Danika Smit and Adam Warner

To kick off Day 2 of ESOMAR Qualitative Research 2014, Council Member Pravin Shekar took the stage to not only reminisce on the beautiful and boisterous conference dinner from the evening before, but also to celebrate the creativity, teamwork and exceptional Lego skills of all the quali delegates. (*As a little extra push to meet someone new, delegates were put into teams and motivated to build something.) Congratulations to the DIT (Do It Together) Team for their winning structure!

“There is nothing more practical than a good theory.” Quoting Social Psychologist Kurt Lewin, Session Chair Enrique Domingo welcomed delegates to Day 2 of the conference, promising fresh ideas in unique formats that would help us to act in ways that would always increase the number of our choices. And with that, he introduced the first presenters.


The Next Big Thing
New sources of methodological inspiration and influence
Andy Barker, Populus, UK
In market research we are constantly searching for new approaches and new ideas to better our outcomes. To gain new perspective, Andy Barker suggests looking beyond the usual suspects of psychology and anthropology to discover other areas of interest and inspiration. In particular, the worlds of: education, policing and the legal profession, as well as TV interviewing can all teach researchers how to better approach their methodologies.

Firstly, Barker believes we can learn a lot from teachers, especially those teaching primary school, whose tools are both inclusive and imaginative and facilitate learning through questioning and challenges. He gives name to two brothers (or techniques) used in the classroom, from whom we could learn: WILF (What I’m Looking For) and WALT (We Are Learning Today). These are clear, focused statements of expectations to motivate efficiency and better responses from students/participants.

In response to varied learning styles, teachers turn to VAKing – using visual, auditory and kinaesthetic mediums – to ensure everyone, especially those quieter or less engaged, get involved. Music for example, which many teachers employ in the classroom, not only calms people, but energises them, motivates them to be creative, can change the pace of discussion and essentially manage the flow of a session.

Then there’s what we can learn from policing. Witnesses to a crime often have to recount their memory of what happened. Though memory is an active process, the way its stored is not actually very accurate. And as a species, we’re quite bad at realising if someone’s telling the truth. During cognitive interviews, Barker suggests three things researchers could learn from police procedures:

  • Context reinstatement (inviting respondents to imagine themselves back in the situation and to mentally reinstate their thoughts, feelings and physical experiences)
  • Reporting everything (asking respondents to describe everything – no matter how trivial – they can remember from the situation)
  • Varied recall (challenging the respondent to recount the situation in varied orders – such as from end to beginning, or from another person’s perspective – to minimise the reconstruction of memory and fill gaps)

Finally, Barker also wants us to learn from how TV is made and challenge our way of asking questions. While clear and concise answers are sometimes welcomed, the longer the answers, the richer the data will often be. Barker used the example of a man’s wife dying in a tornado. He says not to ask what time the tornado hit, but how the husband’s life will change without his wife by his side. When choosing questions, think about and chase the story a respondent has to tell, know the respondent and how to best engage them, and be prepared to try different techniques, like asking again, open-closed question, the statement question, the nuclear question, as well as the advantage of naïve disarmament – bluffing ignorance in a subject.

The Beauty and the Beast
How can a bank communicate in times of stress
Jochum Stienstra, Director/Senior Researcher, Ferro Explore!, Netherlands
Tibor van Bekkum, Senior Brand Consultant, Valuebridge, Netherlands
As he took the stage, Jochum Stienstra presented the problem: a bank needed help regaining people’s trust during a post-recession period.

This is where Senior Brand Consultant Tibor van Bekkum comes into play. For van Bekkum, it’s all about the power of identity. If an organisation can align their culture with their goals – having communicated with their target audience and been honest about their own opinions and beliefs – they can become more effective, more connected and more successful.

Van Bekkum goes on to argue that strong, durable brands are not built by brilliant campaigns, or good marketing, but by companies who build strong brands. And building brands begins with the organisations themselves. You need to ask the question: what are we as an organisation? How companies define themselves defines how they see the world, how they see their customers and consequently, how customers see them. But to gain identity insights, means looking inward as well.

Why did NOKIA lose power? Van Bekkum suggests it’s because the organisation couldn’t cognitively react to the changes happening in their market, and lacked organisational identity – our own sense making and the sense making of others. However, organisations that only look inward become narcissistic, while those that only look outside become too involved in what others want, disoriented and hyper adaptive. The best brands combine both of these insights. What we need are methodologies and processes that capture both of these cycles.

