Imagine looking at a mall directory and trying to find the food court. You’d be completely lost if it weren’t for the star that says “You are here.”
What’s the first step in getting anywhere? Knowing where you stand. You can’t get to the place you want to be if you don’t know where you are right now. Anyone who has ever been lost in a shopping mall knows this all too well, but the same notion rings true in public relations.
Research serves as the starting point for Bravo Group’s campaigns. We rely on Omega Group, our strategic research arm, to uncover what’s meaningful to the marketplace. Without them, we’d never find the food court, so to speak.
Omega Group delivers valuable market research through a number of different methodologies, including quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative research involves information conveyed in numbers, and is usually gathered through phone surveys and questionnaires. These are the results that validate a general course of action.
But numbers aren’t the only part of the game. Though it’s great to have raw data, you can’t ignore the more human, emotional side of an audience. Results that can’t be expressed numerically, like opinions and reactions, fall under the qualitative umbrella. This is where the methodology changes to something that’s a bit more unique and personal.
CoConnex (short for Collaborative Connection) are interactive focus groups in which Omega researchers gain useful insights about consumers and their experiences with a client’s products, brands or services. The groups are usually comprised of 10 – 12 participants who accurately reflect the target demographics the client hopes to reach. Designed to encourage conversation, CoConnex sessions yield some of the most constructive qualitative results. Omega Group will also bring the client in during discussions, which, surprisingly, encourages more honesty from the participants.
Most interesting by far, however, is Omega’s use of creative imagery. Participants are given a number of tarot cards containing an image with a descriptive word underneath, such as “the Empress” or “the World.” After giving a short introduction, participants are prompted to make a series of selections, choosing the card which best represents the topic (e.g. company brand). This tool allows researchers to learn about people’s immediate perceptions of the client, and yields insights that are extremely useful for branding and communications. To reach a greater audience, Omega is developing a digital version of this tool. The team is especially excited because this platform will dramatically decrease the amount of time spent providing meaningful insights to clients, compared to traditional face-to-face research.
Of course, no job comes without challenges. There are many road blocks in research. One of them is “groupthink.” Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that encourages members of a group to change their opinions to conform to the norm. Encouraging individuals with open ended phrases such as “Tell me about [the topic being discussed],” is an effective way to circumnavigate groupthink and delve deeper into the topic. And much like Bravo employees, Omega researchers are frequently required to become experts on an industry in a short amount of time so they can craft thoughtful topics to explore with CoConnex participants.
Think of Omega as Bravo’s mapmaker. Their research lets us know where we are, where we’re going, and what we can expect along the way.
– Sean West, Bravo Group, Wayne
Photo credit: http://omegans.com/