Keeping It Light In Lockdown


Keeping It Light In Lockdown

Emma Clark
Emma Clark
August 17, 2023
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It’s 5pm. On a Friday. You have a 30 question study due to launch. Could it be worse? It’s on insurance. Property insurance. Google Hangouts with your friend eagerly awaits. You scramble together an invitation and hit publish. You’re ready for another weekend indoors.

Monday morning and you have 1,503 completes – great! You exceeded your target base size, but a quick scan through the verbatims paints a different picture. Your respondents are bored. And bored produces open end comments with the depth and complexity of a 4 year old. How does “hmm it’s alright” give you a deeper understanding of the credibility of your fidelity guarantee?

Amidst a lockdown, communication is vital to get right. Gamification and other engagement ideas based on thinking like a game designer can make your interactions with customers joyful and light but are easily ignored. Even basic language flow or simple etiquette can be swept under the carpet when results were needed yesterday. With an Insight Community, yes, results can be obtained quickly but by harnessing these tips, the quality of those results will be exponentially more. Here are 4 tips for keeping members engaged:

1. Make it Visual

We are biologically wired to process the world visually. Images resonate. In a recent study by Light Speed GMI it was suggested that by repositioning questions to be more visual, spontaneous recall increased:


(3 food items mentioned)


(6 food items mentioned)

Struggling to find images? Try taking some inspiration from your brand’s own Instagram page. Doing this will keep your imagery consistent. Or alternatively, try Unsplash for free to use, high-quality imagery.

2. Make it a Challenge

Questions that ignite our competitive side or make us think, unlock our memory. Even simple language changes can act as hooks for providing more in depth survey answers.

In a study by Quirks, two questions about mobile phone brands were compared. One asked participants to: “Name mobile brands you are aware of”, the other was a gamified version asking participants:

“Thinking now just about mobile phones, here is a little game. You have 60 seconds to write down all the brands of mobile phones you can think of, to a maximum of 10. Your time starts now!”

Even though the question was not timed, participants were made to feel like this was a challenge and search deeper into their memory. In the non-gamified version 3.9 mobile phone brands were named, in the gamified version this went up to 5.9.

This should not be used when you are trying to assess top-of-mind recall. If you are just looking to collect as many ideas for how your customers use your product you could use a similar format to this example:

“Emma, we know you are foodie. Thinking now about breakfast cereal, here is a little game. Write down as many uses you’ve had for cereal in recipes during lockdown. Go!”

3. Set the Scene

Story telling involves setting the scene. One way you can gamify a dull topic is by putting your members right in the setting you wish them to be in by telling them to imagine a scenario. You can make even the dullest topics light and fun! To go a step further, with systems like Sparq you can easily use what you know about your members to make it a personalised scenario. Here’s an example:

The objective: To understand how young people perceive Frank Health Insurance

For this next part, the team at XXX want you to imagine you’re no longer in lockdown. You’re in a karaoke bar on a Friday night.

Parched from singing Bohemian Rhapsody for a third time, you decide to grab another drink and slide over to the bar for a beverage. It’s here that you meet Nancy. Nancy tells you about how she just signed up to Frank Health Insurance and she feels like she’s fully adulting.

We know you’ve heard of Frank Health Insurance before, but what 3 key things about it stick in your mind the next morning?”

4. Make Time

Making time for the benefits of gamification is hard but putting that little extra in will give you a lot more back. The best time to tackle gamification is during the survey design stage. Once you’ve written down all the objectives of your research, designing the questionnaire should consider both the member experience as well as what you need to achieve. Take time to create a member experience strategy because it will save you time when you get back more in-depth feedback at a higher response rate. Here are some ideas:

Create an image or icon bank so that you can quickly and easily design your surveys with a consistent look and feel. See how food brand Carman’s do this below:


Program a stock of “engagement” questions and save them in your Template library, these can be added to the ends of studies. Be sure to hook members in by letting them know “We have an interesting question at the end of our study that we’re keen to know your thoughts on…
Examples could be:

- “We want to know about your most creative lockdown activities. What have you been up to this week?”
- “What film, music or book recommendations can you share with the rest of our community to help them get through lockdown?”
- “Would you rather… only ever drink Coca Cola for the rest of your life or never have it again?”

Shareback – Platforms like Sparq allow you to add an Instant Results page at the end of a Survey and this lets your members compare their answers to what other people on the community say. At a time where people may be craving social interaction, seeing the live results could offer connection to those struggling in isolation.

We are here to advise and support you with all your research needs – not just how to make it engaging during this time. Should you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us at

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*Please note, Platform One was formerly known as Potentiate