The human way to make sense of the world is to tell stories about it, says Stienstra. And these stories contain rich sources of data. Using story telling as a technique to find out more about the bank’s customers, it was soon realised that the distrust most consumers held was only further maintained through bank campaigning and perceived sales tactics. This is when replacing fear of the unknown with curiosity helped to open a dialogue between the bank and its customers.

Through this dialogue, the bank can better focus not only on its own views, but those of the customer, which results in a conversation change. Creating an identity yields perspective on action; who an organisation is and who they want to be to whom yields success.

Using the Evidence
The benefits of passive data
Fiona Naughton, VP Global Marketing, HTC, USA
Robert Cook, Innovation and Inspiration Director, Firefish, UK
The human being is an unreliable witness to his or her own behaviour. As seen time and time again, we have trouble coping.

Robert Cook supported this fact by referring to three different thinkers:

  • Richard Gregory: only about 10% of what our eyeballs see is actually transmitted to the brain
  • Endei Tuiving: we experience life like a movie and think our memory is the DVD, but we actually only remember a few snapshots and make up the rest, incorporating a lot of supposition
  • Erving Goffman: even if we are able to process and form memories, what we have at the backend of that is difficult for us to answer or report

This provides researchers with a challenge – how do you gain new insights into the current human condition when the insights are based on unmet needs that respondents are not yet consciously aware of? Cook says what researchers really want lies somewhere between the mix of Dustin Hoffman’s memory and George Washington’s honesty.

If humans aren’t able to give accurate data, then perhaps machines can do the work.

In discovering what roles smartphones play in a family, HTC and Firefish skipped some of the traditional methods and opted for a combination of video, diaries and interviewing to capture the most accurate data they could.

From infrared cameras to wearable lifelogging cameras, passive methods of capturing data avoid much of the distortions and inaccuracies provided through human mediation. Seeing and exploring life in “real time” grants new opportunities for qualitative researchers to gain insights on how life is actually lived, versus perceived and experienced. As Cook concludes, innovation based on this perspective drives development of things with resonance, relevance and purpose.


How Netnography Can Be Used to Unlock the Full Potential of Crowdsourcing Contests
The case of the chocolate lovers contest
Gregor Jawecki, Managing Director, HYVE, Germany
Johannes Gebauer, Head of Innovation Contests, HYVE, Germany
Maria Fernandez, Consumer Insight and Strategy Manager, Mondelēz International, Spain
Susanne Mathis-Alig, Global Innovation Manager, Mondelēz International, Switzerland
The goal: to generate new ideas for chocolate tablets, offering unique consumer experiences via an open-crowdsourcing platform.

Why open-crowdsourcing? Maria Fernandez explains that while individual ideas can be really good, building on them in a collaborative effort makes them really great. The provision of feedback also results in more creative responses.

Through their study, Gregor Jawecki says they accrued over 1000 participants, resulting in over 500 ideas from 70 countries. Participants spent an average of 8.5 hours imagining and building their thoughts on new ways to enjoy chocolate. Not only did they verbally describe what they dreamed up, but uploaded photos and drawings as well. From chocolate vegetables to chocolate injections and chocolate games, offering a platform for respondents to create and share and build on each other’s ideas created excitement and rich insights. The user-generated content, with over 10, 000 messages, was far more significant than the original 500 submissions. So how can this be used efficiently? Which ideas are relevant for the overall market (non-contest consumers)?

Sorting the vast array of ideas into 6 main clusters and 33 sub-clusters provided a coding for the ideas which gave attention to the most favoured topic, “relationship.” Netnography (the online version of “listening in” – to blogs, recipe websites, online forums) then further validated and enriched the data by confirming the chocolate needs and preferences of non-contest consumers. The combination of these two techniques allowed greater depth, non- participative and unbiased, continuous alignment.

Crowdsourcing is mostly evaluated under quantitative considerations, however this study was done with a qualitative mindset. This approach provided innovative ideas and insights into consumer needs. To which the question was posed: maybe crowdsourcing can be more than an idea-generating tool?

