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Facebook, Inc. Ethical Dilemma

What happens when a research study has 689,003 participants?

Recently Facebook and Cornell University partnered to study the spread of emotions in social media.  They conducted typical A/B testing with one control group and another group where the news feeds were altered and to see how positive and negative emotions were altered based on Facebook’s changes in the news feed.  They found that users who saw more positive posts tended to post more positive messages; those who saw more negative posts tended to post more negative messages. Read More…

Qualitative Facial Expression Recognition Technology: How to use it

20|20 is very proud to be selected as the preferred partner for Affectiva’s new technology for qualitative research, Affdex Discovery.  Why is this important to qualitative researchers?  Put simply, it provides the first vivid, easy to use behavioral analysis tool that can be used in qualitative research in real time.  The technology actually informs the interviewer in during an interview allowing the interviewer to probe thoughts and emotions behind the reactions. Read More…

The Qualitative Explosion

The following excerpts are from an article that appeared in RW Connect on March 12.

Welcome to the most exciting and challenging era in the history of qualitative research!

Qualitative research has experienced more change in the past 10 years than in the previous 50.  And there is no sign that the pace of change will let up any time soon.  For qualitative research professionals, the ride is exciting, but it is fraught with challenges and pitfalls.

Anecdotal evidence indicates that online qualitative research may have hit a tipping point in 2013.  The tenor and tone of our conversations with clients has changed.  At 20|20, we have passed from creating awareness of online qualitative to expanding the knowledge and applications for researchers already aware of — and interested in — the methods.  Only 2-3 years ago, much of our user training centered on the introduction of digital qualitative methods to researchers with little awareness that these methods even existed.  Today, virtually all researchers are aware of the basic digital methods and many are eager to learn how to use and apply the methods’ various strengths and weaknesses.  It appears that online qualitative research as a research category became mainstream in 2013. Read More…

“7 Deadly Sins” Key to Brand Building

I had the opportunity to go to the ESOMAR Qualitative Conference in Valencia Spain this week.  They put on a good conference.  Kudos to ESOMAR and the Conference Committee for an excellent conference.  I also discovered a wonderful city in Valencia.  If you ever get a chance to visit, do it.

One of my favorite presentations was, “The Power of the Dark Side” by Shobha Prosad.  Congratulations to Shobha as she was awarded “Best Paper” for the conference.  

Essentially her premise was that the seven deadly sins are the key to brand building.  Since branding is essentially emotional and personal, these emotional characteristics are central to the brand.  Indeed, a central theme running throughout the conference was the need to capture emotional as well as rational content when conducting qualitative research.

The seven sins can be divided into two categories:

  1. Psychological:  Pride, Greed and Envy
  2. Physical:  Lust, Gluttony, Anger and Sloth

She believes that these are the 7 “sins” that drive brand building.  However, she also stated, “For every behavior there is an equal and opposite expiratory behavior.”  Therefore, she identifies opposite motivators or needs.   She distinguishes the two types by the descriptors “Devil” and “Angel.”

Devil
Angel
Pride
Humility
Envy
Compassion
Greed
Generosity
Lust
Chastity
Gluttony
Abstinence
Anger
Peace
Sloth
Alacrity/Diligence

 

 

 

 

 

Shobha states that successful brands stand strongly in one or more spaces.  In fact, in each of her examples, brands occupied at least two spaces a “Devil” space and an “Angel” space.  This is consistent with the notion that brands often have a core driver that is most often self-serving to consumers (Devil motivator) and a secondary driver (Angel motivator) that is often used to rationalize purchase.

Though there was nothing ground-breaking in her overview of the “7 Deadly Sins” and their corresponding “Angel” motivators, the clarity of the concepts and admonition to keep these in mind during our brand research was a strong and needed reminder.

In summary, the presentation encouraged me in several ways:

  1. Remember to consider emotional and behavioral feedback at least as strongly as rational results in qualitative research.
  2. When confronted with an altruistic or “Angel” motivator behind a brand or action, look a little deeper for one of the more self-serving “Devil” motivations that might be the actual driver while the “Angel” is the outward rationalization.
  3. How are the various brands that I am responsible for represented here?  Time for a little self-analysis.

Nuggets from Best Practices, LLC’s Innovation Report

Research Business Report’s latest issue highlights a study from Best Practices, LLC titled, “Consumer Marketing Research Innovation: Assessing New Tools, Technologies and Approaches to Understand and Communicate with Consumers.” With a title that long, I was a bit scared to try to read it. So, I was glad Bob Lederer at RBR provided some summary points. A few of those stood out to me since I’m a qual guy and we do technology.

While only 8% of client companies believe a lack of innovation is a major obstacle, pharma companies reported it as an obstacle in 40% of the cases. Apparently, a lot of pharma researchers believe they are simply not getting it done with current practices and their companies are loathe to change things. If you do what you’ve always done…

“Having quantitative and qualitative researchers work as a team on select project can reduce study timelines.” Faster research is only one of the benefits of the yin and yang of quant and qual. Many times, such teamwork is simply better research. In today’s world of similar online formats for quant and qual, the benefits are easier to access than ever before. Unfortunately, most research firms built the Great Wall of China between quant and qual functions. Often, researchers in one function so not even know their counterparts in the other function. Going forward this has to change.

