What We're Thinking

Sean Connell speaks on principals he developed over the years that lead to deeper cultural understanding and cognitive empathy in the context of international market research. But these principals can be valuable for anyone who travels frequently, works on global teams, works or studies with people from other countries, and even those with an interest in international affairs. So grab cup of coffee, relax, and enjoy 17 minutes of “
Talking to people in person is dffierent than over video, with big implications for qualitative research. Our founder, Sean Connell, shares his thoughts on developing rapport, confidence, and trust with respondents using online qualitative.
We have all been inundated with information about how customer needs have changed and will continue to change for the foreseeable future. COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on so many lives. The way people now work, socialize, spend their time, and spend their money, is evolving. As a result, brand leaders are struggling to know how to adapt and connect with their customers in a meaningful way. Unfortunately, the available market research and marketing “advice” is generic and therefore not actionable.
There has been a lot of talk recently about how we are settling into a “new normal,” and figuring out what that means for us as individuals. What will matter to us? What aspects of “before COVID-19” will return and what will be forever changed? How will we re-prioritize what is important to us? As business leaders navigating these uncertain times, it is critical that you ensure that your products, services, and communications are truly useful and meaningful to your customers. But how do you do that? Is it appropriate to conduct market research right now? Will the results be meaningful? How do you keep your businesses afloat without...
Habits are powerful. In Daniel Kahneman’s book Thinking, Fast and Slow, he talks about habits as “the law of least effort,” saying “if there are several ways of achieving the same goal, people will eventually gravitate to the least demanding course of action.” It makes sense. Scientists have conducted numerous studies that have demonstrated that the human brain is constantly looking for ways to save effort. We’d all be completely overwhelmed if we fully considered every decision we made every minute of every day.
Observational research isn’t a perfect science. One of the biggest issues is reflected in the Hawthorne Effect, which states that those being observed tend to alter their behavior in a study. To balance the value of this type of research with the desire to reduce bias, we’ve developed some approaches that can enhance learning while not unduly influencing the interview. We find that the key to success in this space is to work with the environmental factors, not against them.
We were once asked to do a global branding project for an outdoor clothing retailer. Instead of going straight to a focus group setting, we really thought about the brand and what would authentically help shape its story. We asked, “How can we take local marketing research expertise and translate it into countries we’ve never been to?” and, “How do we ensure we can leverage the regional differences and still come up with a cohesive, global plan?”