As Mad Men emerges onto our TV screens again in the UK after too long away I was reminded of a stand out moment from the entire series, something that really has stuck with me from the moment I saw it
It reminds me once again of something we always see in consumer research – talk about the end benefit, the emotional connection and the use case scenarios. The technology part of how it works really can wait until later
PS I hope this YouTube clip is ok to use on my blog, will happily take down if it infringes any copyright etc
I still believe that focus groups are one of the best ways of generating insights, testing ideas or exploring issues and, despite the fact that TV programs such as The Apprentice are doing their best to destroy the true value of ‘focus groups’ with their mind numbingly awful representation of what they are, most researchers out there still agree
But we should be going further (and on a more regular basis) now, we should really be looking to make focus groups more collaborative between client, agency and respondents wherever we can
By this I don’t mean co-creation workshops – these have a time and a place – but I do mean 3 simple steps / options that could be built into almost any project
1) Client interaction – at the end of the group instead of going in and asking the watchers ‘do you have any questions’ why not actively ask them to come into the room and let the respondents ask them questions. This often results in fantastic insight because they ask questions on subjects they don’t understand (showing communication issues), or will bring up other points that need to be addressed as part of the bigger picture
2) Watching the watchers – have part of the group, usually towards the end, where the client team comes into the group room and the respondents go behind the mirror. The watchers are suddenly watched, the points discussed in the groups with the respondents is then debated with the client team and finally everyone is brought together to come to a conclusion
3) Vox Pops – at various points in the groups have respondents leave the room and speak to one of the watchers one to one. This can be on various points of interest in the group that have emerged
Again, the innovation MR commentators out there will say there is nothing new in this post. That’s probably true but as with all research it is a call to be flexible, thoughtful and empowering (for consumers and clients alike) within the methodologies we employ
On a recent trip to New York (my first in about a year) I decided to get reacquainted with the city even though I have been there a mind boggling 56 times before (I do count). I Walked here, stopped for a coffee there and observed pretty much everywhere. It was a good couple of days.
In doing these 3 things I started to gather an important picture of how New Yorkers actually use their mobile tech devices while out and about. I could see the brands they own, what they were looking at and what they shared with others. In short I was immersing myself in their culture for a couple of days before my fieldwork started. It was 2 days very well spent.
You see what I am saying here is nothing new, revolutionary or clever but it is becoming increasingly rarely done these days – stepping back and watching the world. I’m always in such a hurry to get to the facility, do the groups and get back on the plane home (I stress this in case my wife is reading this knowing that she is looking after the baby as I ‘swan’ around New York). But you know what I shouldn’t hurry, I should take a day to be curious, I should spend a few hours outside of the facility with ‘consumers’ as it arms me with such important contextual understanding of what real consumers do in real spaces.
There is so much talk of innovation in research techniques that sometimes we forget the fundamentals; great research is about understanding how people react and behave in the real world
So I now have a renewed agenda and I pledge to do 3 things every time I have groups to do (and I did this in London this week and it works just as well in your own backyard as it does elsewhere)
Arrive early to your destination – a day if an international project, a few hours if in your home city
Visit the key places that are relevant to your group discussion – coffee shops are a must for almost any subject you can imagine but otherwise shops and specific parts of the city work well
Record notes of what you see. Even if not directly relevant to that project it may well be relevant further on down the line. With notes collect artefacts – flyers, pictures, brochures, newspapers – all will help you put together a cultural picture of the place you are in
I am an advocate of ethnography and always have been. Since 1998 I have both trained in and trained others on how to conduct anthropological methodologies. There is nothing new in what I say here. But I now have a renewed vigour and sense of ethnographic worth. And you know what, (re) discovering something makes you feel great!
Over the last 12 months here at Stream Research we have been working with Philips to create the CitiScape range of headphones
Part of the brief was to co-create the headphones for our urban target consumer. What has emerged at the end of this process are CitiScape stories that are front and centre of the go to market strategy
We think Philips have done a wonderful job taking the insights from the co-creation sessions and translating them into the following videos – this is a genuine example of what great co-creation methodology can result in
See what you think (genuine respondents telling their stories)
Ever wanted one resource that provides succinct and easy to remember definitions of terms, ideas and concepts? Mat Shore at OutsideIn has written a great innovation dictionary and asked me to contribute some definitions to the Market Research page.
My contribution is below. If you would like a full copy of the dictionary (or even debate some of the definitions I have given below) then please get in touch on Twitter @streamresearch or email email@example.com
The key learning: simplicity rules and tools that are built around end-user needs truly empowers creativity
2 Inspired ways of creating stories
I blogged about this already but I am excited by storify, such a great way of collating, collecting or crafting a story for yourself or for others to follow…researchers download now or visit the website for more, if nothing else the stories created already are an invaluable tool
Why? I’m not totally sure but it shared a personal approach with people rather than simply tweeting or rehashing an existing story or POV. So the learning, if you have something to say that is personal, driven from your own philosophies and beliefs more people will probably take note of that (whether they agree or not)