“Online qualitative research offers advantages over traditional qualitative studies (because) the online format removes the geographical boundaries that can make the creation of a representative sample so challenging in focus groups. Online qual (also) makes it easier to do asynchronous studies. It gives participants more of a feeling of anonymity and thus makes them more likely to talk about how they really feel.” True, yet only part of the story. The Best Practices report might add saving time and money and giving researchers additional tools to do better research through the use of longitudinal, ethnographic or diversity research methods.  Online qualitative has exploded the researcher’s toolset.  An expanded toolset challenges researchers to be smarter and more knowledgeable.  It also enables them to produce better research with more and deeper insights than ever before.

Announcing QualMeeting 2.0: Easier, Better and More Options than Ever

Sometimes innovation is a disruptive breakthrough.

Sometimes innovation simply makes existing technology easier and more practical.

Last week, 20|20 announced the release of QualMeeting 2.0.  Though not as “disruptive” as some of our other software, is is a dramatic step forward for the research industry since webcam interviewing will be easier, more reliable and have more interviewing options than ever before.  qualmeeting-2.0

Here is some info:

Overall, webcam interviewing is a fast-growing qualitative research methodology because it allows the researcher to interview people without geographic restrictions and it is very cost-effective, particularly since travel is eliminated.  It is a real-time use of technology that relies on the coordination of recruiting, project management and four technology nodes:  QualMeeting technology, participant’s webcam, moderator’s webcam and the audio conferencing system.  20|20 has developed new technology and processes to eliminate glitches and provide a stress-free user experience for researchers and clients.

Here are some of the updates that make QualMeeting 2.0 the industry’s best video interviewing platform.

Advanced Interviewing Toolset.  New interviewing tools such as drag-and-drop card sorting, polling questions and storyboarding bring added  richness to interviews.  Results can be aggregated across interviews or groups giving the researcher powerful new analytical tools.

Virtual Lobby.  20|20 developed a separate room, like the waiting room in a focus group facility, for respondents to await their interview time.  While waiting, a 20|20 technician checks their video and audio to ensure a good interviewing experience for the moderator and clients.  New transition technology ensures a smooth transition to the interviewing room.

“Behind the Glass” Client Audio.  Clients can watch and listen to interviews from multiple locations.  They can even hold discussions during the interview without worrying that respondents will hear their conversations.  This feature can also be used for real-time translations.

Real-Time Transcriptions.  Provides a simultaneous text record of the interview. Though not perfect, this feature can dramatically speed analysis by allowing the researcher to search key terms and play the video from that point.  Reporting, and even video editing, becomes much faster and easier.  Of course, post-interview full transcriptions are always available.

Video Clip Editing.  The researcher provides direction; the QualMeeting team creates the video clips for analysis or a montage you can use as a video report.

QualMeeting+Plus Service.  You take care of the Study Design, Moderating and Analysis.  20|20 QualMeeting experts take care of the rest.  Period.

For more information on the new QualMeeting 2.0 platform, click here to go to the 20|20 website page.  Or you can email [email protected] or call us at 1.615.777.2020.

Using Technology for Virtual Shop-Alongs

I am honored to have co-authored an article with Jessica Ritzo of Insights in Marketing that appears in the July issue of Quirk’s Marketing Research magazine.  I’m not sure how I was listed first as author as Jessica did most of the heavy lifting.  The article is titled, “Be There Now.  Leveraging mobile and online qualitative to get inside shopper’s heads.”

Quirks

Here is a quick abstract of the article and a link where you can read it in full.

Consumers’ use of technology and researchers’ understanding of how to use that technology have opened new frontiers for all types of research, including shopper research.  When planned and executed carefully, the technology boom can eliminate the need for a researcher to be physically present with the shopper for some shopper research while gathering rich, in-the-moment data.  The article outlined a three-phase methodology that includes a text-based online discussion platform  combined with a mobile in-store phase and ends with an online discussion follow-up.

  1. Phase 1 — Pre-Shopping Discussion.  Questions help the researcher understand pre-shopping opinions, expectations and ideas.  Respondents answer questions individually or as a group at the researcher’s discretion.  This format also gives the researcher and opportunity to set the stage and expectations for Phase 2.
  2. Phase 2 — In-Store Mobile Methodology — Researchers give shoppers a streamlined list of tasks to accomplish while shopping.  Shoppers often take pictures and add commentary related to their preferences, observations and reactions.  Data can be rich with visuals accompanied by shopper insights.
  3. Phase 3 — Post-Shopping Engagement — Using a discussion platform, the researcher has the opportunity to probe issues related to the shopping data collected during Phase 2.  As with Phase 1, these discussions can be private, one-on-one discussions, or be a discussion among groups of shoppers.  Because the respondent provides thoughtful, post-shopping feedback on actual shopping behavior, the learning from this phase can be richly insightful.

