How Taking Part in Qualitative Market Research Makes You See The World Differently

If you have ever taken part in a market research focus group or group discussion, it’s possible that you might have come out of the process unclear as to exactly what was achieved. When we talk to people about their experience of research participation, they nearly always report having had a fun and interesting time -but sometimes they wonder exactly what the people commissioning the research can have learned from their contributions, and how exactly they earned their cash incentive payment (typically £30 to £50 at current UK rates)

Of course sometimes the exercises used in research are very direct and obvious: If the research facilitator asks the group to compare two images and discuss what they like about each of them, which is most effective, which they prefer and why… as a research participant you will surely listen to the question and consider it, then try to respond to it as honestly and fully as possible.

That is fine, when this kind of considered response is required. But sometimes researchers need to go deeper. We relate to the brands around us in a wide range of ways, some of them consciously (‘I love Brand X, but Brand Y has gone down hill lately’), but other relationships are much more subtle. You might have sentimental feelings for brands from your childhood, or unconscious connections and memories suggested by a logo or piece of packaging. An advert or theme tune might really grate on you for reasons you have never thought about, and probably don’t really care about… but the people marketing that brand do care, and that is why they are paying for these focus groups!

So the researcher might ask you to do some things that seem a little bizarre at face value. We have seen participants asked to close their eyes and imagine what a brand of detergent would be like if it were a country – what kind of climate it might have, what governance, what the national dish might be. Sometimes people have said afterwards that they felt they gave a silly answer, because they had no idea what they were supposed to say… but that ‘top of head’ response can often tell the market researchers a great deal about the impressions their products are making, especially when they compare the responses from a range of different research participants.

Other researchers might get you to draw a picture of how an event made you feel, or imagine two different makes of car were people you met at a party – and then think about how they might introduce themselves and what they’d be wearing, and so on.

It’s all about getting you to think about the familiar in new and different ways, and it’s fascinating to observe or be a part of. We all make hundreds of tiny decisions every day, to buy that kind of shampoo or visit that website over there… each of our individual decisions might seem inconsequential, but when we’re talking about brands used all over the world these decisions scale up staggeringly. Market Researchers seeking to understand and learn from this behaviour have evolved intriguing tools to explore how our minds make these decisions, and being part of this is great fun.

Common Habits of Effective Product Designers

Creating new products can be incredibly difficult even for experienced product designers. There are several steps that goes into the process, which also makes failure inevitable at various facets of product development. However, there is a certain set of habits that differentiate good designers from effective ones.

If you want to become part of the latter group, below are the traits and practices that you need to uphold when you design product for the market.

Stick to the mundane.

Products are designed and created for a specific function. Some designers might be compelled to produce something novel, but you need to stay rooted on mundane concepts before attempting to innovate. It starts with an understanding of what the market needs. Put usefulness before innovation when designing a new product.

A lot of designers commit the mistake of focusing on novelty above function in an effort to make quick profit. As a result, they forgo important elements in product design, such as sustainability and longevity. Make sure to avoid taking this path.

Give value to the product’s function.

A good product is something that can serve the function it was intended for. You can incorporate additional features into the product; however, it must not intervene with the primary function of the product itself. Unless a product can perform efficiently, it is deprived of the ability to compete in the marketplace.

Think about the user.

Excellent designers are sensitive to the needs of its user. There is a very fine line standing between necessary and superfluous features in a product. You must therefore exercise great caution when planning a product’s design before you proceed into the creation process.

Strive for sustainability.

Several products released in the market today are being scrutinized for its contribution to more environmental damage. Hence, you must think about how the materials used and packaging of the product can facilitate more sustainability. Embrace the challenge of protecting the environment when you design product.

Is your product recyclable? How can your product facilitate in natural preservation? Ask yourself these questions and use them as your personal guide.

Reinforce the brand.

A brand is an important component for any business organization. Thus, it should be incorporated into the process of designing new products. However, do not limit yourself with logo, colors, and other emblems of the company. Focus on the mission, vision, and objectives of the organization as a whole and think about how this product can help in achieving them.

Prioritize product merit over clever marketing.

A good product can stand on its own. It does not need clever marketing for consumers to appreciate its value. The market today is saturated with useless products that offer little to no value. Effective designers must overcome the wave of product novelty and focus on competency in the market. If you have a good product, it will be easier to market them without spending thousands of dollars on advertising.

Understand the context of the product’s use.

Before you design product, make sure to perform a thorough market research. Use this as an opportunity to gather information on the behavioral patterns of its intended user. This will provide you with useful insights into what are the necessary features and what features you can forgo.

Leave your legacy behind.

The best product designers are ones that focus on meaningful design solutions. All of their products are designed to create an impact on users and improve their quality of life, thus leaving a lasting impression on the consumers.

Group Facilitation: What Factors Are Controlled to Nurture Efficiency?

A team of employees brought together to achieve a goal, resolve conflicts, or make important decisions is group facilitation. Facilitators are in charge of ensuring the productive flow of a meeting. They make certain the meeting flows, has an agenda, and keep the group on track and disrupt arguments by interjecting when necessary. This individual manages the discussion while remaining neutral to assist the participants in reaching an understandable and well-researched decision. A group facilitator is not the same as a team leader or company executive because their experience is given strictly in an objective manner to aid in the progress of the discussion. A facilitator is in charge of:

  • Keeping Everyone Focused
  • Unlocking Creativity or Expertise
  • Making Certain Items are Discussed Thoroughly
  • Helping the Participants Reach Better Decisions
  • Resolving Issues or Accomplishing Objectives

Facilitators have precise techniques that are designed to promote participation and positivity during the meeting. Telling individuals assigned to a group that they must do something does not automatically provide good results. Personalities have to be balanced in order to create an environment where ideas are pondered rather than rejected. Facilitators are trained to maintain the environment necessary to reach a productive outcome.

How Does a Group Facilitator Maintain the Right Atmosphere?

A group facilitator focuses on what can be done to help participants work together and reach a common goal. They guide the team through each agenda and monitor what goes on to put everyone’s skills to the best use. This addition allows a team to be highly successful and supplies improved results at a much faster pace. An effective organizer will have these qualities:

  • Flexibility
  • Adaptability
  • Proactive Nature
  • Responsiveness
  • Resilience

Group facilitation requires an individual to be capable of modifying activities prior to and during a session. They should be able to change activities based on the observed characteristics of participants. Experts remain neutral while taking steps to prevent extreme tensions or frustrations from affecting productivity.

Six tensions typically arise during a team-based meeting and can drastically affect progress if they are not handled correctly. The following tensions enhance a meeting when managed efficiently by a group facilitator:

  • Structure
  • Pace
  • Interaction
  • Focus
  • Concern
  • Control

The structure of a meeting can range from tight to loose in regards to how the rules are laid out. An extremely tight structure involves defining rules before the process starts whereas rules are defined as the discussion progresses in a loose meeting. Group facilitation experts manage the interaction between participants ranging from cooperative to competitive environments. Focus can be process driven, result driven, or remain neutral with concern ranging from a more individual approach to the group as a whole. A facilitator will take an unobtrusive role if a team must decide on what actions or objectives offer the most value. They sometimes take a neutral, consulting, leadership, or background role based on the objectives that need to be met. Professionals must be capable of balancing every tension to create the most productive atmosphere and guarantee positive results.