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5 Ways to Work it Like a (Go) Pro


5 Ways to Work it Like a (Go) Pro

We love doing in-context or ethnographic research.  It’s so fun to immerse ourselves into a respondent’s environment and learn “what’s really going on” vs. “what respondents say” in a focus group setting. And, yes, video is a great way to effectively capture the interviews – it provides authenticity but also comes with some drawbacks. Regardless of someone’s moderating skills, it’s more awkward for a respondent when you add a video camera to the mix.  For the last few years, we rarely take video during our ethnographies due to the “cumbersome nature” of the equipment.


To solve one of these problems, we could enlist the help of our clients. However, walking them through operating a camera is technical and takes away from the ‘in the moment’ learning. 

At ABRG, we found a small and mighty answer to this multi-layer dilemma. Insert GoPro Hero 4 Silver! We chose a GoPro because its versatile capabilities allow flexibility for any ethnography or in-context research situation. 

  1. Mounting accessories:  we love the Go Pro’s various accessories and bought the suction cup, flex clamp, and hand grip. These make it easier to walk with it or mount it wherever you need to take video – bathroom, kitchen, etc. The clamp accessory especially, is useful doing in-homes because furniture can easily become camera equipment.
  2. Size:  It’s tiny, which is another asset when recording. Because it’s not bulky, respondents don’t notice it when they are being interviewed – it fades into the background. 
  3. Great quality video at close proximity – the video quality on a GoPro is stellar, especially when it’s put on the “narrow” setting.
  4. Mark-up ability: it is easy to mark up interesting, noteworthy parts of the interview in the moment!  This makes sorting through footage later so much less painful! 
  5. Remote control via iPhone app: the GoPro contains a remote feature that allows you to control angle, start/stop, etc. from your iPhone, which is awesome.  If needed, the interviewer can both record and conduct interviews without enlisting the help of another team member or client.  

All of these features are great but getting up to speed and feeling comfortable with it requires bit of “ramp up”. We believe in creating step-by-step Process Documents to keep us from reinventing the wheel so we put all our knowledge into words in the format of a laminated Process Document containing the ins-and-outs of “how to use a GoPro.” To easily access this guide when we are in the field, we made it so that it easily fits inside the GoPro’s case and color-coded it based on topic. Additionally, the GoPro, its parts and mounting accessories are labeled and correspond with the user guide as reference.   In conjunction with the process document, we also labeled all of the parts of the GoPro and the different mounting accessories. Wherever the GoPro goes, a user-friendly guide goes with it. 


To GoPro or no?  That is the question.  So far, we’re loving it.


TMRE: Shifting to an Emotional Lens in the Drive-Thru

TMRE: Shifting to an Emotional Lens in the Drive-Thru

The majority of our thoughts take place in the subconscious mind. Usually, we don't know WHY we are doing something if we are asked directly, but there is usually an emotional reason for it hidden in our subconscious. The folks at Coca-Cola were curious to learn about people's experiences in the drive-thru. Instead of conducting this research ethnographically, which would involve being right there with consumers in the drive-thru to observe their actions and emotional reactions, Coca-Cola decided to take a different approach and do 30 one-on-one IDIs (in-depth interviews). 

The way they did this successfully was by asking respondents to go through the visualization process, to mentally bring them back to their drive-thru experience. "If you ask them to tell you about one of their memories or experiences, they tell you something you might not have heard otherwise," says Kristian Aloma from Brandtrust. His team even asked respondents close their eyes while answering some of the questions for better recall of the event. "The key is NOT asking them why. There are ways a trained researcher can get past the surface to uncover their actual experience," Aloma states.

To Coca-Cola's surprise, many respondents revealed very emotional experiences at the drive-thru. For some it was a place where they could go in the morning to brighten their day; for others it was a get-away from their hectic routine where they could have someone else take care of them. It was a part of their ritual, and it made them feel good.

The presentation was definitely intriguing, and it was also very educational. I learned a lot about the different techniques that can be used to get respondents to open up about their experiences, especially if an ethnographic study is not possible. I'm eager to tell my team members about the interesting findings of this research!

Mayuri Joshi isResearch Magician at April Bell Research Group, a boutique, full-service marketing research firm, committed to delivering fresh insights you can act on! Learn more at

Live from #TMRE13:  How CareerBuilder Builds Research Advocates Internally

Live from #TMRE13: How CareerBuilder Builds Research Advocates Internally

Kassandra Barnes, Research and Content Manager at CareerBuilder began her presentation giving us her definition of "viral" --

"The art of making something popular and shareable with minimum effort (or at least making something look like it's minimum effort)."

Her "viral" goal was to create an internal buzz for research at CareerBuilder.  As a single researcher in a sales organization, it was not the easiest thing to do.  Because, she said, "In a sales organization, the typical research timeline doesn't fly!  You have to be extremely agile!"

She gave us 6 steps to create internal advocates in an organization which needed extremely quick information:

1.  Do research "they" care about:

Create the purpose before the research: 

What's the headline, So What?, Who Cares?

2.  Build a Braintrust:

 (from cross-functional departments…including sales!)  This creates a group of brand ambassadors before the research even starts!

