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Extracting Insights in a Shifting Online Reality

Extracting Insights in a Shifting Online Reality

By Maury Giles

The 2020 pandemic has accelerated technology adoption and innovation in almost every facet of our personal and professional lives. While not every new tech experience lives up to its promise, this dynamic has opened meaningful new ways for people to interact. 

Importantly for our industry, the widespread shift online also opens new ways for us to connect with the human experience.

This trend led us to explore ways to use our Illumination Lab (iLab) tool and the Zoom platform to create a novel primary research experience online. The method enables deep exploration with a large group of consumers – 20 to 50 at a time – in a single session, immediately followed by smaller moderated breakout sessions probing more deeply on their earlier responses.

It is like doing 4-6 in person groups in a single night, but getting detailed responses from EVERY respondent. And it feels similar to doing a quant segmentation followed by a qualitative deep dive, all with many of they cherished dynamics of a 1:1 in-depth interview. And, again, all in one night!

This online, large scale segmented qual is a powerful insights tool that COVID dynamics have enabled. Nearly everyone now knows how to use Zoom with relative ease. The practice of toggling between multiple apps on your device is commonplace, even for older participants. As a result, the sessions are fun, interactive, and compelling for our clients.

This approach is perfect for testing concepts, messaging, white space, or innovation territories. It has also proven effective for issue, policy, or positioning exploration. You get to profile people through “survey” work, then immediately probe them for deeper understanding. 

The iLab lets you gauge individual reactions to stimuli, ideas, and/or themes via typewritten responses. Language matters. And it is captured realtime from each participant on the fly. 

The Zoom breakout sessions allow you to create custom segments based on how people respond to the iLab survey, rating, and/or open-ended probing questions from the first hour. The tool makes it easy, then, to facilitate smaller group discussions so you can close any gaps ion learning or clarify their documented answers from the first hour.

Ultimately, the technique takes advantage of a cultural trend driven by the pandemic. It yields actionable insights from emergent consumer segments. And it will arm you with human understanding to empower more effective decision-making.

Contact us at Heart+Mind to help you connect with your audience in this time of rapid, massive change.


About the Author

Maury Giles is the Chief Growth Officer at Heart+Mind Strategies. A story-teller at heart, Maury is a three-time David Ogilvy Award winner for his work at Wirthlin Worldwide, Omnicom’s GSD&M, and PURSUIT.

Post-Election Advocacy and Policy

By Andrew Cober

Business leaders, association heads and, yes, opinion researchers, were again confronted in 2020 with the stark reality that single quantitative metrics of attitudes and intended behaviors were insufficient for reliably understanding an issue or population. While the autopsy on 2020 Presidential polling will continue for some time, what is clear, even before pundits and pollsters render their verdict, is a need for more robust understanding of human decision making that serves to champion the human through the power of choice and action.

That robust understanding necessarily emanates from a deeper understanding of stakeholder audiences across the spectrum of your issue.  It’s this type of engagement across the issue ecosystem that Heart+Mind Strategies deployed in 2020 to help move the needle in tangible and meaningful ways on a pervasive issue that has become only more pronounced in the unsettled times of COVID-19—Chronic Fraud Victimization.  Researchers and advocates have sought tirelessly to understand the dynamics of victimization, helping victims and potential targets feel more informed, equipping them to confidently navigate the fraud landscape, and empowering them to stay one step ahead of scammers.  However, additional effort and new thinking was needed on how to best support the victims and families of chronic, repeat frauds and scams. By better understanding the drivers of chronic victimization.

In addressing this critical challenge, Heart+Mind Strategies teamed with AARP and The FINRA Foundation to bring together internal association experts, financial and fraud thought leaders with new, holistic, and human-centric perspectives on the dynamics of chronic fraud. We coupled their insights with in-depth research among those victimized by chronic fraud and their families.  Through online collaboration workshops and detailed one-on-one interviews to explore the journey through chronic fraud victimization, we then developed a behavior model that served to highlight opportunities for intervention that can serve to disrupt chronic fraud behaviors at key touchpoints.  Further, these interventions served to provide clear direction on both tactical and communication approaches for aligned associations and allies to actively engage in disrupting the channels that scammers use repeatedly to deploy their tactics.

These insights and directed actions simply would not have emerged through standard “polling” of key targets.  It required a broad methodology approach of “getting close” to relevant stakeholders, understanding the drivers that shape their perceptions and building a collaborative solution-oriented platform to disrupt the status quo.

Rumors of polling’s demise are likely exaggerated.  But the need to deploy a more robust lens to understanding stakeholder attitudes has never been more pronounced.


About the Author

Andrew Cober is a Senior Vice President and Partner at Heart+Mind Strategies. Andrew has leveraged 30 years experience in implementing quantitative methodologies, advanced analytics and qualitative moderation skills to develop customer satisfaction, brand positioning and strategic communications initiatives for clients at the local, state, national and international levels.

He has worked collaboratively to implement strategic communications research for industry and professional associations such as AARP, Society for Human Resource Management, and The US Travel Association among others. His corporate clients include Marriott International, ComEd, Western Digital as well as government clients such as NHTSA and Freddie Mac.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and sociology at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio where he was awarded the honor of outstanding graduating senior in Sociology.