Pearson Insight is now PS Research.
On the face of it, the changes are subtle: a new logo and images, tweaked copy and a new Twitter handle. But behind the scenes, they’re more significant.
PS Research stands for (Adam) Pearson & (Emma) Slater Research to reflect the fact that two freelancers have come together to create a partnership.
It’s a move that makes sense for us as individuals and we think it will make a big difference to the people we work with.
How PS Research came about
When Pearson Insight was rebranded in 2019, I wanted to position it as a freelance research agency that could bring together teams of freelance research specialists to deliver agency-scale projects.
Emma was one of my go-to specialists and we’ve always worked well together. We complement each other’s strengths.
My skills are mostly on the quantitative side, dealing with data and strategy. Emma’s skills are mostly on the qualitative side, uncovering the human stories that numbers don’t tell you.
But it was always just two freelancers working together. Away from that, we were two busy researchers trying to make freelancing work.
The idea for a partnership came about after a chance conversation, after Emma asked me for advice on going limited and finding an accountant.
I’d been getting mentorship through the Market Research Society, and a seed had been planted about partnering up with someone to make Pearson Insight a more complete research company.
I mentioned the idea to Emma. We both liked it. The more we talked about it the more it made sense, to the point where talking ourselves out of it seemed silly.
A partnership gives us:
- The chance to combine quantitative and qualitative skills
- The ability to work on bigger projects
- The ability to bounce ideas off each other, rather than me bouncing ideas off two dogs who don’t really care
- More capacity assurance (i.e. the ability to cover each other when one of us has time off so projects don't have to be paused)
- The benefits of the freelance lifestyle but with the best bits of working in a team (freelancing can be a bit lonely at times)
On the flip side, we could have both stayed as solo freelancers. That’s not a bad thing. We both enjoyed it, for the most part.
But we’d both hit a ceiling in terms of the work we could do and the kind of projects we could, and wanted, to take on.
And you know what, sometimes you’ve just got to go for it. If we didn’t, we’d never know what could have been.
So we committed, fully. We want to be sure we can do it justice.
The practical side of starting a partnership
It turns out there’s a lot of work that goes into forming a partnership and a good chunk of it is boring. But knowing what we did might be useful if you ever decide to do the same thing.
Changing the name
We decided to change the name from Pearson Insight to PS Research to freshen things up. A new start deserves a new name.
PS Research fits better with the new offer and the way we work in keeping things simple.
People come to us for research. Even if they want to uncover insights, the word ‘insights’ is rarely one they use. ‘Research’ does exactly what it says.
To save us the hassle of forming a new company from scratch, we’re keeping the same systems that were in place for Pearson Insight. But that’s as far as it goes for PI. PS Research is the new legal and trading name of the company.
Finance and legal stuff
PS Research is a genuine 50/50 partnership. We’re both at similar levels and we both charged similar fees for our freelance work. It's only right that we both get an equal say in how the company is run and pay ourselves an equal salary.
We decided, with a lot of help from my (now our) accountant, Martin from Gold Stag Accounts, to time the formation of the partnership around Pearson Insight’s year-end accounts. That way, we could get those in order and start on an even footing.
Changing the name with Companies House was a breeze. It takes two minutes and costs £8 to file online (£30 if you want a same-day service).
As far as the website was concerned it was very much a case of ‘if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’.
I'm really happy with the look and feel of the site and Emma liked the simplicity of it, so it made sense to tweak what was already in place and use it as an opportunity to update things like testimonials and client logos, rather than spend time and money building something new.
I pulled together a team of freelancers when I originally rebranded Pearson Insight and PS Research builds on their work. I know and trust them, so I had no hesitation in getting their help again.
- Dave Smyth helped to move the site over to a new domain and set up redirects. The editor he built for Pearson Insight made updating the content easy.
- Frankie Tortora took on board the brief, listened to our umming-and-ahhing over whether or not to include full stops in the logo (P.S. rather than PS) and refreshed the old design so it fits with the new brand, yet retains consistency for the website.
- Gareth Hancock helped tweak the copy to reflect our new offer and strengths as concisely as possible. ‘It all starts with good research’ gets across the importance of what we do and is a solid headline to kick off the homepage.
- My wife lent us her photography skills and did a good job of getting natural photos in the brief window we had between monsoons in the North West.
We’ll still be using social media as ourselves. We haven't changed. We have a PS Research company account on LinkedIn, but I can't promise we'll be sharing much from it. The only change is a move from @pearsoninsight to @adampsresearch on Twitter.
You don’t tend to think about the less glamorous stuff when you’re starting a new company. Why would you?
But the boring bits keep everything running smoothly, so we spent many a long and painful hour setting up a new domain, new email addresses (firstname.lastname@example.org) and a new invoicing system.
There was also the not so small task of transferring every membership, software subscription and online account over to the new company name. As time-consuming as that was, it was a good chance to review subscriptions and work out what was worth keeping.
Letting clients know
Becoming a partnership doesn’t affect what we’re both currently doing for our existing clients. If anything, it works out better for them. They’re still getting what they paid for, but with additional skills and ideas.
Still, it was important to let clients and contacts know how things are changing and what it means for them. We had slightly different messaging for this.
- For me, it was explaining that PS Research was much the same company, but with a new name and a better offer as a partnership.
- For Emma, it was letting them know about the new partnership and way of working, along with her ability to take on new project work with a focus on quantitative research as well as qualitative.
- For both of us, it was explaining why we decided to form a partnership and the benefits that we think it brings.
Thankfully, everyone we’ve contacted has been positive.
Looking to the future
PS Research is still Adam and it's still Emma. We’re still two friendly northern researchers who like to do work that makes a difference. But it’s very much a case of being stronger together.
As a partnership, we like working end-to-end directly with the organisation, rather than being a piece of a larger puzzle.
There’ll still be projects that one or the other is likely to do the majority of work on depending on whether quantitative or qualitative research is needed, but for new clients coming to us, we now have one offer that covers all bases, meaning we can support, advise and shape research from the outset.
People can come to PS Research and get data and the stories behind that data as one package.
Two skill-sets. Twice the experience. Twice the connections. What’s not to like?
We only wish we’d have done it sooner.
P.S. Being called PS gives us the chance to play on the P.S. Not sure how we'll use it yet.