3.  Create Content:

 Using "The Four A's" (Audience, Assets, Assess, Advertise)

4.  Be Your Best Salesperson

5.  Train People on Research

6.  Build Partnerships

Live at #TMRE13:  We're Not Just Researchers

Live at #TMRE13: We're Not Just Researchers

Dan Pink's keynote this morning was great!  He talked about his new book, 

To Sell is Human:  The Surprising Truth About Moving Others

His primary points included:

1. Like it or not, we're all in sales now. 

 He described what we all know -  that most people had negative connotations of "salespeople."  Note the word cloud of adjectives generated when 7000 Americans were asked the question. 

"When you think of "sales" or "selling", what's the first word that comes to mind?"

2. Sales of anything is not what it used to be. 

 It's a move from "buyer aware" to "seller beware."  The old way, he stated, was like Alec Baldwin's 

Art of Selling in Glengarry, Glen Ross.

  • A - Always
  • B - Be
  • C - Closing

Whereas, the new way is about:

  • A - Attunement - can you get out of your own head and understand where someone else is coming from?
  • B - Buoyancy  - can you stay "afloat in an ocean of rejection"?
  • C - Clarity - can you curate (edit, distill, determine relevancy of information)?

He also made an insightful point about how power leads individuals to anchor too heavily on their own vantage point, insufficiently adjusting to other's perspective (Adam Gallinsky). And that there is an inverse relationship between feelings of power and perspective.

He suggested one way to increase your effectiveness is by briefly reducing your feelings of power.  And that the really sustaining kind of influence is by lessening your "muscle."

When negotiating, it's less about emotional intelligence, but about understanding the other side's interest.

Live from #TMRE13: Trend Spotting: Trends that Define a More Discerning Consumerism

Live from #TMRE13: Trend Spotting: Trends that Define a More Discerning Consumerism

How awesome would it be to work in the liquor industry and have the word "Vodka" in your job title? Well Janu Lakshmanan, Head of Global Vodka Consumer Insights for Beam, does exactly that. 

Based on her presentation, it was easy to see how passionate she is about her job (and who wouldn't be?) and how hard her team has worked on figuring out the 5 current trends in the vodka industry. 

1) Think Global, Get Local - People have started to care about where their food/drink comes from. Chipotle is a company that does a great job with emphasizing that it only uses local ingredients.

2) Maximized Moments - This is all about taking things to the next level and enhancing the overall experience. Heineken put a chip in their beer bottles that would light up based on the energy in the room (for example, it would light up to the beat of the music).

3) Collaborative Lifestyles - There is something special about sharing and making the world a better place. Lyft is a car service program where people offer rides in their personal cars to create an interactive experience of helping out others, while getting the chance to meet new people. 

4) Synthesthesia - Engaging all of your senses to make the overall experience better. Salta is a beer company that wanted to tie together Rugby and beer by having vending machines that men have to tackle, and based on the strength, the machine gives out bottles of Salta beer. 

5) Made for One - Customized just for you. CustomMade is a company that can make anything (from tables to toothbrushes) custom made.

I loved the presentation! Her passion and energy, as well as her use of creative examples, made this one of my favorites! 

Mayuri Joshi isResearch Magician at April Bell Research Group, a boutique, full-service marketing research firm, committed to delivering fresh insights you can act on! Learn more at

Live from #TMRE13 - Billion Member Focus Group: Using Social Media Analysis to Understand Today's Real-Time Customer

Live from #TMRE13 - Billion Member Focus Group: Using Social Media Analysis to Understand Today's Real-Time Customer

Social media has become a part of daily life, and in today's world, it's hard to find someone who does not have either a Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account. Consumers are constantly on their computers, tablets, and mobile devices, posting and tweeting their thoughts and opinions. 

When you think of the number of people on these social media sites, it's difficult to even comprehend the magnitude of data that is generated on a daily basis. In fact, according to Wayne St. Amand, Vice President of Marketing at Crimson Hexagon, there are 1 billion posts that go up every 48 hours! 

Social media is the single largest source of unsolicited consumer opinions, and very few companies are doing a good job capturing and analyzing this data. All of this data is already readily available at your fingertips, and there is much opportunity to utilize it to uncover meaningful insights.

St. Amand provided an example of a large automotive brand that sought to decode this social media data by initially categorizing the comments and posts into positive, negative, and neutral segments. But simply looking at the data in these segments did not provide the level of insight desired because the WHY piece was missing. It is not as powerful to know WHAT consumers are saying if you don't know the reasoning behind it. Once the brand dug deeper into this data to figure out WHY the customer comments were positive, negative or neutral, the company was able to uncover the detailed insights necessary to successfully complete their rebranding efforts.

The large amount of information being created on social media still might be hard to wrap your head around, but what is clear is that this data is already being captured, and it's up to you how you want to use it!

