Developing deep, meaningful and lasting connections with your consumers means keeping a finger on the pulse of people and culture. Often the best approach to understanding the “whys” and “hows” that underpin the way people interact with your brand is through the “whats” and “whens” and “whos”. Observational research shows us:

  • what people are doing in their day to day lives, and why they do it
  • when they interact with brands, see communications, or decide on purchases
  • who influences these decisions and successfully markets to them

What people do goes beyond their shopping habits—it encompasses what TV shows they watch, what magazines they read, how often they check Facebook or Twitter or check in on Foursquare, who they talk to, where they get advice, what needs or desires trigger decisions or discussions, what information they want, what obstacles they face, what criteria they use, which competitors draw their attention, where they shop, how much they spend, and so on. In other words, understanding behavior shines a light on every step in the consumer journey within your category, and toward (or away from) your brand. Life is a journey—to understand what people are really doing and why, we need to accompany them on part of that journey.

While ethnography is a very good way to understand consumers’ lives and lifestyles, shop-alongs, friend groups, diaries and homework assignments can all play a role in developing insight into consumer behavior.

SperlingQual sees understanding people’s behavior—through observation and through conversation—as a key component of developing the insight needed to develop brand and communications ideas that succeed in attracting, engaging and retaining customers.