Transforming Focus Group Participants to Co-Creators, Part Two: Technology

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Creatively gaining consumer insight is paramount at the start of the branding process, as are product development and design. In part 1 of this series, we discussed how to break free from the ordinary restrictions of qualitative testing. A major tool in this innovation is technology. The Internet has changed the way we think about communication; rapid communication through email and crystal-clear video streaming have altered the necessity of “in-person” interactions.


Girl on tabletOne limitation of focus groups is the lack of follow-up engagement with participants. How do they view the market they were asked about once released back to their daily lives? Fortunately, engagement can also be practiced remotely. Recruits can be asked to record daily or weekly video diary entries. They can also be tasked with specific activities such as shopping for running shoes or visiting a specific restaurant. The insights gained from this type of testing have numerous implications.


Video diaries are a very effective way to gather information and opinions from consumers, particularly because they get to answer questions in a safe, semi-private space. Though they know someone will see their videos, they are alone and free from the direct judgment of others. You can often ask more personal questions using this testing format than you could in a public focus group. Testing of more intimate products can be more comprehensive, as well. After a few entries, the vloggers will start to speak more openly as they begin to rely on these exercises to process their feelings. It should also be noted that creating videos is faster for participants than typing, and they are less likely to edit themselves in this format. Your system can be programmed to immediately upload the videos to your team, allowing you to ask specific participants follow-up questions or request that they complete additional tasks. For example, Sally might mention on day 4 that the salesperson at a shoe store was condescending. You could then send a question for her the next day asking what words salespeople use that she likes or dislikes. The rapid advancements in technology spur efficiencies with both time and costs.


Technology can be an aid in traditional testing, as well. A simple mobile app can be swiftly downloaded by participants and used within the session for numerous applications. One type of useful app is an anonymous polling app. This can establish a way for consumers to talk about what others think without bruising any egos. You can give them the option of stating their choices, but the real question will focus on the results as a whole. For example, you might ask, “Why did 45% of our group say they connected the color blue with a fresh taste?” Often people are more outspoken about the opinions of others than they are about explaining their own choices.


Taking your work to the next level is a basic goal you should be driving toward in every aspect of your life, and market testing is no different. Enhancing your testing protocol will lead to boundless changes in the quality and quantity of your feedback, and your clients will be blown away by the results. Additionally, since the data you receive will be of higher quality, less testing time and fewer participants are required to attain the same level of insight. The exceptional data you gather will greatly improve the outcome of your work going forward.


At Antonio and Paris, we have developed a vlogging program we call Project FollowMe. Find out more by messaging us at