Image of the book The Culture Map

Do you work internationally? Read ‘The Culture Map’ by Erin Meyer

I have just read The Culture Map by Erin Meyer and it has excited me more than anything I have read for several years (since Chip and Dan Heath’s Made to Stick in 2007). If you work internationally or if you manage cross-cultural teams I strongly suggest you read this book – it is useful, enjoyable, and an engaging read. The book is a forensic analysis of some of the key differences between cultures and how these differences create problems when people from different backgrounds work together. The book is also a manual for how to deal with many of these problems. I don’t want to steal any of the book’s thunder (I want you to buy it and read it), but a couple of examples will help illustrate the insight and usefulness of the book. 1) A French businesswoman in America. Early in the book Meyer uses an anecdote about a French businesswoman to illustrate a non-obvious clash between French and American styles. The businesswoman was transferred from Paris to the USA to lead a team of Americans. She was looking forward to the challenge as she appreciated the direct and honest style of Americans (e.g. ‘say what you […]

Scientific Method Flow

What is the scientific method, and how does it relate to insights and market research?

I often hear people grumble that researchers, marketers and insights professionals have forgotten (or have never learned) the ‘scientific method’. However, there is usually very little discussion about what the scientific method is and how it should be applied. In this post, I am going to share a definition of the scientific method and discuss how it can be applied to the process of finding insights in commercial organisations. A dictionary definition: Here is a definition of the scientific method from the American Merriam Webster dictionary: “Principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.” The definition is a start, but it is not a road map for teaching or using the scientific method, so let’s map it out and then explore how to use it. Scientific Method Flow Chart The scientific method uses systematic processes to move from the need to solve a problem, via the creation of a hypothesis (or hypotheses), to testing the usefulness of the hypothesis. The flow chart below spells out the key steps in this journey. 1 Defining the Problem The […]

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New Participants, New Expectations, for Qualitative Market Research

The post below is a guest post from Maya Middlemiss, Founder and Managing Director of Saros Research, based in their UK office. Qualitative research has been around for many decades now, and despite the growing plethora of online tools, many techniques have more than stood the test of time: Amidst all the emergent research activities for which we recruit, the good old group discussions and depth interviews are still amongst the most widely used. Of course, the subject matter being discussed may have changed, and the qualitative enquiry techniques employed by the researchers continue to evolve, but the basic formats continue to work well – in skilful hands yielding valuable insights to business challenges old and new. What about the people taking part though? We’d contend that they have changed significantly, in contrast to the methodologies. A couple of decades ago, recruitment took place by word of mouth or lists in telephone call centres – slightly differently in different markets, but it was highly restricted. Certainly in the UK, being a ‘focus group participant’ meant that you were personally known to one or more recruiters… And as such it was highly likely that such a person got used far more often than […]

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Politicised discourse – is Market Research Attuned?

The post below is a guest post from Edward Appleton, Director Global Marketing at Happy Thinking People, based in their Berlin office. We live in unsettled times – Brexit, Trump, opinions polarising and splintering… more and more aspects of life seem to becoming politicised. Whether it’s fake news, cultural appropriation, safe zones – public discourse is often charged, filtered. This “politicisation” – oblique or direct – is happening faster than we think and is pretty pervasive. Some examples: US retailer Nordstrom became part of a storm following its decision to de-stock Ivanka Trump’s fashion line The Budweiser 2017 Super Bowl TV ad sparked a wave of protest following what was perceived as a politicised, pro-immigration message. Consider what the use of capital letters on Twitter can easily suggest. Are we ready for this in market research? The filter bubble is a familiar concept in social media, but what about the interaction that goes on in a Market Research Online Community? Or a mobile chat? Groups? Do we capture authentically how peer-to-peer communication really happens – or are we “shut out” as external observers? The hypothesis is that people become more inhibited in expressing their true views, with multiple social pressures encouraging […]