gold crown representing firefish's groundbreaking research award win at the quirks insight excellence awards 2022

Winners: Groundbreaking Research Award at Quirks 2022

November 8, 2022

With the intended rail strike put paid to our plans to all meet up and communally wait with bated breath to see if we had won another award for insight excellence in 2022, we were forced to all individually load up a livestream on YouTube of this year’s (still virtual) Quirks Insight Excellence & Effectiveness Awards.

As we settled into our sofas, drinks in hand and the Teams chat starting to ping with excitement, we watched as the Quirks Brothers – resplendent in their black tie – kicked off proceedings by saying that, out of the 200+ submissions, we were about to find out who the “best of the best” really were.

Competition was high, not least that Firefish Group businesses had not 1 but 2 entries shortlisted in the same category: the Groundbreaking Research award. This category is all about highlighting a marketing research-related project that took an innovative approach that foes beyond standard best practice, tailored to the needs of the client’s business problem, with the potential to influence longer-term or wider business objectives.

At Firefish, we are laser-focused on creating clarity for our clients, delivering a clear way forward in service to not only the insight objectives, but the broader business goal. As part of this, our flexibility and ability to blend – and even create – methods & tools to get us to the answers we and our client’s needs is baked in to our “impact by design” philosophy…so we were quietly confident for a win, knowing our partnerships had delivered this in both shortlisted projects.

When the time finally came, it was our partnership with Pinterest on defining and quantifying Inspiration, that reigned supreme!

This project had one key theme throughout – the need to talk to Pinterest in its own visual language.  It was a true partnership with an ambitious goal; to bring clarity to the intangible nature of inspiration and understand how it functions, to realise a unique commercial opportunity to differentiate Pinterest from other sharing platforms.  One of the most exciting things about receiving the brief – and ultimately partnering on it – was the willingness of everyone involved to take risks and experiment with a series of brand-new methodologies – bringing it all together and combining it with strategic thinking for a multi-perspective understanding.

The success of the project was in its size, reach and impact:  102 million data points were translated into clear pictorial recommendations. The visual nature of the research design – and its execution – meant that they outputs we delivered spoke the visual vernacular of Pinterest, showing rather than just telling the story to the teams across the business tangible, tactical examples of how to create inspirational content, as well as how to talk to brands and advertisers about how to execute on them for commercial success. The theoretical model of inspiration that we developed – derived from qualitative & semiotic phase and then validated by the quant – gave that higher level ‘why’ to inform the evolution of Pinterest’s inspiration-focused business strategy.

It was so effective, that it also featured in the Pinterest Presents global webcast, referenced by their CMO in the Return on Inspiration section (see it at c.49 min)

We wouldn’t want you to just take our and Quirks’ judging panels word for it though, so we will leave you with a quote from the client team themselves and, if you want to the same sort of impact from your insight partners, then all you need to do is get in touch.

Many suppliers can offer qual or quant, but the Firefish team gave us confidence that they would be able to generate industry-leading qual and back that up with the most advanced statistical modelling to give us a rigorous and multifaceted research design, uniquely created for Pinterest.

From the first interim read-out, the research began making waves across our internal teams. ‘Research postcards’ formed part of the iterative insight delivery throughout the project duration to keep stakeholders engaged and excited, revealing emerging learnings at each stage.

There are clear recommendations across the Pinterest business in terms of what content to serve our users, how to support our Creators, the compelling messages we can share with  brands and advertisers and the functionality of our platform and its capabilities.  We’ve also explored possibilities for taking the scaled prediction of inspiration further to deliver an even more personalised and memorable product experience.

Researcher, Pinterest


The ‘Owning Inspiration’ research was a linchpin for our company’s five-year vision and strategy. By articulating an easily-understood framework, and bringing along dozens of cross-functional stakeholders, the project has transformed parts of our product, marketing, and metrics. It’s also led to follow-up research that’s just as crucial to our industry thought leadership.

Head of Product Research, Pinterest


 You’re delivering an enormous amount of value…in the space of one hour, I’ve learnt so much more about our company than in years of brand tracking

Head of Brand Insights, Pinterest


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