Traditional research approaches like focus groups will evolve as technology continues to take over our daily lives. While quality recruitment becomes more difficult, Fernandez believes it can never replace human contact and that finding the right balance is essential.

Creating a Sustainable Future for MROCs
Preventing the exhaustion of the most promising development of our industry
Anke Bergmans, Senior Project Leader, Blauw Research, Netherlands
Jos Vink, Managing partner, Blauw Research, Netherlands
Michelle de Laat, Marketing Intelligence Advisor, ANWB, Netherlands
For large organisations like the Dutch ANWB, creating value can be a challenging task. With 4 million members to please, the importance of profitability to shareholders high and the corporate responsibility to society easily felt, ANWB needed a way to connect with its consumers to gain answers.

So how do you build a successful research community? Firstly, a platform is needed. Secondly, engaged and brand-committed members who are able to express themselves freely online are also needed. Lastly, moderation is essential to keep participants engaged over a longer period of time.

To inspire, motivate and garner insightful data, Blauw then came up with three Fs: Feedback, Finance and First.

  • Feedback: fundamental to hearing what your consumers want; it is also twofold because it can motivate them, knowing they’re being heard
  • Finance: offering rewards to the community members incentivises them to continue sharing
  • First: give members a feeling of exclusivity; ANWB shared company information that was not yet known to the rest of the market

Within one year, this online community discussed over 40 research projects, with 120 different topics and shared 4000 messages.

But is this sustainable? Blauw says yes and offers another three Fs as tips: Fit, Friendship and Fun.

  • Fit: setting a goal and sticking to it is necessary, as is having clear expectations
  • Friendship: community members stay involved because they are friends with each other and because they can discuss whatever they like aside from what is asked by the consultants
  • Fun: including elements like gamification helps keep participants engaged and inspired and rewards them with fun

Combining these six Fs results in a successful, innovative and sustainable community where the members become the happy rulers, and the clients and marketers the data-rich spectators.

Qualitative Data, Integrative Frameworks, and the Prospect of Strategic Impact
Jeffrey Hunter, President, Market Framework, USA
Apologising for not being a ‘real’ qualitative researcher, Jeffrey Hunter instead named client-side research with advance analytics experience as his credentials to sharing with us the importance of frameworks and exploratory modeling.

His business challenge: Can we play? Where to play? How to win?

The traditional approach, opportunity modelling, is a synthesis of mashed-together data and seeks to predict and explain. Behavioural data, attitudinal data, a formal framework with multiple algorithms. But why create a model? Because it will answer if you have a moderately acceptable view of the market and a fundamental understanding in the market place. With new sources of marketing – qualitative and quantitative – mixed with the growing need for researchers to present information not only in social science terms, but with empirical principles, and synthesise this information from multiple sources, modelling can help both researchers and clients alike.

Good models are those where prediction and actual numbers are close, the MAPE (mean absolute percentage error) is small and R-squared is close to 1.0. This would reflect understanding of market place, and if good, then better recommendations will be made. Likewise, graphing a model can also let you know where the problems lie and what can be done to better the grasp and understanding of the market place.

Visiting brand websites gives excellent qualitative insight. While some brands have emotion, some don’t. Some have specific lifestyle messaging, and some just a list of ingredients. And it was discovered that the former really resonates with consumers, fostering relationships and driving success. Because of this, it is important to recognise the value of emotional equity. When creating brand profiles, traditional data input might include a brand equity score, however this does not reflect the market place. Brand equity should be replaced with emotional equity. And either a brand has it, or they don’t.

Creating variable codes from qualitative data to use in the modelling is also possible.  By selecting two products/brands, finding ways in which they are the same and different (through brand, target, need state, functional and emotional benefits…etc) and capturing these findings in a template. Unfortunately this will not provide the cleanest data, but fit into the quantitative modelling and give more insightful conclusions.

This is all relevant to Qualis because incorporating qualitative data to formal modelling is possible, often from big data, and gives insight to whether a project will be successful or not. Mash the quantitative with the qualitative, along with other techniques of research, to yield better insights and outcomes, motivating senior business managers to think differently about their business, and delivering positive business value.

At the end of the day, Hunter argues, people don’t look at what the methodologies are; they look at the bottom line.

