Unlock powerful insights by using online communities for brand research

Unlock powerful insights by using online communities for brand research

Thursday, 17 September 2020 09:58

Brand research is incredibly important for discovering the truth between what you want your brand positioning to be and what your clients or customers feel your brand stands for. Online research communities are a great way to get some honest opinions and in-depth feedback on your brand. We’ve been using online communities for some of our latest projects and it is delivering some fascinating insights.

What is an online research community and what does it involve?

An online community is an evolution of traditional qualitative focus groups and in-depth interviews. This method takes inspiration from social media and other online platforms to elicit comprehensive and deep responses from clients or customers in a forum that is often more familiar and convenient for respondents

Typically, this approach uses a specially designed platform for a closed group of respondents, in most cases we’ve found groups of around 10-30 is most effective. The community is active for an extended period of time, often 10-12 days, and asks respondents to carry out a variety of exercises (eg diaries, video blogs, mood boards) and moderated discussions over that period.

The benefits of an online research community summarised:

  • Respondents can talk more openly given the anonymity of online vs a face-to-face focus group.
  • We can select tasks for each respondent separately or open up and moderate group discussions. 
  • We have access to respondents over a period of time which creates far richer insights as we build a more comprehensive view of each potential client or customer.
  • We can talk to more respondents within a convenient timeframe compared to scheduling individual interviews.
  • Gives you and your audience more flexibility - because online communities unfold over time, are flexible and interactive, respondents will have time to reflect and share more considered, detailed and nuanced answers. 

Things to think about when deciding if this approach is right for your brand:

  • Typically, this style of research can be more expensive than a standard focus group as it runs over a period of days. 
  • Ability to moderate the group can be tricky, however, an experienced researcher will facilitate and moderate to gain the most out of the group.
  • Often a difficult (or less appropriate) method for engaging larger business owners, specialists, ultra-high-net-worth individuals, or senior managers. For these stakeholders, we recommend in-depth interviews as a more effective way to gain insights from this group as it is more intensive, one on one and takes up less of the respondent’s time.

Some of the clients we have worked with using online communities include:

 

NARTA (National Associated Retail Traders of Australia)

“Australasia’s largest retail services group, focused on providing sustainability for retailers, efficiencies for all partners and promoting product & technology and increasing choice for consumers.”

  • We recruited 18 respondents to an online discussion platform where we were able to moderate both individual and group tasks/discussions over a 10 day period.

  • We covered off 6 topics which included; shop visits, capturing and uploading content, video diaries, customer journey mapping, evaluating touchpoints (websites, catalogues, print).

  • Respondents were incentivised for completing all tasks but we also ensure engagement throughout by building in prize rounds

To find out more about this work, see our case study on NPR

Caruso's Natural Health

Caruso’s Natural Health offers a comprehensive selection of holistic, natural health products.

  • We recruited 31 respondents to an online discussion platform where we were able to moderate both individual and group tasks/discussions over a 10 day period.

  • We covered off 6 topics which included; shop visits, capturing and uploading content, video diaries, customer journey mapping, evaluating touchpoints (websites, catalogues, print).

  • Respondents were incentivised for completing all tasks but we also ensure engagement throughout by building in prize rounds

Caruso’s case study coming soon.