WELCOME TO OUR BLOG!

The posts here represent the opinions of CMB employees and guests—not necessarily the company as a whole. 

Subscribe to Email Updates

BROWSE BY TAG

see all

What Does Inclusivity Look Like In Qualitative Research?

Posted by Lauren Simoes

Thu, Feb 11, 2021

In the past year, we’ve been forced to try new things and step outside of our comfort zones. After almost a year of challenging transitions to virtual everything, this year’s annual Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA) conference (exclusively virtual) exceeded my expectations. The content was easy to access (and great, as always), and the platform (Pathable) seamlessly replicated the social nature of conferences by enabling a sense of valuable networking. With social justice so prevalent in our minds this year, it’s no surprise that “inclusivity” was a significant topic of discussion.

For the purposes of this roundup, let’s think about inclusivity in two ways: first, as a human, and then as a researcher. As a human, I have some concerns about being exploitative about “inclusivity.” As companies continue to make attempts to raise their consciousness and convey accountability, I fear that inclusivity will only be viewed from a corporate and/or brand health perspective. As researchers, we can play a role in helping companies implement truly inclusive practices, finding meaningful and authentic ways to convey it for their brands. While we cannot control how organizations think about these issues, we can implement our own ethical standards—which is something qualitative research has always sought to do. Here are some of the discussions our industry is having:

INCLUSIVITY IS DIFFERENT THAN DIVERSITY. As Roben Allong expressed during the roundtable discussion “Inclusivity is Messy,” inclusivity is not just checking boxes to make sure that there is a varied set of research participants. It is a responsibility—not a choice—in research. For example, what is “gen pop”? Why does this often mean “mostly white?” Inclusivity is not just about race; and race (many times) is only one factor in our many differences—it is not monolithic. It includes ableness, geography, employment status, gender identity, micro-culture, ageism and more. Our responsibility as researchers to be inclusive also means taking a tailored approach when the topic (or research participants) calls for it vs. using a standard approach across all sessions.

WE MUST CREATE SPACES OF BELONGING. As Jyo Maan shared in her “Inclusive Research for Social Justice” presentation, inclusive research should encompass DEIB: diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. We must find ways to dig deeper so that people of all backgrounds can not only be included, but also feel a sense of belonging in the research community (as colleagues, as research participants, etc.). Researchers must keep aim on the ever-evolving target market and how that informs how we need to conduct research. The more “inclusive” our research is, the more applicable it will be to our clients’ goals and research objectives.

HOW DO WE ACHIEVE THIS? While I don’t claim to have all of the answers (or even close to most of them), there are some things we can start doing now. The most obvious thing is from a recruiting perspective. Perhaps “gen pop” is an outdated term. We need to ask who we are really trying to reach and what, if any, implications social identity has on who that is. A few points to reflect on:

  • With so many unemployed or underemployed, we need to reconsider employment as a terminating qualification
  • Make space for gender identity to be expressed in a non-binary way
  • Consider senior citizens viable parts of the conversation (as they have both technology know-how and buying power)
  • Accommodate people with disabilities in the research environments we create and cultivate

Sometimes these pivots will require consulting those more qualified to respect, understand, and convey the thoughts of a particular culture or micro-culture.

Regarding the research methodology itself, we may need to re-think how we structure our approach. Most qual researchers practice “unconditional positive regard” (as an attempt to dissolve incoming bias and treat research participants with respect) and are purposeful in checking their biases. This is more important than ever. As we attempt to be more inclusive, we must truly listen (and not in ways that simply confirm biases) rather than sticking to a prescribed discussion guide.

It is my belief that the best learning comes from discussion, different points of view and experience. If you have something to say about the ways we can make meaningful changes in the research approach, I would love to hear from you. Reach out to me with any thoughts, ideas, criticisms, etc. at lsimoes@cmbinfo.com.


Lauren is a Senior Moderator at CMB.

Follow CMB on FacebookInstagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter for the latest news and updates.

