Posts Tagged ‘qualitative insights’

Craft Beer: Qualitative Insight into Emerging Trends

Posted on: August 16th, 2017 by doyle

From the desk of Natanya RubinBeer 2

Every year, on the second weekend in August, 6,000 beer enthusiasts gather in Madison, WI, to partake in the Great Taste of the Midwest Brewing Festival (fondly referred to as GTMW).  With close to 200 breweries represented, and over 1,200 beers available to taste, GTMW is one of the premier craft brewing festivals in the country, and for the last ten years, I’ve been lucky enough to attend.

What brings me back year after year?  It’s the opportunity to be among others who share my deep passion for this product—both creating and consuming.  And every year, I get a peek at the emerging trends in craft brewing, trends that are often mirrored in the greater marketplace.

What notable trends were on tap this year?

  • Low ABV beers make a resurgence. After years of craft breweries competing to provide the highest alcohol content per glass, this year’s fest provided a refreshing range of low-alcohol or “session” beers to a somewhat relieved audience.  Light and refreshing pilsners and pale ales harken back to the Midwestern roots of craft brewing, when breweries like Pabst and Coors, now enormous national brands, delivered easy-drinking but full flavored beers to the local populace.
  • Wild flavors tantalize and delight. With an audience increasingly open to palate-challenging flavors (witness the increasing popularity of fermented drinks like kombucha and tangy condiments like kimchi) this year’s fest was rife with wild and sour ales, whose pungent, distinctive and downright funky flavors are starting to challenge prestige favorites like IPAs and barrel-aged stouts in sheer numbers.
  • Boutique brands lend authenticity to their corporate parents. Although GTMW started as a celebration of home brewing, there were a striking number of breweries that have been purchased in recent years by multinational conglomerates.  These well-considered craft breweries have continued to turn out creative beers under the umbrella of much larger corporations.  But in an industry that values individuality, there is a perceptible tension to the question of which companies belong in the craft category.  However, the long lines at the Goose Island booth (purchased in 2011 by Anheuser-Busch InBev) seem to indicate that consumers will, in general, continue to enjoy familiar local brands even after they’ve been acquired by larger entities, echoing movement in the larger market.

The creativity, growth, and surprises to be found at GTMW every year make me confident that I can look forward to many more years of learning, exploring, and of course, tasting!  Cheers!

Craft Beer: Qualitative Insight into Emerging Trends

Posted on: August 23rd, 2016 by doyle

Craft_BeerFrom the desk of Natanya Rubin

Every year, on the second weekend in August, 6,000 beer enthusiasts gather in Madison, WI, to partake in the Great Taste of the Midwest Brewing Festival (fondly referred to as GTMW). With close to 200 breweries represented, and over 1,000 beers available to taste, GTMW is one of the premier craft brewing festivals in the country, and for the last ten years, I’ve been lucky enough to attend.

What brings me back year after year? It’s the opportunity to be among others who share my deep passion for this product—both creating and consuming. And every year, I get a peek at the emerging trends in craft brewing, trends that are often mirrored in the greater marketplace.

What notable trends were on tap this year?

  • Gluten free products have earned a place at the table. Following a major food trend, gluten free has made its way into the world of craft alcohol. It has been striking to see the explosion of cider options featured at a fest that has traditionally been strongly beer focused. This year’s fest featured not only many ciders, but also a large selection of meads, a brewery that specializes in kombucha (a lightly alcoholic fermented tea product), and even a Madison-based brewery called ALT Brew offering a selection of five entirely gluten free beers.
  • Unexpected fruit flavors surprise and delight. Might watermelon smoothies be next? This year’s oddball fruit trend was watermelon-flavored beers. It’s a flavor I’d never seen before, but that was featured in no fewer than seven different offerings at this year’s fest, from cucumber watermelon to watermelon wheat.
  • Boutique brands lend authenticity to their corporate parents. At this fest that started as a celebration of home brewing, there were a striking number of breweries that have been purchased in recent years by multinational conglomerates. These well-considered craft breweries have continued to turn out creative beers under the umbrella of much larger corporations, but in an industry that values individuality there is a perceptible tension to the question of which companies continue to belong in the craft category. However, the long lines at the Goose Island booth (purchased in 2011 by Anheuser-Busch InBev) seem to indicate that consumers will, in general, continue to enjoy familiar local brands even after they’ve been acquired by larger entities, echoing movement in the larger market.

The creativity, growth, and surprises to be found at GTMW every year make me confident that I can look forward to many more years of learning, exploring, and of course, tasting! Cheers!

The Research Debrief: Skipping it is like leaving the game at half time (Part I)

Posted on: April 11th, 2016 by doyle

Half time

From the desk of Chris Efken

The conclusion of your final group or interview is similar to half time at a sporting event.   Some fans or project-team members may have just arrived and others may have left the arena, yet there’s still plenty of action that lies ahead. The debrief is that all-important second half. This is the time when the entire team reconnects: learnings are reviewed, insights emerge, implications surface, and preliminary conclusions are drawn.

Why conduct a debrief session? Here are four key benefits:

  1. Debriefs provide a forum to confirm or refute current hypotheses and collectively review new insights. These post-research conversations help spark ideas for future opportunities, new products/services, potential solutions to current challenges and/or actions to take as immediate next steps.
  2. Learnings, insights and consumers’ stories are still fresh.   Over time, we may forget those elusive ah-ha’s that emerged from the research, or our memories may fade regarding the intensity with which consumers spoke about an unmet need, a proposed concept or a failing product. Debriefs are a great way to capture these key impressions and take-aways to ensure the insights are not lost as the team moves forward.
  3. Consensus on the learnings. Since not all team members will have attended all sessions, it’s important that the team review the learnings across all sessions to avoid costly decisions that could be made based solely on the insights from a single session or a single team member’s take away.   Though there may be differences in opinion on how to act on the learning, the debrief helps to ensure that all parties are working off the same findings and insights.
  4. Team members walk away with a plan for next steps. Rather than waiting for a moderator’s report before acting on research recommendations, a list of preliminary next steps can be generated during the debrief sessions so the team can immediately implement these business-building ideas and strategies.

