Pillars Of Wisdom

 In Opinion Solutions

Pillars of wisdom: laying the foundations of contemporary consumer research

At OPINION #IMO, we specialise in delivering qualitative research solutions that reveal the emotions, attitudes and beliefs held by consumers and which can otherwise be lost in the matrix of Big Data (or the results of quantitative research). 

We recognise that quantitative or sound research approaches still offer immense value, but also that today’s consumers are more mobile, more web savvy, and more connected than ever. Changes in consumer behaviour necessitate adapting existing research methodologies to be able to find, engage with, and understand the contemporary consumer. 

However, our transformative methodology is much more than a knee-jerk reaction to modern societal and technological trends. Instead, we have carefully constructed a solid basis for everything we do. It is rooted in research best practice, but supports iterative, adaptable research methods. 

We refer to this foundation as our four pillars: 

  1. Consumer-centric: we put the consumer first 
  2. Agile: an iterative, adaptive approach for faster innovation 
  3. Mobile: distributed using dynamic technology
  4. Tailormade: crafted to meet your needs  

These four pillars in turn underpin the ‘3Cs’ that are the hallmarks of OPINION #IMO research. We pride ourselves on leveraging our expertise and experience to converse with, convince and ultimately convert consumers to a more positive or engaged point of view regarding their message, products or services. 

The 3Cs represent a significant departure from previous top-down research models. They contain an inherent acceptance that the balance of power has swung towards consumers. Today, it is consumers who ‘own’ brands and who can shape their narratives. 

This makes it imperative that brands gain meaningful insights into consumer feelings (which cannot always be represented by bald data points) and that these insights are gained in ways that are scientifically proven to be accurate, replicable and scalable. 

All of which places extra emphasis on the importance of the foundations of the research, and demands a closer inspection of our four pillars. 

Consumer-centric: putting the consumer first 

This is an acceptance that mobile technology and social media have given consumers much more power than they have had previously. They are no longer passive, unquestioning consumers of brand messages. Rather, they are curious and cynical, and they crave authenticity. 

People no longer merely believe; they need to be convinced. A key component of this process of winning over sceptical contemporary consumers is to give them a genuine sense of their own importance. That means seeking them out (going to where they are, whether online or in physical space). 

Agile: an iterative, adaptive approach for faster innovation 

The faster pace of modern life means that research has also had to speed up. But crude measures of the velocity with which results are achieved do not tell the whole story. Rather, it is the rate of change that is vital. Research programmes need to be able to turn on the proverbial dime and adapt to changes in consumer behaviour and opinions. 

Being more flexible means that each new iteration of the research can follow more quickly on the heels of its predecessors, without the need to complete redundant phases. This in turn permits cost-savings and can result in new products and services being brought to market more quickly. 

Mobile: distributed using dynamic technology

Contemporary consumers are mobile, even when they’re standing still. There are an estimated 22 million smartphones currently in use in South Africa, or one for every three people. A very high percentage of economically active South Africans are therefore online, and not only from 9 – 5. While this presents challenges, we prefer to see it as an opportunity. 

Apps and other software (including reward-based and gamified approaches) mean that consumers can be conversed with (and subsequently convinced and converted) remotely. Research costs can be reduced, and consumers can be contacted in ways that are relevant, convenient and compelling.  

Tailormade: crafted to meet your needs  

Generic products are no longer acceptable to many consumers. People place great emphasis on their own uniqueness, and they expect brands to recognise and cater to this. In the same way that no two consumers are the same, neither are any two brands, even if their products are ostensibly similar. 

This calls for research programmes that are designed to meet your brand’s needs, and which will extract not merely data, but opinions and beliefs from consumers. Just as you would not want consumers to see you as just another brand, you absolutely cannot afford to see them as mere data points. 

To learn more about how our four pillars can support your brand’s consumer knowledge and engagement, contact Opinion today.

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