inspiration-maximize-impact-mobile-video-ethnography

How to Maximize the Impact of Your Mobile Video Ethnography

In this guide, gleaned from 20+ years of experience with world-class brands like Nike, Sonos and Google, Tom Bassett shares his tips for making the most of your mobile video surveys, offering best practices for pattern finding, bucketing results, identifying the overarching story, and sharing results in a captivating way.

At Fabric, we’ve often trumpeted the many applications of mobile video surveys. Whether you’re at an agency, testing creative before a pitch, or you’re on an R&D team conducting need-finding research, mobile video surveys provide you with insight you can hang your hat on. With mobile video surveys the consumer, uninhibited by the influence of contrasting opinions in a focus group or by the watchful eye of a moderator, gladly unload their honest, nuanced opinions in digestible slices of recorded video. But, how exactly do you get those golden nuggets of insight? And after you’ve collected all the responses, how do you organize and digest the data in order to inform your team to make the best possible decisions?

In this guide, we define the best practices when creating a mobile video survey; from ideal question length to how long each response should be, you’ll leave knowing the specifics of how to create a winning survey that nets you the highest quality consumer insight. Then, we highlight the best methods of how to organize all the videos and opinions, extracting the overarching story that informs the best course of action for your company.

Craft the Perfect Survey

You have your research objective, the target demographic/ geographic locations you want to research, and the methodology you’re using (mobile video surveys).

Write a Screener

Keep it simple. Especially engaging consumers over mobile device, you’ll want them to be able to complete the screener without a great deal of scrolling or you run the risk of losing them or skewing their responses. All respondents have a 1 minute profile video, so when we/you are reviewing applicants and aren’t sure which respondent to accept or reject, watching the profile video can help raise confidence levels that the applicant being accepted is the best possible choice.

How Many Questions?

Our platform allows up to 10 questions per respondent. Each answer is limited to 60 seconds. So a 15 person study would yield 150 x one minute video clips and accompanying transcripts. The logic to the one minute answer is that in our experience, if someone doesn’t answer the question in the first minute, they will likely not answer it period. Similarly, by way of comparison, in a Fabric study, each respondent provides up to 10 minutes of content; in a focus group containing 8 people for 90 minute, you will be lucky to get 10 minutes of dedicated content from each participant (based on a moderator who is militant about controlling the conversation….and those moderators are few and far between). Lastly, one minute packets of video move seamlessly across the web, and are quick/easy to review and digest.

Transcripts

Either by using a service like Fabric or going through the videos yourself and taking notes, it is important to keep a written record of what consumers are saying in all of their responses. This will be very helpful when organizing and sharing your research. Having the text opens you up to culling the data with keyword searches, word clouds, and the like.

Review Your Results

Identify the Patterns and Themes

Pinpoint what people are identifying with. What are the recurring problems, what are the issues they are having with the brand or the experience? Keep thinking about these themes in terms of how they relate to your brand. Focus in on five to ten patterns or themes; more than that can prove unwieldy when sharing your results across a company.

Recognize the Original Insights

Within every mobile video survey, there’s always an opinion or takeaway that you didn’t expect or anticipate. Maybe a consumer has outlined a novel way to use your product. Maybe they have a unique insight about a commercial you shared with them. Whatever it is, these insights are valuable and are just as capable of lending credence to your ultimate strategy.

Organize Your Results

Organizing your patterns and themes into two buckets keeps everything neat.

Problems

Presenting problems is a relevant way to share your insights back within an organization. There are occasions when the organization itself is an obstacle, especially if there’s a strong belief that the target or product is already 100% percent understood. After your mobile video survey, when you come back and say, “Here are some real issues and problems,” combining that with videos of your target consumer backing you up, organizations tend to become very engaged.

Opportunities

You’ve locked down your problem set. Now, focus on the opportunities your research yielded. Is there an opportunity for brand extension? Can you refine an existing idea? Develop a new idea? Listen carefully to your consumers. Developing an empathy for their perspective will ofen open your eyes to new avenues you may have not explored yet.

Identify the Story

The third thing you should do, and probably the most important and difficult, is to identify the overarching story of your research. Without the story, your problems and opportunities have no focal point, no frame of reference from which to engender action. Look through everything you’ve collected to this point, and articulate the story in one sentence. Once you’ve nailed down the story, figure out what the chapters are; what are the building blocks that bring that story to life? What insights – what consumer quotes – shape each chapter? Figure out how those chapters lead to the punctuation point of the entire story, and you have arrived at what you’re trying to teach people.

Write a Paper Edit

You could walk into your next meeting with all of this insight and share it verbally, but that would defeat the purpose and beauty of using mobile video surveys. Working off of the transcripts of each respondent, extract quotes and lay them out in a “paper edit.” This refers to the written outline of your story, which serves as a blueprint for creating a final curated video. Make sure the story logic flows before handing it off to your editing team. Be mindful that every quote you’re using tells your research’s story in a compelling and genuine way.

STORY: Millennial’s loyalty is fleeting and transactional; they switch from brand to brand, and they expect more incentives to maintain their loyalty.

Sharing Results

Edit a Video

A two- to three- minute video comprised of the footage of your consumers giving their unfiltered opinions will bring your story to life, and deeply support your proposed strategy. Stakeholders in an organization will relish the opportunity to see their actual consumer in her environment or out on location, explaining how she sees something, how she uses something, what the problems and issues are, what the areas for opportunity are. She might open a package, demonstrate how she uses her laptop, or show what she has in her closet. This footage makes the whole story so much more visceral and real for the people with whom you’re sharing the story. Whether or not you have a team of editors, there are some tricks to creating an engaging video. Avoid long clips within your video. Anything over ten seconds is a long time for a cut. Don’t use thirty-second clips, or you run the risk of your audience falling asleep. Adding production elements like title cards and B-roll (secondary footage that plays over a consumer quote) will only make your story more engaging.

Fabric YouTube
Looking for more videos? Check out our YouTube channel
5 Advantages of Mobile Video Over In-Person Ethnography
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inspiration-pushing-boundaries-mobile-video-surveys

Pushing Boundaries: 3 Creative Uses of Mobile Video Surveys

We often say that the limits of mobile video ethnography coincide with the limits of your imagination. At Fabric, our clients are continually discovering new options to capture customer truths. Here are three creative uses of mobile video ethnography that prove the limits are truly endless. Check out the video here.

Mobile video ethnography has redefined qualitative research, providing an effective and credible methodology for gleaning rich consumer insights and creating empathy with customers. For more than 20 years, Fabric founder Tom Bassett has worked in this field with clients across many industries, from software to tech to retail. He’s discovered creative ways that mobile video surveys can reach deeper into the minds and hearts of consumers; it’s market research that simply can’t be captured any other way. Here are 3 creative uses of mobile qual that show the limits are endless.

Need Finding

Mobile video qualitative research is enabling entirely new methodologies that were previously unavailable, pushing through previous boundaries of what research design can consider. And it’s working across many different industries. For example, when Skullcandy needed to test new packaging for their famous line of headphones, their aim was understand 1-on-1 how their target audience felt about prototype packaging, because headphones are not a group buying decision or an occasion where consumers seek sales assistance on the retail floor. By embedding photos of the proposed packaging side by side and in a retail environment, Skullcandy was able to recreate the purchasing decision in the minds of their targets, providing real, unbiased feedback on packaging design and messaging.

In addition, when DINE needed to make a snap decision on whether to introduce a B2B food service brand to consumers, they turned to mobile video surveys. The learning DINE was able to glean from the videos — from consumers’ facial expressions to their comments on the taste profile of the product — provided just what they needed to make the changes necessary to launch their new product successfully.

Package Testing

As a packaging feedback mechanism, mobile video surveys can help clients test packaging in several ways: (1) Consumers can react to PDFs of design concepts (2) They can share what works or doesn’t work about current packaging (3) Products can be shipped to consumers, who then share thoughts as they unbox the product. Not only do mobile video surveys easily allow consumers to invite us into their homes, but they also enable your team to accompany the consumer to the store on a shop-a-long, or anywhere else.

Prompting consumers to head to the store, we had them show us the dental hygiene aisle from their P.O.V. while talking us through what packaging stood out most to them, and why. It wasn’t just their words that had an impact, it was their facial expressions and other nonverbal cues. The results? Using this data, the client was able to make effective packaging changes to ensure they were effectively reaching their target audience.

Comms Testing

Mobile video surveys can enable reactions to PDFs, images, videos, and links to web sites. Consumers open file (option to password protect it), view the concepts, and provide reactions by recorded video on their mobile device. You can glean insights as to whether your key message is resonating with your target demographic, or what consumers believe is the overall brand perception. An added benefit of comms testing with mobile video surveys is that consumers are engaged in a one-on-none environment, most closely mirroring how consumers would experience marketing and advertising in actuality — alone. When outside influences are minimized, consumers tend to respond more authentically to your stimulus, and that authenticity is evidenced by their body language, facial expressions and context. Not only does this facilitate the authenticity, it also captures it.

