Written by: Jennifer Hinton, Research Strategist, SIVO Insights
“Curiosity is the attribute that unites qualitative researchers the world over. Curiosity is what gets us out of bed in the morning and carries us through those long working hours. But we need to invest in it, to continually fuel it, in order to keep our edge.”- QRCA Conference Program
“Mantente curioso:” What are qualitative researchers most curious about?
It’s spring in Valencia, Spain, at the 2018 Worldwide Conference on Qualitative Research. With a little help from my Google Translate app, I learn what “Stay Curious” sounds like in Spanish, before the keynote begins. Café con leche in hand, surrounded by my fellow researchers from around the world, I’m ready to get serious about being curious.
I arrived in Valencia several days before the conference to explore the city, and my inner curiosity meter was already on high. With the insights from guidebooks, I was ready to experience all the things the locals love, and learn for myself what made them so special, even if they scared me a little bit. Starting dinner at 9 p.m.? Anchovies in orange vermouth? O.K., I’m intrigued. Which leads me to the first of three “big questions” from the conference…
Big Question #1: How Do We Deliver More “Experience” To Our Clients?
One pervasive theme in the presentations: Although insights are important, helping clients emotionally connect to these insights is critical.
“Insights are Dead: Long Live Insights!” shouted one presentation title and noted that while most insights are clearly articulated in deliverables, only 50% are implemented, in part due to this lack of emotional connection to the consumer experience. * One presenter referenced Pine and Gilmore’s The Experience Economy as a way to drive home the point that we need to help insights come alive by helping clients “feel them.” Some ideas discussed on how to do this:
— Allotting 10% of budget for experience-related activities.
— Virtual reality as the next iteration of video highlights for consumer immersion experiences.
— Creative events and activities targeting spaces where products are used (Ex: A Heineken case study showed clients went clubbing with millennials to experience their beverage choices).
SIVO does this in a few ways: Our video storytelling highlights consumers’ voices to keep insights alive in a dynamic way. And ‘be the consumer’ and client immersion exercises get clients away from their desks and into the shoes of their consumers for an exercise in true empathy.
Big Question #2: How Can Other Professions Inform Insight Gathering Best Practices and Methodologies?
Whether it was method acting, storytelling, or even uni-cycling, researchers explored what can be learned from professionals in other fields to elevate our qualitative game.
One presenter interviewed six individuals who practice “the art of interlocution” including an NPR journalist, newspaper reporter, philosopher, anthropologist, litigator, and psychotherapist. She found good qualitative work involves three key roles: observer, storyteller and advocate, and suggested that we be mindful to give attention to each role in our methodology and deliverables.
At SIVO, we:
— Utilize System 1 thinking to hone our observation of consumer behavior at the First Moment of Truth.
— Draw out the inner storyteller in our respondents with customized pre-work activities.
— Create reports that champion the consumer’s experience by elevating insights with first person personas told in THEIR language.
Big Question #3: When and Where Do We Need (More) Technology?
“How the Future of A.I. Makes Moderators More Important” was well-received, earning a best presentation award for its complexity and message. Artificial Intelligence is surely changing the value of different types of work associated with our research.
I won’t attempt to summarize it here, but spoiler alert, in the future, moderators will still be analyzing data and reporting it, while artificial intelligence will be another tool in our tech tool box.
Visit SIVO Village, In the Country of Curiosity
We often refer to ourselves as the “SIVO Village,” a term I loved the first time I heard it. After attending the conference, I realized our Village is based in the “country” of curiosity – we all eat, sleep, love, and breathe it! I came away from the conference inspired both by the ideas shared, and by the knowledge that I work with colleagues who ask big questions of ourselves for our clients. Just like that guidebook that came alive for me in Spain, I plan to bring consumer insights alive in the most compelling ways I can, and help our clients stay curious.
* Schillewaert & Pallini, “What Do Clients Think About MR Impact?”, Greenbook, 2014
Ruthie brings over 20 years of senior leadership experience in consumer insights, brand strategy and marketing communications to her work at SIVO Insights. She has deep empathy for client needs, high partnership standards, and an eye toward meeting business objectives. Ruthie is a seasoned moderator and strategist whose warm, approachable style makes consumers feel they are talking to a friend and results in deeper insights. Her strong relationships and strategic influence have shaped positioning, innovation, and growth strategies for blue-chip brands across food, technology, entertainment and retail.