Our Process

PortiCo’s 5 stages to realizing profound answers.

1. Question the question.

2. Prepare for the unknown.

3. Seeking the Heat.

4. Connecting the sparks.

5. Design the story that challenges and inspires.

You wonder…and we get to work.

We know you have complex questions.
And we know that uncovering profound answers is a big deal – they expand your perspective and change your course.

We pair our deep curiosity with proven social science frameworks to uncover game-changing insights. To help you understand how we get to juicy answers, we have broken our process down into the 5 stages of our journey…how we find powerful ideas through our pathway to discovery.

1. Question the question.

How It Works

When a food manufacturer wanted to understand the magic of “family taco night,” we recommended additional mealtime observations of basic “meatloaf night” and “chicken night” as points of comparison – the differences were striking.

An automaker contracted us to detail the stages of the standard “purchase funnel”. Instead, we ended up rethinking the entire purchase model – reflecting the non-linear, iterative web of decision-making and research for typical shoppers.

A pharma company asked us to profile types of doctors treating diabetes, but we suggested we also analyze the different patient types. The power proved to be in explaining how the different types of doctors and types of patients aligned and/or clashed – with direct impacts on patient well-being….and steering our client’s marketing strategy.

The right question tingles with possibility.

Powerful questions break patterns and move you forward.

Intimate questions help you get to know people.

“Genuine curiosity is a driving force, and so important to creative outcomes!”
– Caroline Gibbons

2. Prepare for the unknown.

How It Works

For a media study we designed a “spy kit” so family members could document hidden media behaviors – the everyday, the unconscious, the typically unreported…the details that can get overlooked when relying on self-reporting.

We explored the SoCal “tuner” culture for an auto design project – we were with these tuners as they drank beer in the garage, primped at the car show, and competed at midnight drag races.

Our media client wanted to understand Millennials’ “peak shopping”, assuming a highly digital/tech experience. Instead, they took us to farmers markets, junk shops and wine bars – where they were finding the authenticity, the surprises, and the human touch they desire.

Projects are designed as a living process, using social sciences, real life and intuition as our guides.

Real Life.
We delve into people’s “micro-worlds”, joining them on Dr.’s visits, social media, BBQs, etc.

We design a multi-faceted investigation with room to wander and explore.

“Real life delivers. What you need to understand will appear if you look closely.”
– Caroline Gibbons

3. Seeking the Heat.

How It Works

International research on hand sanitizers initially focused on the rational (germs, hygiene, etc.), but ended up leading us into the mythic (magic potions, transformation, etc.).

For a contraception project we delved into necessary challenging topics – such as bad sex, coercion, and the cultural pressures to be a mom.

Interviews with entrepreneurs (for a financial client) revealed that underneath their energized, positive, can-do persona were deep fears, burdens, and even shame.

Where’s the passion, the buzz, the energy, the surprise?

We shine light on the frontier of cultural change.

Deep Dive.
The deeper we go the more we find unique sparks of insight.

“We dig to uncover the story that lives beneath the surface, finding the inter-influences that truly matter.”
– Scott Moshier

4. Connecting the sparks.

Our hotel client assumed their target customer simply wanted “adventure”.  But within their talk of “adventure” we found they also wanted to “belong” and craved personal connection, opening up a fresh avenue for products/services.

For an online university, we found their high dropout rate was due to lack of planning by students. To illustrate and explain this dynamic, we used the Transtheoretical Model of Change.

For an online teen suicide prevention effort, we identified the stories/music/video/etc. that engaged and motivated this tough-to-reach audience.

We look at how beliefs, values and motivations are expressed to reveal meaningful themes.

Driving Forces.
We locate the specific beliefs that motivate.

We identify organizing principles that pull the conversation together.

“During analysis, we start connecting the sparks – ideas that have momentum, heat, and power – packed with meaning and emotion.”
– Caroline Gibbons

5. Design the story that challenges and inspires.

To inspire a creative team working in a challenging category, we produced a relatable and nuanced documentary portrait of the everyday life of an obese mom.

Our client came to us with a quant segmentation for their teen targets. In order to reach each segment, we built 7 distinct media personas – embedding specific media/tech usage within each persona.

We created “shopping journey” maps for a retailer, illustrating the differences between their 2 culturally distinct customer bases.

We tell a 360° story that is lively and grounded in the real lives of real people.

The story will expand your vision and viewpoints.

Our deliverables are visual and shareable, packed with actionable insights.

“The best ideas are the ones that serve the client – sometimes inspiring a change in course, sometimes clarifying where they were headed.”
– Scott Moshier