Research News Live

“What I hear, I forget. What I see, I remember”

The Research Society asked researchers to share how they are using video, and over the next few weeks we will be sharing the responses in a series of posts to highlight use cases for video.

“What I hear, I forget. What I see, I remember”
Xunzi (340 – 245 BC)

I’ve been fortunate to see a wide range of wonderful uses of video in research and CX. Sensory testing; Advertising Development; Concept Diagnostics; Compelling NPS and CSat explanations are all worth a mention. Hats off to all the clients and agencies who have harnessed the flexibility, analytics and editing functionality of the new video platforms which have burst onto the market in the last few years. I wish I could share many of these examples in detail, they deserve it and I’m sure would inspire you to do more with video yourselves.

The use case I would like to share here is a project that would be many researchers’ dream brief. The client had done a lot of work over the years understanding Mums and kids. They formed the key target market. Now the client wanted to turn the spotlight onto Dads. They figured as the role of women and Mums in society had changed so much there must be some kind of knock-on effect on men, in particular Dads.

So the dream brief?

Understand the changing role of fatherhood in Australia today.

We scoped out a qual methodology encompassing the usual mix of groups, IDIs and Ethnography. But I was looking for a way to give the client an extra dimension to their project. It occurred to me that seeing Dad’s behaviour for themselves and hearing from both Dads and their kids could be this extra something I was looking for.

We set each Dad 3 video tasks:

  1. A week’s diary: at the end of each day tell us all the interactions and things you have done with your kids
  2. Film, or have your partner film, the favourite activity you do with the kids as it happens
  3. Film your kids telling us “Why my dad is the best dad in the world”

The footage was incredible, for many reasons. It was emotional. It provided context. It illustrated the attitudes and values we had identified in ways we wouldn’t have imagined. And, of course, we had the “cute factor” with the kids’ footage.

But perhaps most importantly, it engaged the stakeholders at the client, and their advertisers, more than our carefully crafted words ever could.

So the video increased the ROI of the project tenfold.

From a researcher’s perspective there was another advantage too. When filming or observing respondents I am sure we all emphasize the same point in our introduction. To paraphrase: “Just ignore me, pretend I am not here and do whatever you usually would”. We all do our best and have good intentions however the ‘researcher effect’ is well documented in academic literature and we are actually kidding ourselves if we think our short intro will offset it. We bias the people we watch.

By filming themselves without our presence there was no doubt the footage was ‘more natural’ and less biased. It also was more intimate. Would we have been present at bedtime when Dad was reading a story to his 2 years old? Not sure how comfortable they, or we, would have felt even if we were able to be there for that special time.

It was also a very cost-effective and efficient solution because we could capture footage from a range of locations and at a host of different times without having to send a researcher out for each one. So we had more occasions, more dads and more geographic coverage for a fraction of the cost.

And by using the editing functionality within the platform there is no need to pay for expensive studios or editors. Highlight reels can be created in a matter of minutes by researchers who know how to tell a good story and can identify the key moments that bring it to life. It is faster and easier than Apple’s highly rated iMovie. And that is saying something.

There is a time and a place for ‘documentary’ or ‘film-maker quality’ or ‘high production values’ but there is also value in more basic footage, filmed by respondents on their own phones, in their own time. There is a raw quality to this type of fly on the wall video and it gives us access to a world consumers tell us about when we talk to them but it takes on a new dimension when we see it for ourselves through their eyes (or camera phones).

Jem Wallis,  Head of Agile Qual, Potentiate and Vice President, APJ for Voxpopme




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