When responding to inquiries–or making pitches–to prospective new clients, I am invariably asked to talk about my relevant consumer insights research experience. Understanding that clients want to hear about studies that are close to their own category of business, I try to speak about past projects that the client might possibly find a thread of connection to. For example, for a manufacturer of wireless home speakers, I would talk about previous research I’ve conducted on other wireless home… Continue reading
In spite of some very profound book learning and mentoring from the intellectual masters of anthropology while I was a student at Stanford, I was still yearning for direct experience of my own. Like so many young adults, I felt like an outsider and was questioning the values of contemporary society and rebelling against the culture that I grew up in. Like so many teenagers, I found that outlet in a world conjured by popular music. In my case that… Continue reading
During my second year as an undergrad at Stanford, I moved off campus. I loved going to a book store in Menlo Park called Kepler’s. It was here that I had my own version of the Harry Potter moment in the wand shop. I was perusing the anthropology section when a book seemed to almost fall off the shelf into my hands. The book was called Violence and the Sacred. The cover had a rather ominous graphic on of… Continue reading
Every once in a while, in the course of my day, I find myself wondering: how I ended up in this line of work, traveling around the country spending countless hours engaging with people in their kitchens and cars, shopping with them online and in stores, watching them work and play? Back as an anthropology grad student, I never imagined this is where I would end up. In the Caribbean, yes. In Africa, perhaps. But in the living rooms of… Continue reading
Here’s the multi-million dollar question – What does the consumer want? Until recently, market researchers have relied on traditional methods like focus groups and surveys to understand the mind of the consumer. But after decades of looking at quantitative data, forward-thinking decision makers instinctively know there has to be a better way.
There is a better way – ethnography. Ethnography provides executives with a real-world understanding of consumer preferences, motivations, and needs by examining the environments consumers inhabit and the… Continue reading