It is an exploration in the culture that surrounds and shapes consumer lifestyles and their relationships with brands. It is also, in my definition, an exercise in defining the context and culture of the client organization for which a consumer study is being conducted in order to most efficiently develop approaches and deliver results so that they are socialized and activated efficiently. The objective in mind is l speed to and sustainability of innovation.
What jumps out at me is the focus on brands. Last week I had the chance to talk to some really amazing thought leaders in the global MR industry while attending the CASRO Tech Conference. Many of those conversations have focused on the future of MR and our relationship to the marketing function in client organizations. It struck me that the ultimate goal of MR is to give marketing organizations the key insights needed to help brands engage with their customers in order to sell more products. All of the various techniques and tools that we as researchers are so proud of are just tools to help us meet that goal.
Jamie sums it up better than I can:
My point is that I believe consumer anthropology to be the merging of science (anthropology, sociology, semiotics) and art (storytelling) toward helping those who create products and culture understand and connect with those who consume it. Story is what communicates culture. It is the delivery of those universal truths that have stood the test of time by way of repetitive patterns of action, reaction and belief.
As we look at the future of MR, the impact of incorporating anthropology techniques into more traditional qual and quant methods in order to truly understand consumer thoughts and behaviors will be significant.