Last week, W5 attended the 2nd annual The Quirk’s Event in Brooklyn. The two day conference offered inspiring sessions, fruitful networking and even a MR Jam Session. While we were unable to attend all the sessions, we wanted to share with you a few of our favorites. Here is the first highlight summary in our series.
Highlights from The Quirk’s Event 2016 (Recap 1 of 3): USE YOUR CUSTOMERS AS ETHNOGRAPHERS
Hallmark knows understanding the target consumer (moms with kids) is essential to all aspects of the business. From marketing, to product development, to campaign and advertising effectiveness. To get to know these moms as individuals, Hallmark leverages the power of ethnography in a unique way that allows the customer to be ethnographer.
The good news for the research industry is people are already doing this. It is not a new concept. Technologies such as selfie sticks, Fitbits and wearable video cameras are making people comfortable documenting their own calorie consumption, sleep patterns, heart rate and daily experiences. Now, research companies must build trust with consumers to leverage these habits to align with research objectives.
The question then becomes, how do you trigger them to become ethnographers in a way that produces insights to drive a business forward? During the Quirk’s session, Hallmark and c_space share those strategies. Here are a few best practices to keep in mind when conducting ethnographic research:
- Create an opportunity to capture rituals
Provide customers with an intrinsic reward. Allow them to feel personal satisfaction from a job well done by asking them to chronically record events or rituals – giving them the power. The goal is to be in the moment, but outside the moment (about as qualitative as it gets).
- Strive to capture sensory and emotional triggers
Ask customers to capture moments that happen in and outside of the category. For example, have a mom journal every time they come across an emotional or sensory experience, regardless of the category. This allows for unexpected reporting that may inspire insights that might otherwise be missed. Think like a customer and create triggers around something that can be easily memorable.
- Simple, structured assignments
There is much gained from simple, structured assignments. Keep things bite-sized. For example, an activity might be to go to the oral care section of the grocery store and chronicle what you see, feel, and are confused by.
- Latitude, Longitude
How do we blend active and passive data points? Look to capture both location data (passive) and the key moment (active). Location data can be actionable in the short-term. For example, a customer service or merchandising problem at a specific location can be addressed quickly.
- … and Longitudinal
When appropriate, work to capture every aspect of the journey. This will allow you to see emotional drivers and influencers over the course of time and uncover key touchpoints.
Hallmark goes on to discuss how ambient ethnography allows for openness and non-judgement as a research approach. How do they actually use the insights gleamed within the organization? Hallmark gave a case study on how this approach allowed them into Christmas morning with moms, which had previously been a huge gap in learning. (How many people want to take an online survey Christmas Eve or morning?) Moms were not only willing to participate, they were appreciative of the ask, stating they were glad to have a record of the morning for themselves. A win-win.
Takeaways from this presentation:
- Brands must go beyond evaluating business through the customer lens and partner with them in order to achieve growth.
- The outcome of consumer-conducted ethnography is not just to reveal unmet needs and innovation opportunities, but humanize customers for the brands that serve them.
- Companies have greater success when they give customers short, focused assignments, particularly those that capture moments of strong emotion.
Keep an eye out for more The Quirk’s Event highlights to follow.