Fabric YouTube
Looking for more videos? Check out our YouTube channel
5 Advantages of Mobile Video Over In-Person Ethnography
Learn 5 advantages of mobile video ethnography over in-person ethnography and why you should consider mobile video surveys.
From Rolex to Iphone: Millennials and the Meaning of Luxury
How do Millennials view Luxury? We wanted to know, so we launched a study on our platform, and the responses we received were illuminating.
Rent, Own or Borrow: The Sharing Economy for Millennials
Given the rise of companies like Airbnb and Zipcar, Fabric wanted to uncover Millennials’ attitudes and brand relationships within this new economy.
Us and Them: The Double Standard of Online Reputation
Consumers demand transparency from corporations. A new study conducted by Fabric uncovered a double standard when it comes to managing their reputation.
5 Ways Buying Local Matters (and Doesn’t) to Millennials
Fabric wanted to explore a new generation of grocery purchasers: Millennials. Their insights were honest, and they weren’t afraid to speak their minds.
To Embrace or Reject: The Wearable Tech Divide - Fabric
A recent Fabric study shows how consumers' opinions differ dramatically on the role fitness tracking wearables should play in their lives.
Millennial Brand Loyalty: Rewards Over Relationships - Fabric
Millennials are redefining the concept of brand loyalty; in their eyes, it has changed dramatically from their parents’ version. Whereas their parent’s loyalty is seen to be...
Why Mobile Ethnography Beats Big Data in Capturing the “Why” - Fabric
In over 20 years of working with some of the world’s most valuable companies and recognized brands, mindswarms founder Tom Bassett has learned that mobile video surveys...
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What makes a positive shopping experience for Millennials? We learned 8 ways brands can make their consumer experience resonate with Millennials.

inspiration-ethnography-redefines-qualitative-research

5 Ways Mobile Video Ethnography Redefines Qualitative Research

Qualitative research is key when it comes to understanding customer truths, and an innovative tool opens new doors into consumer minds: mobile video ethnography. mindswarms founder Tom Bassett details the ways mobile video research re-energizes traditional qual, opening up new methodologies previously unavailable to researchers.

“Basically they would think that maybe I was racist because I’m speaking out about it [police brutality]. It’s scary that there’s a lot of people out there that can’t even go to the store at night without worrying about dying, and there’s people who can get pulled over, and pull a gun out, and maybe because of their skin color or their background they won’t even die…”

Recently, mindswarms founder Tom Bassett moderated a panel of leading research professionals about the unique value of mobile video qualitative research. By the end of the discussion, everyone agreed that qualitative research is far from dead. The tech world may be enamored with big data and its focus on “what” is happening, but there’s no better tool than qualitative research for answering the question of “why.” Everyone has vast amounts of data at their fingertips, but without qual, the picture is incomplete.

TV re-positioned radio and newspaper when it was introduced. Similarly, every time a new type of research is introduced, it repositions all other existing methodologies. Big Data forced the repositioning of qualitative research.
How should it respond? Is there even a role for qualitative research in the future, and if so, how should it be defined? A lot of senior marketers and researchers feel focus groups are dead; but mobile qualitative research changes everything.

~ Tom Bassett – Founder & CEO – mindswarms

Here are 5 ways mobile video ethnography is redefining qual:

1. Pushing Creative Boundaries

Mobile video qualitative research is enabling entirely new methodologies that were previously unavailable, pushing through previous boundaries of what research design can consider. And it’s working across many different industries. For example, when Skullcandy needed to test new packaging for their famous line of headphones, their aim was understand 1-on-1 how their target audience felt about prototype packaging, because headphones are not a group buying decision or an occasion where consumers seek sales assistance on the retail floor. By embedding photos of the proposed packaging side by side and in a retail environment, Skullcandy was able to recreate the purchasing decision in the minds of their targets, providing real, unbiased feedback on packaging design and messaging.

In addition, when DINE needed to make a snap decision on whether to introduce a B2B food service brand to consumers, they turned to mobile video surveys. The learning DINE was able to glean from the videos — from consumers’ facial expressions to their comments on the taste profile of the product — provided just what they needed to make the changes necessary to launch their new product successfully.

2. “Speed” and “Quality Recruit” are no longer at odds

Technology is accelerating the already high-pressure pace qualitative market researchers work at, and great recruitment can be achieved at a faster pace now, making qualitative research more relevant with business decision makers. Focus groups can be time intensive because of recruitment time required (seems like two weeks at a minimum). Conversely, mobile video qualitative research can turn around national recruitment within days – sometimes hours – while maintaining quality recruits. You no longer have to schedule a visit to a consumer’s house; with mobile video, you are virtually in their environment, instantly.

3. Internal Teams Can Hear and See Consumers In Situ

Having to trudge from city to city with a team of people to do market research can be avoided by bringing consumer video to cross-functional teams digitally. This is invaluable, especially when a quick turnaround is necessary. For example, four days away from a pitch with a major national bank, BBDO turned to mobile video surveys to amplify their pitch . The result? They won.

4. The Feedback is Intensely Personal

The speed, quality, and visceral nature of mobile video qualitative research creates a powerful way for researchers to re-insert themselves into management’s decision-making conversations. Conducting qualitative research takes skill: Combing through the videos, extracting quotes, formulating themes, and picking out patterns. Qualitative researchers are familiar with this, and since a typical mobile video survey nets a client over 90 minutes of video to analyze for insights, the result is a compelling story; the perfect way to share a memorable story with your colleagues.

5. Researchers Can Impact Company Decisions

The speed, quality, and visceral nature of mobile video qualitative research creates a powerful way for researchers to re-insert themselves into management’s decision-making conversations. Conducting qualitative research takes skill: Combing through the videos, extracting quotes, formulating themes, and picking out patterns. Qualitative researchers are familiar with this, and since a typical mobile video survey nets a client over 90 minutes of video to analyze for insights, the result is a compelling story; the perfect way to share a memorable story with your colleagues.

Conclusion

A surge in the importance of mobile video qualitative research is occurring because it redefines the role of qualitative research in the overall research process. Faster and more affordable than traditional focus groups, mobile qual doesn’t sacrifice quality recruitment; it makes recruitment even easier, allowing researchers to use it more often. That coupled with the fact mobile qual gives clients access to the consumer at the moment of truth (in the store, at home, at work, on the go), you have a value proposition unlike anything else on the market.

Fabric YouTube
Looking for more videos? Check out our YouTube channel
5 Advantages of Mobile Video Over In-Person Ethnography
Learn 5 advantages of mobile video ethnography over in-person ethnography and why you should consider mobile video surveys.
From Rolex to Iphone: Millennials and the Meaning of Luxury
How do Millennials view Luxury? We wanted to know, so we launched a study on our platform, and the responses we received were illuminating.
Rent, Own or Borrow: The Sharing Economy for Millennials
Given the rise of companies like Airbnb and Zipcar, Fabric wanted to uncover Millennials’ attitudes and brand relationships within this new economy.
Us and Them: The Double Standard of Online Reputation
Consumers demand transparency from corporations. A new study conducted by Fabric uncovered a double standard when it comes to managing their reputation.
5 Ways Buying Local Matters (and Doesn’t) to Millennials
Fabric wanted to explore a new generation of grocery purchasers: Millennials. Their insights were honest, and they weren’t afraid to speak their minds.
To Embrace or Reject: The Wearable Tech Divide - Fabric
A recent Fabric study shows how consumers' opinions differ dramatically on the role fitness tracking wearables should play in their lives.
Millennial Brand Loyalty: Rewards Over Relationships - Fabric
Millennials are redefining the concept of brand loyalty; in their eyes, it has changed dramatically from their parents’ version. Whereas their parent’s loyalty is seen to be...
Why Mobile Ethnography Beats Big Data in Capturing the “Why” - Fabric
In over 20 years of working with some of the world’s most valuable companies and recognized brands, mindswarms founder Tom Bassett has learned that mobile video surveys...
8 Ways Brands Can Attract and Keep Millennial Customers - Fabric
What makes a positive shopping experience for Millennials? We learned 8 ways brands can make their consumer experience resonate with Millennials.

inspiration-market-research-presentation

Why You Need to Use Video in Your Market Research Presentation

We’ve been there: presenting research insights to a room of C-Level executives who are distracted by the latest crisis. Then, you start a video - phones go down, heads lift, and suddenly you’re Sinatra with a microphone. Check out the reasons you need to use video to get your audience’s attention, which can ultimately impact management decisions. You can watch the video here.

Do you want to take your market research presentation to the next level? If yes, you’re in the right place. Tom Bassett, founder of Fabric, has spent more than 20 years crafting and analyzing mobile video surveys with some of the world’s most valuable companies and brands, and he’s got the inside scoop on how to present your market research insights in the most compelling way possible.

The answer isn’t as complicated as you might think: Use video!