The article concluded with a case study from the beverage industry to highlight the methods and a use case.  To access the entire article click here.

This entire project can be conducted on the20|20 QualBoard(R) Discussion Platform utilizing its online discussion and mobile capabilities.

“How Brands Grow” Challenges Conventional Marketing

I just read a very thought-provoking marketing book and needed to share.  It calls into question many of the accepted notions of marketing and, therefore, marketing research.  Here are a few highlights from my notes.  If you find these interesting, I highly recommend you read the book.

Kotler is wrong!  

So says Byron Sharp and the researchers at the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute who pull no punches in taking on the established marketing thinkers of today.  In their book How Brands Grow: what marketers don’t know, they boldly call out the common method of product differentiation and target marketing.  They use market studies to support their claim that growing brands are the brands that focus on reaching all the buyers in a particular category, not just a segment as many brand managers are trained to do.

These researchers maintain that it is the light users, not the heavy users that drive most growth in a brand simply because there are so many of them.  For example, if 60% of a brand’s users are light users and each one used just one more time, total brand purchase rises dramatically.   Therefore, the authors maintain that loyalty programs are misplaced and millions, even billions, of dollars have been wasted on them because loyalty programs target those who are already buying.

Sharp and his colleagues maintain that it is a brand’s distinctives that make a brand easy to recognize and easy to buy that truly driver brand growth.  Since consumers use branding as mental shortcuts for making purchasing decisions, the brand that has the most memorable distinctives (logo, colors, etc.) that get it noticed and remembered are the brands that win.

The book is thought-provoking and insightful.  Its a good read simply because the authors are not afraid to call out Kotler and others who they believe are simply wrong (and have been wrong for decades).  Their book also provides marketers with practical “recipes” for successful marketing and advertising programs.  If you are serious about marketing and willing to have an open mind that challenges traditional thinking, this book is for you.

“April Fools” Joke Becomes Technology Breakthrough

“They said it couldn’t be done… that there was no way to get a software platform to translate from one language to many others on the fly, but the technology team at 20|20 has done it. They’ve cracked the code and have added an amazing new feature to our QualBoard platform.”

This was the opening line to a now infamous “April Fools” email sent out by 20|20 on April 1, 2010.  At that time, we thought the idea of instant translation so far-fetched that no one would really take it seriously.  That was then…this is now.

Today, 20|20 announced its newest innovation in online qual research, QualTranslate.  What does it do?  It translates QualBoard posts from one language to another “on the fly.”  Today’s announcement echoes the joke from 2010, “the technology team at 20|20 has done it.  They’ve cracked the code and have added an amazing new feature to our QualBoard platform.”  Now, its true.  For us, the irony is stunning.  This is truly a Back to the Future moment.

So, what is the breakthrough?  QualTranslate uses a sophisticated language algorithm to translate one language into another within 60 seconds of it being posted to QualBoard.  In the asynchronous QualBoard environment, this is virtually instantaneous.  This machine translation will be hugely helpful for clients or project managers interfacing with multi-national, multi-language projects.  Now, from anywhere in the world, they can keep up follow the discussion in real time waiting for the post-project translation to be completed.

The virtually instant translation was a breakthrough, but the 20|20 team did not stop there.  They realized that machine translation is great for following a discussion, but is not best for analyzing it.  So, they added an on-the-fly native-speaker translation capability as well.  When this feature is activated, each post is sent directly to a native speaker for translation.  When completed, that speaker sends the translation back to QualBoard. The system immediately inserts the translation into QualBoard for viewers.  The entire process usually happens within 3-6 hours of the original post.  On a multi-day QualBoard, a viewer is never too far behind the discussion to draw insights and make course corrections.  Also, no more waiting days or weeks for translated transcripts.  The entire transcript will be translated within a few hours of the final post.

Speed is crucial in today’s business environment.  Waiting for transcript translations often slows down multi-national projects by weeks.  No more.  Also, project directors often cannot monitor research in many countries because they cannot simply follow the discussion.  When things go wrong, no one knows often until the project is over and its too late.  That problem is now solved.

We are constantly amazed at how fast technology advances.  What seemed impossible just three years ago, is reality today.  I could not be more proud of the 20|20 Tech team.

 

Research Coming to Emerging Markets

Emerging markets are exploding with growing economies and the growth of the middle class. As consumers in these huge markets gain disposable income, CPG and other categories must be ready. Without a doubt the emerging markets are the global consumer growth engine of the future. That is why companies are racing to establish distribution channels and brand identities in these countries.

Research can help. However, the lack of easy access to consumer respondents in many markets has kept research from providing effective, efficient information. Google and others have initiatives under way that will create pathways for research to access emerging market consumers faster and more effectively.

I was asked to write a guest blog for Optimization Group.  You can find it here.

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