Erika Harriford-McLaren and Danika Smit
Over 215 delegates from 36 countries started the day off in Valencia with a bit of Flamenco and a bit of humour from ESOMAR Council member, Pravin Shekar for the opening of ESOMAR Qualitative 2014. Running with the theme, Brilliant Transformation, this year’s event features 25 presentations from global experts and is geared up to set the agenda for the future of global qualitative research.
FUEL FOR A TRANSFORMATIONAL MIND
Myth 2 – You can be who you really are on social media. On social media the ideal self is often what the person wants to present. Social media personas are often projected as being witty, social/busy and intellectual. People tend to avoid becoming the “dreaded self”- the troll/ the over sharer (who lives life through social media) or the attention seeker who posts vague comments to get reactions.
Myth 3 – Social media is more for extraverts – This is not necessarily true. A social media persona is more of an extension of who one really is and for many it allows them to be more vocal and interactive without the anxiety of face-to-face social contact.
Let’s Go Game! Borders of advantages and gains for gamification compared to in-depth-interviews
Fernando Akira Yagi, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Brazil
Luiz Marcelo Abate de Siqueira, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Brazil
Luzia Celeste Rodrigues, Sinapses Inteligência, Brazil
With so many variables at play in any given study, figuring out which methodology or technique to use to obtain the best results can be daunting. Takeda Pharmaceuticals consequently enlisted the help of Sinapses Inteligência to do just that: determine how to best engage and connect with physicians – a breed of professionals known for their rational thinking and predictable answers. So how could their walls be broken down and insightful answers gained? For their study Luzia Rodrigues compared the use of gamification with in-depth interviews.
Why in-depth interviews instead of focus groups? Rodrigues suggested that since physicians are more sensitive to peer judgment, in-depth interviews provided a more open environment for truthfulness. Overall, respondents still answered in a clinical way, with a lack of spontaneity. In contrast, gamification, though a bit slow on the upstart, really engaged respondents to have fun and be more instinctive. Rodrigues argued that in qualitative research it is often difficult to obtain non-formal, diplomatic responses however, with the qualitative / gamification approach, they succeeded in doing just that.
Both the Rorigues and the client agreed: reliability of rich data is the biggest factor of gamification. And that perhaps gamification is something to consider as a possibility to learn more from consumers, to learn together with society and to improve the overall results.
How qualitative research is able to meet the need for efficiency paradigm
Michael Dorsch, forsa, Germany
With increasing digitalisation, our behaviours and attitudes have changed. The internet has made information both quickly and easily available, as well as conditioned us to express ourselves within 80-140 characters. In this presentation, Michael Dorsch explored the efficiency of qualitative methodology and offered an answer on what can be done to better reflect the reality of our digitalisation.
First off, Dorsch posed the question: If you had only 5 minutes with a consumer, to find out as much as you could… What would you do?
By definition, qualitative research is not quick. So in response, forsa came up with Brief Encounters: short interviews (10-15 minutes long) with clear structures, focusing on one clear issue and having a qualitative core to provide depth.
Their pilot study using this technique explored the topic of retirement provision in a low-interest period. Respondents were given quick, context introductions to the interviews. And then exposed to a wall of 100 pictures. For each question, the respondent needed to choose two pictures to reflect their current versus ideal feelings. Every interaction included the three elements mentioned above.
Dorsch thinks Brief Encounters is an open approach with open interpretation, demanding communication, reflexivity and puts the individual at the forefront. With short duration and straightforward recruitment, only 2 days of fieldwork are needed, which saves time and money. It’s also a hybrid approach, combining both qualitative and quantitative methods, pulling rich insights, and creating a detailed, colourful picture of the research topic.
In the end, it’s the marriage of methodologies that make for a better, richer conclusion. It’s a compromise and not suitable for all research, but answers the need for efficiency paradigm.
Insight Mining with Positive Psychology
Adding richness and increasing engagement for respondents and observers
Andrew Soren, BMO Financial Group, Canada
Stacy Graiko, Firefly Millward Brown, USA
Why are positive emotions so powerful? And how can they be used in research?
