The cornerstone of a brand’s communication used to be a 30 second TV spot. Just 30 short seconds to capture someone’s attention and tell them a compelling story. Now almost any TVC needs to also needs to work as a 6-second edit to succeed on social media. This is an idea which I found deeply confronting only a couple of years ago (how can you communicate anything in six seconds?). But I get it. This reflects a shift in how we consume information, ideas and entertainment. Bite-size Insta chunks here, Netflix binge there.
Does this have implications for qualitative research? I believe it does. Group discussions and online groups and forums ask an awful of people in terms of their precious, valuable time. Would you go to a focus group? We get around this by paying respondents ever more money to participate and quietly wonder about the representativeness of participation and groupies. Another workaround is to do in-home depths – fit into their life rather than ask them to fit into ours. But these are still lengthy and a big ask of the respondent, not to mention a risk to researchers.
What if there was another way of asking people some qualitative questions? Perhaps broken up over bite-sized chunks? And which was easy, and fun and almost effortless to answer? As easy as swiping left or right? Or talking a response while they were in the mood to share without the need for a screen or an appointment? Which didn’t ask tedious and irrelevant questions? And which was respectful of their time?
Would this idea work? Would we find people willing to participate? Would you participate in this?
Might it even work without the need for incentives at all by tapping into an intrinsic human desire to be heard and understood?
I think it’s time to try some new.