Mobile video studies have redefined qual because they’re an engaging and credible way to bring valuable insights back to your organization or client. They offer something agile, scalable, economical, and sticky. As in, they truly engage the end user in terms of learning. This has everything to do with the sensory experience video offers; it’s incredible what you can see visually, beyond the respondent’s’ words when you peek into their closets, pantries, dens, home offices, fridges and more. There are subtle cues in consumers’ body language, facial expressions, and physical environments that convey key information about what’s going on inside their minds. And this is what you need! It’s an authenticity you can’t get anywhere else, and it’s one of the most compelling reasons mobile video surveys have revitalized the qualitative research industry.

Mobile video studies have redefined qual because they’re an engaging and credible way to bring valuable insights back to your organization or client. They offer something agile, scalable, economical, and sticky. As in, they truly engage the end user in terms of learning. This has everything to do with the sensory experience video offers; it’s incredible what you can see visually, beyond the respondent’s’ words when you peek into their closets, pantries, dens, home offices, fridges and more. There are subtle cues in consumers’ body language, facial expressions, and physical environments that convey key information about what’s going on inside their minds. And this is what you need! It’s an authenticity you can’t get anywhere else, and it’s one of the most compelling reasons mobile video surveys have revitalized the qualitative research industry.

Fabric YouTube
Looking for more videos? Check out our YouTube channel
5 Advantages of Mobile Video Over In-Person Ethnography
Learn 5 advantages of mobile video ethnography over in-person ethnography and why you should consider mobile video surveys.
From Rolex to Iphone: Millennials and the Meaning of Luxury
How do Millennials view Luxury? We wanted to know, so we launched a study on our platform, and the responses we received were illuminating.
Rent, Own or Borrow: The Sharing Economy for Millennials
Given the rise of companies like Airbnb and Zipcar, Fabric wanted to uncover Millennials’ attitudes and brand relationships within this new economy.
Us and Them: The Double Standard of Online Reputation
Consumers demand transparency from corporations. A new study conducted by Fabric uncovered a double standard when it comes to managing their reputation.
5 Ways Buying Local Matters (and Doesn’t) to Millennials
Fabric wanted to explore a new generation of grocery purchasers: Millennials. Their insights were honest, and they weren’t afraid to speak their minds.
To Embrace or Reject: The Wearable Tech Divide - Fabric
A recent Fabric study shows how consumers' opinions differ dramatically on the role fitness tracking wearables should play in their lives.
Millennial Brand Loyalty: Rewards Over Relationships - Fabric
Millennials are redefining the concept of brand loyalty; in their eyes, it has changed dramatically from their parents’ version. Whereas their parent’s loyalty is seen to be...
Why Mobile Ethnography Beats Big Data in Capturing the “Why” - Fabric
In over 20 years of working with some of the world’s most valuable companies and recognized brands, mindswarms founder Tom Bassett has learned that mobile video surveys...
8 Ways Brands Can Attract and Keep Millennial Customers - Fabric
What makes a positive shopping experience for Millennials? We learned 8 ways brands can make their consumer experience resonate with Millennials.

inspiration-millennials-home-cleaning

Millennials & Home Cleaning

In a recent study, Fabric set out to understand unique generational considerations in how Millennial women relate to home cleaning, home cleaning brands, and home cleaning product purchasing. What we didn’t anticipate? That we’d open up a Pandora’s Box of emotionally deep insights. You can watch a video clip here.

Research Objective

To understand the emotions, pressures, and motivations related to household cleaning. By gaining a deeper understanding of the the modern young woman’s relationship to cleaning, we can better gauge what types of products and concepts would appeal most. One interesting technique we employed was to have women show us a photo of their Mom in the first response, to dial up the emotional intensity of their responses.

Target Audience

  • National US sample
  • 12 states
  • 14 cities
  • Ages 25 – 40
  • Female
  • Mix of ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds

We Learned:

While we anticipated interesting results given the nature of the study and the research design, what we didn’t see coming was that the study became a form of mother/daughter therapy as told through the lens of home cleaning. Millennial women’s cleaning rituals, habits and schedules opened up a Pandora’s box of deep memories, providing a rich and emotionally colorful set of insights.

Here’s a look at how we set the stage for success by tuning the study design and triggers for the unique attributes of mobile video surveys.

The unique nature of mobile video studies

We’ve found that in mobile video surveys, respondents are remarkably open, honest, and candid in their replies. This may be because mobile phones – given how much they are used – serve as virtual extensions of the human hand. The device becomes quite personal and intimate in that respect. Additionally, we often use mobile devices to communicate in confidence with people we trust. So in a sense, the technology, by association, takes on attributes of a confidante: people are comfortable sharing openly with it.

Furthermore, as a market research methodology, mobile video surveys are highly effective for anything to do with the home. Participants often record their responses while at home, where they typically feel comfortable being themselves and where they are surrounded by belongings and items they use every day.

The compounded effect of using a familiar, personal technology in a familiar, personal environment makes the results of mobile video research studies highly insightful.

Applying ethnography best practices to mobile video study design

New technologies and media have opened up new ways to apply ethnography best practices with increasing sophistication and excellent results. The market research industry, driven to stay ahead of consumer preferences and trends, has rightly seen mobile video surveys as a way to overcome some limitations of traditional research approaches.

Take focus groups, for example. The sheer power of close observation, a highly insightful research practice, is largely absent from focus group research. Focus group observers are often situated such that it’s impossible to see the nuances of participants’ facial expressions from 10+ feet away. Depending on the seating arrangement, an observer might see some participants only in profile, making reading expression virtually impossible.

In contrast, a mobile video study is up close and personal, with the mobile device either held at arm’s length or in close proximity; so it offers a level of facial and body language observation that’s quite intimate, yet uncomplicated by interaction with an interviewer or other people.

Show & Tell is another ethnography methodology especially well suited for mobile video studies. Participants responding to Show & Tell prompts tend to be much more animated and articulate answering questions because they are either in the environment they are being questioned about or quite literally holding the object they are talking about.

Why did we survey only women?

While statistics show that men are a significant and growing audience for home cleaning products, we were experimenting with research design and especially curious about infusing a research study with the mother/daughter dynamic.

Mom knows that I take pride in the cleanliness of my home, and its organization, but it’s just never good enough for her.

~ Leslie Stone

UNORTHODOX STUDY DESIGN = POTENT RESULTS

We’ve worked as ethnographers in marketing, advertising, product design, strategy and consumer insights, and are still fascinated every day by the insights that emerge from the studies we do; from the standpoints of both study design and human thought and behavior. In this case, it was genuinely amazing to see study design, technology and human experience come together in such a powerful way.

Lesson #1: Engage emotion to reach deeper insights

STUDY DESIGN: Mommy and me; setting the stage

We decided to ask participating Millennial women to benchmark themselves against their mothers. “How do you compare to your mother?” From a study design standpoint—or from any standpoint, really—that’s a loaded question with some magical power:

  • It sets a very emotional tone, starting with the first question.
  • It provides a harder edge to the research findings because people are not just talking about themselves, they are talking about how they are different from their mothers.
  • With this in mind, in the first clip of the study we asked participants to show us a picture of their mother (or parents), to help bring the mother/daughter or parent/daughter relationship vividly to mind in the moment. Loading a research study with a design that gets to deeper emotional territory will almost always result in more meaningful insights and set the stage for that emotion to carry through the rest of the study.

Understanding emotion is invaluable for a number of reasons:

  • Despite what people SAY they will do, emotion often overrides logic
  • There are so many options for consumers that understanding the emotional drivers for brand preference can be a powerful asset.
  • While most categories—like home cleaning—have the potential to be mundane, we believe every category has emotion in it that can motivate consumers to buy specific products or brands that resonate with them.
  • The most successful brands and companies typically create powerful emotional connections with consumers.

CONSUMER INSIGHTS: They are their mother’s daughters

Oh mama! Whether study participants remained adherents of their mother’s cleaning practices and philosophies, or whether they were outright rejectors of their mother’s way of doing things, they all had powerful emotional connections to home cleaning.

For many of respondents, their relationship to home cleaning started with early childhood memories of cleaning routines, scents, brands and products, all intertwined with their relationship with Mom.

As you might expect, many of the women adopted a very different set of brands from their mother’s loyalties. Typically, the brands Millennial women related to more had a different mission, vision, or purpose. They weren’t as much brands that had been around for generations, but they were brands with original narratives and associations that aligned more meaningfully with Millennials’ desire for a greater purpose or mission.

I think my mother would probably say, as far as my home cleaning products and home cleaning style goes, I’m doing the best I can with two little ones under the age of four. And I would say she understands the type of products that I buy and why I buy them. Organic products are just not what Mom chooses.

~ Julie

Lesson #2: Help participants paint a complete picture in full color

STUDY DESIGN: Transition from Culture/Category to Brand questions

We typically sequence questions in a way that helps participants show us if/how their relationship with the broader research topic aligns with the brand landscape. To achieve this, we start with broader topics about the culture and category, then narrow the focus to more specific product areas in order to approach the topic from a cultural level where the richest—and often highest ROI—insights are found.

