Archive for the ‘Insights’ Category



Mining the Depths: Unlocking System 1 Responses

Posted on: October 23rd, 2018 by doyle

When talking to clients, I continually hear concern that traditional qualitative research methods may not be helping them understand what really drives human behaviors. And it’s a legitimate concern.

Many qualitative (and for that matter, quantitative) methods involve asking questions and waiting for answers (“look at this, and tell me what you think”).  And what we get are rational, considered responses, but that is only a portion of what really drives human behavior.  It is therefore critical to use qualitative approaches that can tap into System 1 thinking in order to better understand the subconscious influencers and drivers of human behavior.

Here are three ideas to consider:

  • Utilize projective techniques. Personification exercises, brand obituaries, picture sorts, collages, word associations, deprivation exercises, and a whole host of other projective techniques are designed to get below surface responses to uncover subconscious attitudes, feelings, and behaviors. When thoughtfully incorporated into a group session or interview, they can break down barriers, foster communication, and mine emotional depths that simply wouldn’t surface with a basic Q&A approach.
  • Incorporate an observational component. This allows you to observe discrepancies in behavior between what someone says they do and what they actually do. Many behaviors, particularly those that are repeated day after day, are automatic and sometimes totally subconscious. By discussing what we have observed after the fact, more nuanced answers are elicited.
  • Capture “in-the-moment” behaviors using mobile technology. For example, we’ve used mobile intercepts with panel members whose location services are on and who enter a geo-fenced location. This allows us to capture respondents’ reactions to an experience as it takes place and before they’ve had a chance to consider their response.

It is our responsibility as qualitative researchers to continually seek ways to get below surface responses, uncover a more complete story, and gain insights that are grounded in consumers’ actual behaviors rather than their reported ones.

Decoding Disruption: A New Research Series from 20|20 Research

Posted on: October 2nd, 2018 by doyle

“A disruption isn’t an improvement or advancement, but a radically different approach to a consumer need.” – Female, 22-35

We can all think of some buzzwords we use without even thinking, whether we’re rattling them off during meetings or chatting with a colleague over lunch. Sometimes we use them and hear them so much they become almost meaningless – just filler. 

The word on the tip of everyone’s tongue these days is “disruption.” Which made my colleagues at 20|20 Research wonder – what exactly does “disruption” mean to consumers? Is it a meaningful term? Or is it just a term that we market researchers and marketers toss around among ourselves?

Being curious by nature, the 20|20 Insights team set out to do more than just define disruption – we set out to demystify it. The following is a sneak peek of the findings from our new research series Decoding Disruption, which will be released in phases over the next several months.
To kick things off, we asked 500 consumers from 20|20’s nationwide panel to weigh in on the topic of disruption. Our survey findings show that while consumers may not know the textbook definition of disruption, they know it when they see it, and it’s beginning to impact how they think about brands.

Initial findings reveal three key insights:

  1. Disruptive brands are here to stay. Nearly 7 in 10 consumers do not believe they are just fads, although they acknowledge that the majority of brands still do not rise to the level of being disruptive.
  2. The majority of consumers believe disruptive brands care more about creating products and services for “people like me.” Agreement with this statement is consistent across gender and income levels, making the case for brands to prioritize identifying and aligning with consumer needs.
  3. “Innovation” and “risk” are the key ingredients that signal to consumers that a company is disruptive. They believe that these elements, along with technology, are critical to a brand’s ability to think outside the box and build more customized solutions – particularly those products and services that meet the needs the consumer may not even know they have.

Our findings have also revealed that consumers value and have distinct expectations for both disruptive and traditional brands. Disentangling these expectations along with brand preferences will be the next focus of 20|20’s findings about disruption.

If disruption is here to stay and consumers have unique expectations for disruptive companies, what does it mean for your own brand or the brands you work with? Stayed tuned as we tackle this question and others in our research series, Decoding Disruption.

No: One Simple Word for Better Research

Posted on: September 10th, 2018 by doyle

My friend and colleague Julia Eisenberg over at 20|20 Research published an article addressing why when it comes to research, more isn’t always better.

In these days with every methodology at our finger tips, it can be harder than ever to find the right balance when designing a study.  After all, we can reach our audiences and collect insights so many ways. But when does too much of a good thing become a bad thing?

In Julia’s piece, found here, she suggests that the best way to gain the full picture and meaningful insights may mean we sometimes have to say no, keeping the scope of a project tighter or breaking it into phases.

At high level, she suggests the following:

  • Reduce. Limit the scope of the project to two or three objectives and be overly critical of everything else.
  • Identify. Proactively discuss any potential issues and clearly identify expectations before research begins.
  • Protect. Guard your work and don’t let other stakeholders add unrelated objectives that draw attention away from the main focus.
  • Verify. Value the quality control process as much as the methodology being use. Check-in early and check-in often.

Three Tips to Avoid Surprise Objectives

Posted on: August 21st, 2018 by doyle

We’ve all been there. We ask thoughtful and detailed questions upfront to understand the business needs and the research objectives.  We use this information to create a study design and craft a targeted discussion guide.   And then suddenly, brand new objectives pop up and derail the carefully conceived plan. 