Humanising Big Data
Applying a qualitative analysis lens to big data
Anupama Wagh Koppar, Head, Consumer and Insights, L’Oreal, India
Sandeep Arora, Senior Vice President & Global Head (Research & Analytics Solutions), Datamatics Global Services, India
Vartika Malviya Hali, Head, FireFly Millward Brown, India
“What exactly in big data can qualitative work with and how?” Well according to Vartika Hali, social media is one big, online conversation opportunity waiting to be tapped. Not to mention an opportunity that grows at an estimated 45% annually, with the potential to hit US$45 billion by 2015.

While the regular model of big data analysis may follow the flow of extraction to analysis to visualisation, quali researchers expressed both awe and doubt at this formula. Through a platform like social media, 5000 x real time structured data could be gained, but with limited richness. Consequently, Hali introduced two new steps to the model: firstly, human intervention, or slice data analysis for after the extraction, to find meanings and patterns and come up with classical content analysis output; secondly, ‘bring it to life’, run frameworks on the output data before visualisation, connecting with some of the individuals (basis QT o/p) and create hypotheses. Overall idea: let the machines do their work, then sprinkle in some qualitative love, bringing it to life.

Arriving at innovation, says Anumapa Koppar is about unlocking the combinations of interrelationships of your variables, including causes, solutions, segments and processes. This can become even more specific and in-depth when dissecting the variables into smaller sub-interrelationships. This granulated way of connecting the dots helps form one view of how patterns develop and how the consumers are behaving.

Big data, purely from an innovation perspective, is unsolicited, diverse and dynamic. Data points can be collected from everyone and not just a targeted audience. Koppar therefore calls upon all researchers to reinvent themselves in four ways: to change the approach by being informed and inspired, to observe and listen during data collection, to have less reliance on skill-sets like moderation and projection and more training on observation, and lastly, to make sure the analysis appreciates the scale and obsesses about diversity as much as depth to avoiding losing logic.

With traditional qualitative methods, the fear of judgement can affect participants’ answers. Honesty shines through something like big data and humanising it requires improvisation, and a different mindset for analysis. However, it can then deliver rich and informative data.


What Do You Do When Your World is Turned Upside-Down?
Case of applied cultural anthropology to a business problem
Catharine Bauer, Leo Pharma, Canada
Johanna Faigelman, Human Branding Inc., Canada
Catherine Bauer started by talking about the menopause. It’s something that every women will reach in time and before 2002 doctors believed that hormone therapy was the way to treat it. Every year in Canada 9 million prescriptions of hormone therapy were given out and GPs expected every women to use it at some point. Then in July 2002 the Women’s Health Initiative published a paper that claimed HRT was linked with breast cancer. This destroyed the category over night doctors and patients, who had no alternative solution, felt betrayed by the pharma industry. So even when new evidence was published that contradicted the original report the damage had been done, women and GPs no longer trusted the category.

Leo Pharma’s world had been turned upside down and they needed a new strategy to understand what women felt about the category and the conversations that were happening. Their agency, McKinsey, suggested the use of applied cultural anthropology and referred them to Human Branding.

Johanna explained why applied cultural anthropology is the perfect solution for Leo Pharma’s issue. Applied cultural anthropology applies the rigour of academical anthropology to real life scenarios and marketing problems and allows the researcher to see the world in a fully immersive context. They look at what is hidden in-between consumers interactions,  language and behaviour, and what is hidden in the larger societal context.

The 3 tools they wanted to focus on today where:

Discourse analysis – The rigorous study of language. What people say, the language they use and the meaning of the choice of words. Function, emotion, and the context found in linguistic fingerprinting. They found that physicians used less medical language in their interactions with patients which revealed an equalising in the power dynamic between physician and consumer.

Ethnography – An approach that allowed for intimacy with the consumer where their world is the focus of the investigation. In-home in-depth ethnographic studies.

Societal Trend Mapping – Robust culturally focused academic investigation on what menopause meant in society – The changing definition of femininity, the impact of the boomer psyche, the impact of medical advances.

The research found a fundamental tension in the historical notions of the menopause seen a loss in something and the growing thought that it can be seen as a gain in a women’s femininity. This was fundamental in Leo Pharma’s new understanding of menopause and enabled them to re-enter and recapture the market with new ways of strategically speaking to women about this being developed.