Andrew Soren and Stacy Graiko tackled this subject by first asking delegates to think of someone they’d met since arriving in Valencia whom they were extremely grateful for, and then to share that with another delegate. For one minute, the delegates’ engagement and excitement levels soared. As Soren noted, the room came alive and was an example of what researcher Jane Dutton calls “high quality connections” where individuals come alive through sincere and positive engagement.
Applied psychology is the study of what happens when things go right. When people are exposed to something beautiful, they get hopeful, happy, and they just feel good. These reaction, or feel good vibes stem from mammalian neurohypophysial hormone oxytocin. When we’re happy, our heart rates actually slow down. Our hearing becomes more nuanced, and our vision clearer. Barb Fredrickson calls this the glitter dust effect, when neurons are shooting faster, pushing people to be more expressive, better negotiators and more trusting. Bottom line for research: this glitter that happens when respondents are happy, makes them perform at their best and can consequently motivate them to give clearer, more innovative, and overall just better responses.
In regards to the outcomes most wanted in qualitative research, Soren and Graiko say there are 7 key positive emotions that need to come into play and they are: joy, gratitude, hope, amusement / playfulness, pride, inspiration and love. All of these lend themselves to making a person feel good and creating an atmosphere that engages and motivates them to give their best and be happy doing it.
As an example, at Firefly, if morale is dwindling, or respondents are getting tired, a plate of fresh baked cookies can quickly find its way onto a nearby table. The joy of this pleasant surprise incentivises and triggers the brain to engage. At the Bank of Montreal (BMO), when deciding which directions the bank should head they consult with clients and when doing so ask them to bring along a photo of a loved one. Setting it on the table to glance at every so often during the study creates a different atmosphere, one with positivity. Including these emotions as often as possible has proven to create more innovative results, with a stronger commitment to the brand and not to mention the happiness of the participants, who leave feeling great.
As a final point to drive home the importance and affect of positive psychology in research, Soren and Graiko shared the results of their just-completed paper clip experiment. Using delegates as guinea pigs, they had handed out paper surveys. The control group, given no micro-moments of positivity, gave short 1-2 word answers and fairly standard responses — paper clips are used for: clipping papers together, cleaning nails, opening an iPhone. The experimental group however, who were first inspired to think happy thoughts, gave lengthier and more creative answers– paper clips are used for: unclogging a soap dispenser, starting a paperclip society, and Soren’s favourite, as attachments to a Kinder Surprise toy who is missing a limb.
THE DELEGATE TALK SHOW
A deep dive into the what Qualies truly believe should be done to make sure the business we work in remains vibrant, interesting and exciting was tackled in The Delegate Talk Show. Broad initiatives and big concepts were gathered and 5 groups gave their perspectives on aspects they feel are crucial to a healthy, effective and valuable qualitative industry
The output from this session will be released by ESOMAR as a guide to how the industry should go forward. So what did they have to say? See the questions an summaries below:
How could qualitative researchers be leaders in moulding the change going on within the market research industry as a whole?
There needs to be a hybrid approach – not just qual/quant, but one that explores what other science trends/results have to offer. We need more education as a whole to improve our training skills and knowledge. This means taking in new research and quite possible instituting and Academy or University for researchers or clients. It will also require us to better educate
the client, so that he or she knows what qual is about and the benefits that can be delivered. Needs to be less DIY and more DIT ( Do it together) so we indeed become a real partner with the client.
What are the skills that the best qualitative researchers of the future are going to have to exhibit? Will they be the same as now or should we be looking to build different skill sets?
Qualies will need to be cultural consultants and business partners and this will require 3 things: language analysis (semiotics – need to understand what text really means; cultural sensitivities); resilience, because the world won’t stop changing and we will need to bounce back better and faster. Resilience also means helping clients to avoid the paradox of choice and building up our own emotional intelligence; lastly, we will need to be more assertive with our findings and become sales people as well as researchers. Ultimately, we must be able to communicate and own the successes of our of findings and show ROI and value change.
How should the qualitative industry be dealing with the cost and time constraints that are being placed upon it?