In this study, we sequenced questions to follow this arc:

  • Their relationship with home cleaning, relative to their mother’s
  • Their relationship with home cleaning brands, relative to their mother’s
  • Their relationship with home cleaning products, relative to their mother’s
  • Their relationship with home cleaning purchasing, relative to their mother’s

CONSUMER INSIGHTS: A kinder, gentler brand landscape

Since Millennials tended on the whole to move away from brands their mothers groomed their daughters on, this can have significant impact on new brands launching, as well as on existing brands either repositioning themselves or extending into new areas.

From a product perspective, Millennial women tended to relate best to what we would refer to as “gentler” cleaning products. They cited products that had a less harsh chemical footprint and were perceived as more environmentally friendly. They also lit up at the idea of convenience. Wet wipes, for instance, were one of the most commonly cited products they lived by because of the ease with which they could be used. (Incidentally, respondents did not seem to associate that extra convenience with an increased environmental cost of the throw-away plastic tubs).

My number one home cleaning product would be my Windex Touch-Ups. I love this product. What makes this different from what my parents used? It’s convenient, the ease of use and the design: it’s kind of high-tech, I think, compared to an all-in vinegar mix that’s maybe something my parents would’ve concocted

~ Pamela

Lesson #4: Seek to understand the entire journey

STUDY DESIGN: Show & Tell methodology for product context

What’s a day in the life of a product? For product context, we had these women show us where they stored their cleaning supplies in the home, talk about the range of products found there, and discuss how they typically used the assortment of products.

By designing studies to investigate what happens to products pre, during and post use, mobile video surveys can help identify new opportunities for product marketers and designers to innovate around that product, including “product as service,” an escalating trend across categories. This is especially valuable in the re-order world, where increasingly popular subscription models help increase customer loyalty and lifetime customer value.

CONSUMER INSIGHTS: The untold story = new brand & product opportunities

By having participants show us their cleaning supplies, we were able to understand more deeply not only their favorite product(s), but also the brand clusters and assortments they purchased in other categories. It also gave us insight into their unmet needs when we could see, for example, how disorganized some of the supply areas were; many participants were reluctant to even show those areas because they felt embarrassed by the mess.

Would these participants want a product or system that made it easier for them to create and maintain a supply area they wouldn’t hesitate to show us or Mom? Absolutely.

I think my mom and my parents would say that I do keep my house in good clean state, but she would definitely be appalled by the number of different products that I have. She would say, it’s way too much and I should just stick to the old fashioned water and baking soda.

~ Grace

Lesson #5: Use mobile for an intimate, very human point of view

STUDY DESIGN: Get into their personal space, literally and emotionally

Seeing into people’s natural environments using mobile video surveys is a unique way to truly understand their world from their point of view—not just product or product context, but what else matters to them and the kinds of challenges they face every day.

Additionally, not only does the research methodology address the core research objective, it’s also valuable and easy to share throughout an organization, both upstream (into Product Design & Development, or even R&D) or downstream (into retail presentation and online buying).

So the Swiffer Dust and Shine with Febreze Lavender and Vanilla is my favorite cleaning product. […] It definitely differs from my parents, because they never had these things back in the day growing up, when cleaning, I think things were much more old-school.

~ Shaun

CONSUMER INSIGHTS: Under the sink can be as emotional as in their closet

Having consumers show you spaces in their homes that very few people ever see—like under kitchen counters and in laundry rooms—opens them up to share unexpected stories and details.It also opens the eyes of the researcher to the reality of these spaces.

Hearing in someone’s voice the pride about how she organized an area or seeing the anxiety on another’s face as she introduces a space in her home that’s chronically disorganized reveals all sorts of explicit and implicit insights.

EFFECTIVE USE OF MOBILE VIDEO STUDIES

Would participants have been so candid in a focus group or even in a filmed one-on-one, ethnographic-style interview? Unlikely. Certainly not without considerably more time invested in building rapport and trust.

In this study, each person’s familiarity with—and trust of—her mobile device led to surprisingly candid sharing. There was no unconscious bias, and no group think.

Specifically, using mobile video surveys in this study helped us:

  • Understand the prevailing attitudes, practices, brand affinities, and purchase habits of Millennial women as it related to home cleaning and home cleaning products;
  • Infuse the study with emotion beyond simply asking women about their habits and preferences;Identify clear attitudinal, behavioral, and emotional differences between Millennial women and their mothers;
  • Surface the broader shifts amongst Millennials and the home cleaning category towards simpler, less harsh, and more convenient products;
  • Identify all sorts of opportunities for new brands to disrupt the category and/or for existing brands to re-tool, re-position, or extend their brands;
  • Explore zones of innovation in which both new and established brands can identify opportunities for new services and experiences on top of the existing product portfolio, such as organizing ecosystems for storage, re-supply purchasing, and line extensions into tangential categories

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Special thanks to the people who shared their personal stories and insights with us as part of this Fabric study.

Fabric YouTube
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inspiration-creative-brief

Briefly: A Look into the Creative Brief

What do Frank Gehry, Yves Behar, David Rockwell, Maira Kalman, John C Jay and John Boiler all have in common? They all begin projects with The Brief. In this short film (a Vimeo staff pick), mindswarms founder Tom Bassett asks some of the world’s most exceptional creative minds for their insights into how they think about— and use— the brief to deliver outstanding creative, consistently.

Every project starts with a brief.

But very few projects end up with exceptional results. Why?

As a disruptive brand and design strategy firm that creates briefs across multiple creative disciplines including Advertising, Design, and Innovation, Tom Bassett, CEO of Bassett & Partners (and founder of mindswarms), was curious to understand how some of the world’s most consistently exceptional creative talents thought about – and used – the brief.

Through a series of one-on-one interviews with Frank Gehry (Founder Gehry Partner), Yves Béhar (CEO fuseproject), Maira Kalman (Illustrator), John C Jay (Chief Creative Officer @Uniqlo), David Rockwell (CEO Rockwell Group), and John Boiler (CEO 72andSunny), we asked them to elaborate on how they define – and use – the brief to deliver exceptional creative results.

The end goal of Briefly is to help inform and inspire future generations of collaborators to write better briefs and manage the briefing process differently in order to help lead to exceptional creative results.

So while every project will still start with a brief, the dream is that more projects end up exceptional because of how these creative titans inspire (or re-inspire) the way we all think about briefs.

To Watch Briefly Film

Fabric YouTube
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inspiration-ethnography-dives-teenage-mind

Mobile Video Ethnography Dives Into the Teenage Mind

What shapes the identities of teens today? California ad agency BSSP wanted to reach beyond data-driven assumptions to find out, going deep into the minds of Generation Z. Using mindswarms mobile video surveys, they captured teens’ unfiltered responses. What they learned is that Gen Z’s attitudes center around purpose, authenticity, and technology. (Oh, and transparency.)

What is it like to be 17IN17?

Seventeen interviews with 17 seventeen-year-olds—it’s our initial exploration into the lives and minds of teenagers today. It’s our attempt at digging beyond data-driven assumptions to get to their mind-sets and motivations.

Much has been reported and debated about Generation Z, this new breed of future consumer that marketers are trying to familiarize themselves with before their spending powers become fully realized. We wanted to get past the stereotypes and statistics. We wanted to get to know them as distinct individuals with their own unique stories and points of view, not just as a collective demographic cohort. To do so, we partnered with mindswarms, a mobile video ethnography firm, and interviewed 17 seventeen-year-old participants from across the states through a series of mobile video surveys.

In some ways, not much has changed. It’s still about human biology, after all. Seventeen-year-olds are in that transitional phase between high school and college, with their teenage years disappearing into young adulthood. They are increasingly independent, and starting to think about the future. They are social creatures whose lives revolve around family and friends.

In other ways, it’s completely new territory. They are entrenched in technology and living out these progressive years online, under intense scrutiny.

We’ve identified three key themes that have shaped their self-identities.

As diverse members of this world, today’s teens are forced to confront the pervasive global issues that seep into their daily lives and flood their newsfeeds. They often reject the beliefs presented to them by their families and local communities, presumably because the Internet gives them access to alternative perspectives from a global community. They do not I. Exposure to global issues drives their sense of purpose. passively observe, but actively voice their opinions, shaping their own personal brands through these issues. Social media often becomes an amplifier for these points of view, whether it pertains to gender, race, religion, politics, or global warming. At times their beliefs are so actively rejected by their local communities that it seems as if they’re experiencing their teenage rebellion in the form of a social stance.

In their own words:

I grew up in the Christian homeschool community, and they’re not very accepting of gay feminine guys. I was taught that it was wrong. Growing up, I was taught that being gay was wrong, being feminine was wrong, being different was wrong. And I don’t believe that…
Being queer, I’d like to give out help to other gay people… So, I decided I want to be different in the sense that whenever I come out, I want to do it to help others. I’m very, very vocal about it online because that is worth more than money to me.