Topics: strategy consulting, qualitative research, storytelling, conference recap, brand health and positioning, Market research, professional development, COVID-19, Racial Justice, mrx

Who Are Your Fab 5?

Posted by Julie Kurd

Mon, Nov 30, 2020

Fab 5 Blog Opener (1)Who are the 5 people you regularly interact with in your professional life? Michael Veltri asked this key question during his virtual appearance at my company’s Virtual Sales Kickoff. His ideas about connection are especially relevant in a pandemic, where travel is limited, and our worlds can shrink unless we’re engaging regularly with clients, prospects, colleagues, and industry professionals.

Veltri’s points:

  1. CONDUCT A FAB 5 INVENTORY: Who are your current Fab ~5? These are the people who straddle the line between friend and business colleague. You want each other to win and you watch out for ideas/content/innovative methods that they may want to learn about, and vice versa. You show them what you found for them, and you share conversations about goals, plans, and life. You might text, DM, collaborate, video conference, video chat, enjoy virtual drinks, or create groups and book clubs.
    During the pandemic, I’ve also been jogging ‘with’ some of my Fab 5 (well, with their podcasts) 4 mornings a week. With that long-form of listening, I learn a lot, and I rely on their deep knowledge to continue to explore my own interests*.
  2. EXPAND YOUR FAB 5 DREAM TEAM: This network expansion effort is about who you need in your future Fab 5, and vice versa, so that you can drive impact (grow your company’s bottom line, expand your community service impact, realize personal objectives, hire amazing colleagues). Once you identify your future focus, you can make sure that you are investing hours that help bring you to that new reality.
    A friend recently told me her personal trainer calls her every Monday morning before 8am to quiz her on her weekend wellness behaviors. The first call, she was irritated, but after three weeks, she’s choosing healthier options and she can’t wait for those weekly chats. He’s unlocking the value in their relationship by authentically engaging and motivating her future wellness by focusing on her KPIs. She said she’s 75% more likely to renew for his new gym at a 20% premium cost. Is it just a sales ploy? No way. He is just being himself, and he is increasing the probability of his success by being human and learning how her needs dovetail with his solution fit. She was part of his Fab 5, and now he is going to be part of hers.
  3. TAKE RELEVANT ACTION: Veltri encourages us to take actions to build our Fab 5. Action has never been easier to initiate, because participating in virtual meetings and events is relatively frictionless (no travel, no fee in most cases). You can enter the room with your video off and voice muted (no expectations from the group), and you can log off and re-charge at will when you need a break. This incredible velocity of content and access to networking will undoubtedly decline after the vaccine is distributed and we begin commuting again.
    My recommendation is start today with a commitment to yourself to invest X hours getting to know your clients and industry colleagues more deeply. Pledge some time every week to interacting, to helping our industry peers whose jobs were eliminated during the pandemic, to community service, to personal goals, and/or to improving our understanding of our ever-expanding Insights community. Register and participate in the abundance of free events with Insights Association, Greenbook, Quirks, QRCA, ESOMAR, TMRE, Women in Research, Jamin’s Tuesday Series, university offerings, etc.
* If you’re looking for industry podcasts, start with Jamin Brazil’s Happy Market Research Podcast, Sima Vasa’s Data Gurus, Adam Jolley and Adam Dietrich’s The Ride, Priscilla McKenney’s Ponderings from the Perch, and I have a list for non-industry but start with AJ Kieran’s The 16 oz Canvas, which features the humans creating beer can label design and more.

Julie KurdFor more conversation on Fab 5, message Julie or another colleague to continue the dialogue. Julie Kurd is the VP Business Development at CMB.

Follow CMB on FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, and Twitter for the latest news and updates.

