1.Thou shalt get to know relevant information about the client. We are supposed to do prior research, i.e. a visit to the corporate website of the client can give us an idea of the nature of the product/service. It also helps to see the client's portfolio, and to be aware of its previous campaigns or product launches. Doing so could help us in contextualizing buzz about the brand.
2. Thou shalt have a good command of business English. Our clients come from various industries, and as such, they expect us to be proficient not only in standard English, but particularly in written Business English.
3. Thou shalt be patient in searching for actionable insights. We are researchers. We need to make sense out of numbers by digging in qualitative inputs that will substantiate our reports. There is no reason to simply echo what the charts, tables, and graphs show. Our clients need actionable insights. These justify our jobs as research analysts. Numbers cannot speak for themselves. Machines cannot do the interpretation. The netizens' insights are already there, "swimming" in the world of social media; we just have to find them. Let us be patient; the "Eureka" moment will come as we dig in for more data.
4. Thou shalt read between and beyond netizens' posts. As researchers, we are not supposed to take and accept the meaning of posts at face value. We need to evaluate whether posts are significant or not. We must make inferences and learn to "listen" to what netizens do not literally say.
5. Thou shalt know the research analysts' jargon by heart. We are not real SMRAs if we do not know buzz, sentiments, social media equity, trends, channels, Twitter, blogs, forum, etc.
6. Thou shalt be familiar with the jargon in the client's industry. If our client is from the banking industry, we must at least know the basic jargon in banking and finance, e.g. investment, stocks, trading, mobile banking, mortgage, etc. A background on this helps us easily understand the discussion that is going on in a forum, what a tweet is really saying, and what bloggers reveal. Also, knowing the industry's jargon will assist us in preparing reports for our clients. The clients could easily decipher whether we know what we are talking about in our reports, or if we are just reporting without even knowing what we are talking about.
7. Thou shalt have effective time management skills. Let's face it. Deadlines are, supposedly, our enemies; however, we can treat deadlines as our best friends by considering those as challenges that could make us more efficient. To do this, we need to set goals and devise our own techniques on how to accomplish them. We must know what technique works for us to maximize our outputs without ever sacrificing quality. We all have 24 hours. The difference lies in how we manage our time.
8. Thou shall be objective in writing the report. As impartial researchers, we don't choose information to include or to exclude in our reports based on our own built-in biases. For example, having a bad personal experience or attitude towards the brand should not have any impact on how we write and how we find key insights. We do not choose quotes to highlight based on our value judgment. Take note that our job does not include endorsing or criticizing the brand. Our business is to report objectively, not to editorialize.
9. Thou shalt aim for accuracy and professionalism. Accuracy, accuracy, accuracy! There is no substitute for accuracy. We shall check all facts and verify all information. Of course, we also need to be professional. Professionalism is expressed in many ways. The most obvious expression of professionalism is through the report's layout and "packaging". As Karl Marx once said, "work is an extension of one's self," hence our work is a reflection not only of how we value our job, but also how the company values the clients. The clients trust the company. The company trusts us. We know what to do - deliver accurate information in a professional packaging - nothing less.
10. Thou shalt embrace diversity. We are all part of the "global village," as what Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian communication guru calls it. We may be operating from different locations around the world, and speaking different languages, but as part of the global village, we must learn to work harmoniously. We need to operate with the same vision and mission despite differences in our viewpoints, in our culture, our language, and even in time zones.