The research transformed the company. A new way of thinking that was totally adopted and it covered every brand in development. Influential, enduring and predictive and a strategy that is still being used today.

Uncompromising Intimacy: The Route to Transformational Ideas
Getting up close and personal to unlock a company’s potential for transforming healthcare
Anita Black, The Magnetic Collective, USA
Neil Rothstein, 23andMe, USA
Up next were 23andMe, a personal DNA testing organisation presenting the work they had undertaken with The Magnetic Collective in the USA.  Neil with 23AndMe told us that the organisation is one of the leading companies in consumer genetic testing and have done a lot of work in making it an affordable process and promoting it’s benefits in the fields of tracing ancestry and highlighting health risks. As they had recently lowered their testing costs from over $1000 to $99 they wanted to target significant growth through consumer marketing.

Anita went to to say that as an online leading-edge category you might assume that an online research solution would be the way to go. But as complex and incredibly personal business they felt a more personal face-to-face research method was most useful for the job in engaging conversations.

The frame of reference for consumer DNA testing has been created by TV with many consumers using CSI, and parental DNA tests on shows such as Jerry Springer to build their assumptions about it. They also had the additional hurdle that many consumers assumed it was a very complex testing, where in fact all they need to do is spit in a test-tube. The job they needed to educate and reframe the awareness of genetic testing.

The Magnetic Collective identified a demographic of interested consumer and found the thing that tied these people together was a desire for control of their lives. They saw knowledge as a power and 23andMe as a valuable tool in controlling and understanding their own bodies. They found that within this demographic, which unusually wasn’t a particular age or class but featured people in every background, that there would be a nudging moment that peaked interest. A friend or family member with a genetic illness or a TV programme of ancestry. This nudging moment, these milestones created the perfect opportunity to map out the hottest prospects for growth.

By taking these finding and using a dynamic collaborative analysis and interpretation process with workshop sessions with the  senior stakeholders at 23andMe, they helped create insights that would lead to promising territories for the future, successfully tapping into knowledge of the client team and ensured engagement across the board.


Refreshing Marketing
Marcos de Quinto, President, Coca-Cola Iberia, Spain
Our final presentation of the day was keynote Marcos de Quinto. Marcos described himself as an economist, but his job is not to predict micro-economic trends but to surf them, because he has to deliver results what ever the economy.

Marcos told us that crisis is not opportunity, crisis is drama. People lose their homes their jobs and we don’t learn anything from crisis. We always make the same mistakes. Revolutions change the world not crises. When revolution happens the world evolves. We are the witnesses of the mother of all revolutions the digital revolution. It’s not here to make our lives easier, but to change them. It might not be for the best, but it will change our lives. We need to configure our brains in a different way. Marcos was here to share with us some trends no marketer should not ignore.

Charles Darwin said the species that survive are not the biggest or strongest but those that can adapt. But that’s obsolete in business, it’s those who goes faster that survive. That’s the name of the game for businesses in the future. He told us that the “big campaign” is a thing of the past. Marketing is now a continuous process, we work with conversations. But to converse is harder than pontificating.

In the past it was enough to have a good brand to have a healthy business. But in this new age having a good brand is not enough. You need a good brand, but now also you need a respected and ethical company behind the brands. You need Consumer, Corporate and Category Marketing.

In the past rational marketing focuses on the product but Emotions move us, whereas reasons justify us. It’s no longer good enough to say “it washes your whites whiter than any other product” because something can come a long and wash whiter whites, or wash whites just as well for less money. Rational marketing is death, the message is poison because rational marketing doesn’t create loyalty, whereas emotional marketing does. Emotional marketing focuses on the Brand it doesn’t talk about benefits but talks about values, and continues to be coherent. The aim of marketing is not to offer people what they think they want, but to make them feel the way they want to feel.

Transparency is becoming more important. For many years manufactures decided what people needed to know. If someone whats to know something about the company they need to buy shares and come to the AGM. Today nobody denies that people have the right to know how companies behave and produce their products. People want to know about the values of the company and the leaders.

This led us on to responsibility. Marco told us that that corporate social responsibility shouldn’t be done out of a misplaced duty but because we need and want. A CSR department is bullshit, because it means that it’s separate from other departments of a corporation. CSR should run through what is done by all teams and departments and all work should be done with that in mind. It should be a culture of work, not an addition to the company.