Topics: conference recap, Market research, mrx, Networking

TMRE 2020 Takeaways

Posted by Kate Zilla-Ba

Wed, Oct 14, 2020

Post TMRE Oct 2020 Blog Opener

Planning a virtual conference is a job you couldn't pay me enough to do. From what I heard in chatting with this year’s TMRE attendees, sometimes the tech works and sometimes it doesn’t. However, those of us who attended witnessed a great willingness to get the most out of the event and a lot of positive energy. So for sanity’s sake, let’s keep the elephant in the room that is COVID-19 to the side, skip the things we have all heard already, and focus on the most interesting takeaways from this week’s event:

  • What’s Next for Preparedness? Some speakers said you should’ve been prepared for the chaos that is the current  business environment. But most said, “…umm who could have REALLY been prepared for this insanity?!?” For me, the key is how to be prepared for next month and next year. Thankfully, there were lots of tips on what alternative research tools (aka virtual) have been applied successfully and behavioral data was front and center.
  • A Warning for “Agile” Researchers. Talk about being "agile" was everywhere, but in many cases the word was used as a synonym for "fast". While fast can be great, it's not always best. Iterative agility in the traditional sense of the term for research can be amazingly impactful. An iterative approach– develop, measure, change, retest, rinse, repeat– clearly has a role to play in improving the research of tomorrow. But being quick is only as good as being smart. On this note, Abby Finnis, Sr. Director of Portfolio Insights & Analytics at PepsiCo Beverages, made the point of needing to embrace hybrid solutions that bring a variety of sources to bear during her panel session, “How Dunkin’, PepsiCo, and Unilever are Shaping the Future of Research.” To me, that feels more like the best type of agile.
  • How to have a seat at the table. This classic question was reframed a bit for 2020 as how to bring together disparate business users and uses of research to maximize the utility of insights and ensure successful socialization and implementation. Sure, some of this was looking for ways to ensure insights can be efficiently developed once, and be used in a variety of settings and applications. But more importantly, TMRE addressed how we can be more consultative. For some, being more consultative meant forgoing a degree of certainty, which is not necessarily a comfortable space for a researcher, but in the end we must “elevate” the most relevant themes to each stakeholder in order to make an impact, and to have a seat at the table.

These themes were particularly relevant in my colleague Lori Vellucci’s presentation “Wealth of a Generation | Get Inside the Minds of Young Investors,” which explored investors under 40. Her research on young investors, which leveraged our BrandFxSM approach, is a strong example of how brands can understand a diverse and important demographic, based on four pillars of human motivation: functional, emotional, social, and identity. Research like this can help people across disparate organizational silos create roadmaps for change – there’s a way to get your seat at the table; measuring in a focused ongoing way allows brands to keep insights relevant and quick-turn – that’s a way to be responsive to the oft-sought agility; and in a rapidly changing environment where being prepared means predicting right, understanding human motivation sets brands up for future success by, to quote one presenter at TMRE “building resiliency into business strategy.”


Kate Zilla-BaKate Zilla-Ba, Account Director

Don't forget to immerse yourself in our latest financial services research: Get Inside the Mind of the Young Investor. And stayed tuned for more of our findings—experiential and beyond.
Immerse Yourself
Follow CMB on 
FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, and Twitter for the latest news and updates.

 

Topics: strategy consulting, financial services research, conference recap, Market research, agile research, COVID-19, financial services

Leading 2020 in Mind, Body & Soul

Posted by Courtnie Hallendy

Fri, Oct 09, 2020

Chase Womens Leadership Day 2020 Blog OpenerFor me, 2020 has really solidified the importance of slowing down and listening to yourself – your mind, body, and soul – to be the best possible leader that you can. This was a resounding message throughout JPMorgan Chase’s Women’s Leadership Day—an annual event to fuel female ambition and advance financial equality for all.

Missed it? We got you, girl (and supporters of girls everywhere)!

