Understanding consumers has become more challenging today given the amount of information they are exposed to which can impact their behavior. So how does a brand keep up? Some might think surveying their core target is the way to go – but often those surveys are not asking the right questions. Adding in-depth, observational research helps uncover the opportunity areas where your brand should focus.
Nothing compares to the insights gained from observational research. Observing consumers in their “natural habitat” as they interact with your product, service or even a new category you’re considering, uncovers motivations, behaviors, and challenges – ones that you wouldn’t know to ask about in a survey. Observational research often leads to lucrative opportunities for your brand that would have otherwise gone undiscovered.
The number of consumers and the location of the research varies depending on your brand’s objectives. The research can take place at the consumer’s home where we see first-hand how they use, store or order items, and other complementary and competing items used. It can also include an in-store component, where we can observe the shopping experience to learn how easy the item is to find, reaction to competitive items and impact of promotions, among other things. Depending on the product or service, it might call for a completely unique setting – we’ve done observational research on construction sites, sports facilities and yards, to name a few.
Throughout the observational research, we’re looking for similarities, patterns and inspiration that lead to opportunities for your brand. Those opportunities can then be validated and quantified through other research or implemented if no further research is needed. Observational research is a powerful tool to uncover insights and should be done on a frequent basis so you can respond quickly to consumers’ evolving needs.