By working more in partnership with clients, meaning no pitching but a common base of knowledge, we can gain better insight and save on time and money. Also, things like developing a continuous stream of insights, maintaining panels of communities to sate the marketing teams and avoid costly recruiting will also help. We need to make it so we are not constantly losing money on reporting; we should invest time up front by using data visualisation and deliver in workshops. Finally, there needs to be a change in the business model that involves transparency on costs and provides a menu
to the client with the understanding that – quick may cost more…
How should we be ensuring that qualitative research is continuing to be used in the right way in the future?
By keeping close to the client and building the relationship and partnership as well as by getting the training and certification that allows us to speak the language that clients understand – i.e. finances, business ROI and more. Who should certify is the question and organisations like ESOMAR should explore it more. We must ensure that are techniques are innovative and continue to develop to allow us to be on top of what is happening. We must also take a stance and be more assertive; Marketing may prefer quant because they have a lot to sell, but we need to make more assertive recommendations because our work drives the bottom line. Finally, we should deliver more than expected…element of surprise helps clients to see the value.
What properties are the methods and approaches of the future going to have to encompass, in order to remain relevant and valuable to decision makers? Will they be different from today, and if so, in what way?
Going back to basics. We need to re-connect with our roots in psychology and academia to add more depth. We should also seek to get balance through cross fertilisation by mixing a bit of everything – digital but remain human; individual but with group reference; traditional but innovative. We should also focus more on creation with consumers versus evaluating; focus on future aspirations rather than past behaviours i.e feedforward versus feedback research!
A must is client inclusivity – engineer them more into the process. Purposefully bring them into the research and extract their observations and involve in implications sessions. And we need more reality-driven research – losing the artificial things (fake environments; build more authentic relationships with consumers). By using hybrid methodologies we can involve more people as co-researchers in process and through storytelling we can gain more authenticity because it is amore natural way of communicating.
The Flow of Enthusiasm in Music
How Musicians create fans and lessons for qualitative research
Jamie Whelligan, Whelligan, UK
Rijn Vogelaar, The Superpromoter Academy, Netherlands
Spoken word and music… now that is a new one for an ESOMAR Event…and Rijn Vogelaar and Jamie Whelligan rocked the start of their presentation with it. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm, noted Ralph Waldo Emerson and through musical examples, Vogelaar and Whelligan showed us that Qualies can help people to find it, build it and spread it for greater success.
Companies often suffer from enthusiasm blindness. Qual can help peel layer by layer to get to the enthusiasm of employees, consumers and customers. In current qual research the bell curve is only about the average customer – but qual, by nature can not only delve deeper, but can extract the emotions and drivers behind enthusiasm. It is by nature poised to be the part of research to take command of this area. Music is a great to way to show how this can be done. Musicians get inspired and then find others who share their enthusiasm and then the crowd takes it on. It’s about the Flame, flow, flood..
The flame is the spark – it can come from employees, or consumers or communities. It can be strong and take off immediately, or in some instances fragile and take time to find it’s spark. Think singer Nick Cave, who found more fame after he died than before. The flame may arise later and sometimes one must comb through the noise to get to the real flame of the person.
The flow is about how the spark moves past its origin. A great example is exploring why teams are working and feeling excellent versus what they do wrong or not well. Qualies often study the flow to understand the why and by aligning this with enthusiasm research can drive employee satisfaction higher.
The flood is the spread of enthusiasm and can be forecast. Be it at a concert where the crowd takes over or a viral campaign, the flow is authentic because it is spread by the people. Our respondents have the voice – so let’s grab that enthusiasm and share it in our work and for our clients and for the world.
Foundation for the Future
Finn Raben, ESOMAR Director General
Launched at the ESOMAR member Annual General Meeting in Istanbul, the ESOMAR Foundation was introduced to qualitative delegates by Director General Finn Raben.
Noting that, researchers in many countries often face troubles or difficulties such as lack of training and support, threats or even death, the foundation hopes to harnesses the power of market, social and opinion research to contribute to furthering social equality, creating sustainable global human development and helping those in need. The areas of focus include:
- Emergency Support to Researchers
- The Giving Spirit of Researchers
- Developing Aspiring Researchers
- Supporting Social Action
- Measuring CSR Initiatives