~ Jake S.

I live in a highly populated Hispanic community with all these stops that are being put up or all these people that are being sent up… [People are] being pulled over and cops these days just assume if you’re Hispanic or Mexican or whatever, they’re like, ‘Okay, well, let me see your… Are you a citizen of the United States?’ It motivates me to kind of speak on behalf of them or speak up for them.

~ Angelina

I’m from a really small hometown, like a really southern part of the United States. [Having empathy] definitely helped me see the people around me, like how they were raised and their values, and I lost a lot of friends because of it…
Basically they would think that maybe I was racist because I’m speaking out about it [police brutality]. It’s scary that there’s a lot of people out there that can’t even go to the store at night without worrying about dying, and there’s people who can get pulled over, and pull a gun out, and maybe because of their skin color or their background they won’t even die…
When something crazy happens—like when Trump does something, or someone dies at the hands of a police officer—during those times I’m probably on social media the most, because I know people are saying crazy things and I want to have my input on it

~ Katlyn

Causes that matter to me? I’m a black activist. I believe in equality of the races and gender equality. I don’t know if that makes me a feminist but I like to think I’m a forward-thinking person, liberal… I donate to causes when I can. I like to buy T-shirts and state my opinions on social media.

~ Myhani

I’m a really big supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement because I don’t like seeing people get hurt just because of who they are. They can’t change who they are. I tweet about it and I post about it on other forms of social media. And me and my friends talk about what we can do to help them.

~ Skylar

However, they are not more likely to purchase a brand that is purpose driven, because many don’t believe that most profit-driven brands can be authentic.

In their own words:

Brands are inauthentic because most of them just speak up about things that are important at the time, whatever is going to bring them the most benefit.

~ Katlyn

I don’t think companies should get involved in these [issues] because they’re supposed to be serving the consumer. And if the consumer has a different idea or political view than the manufacturer or person who’s making the product, it could mean that they may not buy the products, which could harm the company.

~ Jake M.

They’re just trying to please what they think the consumers [want], how they think they feel. So it won’t be their true opinions, and it won’t be meaningful to them or to the consumers.

~ Alexander

No matter the brand, the point of it is just to make money regardless if it’s great quality or not.

Angelina

Implications for brands:

Be aware of the diversity of today’s teens. They are different from previous generations and expect brands to recognize this. Some brands have, and are taking steps to banish stereotypical portrayals of gender in advertising. Unstereotype Alliance is a collective comprised of Unilever, UN Women, and several of the world’s largest advertising and tech players working together to eradicate outdated stereotypes in advertising. There’s been particular progress in the beauty space, with both CoverGirl and Rimmel London signing seventeen-year-old social media influencers James Charles and Lewys Ball, respectively, as brand ambassadors, recognizing their efforts in shattering gender-based beauty ideals.

Stay off the purpose bandwagon unless you are actively involved in resolving the issue at hand, or if it is intrinsic to who you are. Otherwise, Gen Z will see right through you.

That said, you don’t have to be a purpose-driven brand in order to succeed with them. Offering a high-quality product or service, supported by good customer service with a real human touch, is significantly more important.

You’ve heard it before. When it comes to their relationship with technology, the smartphone owns their world. Most teens indicated that life would be “incomplete,” “out of touch,” and “dull” without it. Their “whole life is on it.”

But while it’s a can’t-live without part of their lives, our respondents also recognized, and in some cases were saddened by, the downsides. They craved the stronger relationships that physical presence would enable and the time to invest in themselves.

In their own words:

If you didn’t have technology, I feel like you could gain things that we’ve lost through technology, like communication skills and being face-to-face with somebody.

~ Anna

It bothers me because it’s like… Because we’re hanging out and it’s kind of like we plan to be together, but you have something in between like spending the time together, where it’s like a wall.

~ Angelina

Without these things, I think my life would be a little different, because I’d be unplugged from the rest of the world, pretty much. But I wish that honestly none of this stuff was ever invented, because things would be so much better without technology. People would actually go out and do things and be more connected with the actual world.

~ Camryn

I think that I’d just be missing out on stuff that, honestly, doesn’t really matter. So I think that I would gain something from that. I would have the opportunity to invest my time in something that could be far more productive, like going to the gym, reading a book, or getting a new hobby that actually improves me.

~ Katlyn

I think I would learn a lot more about myself and what hobbies that I like, and I feel that I would be outside more than staying inside and being a homebody.

~ Nisean

Still others insisted that their smartphone was more additive than distracting. In school, it could be an educational tool. Among friends, it distracts from, but also supports, their social interactions as a source of information and entertainment. By themselves, it becomes an excuse to look and keep busy or a way to connect to their passions.

In their own words:

A lot of the older generation, they feel like my generation is too attached to their cell phone, and I really don’t feel like there’s a problem with it. I know a lot of older people, they’re not really in tune with technology, and they don’t understand what technology can do, so in the classrooms, I remember I would have teachers who didn’t want us to use our phones at all, and then we had some teachers that actually let us use our phones to look up stuff and actually incorporate in classrooms. They need to do that. I don’t really find it invasive at all.

~ Jhonte

I really only use it if I have nothing else to do. Nothing to do and nobody to talk to. I scroll and scroll… If I know I’m about to go somewhere and I’m not about to know anyone, I’ll probably bring my phone because you don’t want to just be awkward in the corner staring. I feel like everybody is staring at me so I’m like I got to have something to look down at… Half the time I’m not even reading what’s on the screen. I just need to look like I’m doing something.

~ Katlyn

Like when I was [in] Europe, I would have hated to not have my phone, because there was so many pictures I wanted to have taken of me that it would have really sucked if I didn’t have my phone. All those memories, because I’m definitely going to [get] those printed out and put up somewhere. I think it’s really important to get stuff off your phone and onto some paper, or something.

~ Katlyn

Implications for brands:

Don’t be too quick to judge. What looks antisocial to older generations is another way to be social for them. Brands can help facilitate these live social sessions. For example, the popularity of augmented reality app Pokemon Go saw people hunting for Pokemon creatures in real-life environments on their smartphones, with their friends.

Do more to understand not just what teens are doing on their phones, but with them. Create tools or work with other partners that empower them to explore and exploit their passions. Coca-Cola partnered with Musical.ly, a lip-syncing and video-sharing app with a core audience between the ages of 13 and 24, for its Share a Coke and a Song campaign. Users shot videos of themselves sharing a Coke with friends or family.

Remember that they are true digital natives who don’t appreciate being interrupted. Annoying advertising can be skipped, and the next best piece of content is a simple tap, click, or swipe away. Your communication needs to be compelling enough to be sought out.

Today’s teens grew up watching Millennials take on massive amounts of debt to pursue a college degree, only to be greeted by sky-high rental prices and dismal career prospects. Millennials moved home after graduation and are now notorious for delaying major life events like marriage and having children, often due to financial stress. When we asked today’s teens about their visions for the future, they described low-risk lives of financial stability, and do things now to set themselves on that path.

In their own words:

I guess just it being my own money and knowing that I worked for it and I think about more when I spend, if I shop and it’s a $30 shirt or something, it’s like, ‘Okay, do I really want to spend that much money for this thing?

~ Angelina

I want to become a CPA. I’m really good at math, and they make a pretty decent amount of money… They say money doesn’t buy happiness, and I do think that’s the truth. Because if you’re not happy with yourself, nothing’s going to make you happy. But I do think that it makes things easier, if you don’t have to worry about bills and all these other things.

~ Anna

Implications for brands:

Today’s teens expect more for their money. They’re skeptical of advertising and tech savvy enough to see through marketing BS. When asked for reasons why they like the brands they do, they pointed to functional product benefits. While we don’t recommend losing the emotional story, today’s teens may need to be given the practical reasons to choose one brand over another.

Maybe it was Millennials who championed the art of borrowing (e.g., Rent the Runway), but it’s teenagers today who are demanding it across verticals. Brands that offer access will win out over those that offer ownership. The simple reason: accessibility has less risk than ownership. Consider the following ways to allow them to try before they buy:

  • Subscriptions like Spotify allow consumers to pay month-by-month so the product can continue to prove its value to gain reuse.
  • Personalized trial boxes like Ipsy give consumers a sampling of things they may like, bringing the Sephora experience home.
  • Make buying and returning easy, with free shipping. If it arrives and doesn’t fit, last, or work as expected, teens need to know they can send it back for free and without hassle.
  • Of course, there are some purchases that can’t be sampled. For these, consider ways that virtual reality could give prospective buyers a sense for what’s to come, as IKEA did with its virtual showroom.

Have we cracked today’s teens? We hardly think so. Do we know what it takes to reach and engage them? We have some ideas. To truly understand them, we encourage brands and marketers to go out and have real conversations with people, as opposed to relying too heavily on generalizations. Instead of interpreting some ambiguous data point, spend time with them and ask them.

