The Office Research Edition | Episode 1: The Cost of Bad Data

September 6, 2023

The VibeByte research team sources marketing and product insights for a company rebrand. Things go awry.

Customer obsession, creative thinking, and stakeholder wars…sounds like another day as a researcher. Introducing The Office: Research Edition. This one’s for all the insights leaders in the room. We’ve worked with 400 teams and we’ve seen our fair share of dirty data—as well as the ingenuity it takes to deliver value through it all. Sign up here to receive the 3-episode limited run series in your inbox. 




WE OPEN to a bustling open office filled with research team employees of tech company VibeByte. They’re bantering over the morning’s Wordle, analyzing regression models, and drinking copious amounts of cold brew on tap. 

Head of Research MICHAEL walks out of his office. 

The Office Episode 1 research team



Team! I just got off a call with Jan from corporate about an exciting new strategic research project. We’re rebranding! Product and Marketing need insights on how to redesign the product and rename the company. We’re going to be heroes! They will paint our names in the sky!

(Product Lead RYAN walks past with his fist in the air.)



Z is the future, baby!



Isn’t that the new product guy? What’s he doing here? 



Ryan, our job is not to validate renaming the company from VibeByte to Z just because the CEO wants to. 

Michael, I’ll work with our panel providers to survey 1,000 professionals. Senior agriculture tech decision makers for family farms can’t be that hard to find at scale.

The Office Episode 1 customer obession



A little birdie told me about this initiative three weeks ago. Every night since, I’ve been gathering intel by conducting rigorous observational research. My family has a network to the top 20 family farms in the country, so I’ve infiltrated our customers’ homes, hummed the ABC’s to them in their sleep, and noted their subtle body movements to each letter. I’m cross referencing notes with clues I find in their personal Notes apps and Slack messages. It’s the only way to truly understand what new name will make the most impact. My sample size of 20 is probably on par with what Karen’s going to end up with, AND we’re not paying a dime.



Okay, Dwight, you’re taking customer obsession to tier creepy. Also, isn’t that a privacy violation?



Karen, you’re not one to talk. You’re going to put the company’s name on the line like that?

I recently found a new vendor called NewtonY. I heard they custom recruit who we need from a pool of 1.1 billion professionals. They’re pricey, but with what Dwight’s saving from streamlining operations, I’m going to pilot a sample size of 50.



The team is huddled around a computer screen, watching the disastrous rebranding campaign unfold. 

The Office Episode 1 rebrand



How could this happen? The data was supposed to guide us to Z!



Maybe if we had focused on understanding real customer needs instead of stalking their dreams, we’d be in a better place.



Maybe if we didn’t have to throw away 70% of our data, we’d be in a better place.



I stand by our team. Internet vitriol is here today, gone tomorrow.

It’s not just about looking good. It’s about making those good enough decisions that resonate with our customers.



Mike, get it right… you wanna make just good enough decisions? With just good enough data?

The Office Episode 1 B2B specialist



(calls in, to the surprise of the whole team)

Listen up everyone, I have an announcement. I know the rebrand didn’t go as we planned, but we’ve still got cash from our Series D and the public will come around. In the meantime, we’ve been doing more important work on the product in the backend. 

Six months ago, Darryl and his vendor NewtonY surfaced critical product insights that ultimately led to us rethinking our company direction. We realized we wouldn’t have time to implement by the time the rebrand went out, so we let it happen. In the meantime, we appointed an internal task force to tackle foundational product work. I’ll be back in touch about our needs for upcoming product decisions.

Ryan, you’re being transferred to the strategy team. They liked the fact that you have an MBA. Good luck.



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