Mayuri Joshi isResearch Magician at April Bell Research Group, a boutique, full-service marketing research firm, committed to delivering fresh insights you can act on! Learn more at

Live from #TMRE13 - Experience Design: Key Steps to Delivering Customer Delight and Business Results

Live from #TMRE13 - Experience Design: Key Steps to Delivering Customer Delight and Business Results

Lesley Mottia, Executive Vice President of Product & Experience at Zipcar, gave an extremely interesting presentation on the key steps companies should take to improve overall customer experience. Companies can follow these steps in order to find out what makes their customers happy and drive business results.

1) Be with your Customers - You get a completely different experience by actually being in person with your customers and observing their actions. Ethnographic experiences are much more valuable because you can see consumers' actions first-hand. CustomMade spent time with its customers in order to better connect with them. 

2) Imagine the Ideal - Instead of focusing on solving today's problems, imagine the overall picture of where you want to be years from now. Moo disrupted the business card segment by creating customized business cards to better suit the needs of small businesses. They came out with Printinfinity, which allows companies to print different images on the back of each card.

3) Design the Whole Experience - It is important to look at the overall user experience, instead of focusing on just one aspect of it. Zipcar had a problem with consumers being unable to locate their cars, so they added guides and location photos to make the overall process easier. 

4) Humanize the Details - Find a meaningful way to connect with consumers to make it a great personal interaction, whether it is online or offline. Warby Parker personalizes the experience of buying glasses online by sending you multiple frames to try on and giving you the opportunity to consult with their "social team" to receive input.

5) Recovery as Opportunity - When something goes wrong, make sure you act, and use it as an opportunity for a spotlight moment. Customers like when companies are able to bounce back quickly and treat it as a way to improve their business. 

6) Measure, Rinse, Repeat - Need to quantify how well the process is doing and decide what areas need improvement. This is the most important step of the process, in my mind, because companies should continuously be looking to improve their programs.

Mayuri Joshi isResearch Magician at April Bell Research Group, a boutique, full-service marketing research firm, committed to delivering fresh insights you can act on! Learn more at

Live from #TMRE13: It's Just Not That Hard - Using Consumer Insight for Competitive Advantage

Live from #TMRE13: It's Just Not That Hard - Using Consumer Insight for Competitive Advantage

How does a market researcher come into a large organization as a one-man army, where there is no marketing research team and very little budget allocated for research, and come out successful? Susan Topel, Director of Strategic Insights at Centene Corporation, shared her inspiring story.

When she joined the company, there was not much knowledge regarding Centene's customer base, and decisions were made based on what the company "thought" the customers wanted. Topel's job was to dive in to uncover the reality of the situation and present compelling insights back to the company. 

How did she do this all on her own? "It's all about the right tools," she said. For her, that tool was Qualtrics, an online survey software which helps her save time on analysis so she can spend more time in the up-front process. By using Qualtrics, last year she fielded 453 surveys, all on her own! 

"You can do it all, and that is what I am here to tell you," she encourages the audience. Though it may seem overwhelming at first, all it takes is the right tools to get you on the path to quickly and easily discovering powerful insights.

Mayuri Joshi isResearch Magician at April Bell Research Group, a boutique, full-service marketing research firm, committed to delivering fresh insights you can act on! Learn more at

Live from #TMRE:  Improv Improves Innovation

Live from #TMRE: Improv Improves Innovation

For the 2nd workshop today, I was glad I stayed in the Professional Development track.  As an information hound and being in this business for many years, it's always fun when I feel like I learned a new way to approach innovation.  And that was what this was all about. Michelle James, Chief Emergence Officer of The Center for Creative Emergence, took us through several exercises designed to break us away from the common fears we all have:  worry about not looking good, fear of saying something stupid, etc.


The Improv Principles and Improv Mindsets

she discussed (and we experienced) are all about acting "as if" what others are giving you is a gift...and then "adding to it."  And from that, there is freedom.  Feeling free, and that you will be accepted allows teams to STOP worrying about fears and in that moment, begin to create.  I love that:)

She also mentioned how natural it is to come to the edge of your comfort zone with resistance but that forcing through it (i.e. 'playing' by these principles), a new environment is created with those around you...and those who feel like they helped create, also feel as if they own the outcome!

Live at #TMRE13: You Are The Presentation

Live at #TMRE13: You Are The Presentation

A presentation about presentations provided a good kickstart for TheMarketResearchEvent today! Gene Zelazny of McKinsey & Co. gave a compelling talk about making the most of your business presentation.

He spent an appropriate amount of time discussing how Defining the Situation First was the single MOST important aspect of a good presentation.  By first defining what you want impact you want the audience to haveas a result of the presentation in 1 sentence, everything else flows easily from there.

This framework for thinking about presentations reminded me of a 1-day Duarte Design workshop I attended last summer - I still remember how impactful the workshop was. The instructor claimed that once you first get clarity on WHAT the audience should DO as as a result of what you're presenting, the more clarity you will have in creating the story...and slide deck.

Zelazny also went on to show how important it is to "turn the story upside down" when structuring the presentation.  In other words, giving the recommendations first instead of trying to detail the process of getting there.

A few resources he provided were as well as his 2 books, Say it With Charts and Say it With Presentations.  All of these give simple design visuals to help when you're developing graphics for presentations.