Conducting a formal debrief while the team’s engagement is still robust and research findings and insights are still top-of-mind can prove to be invaluable in making faster, smarter business decisions.  One never knows how the game can dramatically change in the all-important second half.

 

ZOOM! 6 ways to cultivate attitudinal and behavioral insights faster

Posted on: March 23rd, 2016 by doyle

From the desk of Carole Schmidt

At the recent Quirk’s Event and in subsequent workshops, one recurring message for research practitioners was loud and clear—brand managers and marketing directors want SPEED SPEED SPEED! Decisions need to be made yesterday. Pressure to get to market sooner is stronger than ever. Can we really produce valuable and actionable insights, faster? And just because we can, should we?

Admittedly, the tendency among us qualitative strategist types is to balk at such a notion. Isn’t real insight–that latent gem or “aha”—discovered through distillation, incubation, reflection, analysis, and consideration?

Speed-of-LightIn truth, real behavioral or attitudinal insight can be expedited with an agile moderator and a collaborative team spirit. Here are 6 ways you can gain rich, actionable insight in a hurry:

Be laser focused: Instead of the conventional “narrowing funnel” approach to discussion, generate 3 specific hypotheses (not questions) before the research to optimize the recruit and focus the discussion on specifics first, to get to that revealing understanding sooner.

Go small: Individual interviews or mini-groups readily enable “laddering” or the use of projective techniques for higher order understanding, and reduce/eliminate respondent posturing.

Embrace the iterative approach: Question the need to mechanically repeat content from interview-to-interview in favor of debriefing after each mini-group to identify remaining gaps in learning, then, narrow the discussion scope in subsequent groups to gain clarity and richness.

Divide and conquer: Splitting your research design into two methods conducted simultaneously (e.g., an online community and a series of depth interviews) taps into different perspectives tackling the same hypotheses. Following up fieldwork with a robust, joint debrief leverages the contrasts for introspective insights.

Do your homework: Put your target respondent (and your team!) to work before you engage with them. Even the simplest exercises (an image representing everyday YOU and where-you’re-going YOU) captures emotional depth that grounds responses (and your team’s perceptions) in your target’s reality.

Look beyond the obvious: Examine social media first to observe conversations that surface language, imagery, and pertinent topics on which to probe further. Check out “dark social” too: peruse fans’ profiles and their “liked” sites/brands. Post a key question in your own social media channels and follow the positive and negative buzz to round out–or challenge–the insights gained in primary research.

There is no doubt that thoughtful design + incubation + comprehensive analysis = insights. But, to say that valued insights cannot be obtained through speedier approaches is hogwash. I’ve witnessed (and led) 4-days-to-the-finish-line projects. Admittedly, these projects take passion, energy, and rigor to focus narrowly — “go deep or go home.” Yet these sessions produce! And we all know that the cost of not doing research always exceeds the cost of doing it. So whether it’s 4 days or 4 weeks, with real insights come smarter business decisions.

Shots Fired: Market Researchers Suck at Communicating Research Results

Posted on: November 22nd, 2015 by doyle 1 Comment

From the desk of Alice Morgan

I have a challenge for you. How do you define these terms?

  • Findings
  • Insights
  • ImplicationsShots fired jpeg
  • Recommendations

At a conference I recently attended, these results-related words were used indiscriminately. Bandied about, willy-nilly. They have become “buzzwords,” so diluted and blended over time that they lost their meaning.

How “Insights” differs from “Implications” is not a small thing. How we communicate, what we communicate, and the words we use to identify and explain our research results impact the validity and integrity of the market research profession. How are Findings, Insights, Implications and Recommendations distinct from one another? Which are fact-based – and which are not? Are we all on the same page here? In my humble opinion, absolutely not.

Insights, in fact, are so important that people in the biz are now in “Consumer Insights” instead of “Market Research.” So I think it is safe to say that Insights are a pretty big deal.

Here, without further ado, is Doyle’s stake in the ground, our point of view on results communication.

Findings

Findings are derived from observation and investigation. Findings are facts.

Sample Finding: When consumers shop online for cars, they avoid dealership websites.

Insights

Insights are discoveries derived from findings. Insights explain the emotional drivers of human behavior.

Sample Insight: Consumers don’t trust dealership websites because they think they are biased and hard to navigate. Today’s consumers turn to independent sites containing user-generated content.

Implications

Implications explain why Findings and Insights are important to our clients’ businesses. They tell our clients what it all means. Implications link Insights to Recommendations.

Sample Implication: Dealerships need to create websites consumers trust. As the initial touchpoint to the path to purchase, dealerships are squandering a critical engagement opportunity.

Recommendations

Recommendations are the actions clients should take to make smarter business decisions given the prior Findings, Insights, and Implications.

Sample Recommendation: Car dealerships need to optimize their websites by offering greater usability, transparent pricing, real-time vehicle inventory information, and unfiltered user reviews.

So – back to my challenge. What do you think of these definitions? Do you have a different take? An enhancement? I’d love to hear from you. When market researchers consistently and precisely communicate research results, everybody wins. Our clients understand the big picture. They know what they need to do going forward. And after all, isn’t that why they hired us to begin with?