INVESTMENT

  • Mentorship: Dr. Condoleezza Rice, the 66th Secretary of State and a woman who represents the art of possibility to so many (well said, Thasunda Brown Duckett), spoke a lot about creating a legacy—not for yourself, but for others. Be the first so that others can be the second, and the third, and so on. It’s cause for celebration, in spite of the external and internal pressures you feel. Mentorship is a vehicle to carry this legacy, and it starts with building a genuine relationship. Personally, I have two or three trusted mentors in my life and those relationships were cultivated and have evolved over the course of my career. As Dr. Rice says, mentorship must be earned, gradually and organically in order to reach a place you can encourage each other to be twice as good, and twice as confident. It starts with small steps.

WLD_Rice

  • Spread the Wealth: Sharing our wealth of knowledge includes finances. Janet Alvarez, Personal Finance Expert for the Ascent, emphasized the importance of social connection to empower and educate our community, which as we know, is a particularly important driver for young investors. Start with your #GirlTribe! Use a portion of your zoom book club or virtual wine night to share budget strategies, and investment lessons. Recently, I’ve been sharing with any friend that will listen how the advancements in financial services technology have made making and managing finances so easy.

#POWERHER

  • Power of the Consumer Voice: From trusting your inner voice to lifting the voice of your consumer, humanity is in everything we do. Adrienne Stewart-Gorgon, Co-Owner of Pound Cake Society, shared how her company changed its business model to meet the needs of their community (i.e. making face masks). In this journey, they heard from their newfound customers: vet clinicians, healthcare workers, and their families. In feeling their love, concern, and gratitude, Adrienne felt compelled to share their beautiful stories across the organization to keep them going, from her vendors to volunteers.
  • Rock the Vote: Speaking of beautiful stories (and beautiful voices!), LaTosha Brown, Co-Founder of Black Votes Matter, shined a light on just one of the strong women who’ve empowered her: her grandmother. Her grandmother, a woman denied the right to vote herself, brought LaTosha to the voting booths, instilling in her the “power of the sister vote.” She reminded us that women have always been at the forefront of transformative times in our nation’s history, and we mustn’t forget that. Dr. Rice affirmed this when she challenged the dismay and burnout that many Americans feel. To Dr. Rice, the only way to honor the generations before us, and they progress they made, is to do the work because democracy is hard work. We should be optimistic because the opportunities for further progress have been identified, and we’re building a roadmap forward.

WLD_Brown

HOPE

  • The Essence of Transformation: LaTosha posed the question “What is your radical reimagination of the future?” and “What’s your role in that transformation?” For Mindy Grossman, President & CEO of Weight Watchers (WW) her role is to galvanize hope so that her organization, and its people, can emerge stronger than ever—a message shared by Armin Molavi back in May. Amid disruption, brands must focus on what’s right for their consumer to ensure progress is made in a way that’s authentic, and just. This sentiment was echoed by Ginni Rometty, Executive Chairman at IBM, who urged organizations to recognize their obligation and power to solve the issues we face, and to do so by leading from their core purpose.

All in all, I hope you don’t feel alone in the stresses and anxieties you feel. Because our matter [body] matters, we must view the health of our mind, body, and soul as essential to helping the health and wellbeing of others, as women so often help to manage. Whether that means taking an extra-long shower because it’s the only place you can find some peace and quiet or having a daily dance break (sorry not sorry!), bring joy to your life and #POWERHER.


Courtnie HallendyCourtnie Hallendy is an Account Director at CMB, with more than 15 years of experience in market research on both the client and vendor sides of the business.

Follow CMB on FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, and Twitter for the latest news and updates.

Topics: storytelling, conference recap, growth and innovation, professional development, COVID-19

IIEX North America Roundup

Posted by Julie Kurd

Tue, Sep 15, 2020

Copy of IIEX 2020 Virtual Conference Roundup Blog Opener

This morning, I listened to a podcast about Maya Shankar, an exceptional violinist who studied under Itzhak Perlman before a hand injury forced her to shift course. She finished her doctorate in Cognitive Neuroscience and now works at the intersection of behavioral science and policy research to drive meaningful change. You can find out more about her here. She pivoted. She figured out her path forward. Pivoting is something we’re all learning to do and IIEX, like other formerly live events, is no exception. Like Maya, they’ve found avenues through the obstacles and persevered. Here’s the roundup of the IIEX North America virtual conference:

