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Monday, July 20

Conversations with Consumers

Working around shifting is a moving goal post! As soon as one completes one area, a totally new one stares in your face and quietly takes the weekend away.

Last week, I attended many FGDs for a client project. While I am not an ardent admirer of this research tool, a lot of our insights are mined this way. Was giving some tips to my junior. Sharing the same...They are not in any particular order/ emphasis.

1. Capture more verbatims(as many as possible) - the actual consumer quotes. There are two purposes it serves.
(a) it's more evocative /rich/ has a nuance which may have been overlooked earlier
(b)it helps you later to weave a better narrative...

(Remember the first notes are like an FIR. Just write all the stuff, don't analyse at this stage or try to give structure to the discussion/ thoughts.)

2. Even before one enters into a GD as observer/ moderator, it's important to have a POV. Don't be rigid on your point of view(POV) but ask questions to vet it/ or drop it.

3. Compare stuff - with what you know before the FGD and what gets said during the FGD. I believe research is a dynamic, on-going conversation which we must have with consumers/ people. Also they are just 6-8 normal people in the room. You don't have to treat their word as gospel. They are capable of lying, speaking rubbish, rant because they are bored...Over time, one learns to separate the wheat from the chaff!!

4. The Importance of the Deviant/ Stray Comment
- Never underestimate the importance of the small comments, stray comments. They can lead you to places your original discussion guide couldn't have/ never intended!

5. Stories
Capture real life stories as vividly as possible. They are rare. They are true. They often are stranger than fiction...They give you a glimpse into the shifts and the drifts as nothing else can.

Then later during the analysis phase try to find out what - the motivations were
- Why they recounted those stories.
- Any hidden/ deeper meaning.
- What could a brand/ your brand learn from that story.

Good researchers and planners are story collectors and raconteurs!!
Keep mulling over the thoughts. Reflection when the FGD is done is very important. Research(any research) is not a power-point to be made, presented and archived...It's an on-going conversation with the consumer and with oneself!!

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