractions that engrain themselves into stakeholder memories and influence decisions over the long term.

In this session, FlexMR Chief Marketing Officer, Chris Martin, shares ten of the most successful artworks and the secrets behind them. Delegates will gain insights into the research and the creative process that makes artistic storytelling possible, the theoretical frameworks that support the methodology and how to effectively engage audiences with abstract outputs.

Chris Martin, Chief Marketing Officer, FlexMR


12.30 Lunch


13.15 Unlocking the secrets of Hollywood storytelling to build new cultural narratives

We live in an era characterised by doom-laden narratives of disaster and decline. The optimistic ‘brave new world’ narratives of the 20thcentury have fallen by the wayside. A victim of this narrative shift has been the overseas charity sector.

By combining two approaches that go to the source of cultural narratives – semiotics and storytelling, The Answer has worked with several charities to create cultural narratives to help people look at old problems in new ways and drive renewed support. 

Join semiotician/cultural analyst, Dr. Nick Gadsby, and Hollywood storyteller and producer turned anthropologist, Deanna Mitchell, to hear how they applied the secrets of Hollywood storytelling to create brand new cultural narratives for the UK’s charity sector.

Dr. Nick Gadsby, Founder, The Answer: Strategy, Culture, Semiotics

Deanna Mitchell, Anthropologist


13.45 A picture is worth a thousand words: why visual design & metaphor is essential for effective storytelling

A great story is more than just words.  In this age of ‘infobesity’, insight stories need to leverage the power of the visual too.  The more engaging, startling and intriguing the visual, the greater the chance that we will grab the audience’s attention and make the message stick. However, the visual in research communication, is still, far too often, considered right at the end of the storytelling process.

In this conversation Daniel, Lucy and Simon will argue that the visual is a fundamental part of the story and one we can exploit to help our insight ‘land’ as we would like.  Visual metaphors can create the ‘golden thread’ for our stories, making them engage and resonate with audiences and so much more memorable.

Daniel Wain, Founder & Director, Daniel Wain Consulting

In conversation with…

Lucy Davison, Managing Director, Keen as Mustard Marketing

Simon Dunn, Director, Keen as Mustard Marketing


14.15 Feel Good drinks: telling the story of a ‘citizen brand’

This is a story of a marketer who wears his heart on his sleeve and is passionately behind a challenger brand that is creating a rallying cry to the soft drinks industry of how they can change their supply chain and impact in a way that is kind to people and planet. It is a demonstration of translating insight into visible action, and a reminder that every small decision is a strategic building block towards a big & collective change for nature, people and way of doing business.

Join Sharon and Ed as they share the brand story of Feel Good drinks, a 100% natural, fruity, sparkling water. Hear them unpack the creation of Feel Good and discuss the brand’s purpose and endeavour to becoming a ‘citizen brand.’

Sharon Foo, Managing Partner, Citizen Good

in conversation with…

Ed Woolner General Manager, Feel Good Drinks


14.45 Break


15.00 Avoiding death by PowerPoint

After completing a data heavy project for GSK, Insites Consulting wanted to a fun and engaging way to convey research findings whilst saving the audience from a death by Power Point situation. In this presentation Ellie will share their approach which included designing a website for the research findings and creating consumer immersion parcels which contained physical representations of the findings.

This session will open delegate’s eyes to creative possibilities for sharing insight with stakeholders. Hear how this alternate approach was received by GSK stakeholders and how impact of research was maximised.

Ellie Osborne, Head of Social Intelligence, Insites Consulting

Mita Shaha, GSK


15.30 Storytelling from a distance

Thanks to recent events, storytelling within our industry is not as straightforward as it once was. Not only is it harder to physically capture stories in a distant world, it’s also harder to capture the attention of those we’re telling stories to – be it stakeholders, clients, or even team members.

This session will look at different forms of remote storytelling that have emerged in the past year, how brands can use these new forms of storytelling in their communications, how we can help stakeholders build empathy with distant audiences and ways research teams can continue to socialise their projects in a remote workplace.

Phoebe Trimingham, Associate Director, Socialise, Crowd DNA


16.00 End of conference


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