The qualitative sector is growing immensely and the agencies that are reaping the highest rewards, are those that have adapted. Agencies which adapt their portfolio to the digital pace of life, while staying true to the most structural qualitative principles – immersion, observation, exploration, and hypothesis generation. Even though some will question the value and authority of qualitative research, the future is optimistic.
3 Main Conditions
Mobile ethnography and online communities have accounted for a good part of the growth, but getting to authentic behavioral insights can also be achieved in more traditional group discussions or in-depth interviews, but on three main conditions:
- Using a real-life or realistic context
- Including several individual System 1, tasked-based questions
- Imposing a time constraint to avoid post rationalizing
3 Keys to Maximize Qualitative Techniques
In our experience, brands who are looking to maximize the use of behavioral qualitative techniques need to do three things:
- A shift from a “Learn and Test” to a “Test and Learn” approach, in which behavioral observation is the catalyst for lean research based on rapid prototyping and iterative validation.
- Weave in the most agile technology available to digitize the more time-consuming steps of the process and maximize efficiencies while managing costs.
- Follow an academically rigorous and holistic behavioral framework that combines the best of behavioral science, semiotics, ethnography, and design thinking to help clients better predict future behavioral change.
We’re proud to announce the recent launch of LAB, our consultative qualitative arm designed to help brands Leverage Authentic Behaviour – building on our expertise in behavioral principles and deep competency in qualitative research.
4 Pillars of the LAB framework
The four pillars of our LAB framework underpin a holistic journey across product lifecycles:
- Immersion & Inspiration
- Foundational exploration of consumer behavior regarding products, brands, and categories
- Building & Iterating
- Iterative development of product concepts, experiences and shopper marketing
- Guiding & Refining
- In-context validation of product and packaging concepts through behavioral Qualitative and Quantiative techniques
- Always Ahead
- Gathering the insights of category experts, creatives, and influencer consumers to stay on top of trends and disruptions
To ensure a healthy balance in eliciting both System 1 and System 2 methods of gathering non-numerical qualitative data, we tap into our proprietary suite of digital tools and techniques that combine a tried and trusted behavioral science framework with existing online behavioral practices.
The LABKit (f.k.a. BEQual Toolkit) uses a combination of tablet computing and a real-time data link to capture participants’ input in projective qualitative exercises and simultaneously transmit consolidated results to client stakeholders, whether they are in the viewing room or back in their offices.
Responses to stimuli are solicited and collected digitally, simulating the familiar behavior of posting a “like” or the creation of a hashtag on social media to describe a consumer’s reaction to a message, concept, or product.
Developed in conjunction with the PRS IN VIVO Innovation Team, this proprietary toolkit allows respondents in qualitative research settings to react to a wide range of stimulus material, interacting as they would with social media platforms. The respondents engage in a way they find fun and intuitive, often revealing insights that traditional projective techniques might miss.
In an unprecedently agile and transient world, the traditional ‘plug & play’ market research model is quickly becoming obsolete. Brands need agile, consultative partners that can leverage authentic consumer behavior holistically and at a digital pace, leading to better outcomes. This will include more inspiring creative and packaging briefs, more successful product launches, and ultimately more effective marketing.
We believe that qualitative, when applied as it was intended to be – in an exploratory, immersive and observational capacity – can truly help clients future-proof their business and increase sales growth, by Leveraging Authentic Behaviour and consumer understanding across all stages of product development and shopper journey.