Colourful Numbers

Last week, we served pastries, coffee and crisp thoughts on how to get culturally attuned through data. Charlotte Burt, consultant in the quant and analytics team summarises the key take-outs...

Most people have at some point thought about what superpower they would most like to have. Invisibility? The ability to fly? How about the power to read people’s minds? What if we told you, we could grant you the power to know what people are thinking just from the use of numbers? That’s exactly what Syann and Claire, director and associate director respectively in our quant and analytics team, shared with some early risers at Crowd’s most recent breakfast session.

Using data to tell stories with context: whilst qual techniques are often the go-to method for providing a deep understanding of behaviour, the beauty of quant research is that it can place findings in a more representative context and really broaden our understanding of a particular topic. How do we do this?

1. Think about the outputs – it’s no use thinking about what outputs you want once the research is completed. This needs to happen in the early stages and it’s important to ask yourself: what will the outputs look like? Where can numbers give me the most value? And what data will really help bring the story to life?

2. Use methods tactically – qual and quant often go hand in hand so think about the best ways the different methods can complement each other and give you the best insights.

3. Layer your questions – asking the same question in a number of different ways will really tap into the nuances in people’s opinions. Be implicit. Explicit. And everything in between.

Getting beyond claimed behaviour: there is often a misconception that you can’t truly find out what makes someone do the things they do just by asking them. Wrong. There are ways of gathering and interrogating data that allow us to explore the thought process people go through, and statistics are at the heart of Crowd’s approach. So how can this be done?

1. Trade-offs – presenting people with ‘trade-off’ scenarios (or choice based conjoint analysis, if you’re feeling fancy) can help you analyse the paths people take in their decision making and isolate what factors are the most important to them.

2. Segmentation – grouping people on their attitudes and behaviours (rather than their demographics) is a great way to understand how people differ in their opinions.

3. Key drivers – if you want to find out the relationship between different attributes and what is really making people do the things they do then key drivers analysis is the way to go!

Questionnaire design to gain cultural understanding: everyone has biases. Some we know and some are hidden deep in the depths of our subconscious. The key to great questionnaire design is to recognise what biases might be at play – both in our own minds and in the minds of others when they are responding. This can be tricky, but the following tips can help:

1. Know your audience – think about the type of language that your desired audience are familiar with. Set the right tone and make sure that the look and feel of the survey is relevant.

2. Use frameworks – being mindful of behavioural science and cultural strategy is crucial. Every question you ask should have a purpose and it’s important to consider how each question will be interpreted.

3. Lay the foundations – never approach quant research cold. Whether it’s undertaking up front qual, desk research, speaking to experts or simply reflecting on your own thoughts and opinions, always come armed with information before designing a questionnaire.

As the morning drew to a close and the final croissants and coffees were snapped up, the real question now is… what to do with these new found super powers?