  • Jamin Brazil interviews Jon Derome, the GM of Customer and Market Research (CMR) for Microsoft, about Jon’s journey to GM. After Reed Cundiff moved to Kantar, the GM role opened and Jon, a 10-year veteran of the department, wrote an 8-page application to CVP of Brand, Global Advertising, and Research, Kathleen Hall for the role. Jon understood his role would be to make good decisions rather than quick decisions, and his decision to embark on a listening period shows his deep ability to reflect. He conducted 100+ one-on-one sessions and three surveys (among the CMR organization, the stakeholders they serve, and vendors) and his key takeaways were that 1) they needed to reorganize away from the former deep concentration by product (Xbox, Azure), because that was too siloed for Microsoft’s next epoch of growth, and 2) they needed to shift from tight/closed relationships between siloed stakeholder-researcher groups to visible/transparent relationships and collaborations within the CMR team and to the stakeholders and vendors. The CMR team felt very visible to their individual silo’s stakeholders but invisible to one another. While Jon humbly admits they are ‘still learning’ and ‘have had some failures and some successes,’ his vision for the group is to practice in a way that leaves spaces to talk and invite all voices in the team (quiet and loud) to the conversation.
  • Roben Allong asked “What is culture?” Allong, CEO of Lightbeam Communications, described how she mines cultural insights with a six-step process to help brands know what, where, and how to look for cultural codes and artifacts that impact the behaviors, attitudes, perceptions, and choices of today’s consumer. She talked about the steps of cultural consciousness, unbiased curiosity, informed observation, structured exploration, cultural insight discovery, and the insight validation stage. In one case example, Allong and her team tested some Haitian Creole print ads and discovered that younger people use Haitian Creole as spoken dialect not written. The marketing materials would have most impact as audio/radio ads vs print. She went on to talk about rising cultural trends such as digital empowerment, inclusivity of all voices, gender fluidity, green shaming (shaming brands that have acted environmentally irresponsibly), virtual living (reinventing behavior and social constructs) and AI integration.
  • The Power of Podcasts to Talk Culture. During IIEX, Sima Vasa’s Data Gurus, Jamin Brazil’s Happy Market Research Podcast and Priscilla McKinney’s Ponderings from the Perch podcasts were at the same time slot. I chose by putting 3 numbers into my cup and that’s how I clicked into Priscilla’s. But I regularly listen to all three of their podcasts and I highly recommend them all!
    IIEX Schedule Screenshot Podcasts 2020-2
    During Priscilla’s session, she spoke with Bianca Prior (BET) and Chrystal Day (YouTube). They had tremendous trust and rapport with one another as they spoke about culture and our unique opportunity within the #mrx industry. Bianca talked about getting involved at any level you can.
    Later in the IIEX program, the MR Podcast Award of the Year was revealed. 16 podcasts were nominated and the awards were granted. I am so excited to listen to the podcasts I haven’t listened to yet, as I am one of those “all media” people.
  • Jessica Sage, Ashley LeBlanc, Priscilla McKinney and Michelle Andre co-hosted the evening Women in Research (WiRe) sponsored event where 77 of us participated, listened, laughed, and text chatted as we answered famous women in history trivia questions. In a non-COVID-19 world, we would have been at WiRe enjoying some appetizers and a drink in a very energetic room with industry colleagues, but it was great to keep a sense of connection among a close-knit community. WiRe is organized into regional chapters and both women and men can participate. I highly recommend getting involved for the seminars, the trivia, and the networking!

IIEX Sep WiRE event screenshot 2020

I’ve now been to over a dozen virtual events and they keep getting better. While I look forward to getting back to seeing everyone in person, I’m going to continue to put on my best Zoom shirt and lean all the way in.


Julie KurdJulie Kurd is the VP, Business Development at CMB.

For more insights, please follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Topics: conference recap, Market research, agile research, AI