The importance of immersion and ethnography on insights generation

by Ricardo Altschul


Focus groups, in-depth interviews and other traditional qualitative techniques, sometimes, are not enough when we want to access latent opportunities but are in need of agile and real-time insights.

Since people are not always aware of their behaviors, motivations and even of their needs, we are able to discover it by observing them in their natural environment and consumption context through ethnographic interviewing and immersions

They are a very special type of qualitative research in which the selection of the subjects is particularly challenging, and the talent of the observer/analyst is absolutely paramount.

To make them agile and able to trigger real-time insights, we have developed 2 proprietary methodologies and tools:

  • Ariadna® is our on-line immersion tool. During a short period (usually 3 to 7 days), we moderate an online group of people via apps, posting about a specific subject we would like to have a deep understanding. We propose different tasks and ask them to capture and share real time behaviours, consumption contexts and habits through their smart phones. It is an effective way to reach consumers on challenging times where physical contact can’t happen.

Our client, Marcella Cohen from Unilever says:

“The methodology of research groups via whatsapp generated many inisghts for our brand. The great advantage of this methodology is that we can follow our consumers in their routine, and better understand how they behave daily. In addition, we were able to access their reality with photos of their homes and the products they buy, which in the future helped us to build our internal presentations and make the discovered insights more tangible. The interaction of consumers was also something that surprised us, as they only engage in the group when they are available. The quality of the information is great, they really try to give details in their answers. It is certainly a methodology that we will continue to use for future brand projects. ”

  • Ippikus® is our itinerant research venue, a van equipped with all necessary tools to carry spontaneous and real-time people on the streets wherever and whenever were needed. The interviews can also be transmitted on-line. Of course, this methodology is only implemented in a world context when there’s no health risk associated.

At Alexandria, we love to develop new ways to access what is latent, unspoken, and – always – surprising.

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