BSSP is one of the largest independent agencies on the West Coast. Adweek named BSSP Small Agency of the Decade, and Outside magazine recognized the agency by naming it one of the Best Places to Work in America. For further information, please contact Patrick Kiss at pkiss@bssp.com or visit www.bssp.com.

The mindswarms community provides people all over the world a platform to easily share authentic opinions and experiences through self-recorded videos to impact the creation of some of the world’s most innovative products and brands.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Special thanks to the people who shared their personal stories and insights with us as part of this mindswarms study.

Fabric YouTube
Looking for more videos? Check out our YouTube channel
5 Advantages of Mobile Video Over In-Person Ethnography
Learn 5 advantages of mobile video ethnography over in-person ethnography and why you should consider mobile video surveys.
From Rolex to Iphone: Millennials and the Meaning of Luxury
How do Millennials view Luxury? We wanted to know, so we launched a study on our platform, and the responses we received were illuminating.
Rent, Own or Borrow: The Sharing Economy for Millennials
Given the rise of companies like Airbnb and Zipcar, Fabric wanted to uncover Millennials’ attitudes and brand relationships within this new economy.
Us and Them: The Double Standard of Online Reputation
Consumers demand transparency from corporations. A new study conducted by Fabric uncovered a double standard when it comes to managing their reputation.
5 Ways Buying Local Matters (and Doesn’t) to Millennials
Fabric wanted to explore a new generation of grocery purchasers: Millennials. Their insights were honest, and they weren’t afraid to speak their minds.
To Embrace or Reject: The Wearable Tech Divide - Fabric
A recent Fabric study shows how consumers' opinions differ dramatically on the role fitness tracking wearables should play in their lives.
Millennial Brand Loyalty: Rewards Over Relationships - Fabric
Millennials are redefining the concept of brand loyalty; in their eyes, it has changed dramatically from their parents’ version. Whereas their parent’s loyalty is seen to be...
Why Mobile Ethnography Beats Big Data in Capturing the “Why” - Fabric
In over 20 years of working with some of the world’s most valuable companies and recognized brands, mindswarms founder Tom Bassett has learned that mobile video surveys...
8 Ways Brands Can Attract and Keep Millennial Customers - Fabric
What makes a positive shopping experience for Millennials? We learned 8 ways brands can make their consumer experience resonate with Millennials.

inspiration-weaponized-consumer

Customer Appreciation in the Age of the Weaponized Consumer

At Fabric, we recently designed a study to help us understand the emerging culture of customer appreciation. Our goal was to dive below the surface, gaining insight into how customer appreciation and recognition feel emotionally to consumers. We wondered: Do customers perceive a distinction between appreciation and recognition? What are consumer expectations around appreciation and recognition, and how have they changed over time? Which brands are exceeding expectations and how are they doing it?

The results? We uncovered 5 trends that suggest a striking power shift in how customers view their role in the business-consumer relationship, illuminating tangible tips companies can act on in order to create a meaningful appreciation program, or to enhance what’s already in place.

Here’s a look at how we set things up, and what we found.

The Insight: The Rise of the Weaponized Consumer

Our study unearthed a strong undercurrent around two important concepts: Power and Validation. Although consumers don’t believe they are as powerful as any massive corporation, the most share-worthy experiences that surfaced in the study suggest just that. A perceived transfer of power is beginning to be realized, where consumers are implying they are to be treated as equals by corporations, thereby shifting consumers’ expectations from simple appreciation to deeper, more meaningful recognition.

Let’s break this down into 5 lessons:

Lesson #1: Appreciation is viewed as personal for consumers, and promises to deepen brand relationships

Consumers said it loudly and clearly: Bring on the personal touch. When they’re singled out, customers shared that it makes them feel important, which leads to loyalty. In addition, they believe appreciation fosters a virtuous circle, triggering mutual care and respect, and encourages repeating the cycle. On the other hand, unappreciation hurts: feeling unappreciated gets noticed too, and leads to insecurity, a dynamic the company is certainly not aiming for.

Being appreciated emotionally makes me feel important and gives me a sense of value. And I think it’s important to be appreciated just because someone’s acknowledging that there was an effort made on your part and that, in turn, you were doing something good or doing something to help out another.

~ N.S.

Lesson #2: Recognition is seen as public, acknowledging an achievement relative to others in a group

Unlike appreciation, recognition often hinges on a declaration for others to hear about, beyond the recipient. Recognition is about doing well relative to others, at work or at school, and as a result, the consumer wants to stand out. Meaningful recognition from companies can take the form of awards or accolades, and ultimately, it shows that the company is paying attention: people feel proud to be recognized for their hard work.

But it also suggests that the most original and modern exchanges – and those most ripe for innovation – are now public. Public recognition gives consumers the added benefit of elevated social standing by associating themselves on equal footing with a powerful corporate entity.

I think everyone is pretty familiar with rewards programs, but an idea of a spotlight post would be a customer posting a photo using a product from the company and then that company reposting it to their own social media site which could make a customer feel special and feel a connection with the brand. I myself enjoy writing reviews of businesses I visit, and I always feel appreciated and connected when that business actually goes out of their way to respond to my review.

~ R.N.

Lesson #3: Recognition today comes to consumers not from one single act, but many little things

When it comes to what matters most, it turns out that “little things” remain timeless in the eyes of the consumer. As in, small things that add up and put a smile on their face— perks, discounts, birthday cards— contribute to brand loyalty. Even more, customers want to be recognized for their loyalty. When companies keep track— noting what the customer has bought and how many times, and then act accordingly— this makes them feel special. And also, the element of surprise retains its allure. Although customers value regular rewards, they admit they enjoy the unexpected ones, too

To me, that’s recognizing— they appreciate you as a customer. I get little happy birthday cards, some of them actually in the mail, from utility companies and things like that and I’m a member of several loyalty programs and it’s nice when they remember little things like your birthday. It’s a small thing, but just that and offering a little perk or discount and I feel appreciated.

~ R.B.

Lesson #4: Brands that are exceeding customer expectations: Southwest, American Express, Starbucks, Sephora

So which companies are winning with customers, and why? What does it take to make the who’s who list of corporate America? Respondents shared some strong words on this topic. Like love. Let’s face it, “love” isn’t a word that’s thrown around often to describe brands, but it is with these companies. For example, one customer couldn’t say enough about how Sephora goes above and beyond with their rewards program. And Starbucks? They have a handle on fun. The company doesn’t simply reward purchases, they make a game of it. From sincere thank you’s to surprise free-be’s, what’s clear is that top brands are showing that they genuinely care.

I think the most recent time that I felt specifically appreciated by a company and specifically a loyalty program that I’m a part of is with the Southwest Airlines. I’ve achieved one of the highest status levels, the A-list Preferred. They sent to me a letter. I already knew that I made that. It was something that I was striving for, so I was aware of the exact time that I achieved that status level. But I got a letter. It had a sort of a congratulatory postcard in it as well as sort of a identification card as part of that achievement.

~ C.M.

Lesson #5: Consumers embrace companies interacting with them, not just reacting

These days, it’s not just about responding to and resolving issues. Great companies are speaking up, actively looking for ways to do little things for customers, interacting with them instead of simply reacting. There’s almost a dizzying array of creative gestures rolling out, from interactive spin-the-wheel prize games to a return program in which no receipt was required. This fosters honesty and sincerity, two values that shine when it comes to loyalty.

I feel like companies now are being more vocal about their appreciation. I’ve had a few companies reach out to me on social media when I had issues. UPS did that. For example, when I had an issue, they reached out to me via DM. They resolved my issue. They followed up with me. They even followed me back. I’ve had companies show me appreciation through credits on my account, just for being a valued customer, or waiving ATM fees for me.

~ X.C.

So what does this mean?

In our modern world, the bottom line is that recognition has become more elevating than appreciation. Recognition is what deepens loyalty. Social media and other technology have given consumers the option of a mighty sword; to complain in front of thousands on social media, and to demand a response. This “nuclear option” for consumers opens the door for companies to engender deeper brand loyalty by publicly addressing, calling out, awarding, and/or thanking consumers who have gone out of their way and worked hard to praise the brand. If the corporation is deaf, uncaring, willfully inflexible, and unwilling to transfer power to the consumer, a public spiral of negativity and frustration can ensue.

Top brands today are being highly creative, detailed, generous and trusting in how they show appreciation for the customers. The very smartest are recognizing them publicly, rewarding and awarding them, thanking them for their hard work.

How to create (or enhance) a Customer Appreciation Program:

  • Make sure your accolades are public,not just private: Demonstrate Recognition (seen by others) not just Appreciation (1-on-1).
  • Be creative:Companies that are creative in their approach stand out.
  • Don’t forget the little things: Incorporate large numbers of small things that make people happy today.
  • Implement game-like tiering:Develop rich game-like levels to show appreciation for both big and small efforts.
  • Create share-worthy stories:Enable protocols that will make for loved, share-worthy stories, often revolving around unexpected, “above and beyond” company actions to be made public by consumers.

