Tag Archives: Qualitative

Recession SOS

Recession, recession, recession.

You can’t escape the media’s doom and gloom. The economy’s going to pot so lets all make a rush on the bank before it’s to late etc.

I notice fuel and food’s but not much else. Work’s bringing in business and my bank account’s looking the same. It’s more of a pinch than a crunch but not yet a recession.

Doing reserach around the country, it seems other people and businesses are feeling it to varying degrees depending on where you live and what job you’re doing.

So, this is an (or a?) SOS to ask you for some of your stories.

(Say as much as little as you feel comfortable – your comments are just for this blog and it’s not a ruse for any ‘hidden research project!).

Perhaps it’s all just hype or perhaps you are being crunched and ‘recessed’ at home and at work…


Food ‘fore Thought

Future of Qualitative Recruitment


We’re a bit concerned at work. We’re worried about recruiters. You know, those amazing people who find respondents for our qualitative research groups.
I am thinking we have undervalued the importance of recruiters who will be heading the way of the Dodo.
The numbers are currently dwindling and in the not too distant future the best of recruiters will be nearing retirement with little talent to follow. 
In recruiting new talent, there currently aren’t sufficient enough training resources and recruiting bodies for them.
It seems an unattractive career too:
Limited job prospects
Job uncertainty being a freelancer
Bizarre strict samples to recruit from
All within short-recruitment time frames. 
With no face to face recruitment recruiting will done by cold calling from often unreliable lists like they do in the USA. You don’t really know if you’re interviewing the right people.
Good recruitment is vital to the future of research. Well-recruited respondents mean better insights. I am concerned a cornerstone of our research industry could be crumbling without us really noticing.


I went to the researh 2.0 conference on Tuesday and wanted to find out what online research could do better than offline.

It seems that it’s down to cost and time; however, I am still of the opinion that face-to-face methodologies (for the sake of qual research) will always provide better, sharper and more useful insights than offline.

It has an inherent than online can never have: you are talking to somebody in the flesh. You have a human dialogue, you can see who they are, assess all the non-verbal cues and draw out more of an emotional truth from what you’re being told.

I do think face-to-face has to change though to keep up with the competition. How groups are run need to be rethought because they have become stayed and done because they’ve always been done. I like the more deliberative, workshop styles and any opportunity of spending more time with a respondent even if it means a smaller sample.

Times are a changin’ but I don’t want to jump on the online bandwagon quite yet. I may have been proven wrong in a few years but it’s better to stand for something you believe in than sit on the fence, hey?!

R-Net in July

R-Net’s last meeting for young reserachers happened last night in the swanky champagne bar of The International on the corner of St. Martin’s Lane.

Good conversations were had by all (I am sure) helped by the free booze and excellent hosting by John and Chris.

I learnt a few things too:

1. What ‘long tail’ marketing/economics was about

2. There is at least one fan of  Orange’s I am everyone campaign

3. Nobody knows how to set up a blog (see next post on Monday)

4. Nantes is nowhere near Lyon.


 I am also smiling a lot today because I won this magnum of champagne which is sitting proudly (stillunopened) by my kitchen sink. No, I didn’t wake up on a park bench this morning clutching an empty champagne bottle as a few of you thought.

Feel free to leave a few comments on how it went or what you thought too or even on the quality of my photography.

Till next time and hoping there’ll still be a few more raffles.

Destination Liverpool

In my first few years at Saatchi’s I worked on ‘Destination Branding’ branding accounts. It’s a fascinating area of branding whereby environments can be branded in  exceptionally imaginative ways (rather self-explanatory title isn’t it?!).

Recently, I thought about this area whilst doing fieldwork in Liverpool, our new Capital of Culture. Arriving at Liverpool Lime Street I was hoping the station would give enough impact to match it’s new ‘Culture’ title. 

To be fair, they do a good job with a series of large banners advertising art exhbitions, super lamb bananas , bushes trimmed into golfers, glassed etched panels running as a see-through wall between platforms and a gigantic branded facades/hoardings covering buildings. And that’s just when you arrive (sadly all I have to go on is the station and and the 2 minute walk to a neighborouing hotel so was unable to see the rest of the city!)

To be honest, I don’t know how much research is done into this ‘destination branding’ area. I am aware it is an relatively untapped resource in the communication shope/branding world.

Alain de Botton’s premise in his book the ‘Architecture of Happiness’ was that our built environment influences who we are as people and our state of happiness. That is the more you care for your environment, the happier you will feel. May sounds more architural than marketing focused but that’s not the case. Take Chiswick Park as a prime example where Branding and architecture come together in the corporate world.

Amoungst high-tec building and a water features & grass landscape, Wolf & Olins delivered a branded destination through the idea of ‘enjoy work’  for the big businesses to rent office space there. Examples of how their branding works is having a playground with regular ‘sporty’ events, branded deck chairs on the grass and acoustic guitars with lots of other examples (take a look at the website). Naturally, it’s been a huge success.

This is an area that seems to have many exciting opportunities where industries of branding, marketing and strategic thinking come together with that of architheture. I would be interested to hear from anybody who’s involved in the ‘reserach’ side of things out there to tell me more what it’s all about. Personally, I see a good deal of worth in it with a healthy dashing of self-fulfillment.

How you communicate is better than what you communicate


Chris Barnham has written a new paper called Instantiation: reframing brand communication in the latest copy of the International Journal of Market Research. It’s an great, thought provoking read and has real implications in how we think about brands.


The article asks us to think of brands as ‘essences’ as “actualisations in the mind of the consumer rather than as senders of messages from outside of that mind”. Chris continues: “we need to start asking questions such as ‘How is the brand being?’ rather than ‘What is it saying?’ And we need to being thinking about the brand as a mental structure rather than as a name that simply has associations with it.”


Recently reading Heath and Feldwicks paper Fifty Years using the wrong model of advertising (thanks Will), they see advertising as processed on an emotional and low-attention, subconscious level. They say that for effective advertising, the onus should change from communicating ‘proposition’, ‘product benefits’ etc to “a holistic basis that includes implicit communication” where we “will have to accept that communication…must be planned and executed not just on the level of explicit content.”


This means how you communicate is more important than what you communicate. That is, it’s 90% of how you say it and 10% of what you say.


Perhaps clichéd; but Clients, briefs and research debriefs dwell on ‘what did the consumer understand’ or ‘what do we want them to understand’. I think we’re relying too much on the ‘rational’ creation and measure of communications because we don’t really know enough on how to convey or measure the emotions or the subconscious. Ultimately, it means taking a risk to get more effective advertising.


That said, Honda have done it well with latest ‘Jump’ ad: the how of the advert did billions more for the brand, than the what ever will do. I don’t particularly remember whether they were advertising the brand or a car, but it makes me feel loads better about the brand. Here it is:



However, for research, this proves a challenge: how do we measure ‘how the brand is being?’ Can this be measured or does it rely on the shrewd judgement of the savvy researcher?


I don’t claim to know the answer but it’s an intriguing, creative challenge to think how we can measure any new approaches into how brands reside within the complex depths and mysteries of our minds.