Brand research today is both easier and more challenging than ever before. Oceans of data provide extensive marketplace knowledge, but transforming your data into actionable insights requires the ability to uncover meaningful takeaways from the data you collect. Unlocking useful insights from your data begins by asking deeper, more qualitative questions, even if yours is technically a quant study.

Finding the right questions is the key that unlocks a vault of qualitative insights from your data. But the search for the right questions is often haphazard. A disciplined approach to developing your questions will lead to more impactful qualitative insights – a foundation on which you can build deeper brand understanding.

Design by Design

You’ve heard it before, but “start with the why.” Part of asking the right questions is understanding why you’re asking these questions in the first place. As you undertake the process of identifying your goal, a multitude of priorities vie for attention. Crafting your questions around a narrow objective gives you the ability to drill deeper into your target. By bringing a specific purpose into focus, the answers you receive will provide more effective insights.

As you solidify the purpose of your inquiry, make sure to involve your entire team. Their input will produce greater clarity on the objective and might reveal areas for exploration that directly support their own goals.

Are you talkin’ to me?

You may be eager to learn about your customers, but before you can derive deeper insights into who they are and what they value, you must establish what you already know. All lines of questioning should start with basic knowledge about your target. Analyze what you already know about your intended audience. What are their ages? What brands do they prefer? What’s their preferred method of contacting your organization on social media? Go deeper than simple demographics.

The better you integrate the information you already have about your intended market, the likelier it is that you’ll be able to craft insightful questions that encourage their responses to extend beyond the superficial.

We gather meaningful, influential and real brand insights through
ethnographic research techniques.

Examine Your Assumptions

Even a few customer interviews can provide significant insights and break long-standing assumptions you may have about your user. On the other hand, lack of awareness can lead to asking the wrong questions altogether. When you ask the wrong questions, you stifle your ability to achieve truly meaningful insight– regardless of the amount of time or money you pour into your research project.

For example, if your app has more downloads than your competitors, it’s easy to assume that your app is better. However, a few direct consumer interactions might reveal that they chose your product due to a misstep by your competitor, not because they prefer your product. If you had crafted your questions around your flawed assumption of a superior product, it would have skewed your line of inquiry, causing you to miss an opportunity to discover how to truly serve your customers better.

Float like a butterfly…

While your inquiry strives to answer a particular business challenge, an observant researcher may well discover patterns that indicate a richer line of questioning outside your original objective. Should such a vein present itself, be quick to identify this as a new opportunity.

Your research goal is a strong guide for developing the appropriate questions, but don’t overlook qualitative insights that pop up during the process. Maintain an open mind and allow the research to direct your path. Don’t dismiss customer input simply because it steers you toward an unexpected direction.

Inspection Time

Once you have generated your data set, it’s not enough to simply identify trends and statistics. You must translate analysis of your results into actionable intelligence that your teams can apply. This is where an unbiased brand strategy team comes in. By applying an impartial evaluation to your findings, your strategist can provide you with a roadmap–sometimes expected, sometimes surprising–to align your business offerings with what your customers want.

Research is never a “one-and-done” project. It’s an ongoing journey that constantly evolves. Big data is only the first step. Additional lines of questioning that did not match your current purpose can become the springboard for areas of future exploration. By continuing down the path and pushing beyond the numbers, you discover the deeper brand understanding that all those facts and figures are trying to communicate.

Contact Big Squirrel and start uncovering actionable intelligence within your research.