Unique Research Methodology

Mobile video surveys are revolutionizing the qualitative research industry because they enable respondents to speak freely in an environment that is comfortable for them. This methodology not only captures emotion and nonverbal cues that uncover customer truths, but is especially relevant in the context of customer appreciation and recognition because often the company to customer interaction is 1-on-1 and personal.

Who did we talk to?

We recruited consumers across the US from a diverse range of cities and states, and each responded to 10 questions crafted by the Fabric team. The recruits included active rewards/loyalty members across various categories (airline, entertainment, retail, etc.), as well as consumers who do not select rewards/loyalty programs solely on value/discounts. There was a mix of genders, household income, education a socio-economic status.

Want to learn more about mobile video survey design?

If you’re interested in learning more about using mobile video for consumer insights, visit our website for free resources on mobile video ethnography, use cases, methodologies and study design.

About the Author

Tom Basset

Tom is the Founder and CEO of Fabric. He has spent over 20 years in consumer market research and strategy for some of the world’s most iconic brands, including Nike, Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Sonos.

A specialist in using mobile video survey technology for ethnographic research, Tom has completed such studies on behalf of F500 global brands in the US, Asia, Latin America and Europe. He also has led Fabric collaborations with Carnegie Mellon’s Human Computing Interaction Masters program, Wharton’s MBA program, and Stanford Engineering.

Tom was a panelist on the London Design Festival’s Global Innovation Forum, and he has interviewed leading creative visionaries including Frank Gehry, David Rockwell, John Boiler, Yves Behar, John Jay and Maira Kalman for a documentary film he created and produced called “Briefly.”

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inspiration-true-emotion-revealed

True Emotion Revealed via Mobile Video

We’re not far off from a time when everything people do in public will be videotaped at all times. How does this shift impact the way people behave in public? Or does it? We asked 50 people across the country to weigh in - with a twist. Using mindswarms, we had people speak on video about their feelings regarding this shift. Then, we had people record their feelings on the topic WITHOUT ALLOWING THEM TO USE WORDS - we only permitted gestures and body language.

What we found through the video responses was that while people SAY they are not concerned about the proliferation of surveillance cameras in public, their body language indicates a much deeper fear, distrust and level of anxiety than their words.

As researchers, what more can we learn about human behavior through nonverbal expression? Mobile video is a medium that allows us to connect with people on a level beyond verbal communication, providing another layer of data and resulting in deeper findings.

Why not use words?

We prompted a straightforward, verbal video response from respondents around how their behavior might change if they knew they were being videotaped at all times. However, we also wanted to take advantage of the mobile video format of the mindswarms study and thought we’d give a nonverbal question a try, for the sake of experimenting with the platform and a new research methodology. So, in their second answer, respondents were only allowed to use body language and gestures – no sounds. The responses we got back were not only extremely expressive, but deeply insightful as well. The speech center is located in the left hemisphere of the brain – the left side tends to be more logical and rational. However, by limiting consumers’ responses to gestures and body language only, we wanted to understand what the right hemisphere might reveal on its own, without having to pass through the left side.

LESSON #1:

What people say - “It doesn’t bother me!”

In short, while people SAID they wouldn’t really be bothered by the idea that all of their actions were being videotaped at all times – largely because they say they have nothing to hide – their body language replies surfaced their deep-seated fears.

If everything I did was being recorded, everything I did in public, my behavior would not change, I don’t believe so, because I don’t act in any way for any certain people. I act the way I do because I want to.

D.T.

I don’t really do anything weird when I am out in public. So my behavior probably wouldn’t change very much.

S.P.

For me personally, I don’t really do much that would cause controversy, and I’m always trying to act my best at all times.

– Matthew F

The unconcerned sentiment in these responses surfaced a connection that people make between their everyday behavior and its reflection of their moral compass, or how “good” of a person they are. In a full response to this question, respondents commonly articulated a whole thought process, making a connection between the two.

If I was being recorded all the time, I don’t think it would change my behavior because I don’t think that in public I’m doing anything wrong or something that needs to be in private. It would just make me kind of look over my shoulder more and feel like I’m constantly being watched, which I don’t think would be the greatest feeling. I think that would kind of give me anxiety. So, maybe in that regards, I would kind of act out my anxiety. Because no one likes to have someone just watching over your shoulder all the time. But if you’re not doing anything wrong, it shouldn’t change your behavior. So, unless if you’re doing something wrong, I don’t think it would change my behavior at all.

-C.B.

After thinking about this question and talking through their thoughts, the common perception was,

LESSON #2:

People reveal Anxiety & Insecurity

While people verbalized that they feel confident that their actions are nothing but ordinary, their body language expressed otherwise. Respondents were presented with this prompt, Without using any words or sounds, show us how you would feel emotionally knowing everything you did in public was videotaped at all times? (You can use your hands too!). Watch the video below for a highlight reel of the findings.

Their body language revealed in the responses show several patterns:

  • Looking over the shoulder
  • Shielding themselves with their arms and/or their hands
  • Eyes darting and/or squinting
  • They physically move away from their cameras

These patterns revealed a less logical, more emotional sentiment around the topic. Surprisingly, people did not express the nonchalant confidence that they verbalized in the other prompt. Instead, they expressed emotions that represent anxiety, insecurity, and fear around the thought of being video recorded at all times.

LESSON #3:

Words don’t match expression

What does the disconnect between what people said and what they expressed through body language tell us?

The language center of the brain, which serves for speech processing and production, exists in the left hemisphere of the brain, considered the analytical/logical side of the brain. Prompting the nonverbal response, eliminated respondents’ dependence on their language center. Instead, respondents activated more of their right brain in their nonverbal response, more deeply expressing their true emotions (the right is the more dominant emotional side).

People are used to communicating verbally and applying logical thought to their comments, which results in thorough, logical responses. However, for complex topics and situations, the application of logic can dilute the emotional response after the respondent has had time to sort through their thoughts. For this reason, activating the right brain can help us to capture both parts of the response – the raw emotion at the beginning, as well as the articulated, logical response.

LESSON #4:

Engage other forms of expression for deeper insight

While verbal communication is direct, standard, and our primary form of communication, verbal communication only scratches the surface. How else can we engage the right brain, or the more creative side of the brain to gain more insight around people’s emotions?

With mobile video, we’re able to leverage nonverbal communication and also prompt respondents to complete other “right brain” activities to express more organic, deep responses.

For example, we’ve instructed respondents to draw a picture to express their response to a question, or to tell a story, map out a journey, etc. Even the self-proclaimed “least artistic” respondents have expressed more personal, emotional responses when prompted to create a drawing first. Additionally, prompting respondents to find a memento, image, book, etc. that represents their response to a question can also tap into the right brain. By doing some respondents make creative connections between the item they show and their response to the question, which tends to be more layered than an explicit verbal response.

LESSON #5:

Getting the most out of mobile video

Outside of being creative in question design in order to facilitate eliciting insight, mobile video presents multiple advantages in terms of reaching the emotional, nonverbal, unspoken parts of the human psyche:

  • Nonverbal Cues: Every mindswarms video response (not limited to the strictly nonverbal prompts) captures nonverbal cues and makes them accessible, which text only or audio only formats lack. The facial expressions and body language are weaved into the respondent’s articulation are captured in each video response.
  • Participant Setting: By engaging respondents through mobile video, we allow them to respond where they are most comfortable (unless otherwise prompted), which returns a very genuine, unguarded response. Great for emotional topics!
  • Lack of Moderator: Without a moderator in person, mobile video allows us to leverage respondents’ comfort with their phone. Think of it as a confessional type setting – people have intimate relationships with their mobile devices, and you don’t have to put much effort into making them feel comfortable sharing their thoughts.

Creative Use of Mobile Video Studies

Mobile video surveys helped us try an out-of-the-box study design, which opened up a window into what we can achieve depending on the setting of our research prompts; and how to optimize the in-context insight. With an easy way to quickly reach respondents from across the country, we were able to experiment with a simple two prompt approach and compare responses from two different types of environments. Click here for more on unorthodox and unconventional uses of mindswarms.

So What About You?

What sorts of other nonverbal cues have you noticed when interacting with people? What other ways can we encourage the use of the right brain to gain deeper responses from respondents that reflect their true emotions?

How else can we leverage consumers’ intimacy with mobile video to reveal their deeper connections to cultural phenomena, personal topics, brand and product connections, etc.?

Learn More About Mobile Video Study Design

If you’re interested in learning more about using mobile video for consumer insights, visit the mindswarms resource hub for free resources on mobile video ethnography, use cases, methodologies and study design.

Special thanks to the people who shared their personal stories and insights with us as part of this mindswarms study.