Here are three tips to help minimize the unwanted appearance of surprise objectives:

  1. Define success at the beginning of the project – and write it down. The definition of success varies from person to person, leaving room for misinterpretation so make sure all key stakeholders are in alignment on their expectations of a successful outcome.  Document this in writing and be sure the definition of success is clearly stated on all collateral.  If objectives change as the project evolves, update them and be sure they’re clear and present at each stage of the project.
  2. Press for details. No question is a stupid question, especially when it comes to forming a partnership based on mutual agreement and understanding. Ask for as much detail upfront as possible—moderators of the client, and the client of their team members. When stakeholders and researchers begin to assume, we run a considerable risk of misalignment when the project ends.  As curious, inquisitive researchers, our job of collecting information begins well before the first respondent engages – we must engage our stakeholders from the start by asking smart questions, clarifying any lingering assumptions and confirming that we are meeting expectations.
  3. Check-in early and often. Throughout the project, plan check-ins at key milestones where important information is shared efficiently. This gives ample opportunity for reaction, response, and redesign if needed, or to bring attention to initiatives that aren’t aligning with expectations. When everyone participates in a well-designed, efficiently executed process, we can all share in the successful outcome and diminish the potential of surprise objectives coming to light too late.

Have any tips that have worked well for you? We’d love to talk further about how to avoid or manage surprise objectives.

 

A Look at Our Time-Tested Project Process

Posted on: July 23rd, 2018 by doyle

Clients often ask me what makes Doyle Research special, how we’re different, and how we consistently deliver impactful insights. To answer that, I always fall back on our tried and true process for projects.  Sure, we have always been innovative in the methodologies we recommend, and sure, our team is some of the best and brightest in the industry.  But it starts fundamentally with a little extra effort upfront to really drill down to the core needs and along the way to be sure we are partnering to deliver the best output.

Here are the seven key steps we divide our projects into and what’s included in each.

Step 1: Understanding objectives

Our conversations always start broad.  As in, “What are three key takeaways you’d like to get from your research?” or “What business problem are you trying to solve?”

Sometimes it’s big picture, exploratory, or diagnostic, trying to understand a decline in sales, or a recognition that a competitor is making gains. Other times it’s more tactical — we need to pick a package for this cereal or know which ad to run for our new campaign. But making sure that we start with the broadest possible understanding of the reasons behind the research makes sure we are aligned with the necessary outcomes.

Step 2: Picking the methodology

Once we understand the business question, we start to think about methodology. Audience plays a huge part in this — we always want to choose the approach that will be best aligned with the lifestyle or situation of the people we need to get information from. And the type of learnings we need are also a big driver. Are we trying to inform product development or R&D? Then seeing people use the product or perform the task can be key. Are we trying to identify key milestones in a customer journey? In that case, maybe online journaling with a video component is the right fit.

We are not beholden to or invested in a particular approach, and in fact one of our favorite things is to blend different tools and processes. Often there is no single right answer for which methodology is “best.” Instead, it’s a question of evaluating all of the different factors — timeline, cost, audience, outcomes, internal stakeholders, topic, background — and coming up with the best approach for success.

Step 3: Assigning the team and kickoff

Our goal is always to create an easy experience for our clients. We want them to feel confident that their work is going to go smoothly, accurately, and get them what they need, so we have a dedicated project team who stays with the project the entire way, making sure that information transfers and details are managed accurately and efficiently.

Step 4: Action!

To ensure that we all start on the same page, we initiate every project with a kick-off meeting that includes all internal and external stakeholders. We review previous discussions to ensure alignment on objectives, timelines, audience, and other expectations.

Once we complete that step, typical milestones during this phase include:

  • Screener development
  • Recruiting
  • Programming (if a digital method is being used)
  • Discussion guide or survey development
  • Fielding / moderation

Each of these serves as a key touchpoint with our clients, whether we are keeping them up-to-date on the pace of recruiting, getting their input into the discussion guide, or helping them schedule stakeholders to observe virtual focus groups. In the spirit of transparency and partnership, nothing happens without them having a chance to weigh in.

Step 5: Analysis

This is where we really start to see the fruits of our labor. Our research analysts are a part of the project team, which means that by the time they sit down to write a report, they are already steeped in the background of the study and understand the nuances of how the project came together.

The payoff for this is learnings that are not just accurate, well thought out and actionable, but that are also infused with the intangibles that accompany any project.

Step 6: Presentation and wrap up

Delivering a report is an exciting moment – it’s the precursor to the most important part of the work we do, which is helping our client digest, understand, and begin to apply the learnings.

Whenever possible we like to present the results of the research to our clients, whether in person or on the phone. Time and again we hear how valuable this phase is. Our team has been intimately engaged with the research questions for weeks, and we are in the best position a to explain the findings and answer questions as they occur. To our minds, without this step the project isn’t done.

Step 7: Debrief

After we send our client off with their report and are confident that they have what they need to move ahead, we’re still not done. Our final step — and again, a critical piece of our success — is to conduct an internal debrief. While it’s fresh in our minds, we make sure to circle the team and discuss what worked, what could have been better, and the things we definitely want to avoid for next time, as well as those we want to try to do again.

Whether it’s a hybrid quantitative/qualitative study, a six-month online community, or a series of in-person focus groups, all the work we do for our clients follows this same basic recipe. It’s been tested and refined over time, and while the details can vary widely, we know from experience that it’s getting these fundamental steps right that sets us up for success. Want to hear more?  Simply contact us – we’ve love to chat.