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Crafting a Compelling Executive Summary for Strategic Action

Joanne Suh, Radius Insights, Radius Global Market Research 2021/10/joanne-suh-bio.jpg

by Joanne Suh

Senior VP Client Services and Senior Insight Strategist

In this video, Radius Vice President Joanne Suh talks about the role the Executive Summary plays in driving action, and the three key components of a well-crafted summary.

Insights are only as good as the action they inspire, and the Executive Summary is where insights and action come together.”

The Executive Summary is the three to five pages at the start of a research report that distill a complex data study into a compelling story. Insights are only as good as the action they inspire, and the Executive Summary is where insights and action come together.

There are three key components of a well-crafted Executive Summary.

Write to the audience.

The first is writing specifically for the intended audience. It’s essential to understand who will be reading the summary and what they need to take away from it. For instance, when synthesizing research for a marketing team, the focus will be on how the research inspires future positioning or messaging. For an innovation or upstream R&D team, the focus shifts to unmet consumer needs or pain points. Often, more than one report is developed to meet different audience needs.

Inspire with insights that drive action.

Next, the Executive Summary must inspire action. A well-written summary states clearly WHAT was learned and HOW the audience should use the insights. Referring to the original business objectives helps to determine what to include in the summary and ensures insights are focused on objectives.

Include the Voice of the Customer

A third element to include in the Executive Summary is the voice of the customer. Illustrating insights through the customer’s voice — in video or through quotes — creates a lasting impact by connecting the research findings with real consumers in the marketplace.

In just a few pages, a compelling Executive Summary elevates the critical business-building insights for stakeholders to take the right strategic action.


Watch a video about the role a strategic story framework plays in developing effective Executive Summaries.

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