Panopticon: The inspiration for the article

The idea for a Panopticon was coined by Englishman Jeremy Bentham in the late 1700’s. Bentham had an idea to create a prison where all of the prisoners’ activities could be seen at all times by guards, but the guards couldn’t necessarily be seen by the prisoners. Beyond the practical side being that the system required fewer guards, his end goal was to normalize behavior by having the watched watch themselves, and police their own behavior as a result.

This is analogous to what’s happening with video right now.

It seems like every day, there is a new viral video clip of something out of the ordinary going on in the world: people getting dragged off planes by police officers, a man riding down the highway clinging to the hood of a car during a road rage incident, high school kids and an elder Native American appearing to be in conflict, or thieves returning to steal more, and getting apprehended.

So the question arose: when will the fact that people know they are being videotaped at all times impact their behavior? And if so, how? Or if not, why not?

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insipiration-testing-police

Testing Police Interview Techniques on mindswarms

In Making a Murderer Season 2, Kathleen Zellner observed that the detective who interviewed Brendan Dassey used the Reid Technique – an industry standard training methodology for law enforcement.

Out of curiosity, we purchased and watched the Reid Technique training series, and wondered how aspects of this methodology might apply to a mobile video interview.

Admittedly, our goals are different from law enforcement; the Reid Technique aims to gather the most truthful response from witnesses and suspects in relation to a crime. At mindswarms we aim to uncover emotional insights from consumers related to products, brands, services or advertising.

However, there are similarities between the strategies used to achieve these respective goals.

We wanted to understand how these strategies might align with best practices for collecting in-context insights for market research. And further, we wanted to identify what researchers should consider when prompting participants to give us in-context insight.

One of the Reid Techniqueʼs strategies for gathering successful responses is setting up what they define as “a proper interview environment.”

Poor vs Proper Interview Environment

According to the Reid Technique, interview environments are defined as follows:

  • Poor Environment: A poor environment is characterized by multiple distractions, such as noise and interruptions. Questioning a suspect in a public place with other people around makes it difficult to develop quality information (editorʼs note: some might argue that focus groups are a “poor environment” by this definition)
  • Proper Environment: A proper environment for questioning a suspect is controlled by the investigator, private, and free of distractions.

This inspired our mindswarms experiment, where we outlined two analogous prompts:

  • Public Environment: One set of participants answered a personal question from a public space. This replicated the typical setting for in-context insight, and also replicated the Reid Techniqueʼs “poor environment.”
  • Private Environment: A different set of participants answered the same question from the comfort of their home. This replicated a typical video diary style research prompt, and also replicated the Reid Techniqueʼs “proper environment.”

Dialing up emotion

We wanted to dial up the emotion in this parallel study, because crime is often a highly emotional topic for witnesses and suspects.

In our experiment, we prompted a personal question to research participants: “Describe a recent event that scared you, frightened you, or made you nervous. What happened?”

Half of the participants responded in a public environment and half of the participants responded from a private environment. The differences were stark.

OBSERVATION #1:

Finding a private space in public

Respondents who were prompted to record their answers from a public environment still sought out the most private space available to them. For example, finding an empty aisle at the pharmacy, a corner of a room, or a space apart from the rest of the crowd. Interestingly, people seem to intuitively seek out as comfortable of a space as possible – one free of distraction.

This may have been in part triggered by the personal nature of the question (which was by design, meant to test the extreme of a potentially emotional and deep response), but gives us insight into how participants themselves also seek out a “proper environment” to give themselves as much comfort as possible to answer thoughtfully.

OBSERVATION #2:

Darting eyes

One of the most visible body language differences between the two experimental settings was eye movement.

In public settings, participantsʼ eyes would often dart from the camera to their surroundings, showing that they were distracted. These distractions seemed to impact participantsʼ responses — they seemed less focused on the depth of their storytelling and more focused on their surroundings.

For example, watch Deniseʼs response:

On the other hand, in private settings, participants had steadier gazes into the camera, similar to the comfortable and confident eye contact people make in one-on-one conversations. When people are instructed to respond from a private or “proper” environment, it makes it easier for them to dive deeper into the personal aspects of their stories.

See Crystalʼs response, from the comfort of her own home, where she maintains a steady gaze while telling us her story:

OBSERVATION #3:

Hushed tones

Another behavioral difference between the two settings was voice volume. In public spaces, participants spoke in audibly hushed tones, another signal of their self-consciousness. For example, listen to De-Ambraʼs response — she has found a private pocket in her public setting, but speaks in a hushed tone throughout her entire answer:

By contrast, private space respondents appear comfortable and speak clearly and confidently throughout their responses. Despite the somewhat personal topic, people are quick to talk about their experiences openly when they are in a comfortable space. For example, listen to Jamesʼ tone of voice as he tells his story from a private space:

OBSERVATION #4:

Factual versus Emotional storytelling

The private space respondents shared highly emotional, personal and sometimes moving stories. By contrast, the respondents who recorded in public spoke more objectively and factually about their experiences – almost as outside observers.

In the public setting, we found that even with a question that is explicitly meant to elicit an emotional response, people deferred to simply “listing the facts” and telling their stories objectively without diving into their feelings. For example:

“A time that recently scared me was when I was driving home one day, and I almost got hit by a car because I was trying to move to the right lane, and I didnʼt see another car was coming. And we almost collided, and that really would not have been good. It happened so fast. To be honest, I wasnʼt really paying attention, which is probably bad too. But because of that, I could have paid for more insurance, could have had to get a new car, couldʼve injured myself. And so that time really, really scared me.” -Annette C., Public Study

In the private setting, however, participants were more unguarded and quickly opened up to describe their stories as well as explain the emotional impact those experiences had on them. For example:

“This question is very hard today because itʼs a day after what made me extremely nervous and frightened. Just yesterday, there was a mass shooting in Gilroy, California. I live an hour away. I know plenty of people who were at the festival yesterday. It was very scary and I almost took my niece to the festival yesterday. Luckily, I had to work last minute and I didnʼt end up going. But it was really scary to see so many of my loved ones and friends posting about it and talking about how they were safe and luckily theyʼd left early or theyʼd gone the day before. But it was extremely terrifying and I was so anxious, having a panic attack, just making sure, contacting everyone I could, trying to gather information and make sure everybody was safe and okay and no longer there and in danger.”-Thamar L., Private Study

Private environments allowed research participants to focus on their storytelling and share on a deeper level.

Best Practices for Collecting In-Context Responses

In-context responses are a great way to measure top-of-mind reactions to stimuli in real-life settings. Mobile video is an enabler of capturing these in-context insights, but as weʼve learned in our experiment, researchers should consider the following in order to gain the most meaningful insights when sending participants on in-context missions in public settings:

  • In your question prompt, provide specific instructions for where people should answer the question, considering that people will naturally seek the most private area to respond from. If youʼd like people to respond in the middle of a crowded store aisle, tell them so!
  • Be mindful of what types of questions you ask in-context. While people are willing to answer questions in public spaces, it is difficult for them to dive deep into personal stories, opinions, or emotions in a public setting. In-context prompts work exceptionally well for in-the-moment responses, but personal questions are better left to a private setting in a proper environment.
  • The best way to ask the deeper questions are in private settings. In order to get to a more personal level, offer private moment prompts, instructing participants to respond from their bedroom, or anywhere else they are most comfortable.
  • Bookending an in-context prompt with private moments allows for a cause and effect insight. By asking a participant to describe their expectations before sending them on an in-context mission, you can set the stage and understand peopleʼs deep, existing perceptions.
  • Then, by following the in-context prompt with another private moment to reflect on their in-context experience, you can understand how the experience met (or didnʼt meet) those expectations.

By using mobile video to collect responses in private settings AND public settings, researchers can effectively design studies that allow for multiple layers of insight — balancing between real time in context insights and the depth of a reflective response.

Watch a highlight reel of our experiment here:

Creative Use of Mobile Video Studies

Mobile video surveys helped us try an out-of-the-box study design, which opened up a window into what we can achieve depending on the setting of our research prompts; and how to optimize the in-context insight. With an easy way to quickly reach respondents from across the country, we were able to experiment with a simple two prompt approach and compare responses from two different types of environments. Click here for more on unorthodox and unconventional uses of mindswarms.

Have any ideas to test?

We are always looking for out-of-the-box tests to inspire our next experiment. Let us know if you have any approaches/methodologies you would like to test, and maybe weʼll make yours the topic of our next newsletter!

If youʼre interested in learning more about using mobile video for consumer insights, visit the mindswarms resource hub for free resources on mobile video ethnography, use cases, methodologies and study design.

https://mindswarms.com/resources/inspiration/resources.html

Special thanks to the people who shared their personal stories and insights with us as part of this mindswarms study.

Fabric YouTube
Looking for more videos? Check out our YouTube channel
5 Advantages of Mobile Video Over In-Person Ethnography
Learn 5 advantages of mobile video ethnography over in-person ethnography and why you should consider mobile video surveys.
From Rolex to Iphone: Millennials and the Meaning of Luxury
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