Is a branded research community right for you? September 21, 2017

Is a branded research community right for you?

One of the trends in market research over the past few years has been the rise of the online market research community. A number of brands have built their own communities to allow them to conduct research regularly and to gauge opinion even on small issues.

For some, this can be a great idea. Having an online community at the ready to respond, without the need to bring a research agency in to assist is appealing. The value of being able to test run ideas past a group of 'real people' can be very appealing.

However, the reality is often quite different and the benefits of an undertaking like this can sometimes be outweighed by the downsides.

So what are the problems?

The first problem is that a branded research community is a big commitment. Setting up, recruiting (an ongoing exercise), and maintaining a community requires a lot of work, both in terms of hours and dollars. This can mean that it can both eat up a large proportion of your research budget and then sit unused for long periods because you don’t have time to keep it active.

The idea of signing up to provide feedback on your brand is something that is likely to appeal to a very particular group of people. Maybe they are your biggest fans, or perhaps vocal critics. Either way, by committing your budget to an ongoing community, you are limiting yourself to talking to this same group of people over and over. This might be ok for some of your research, but often you will need to step outside this community and talk to a much wider sample.

There are some brands and categories that are more interesting than others. While you and your marketing team might be able to talk about your product all day, the average person is going to become bored very easily. Expecting them to talk about similar things over and over is likely to lead to a lack of engagement and you may end up having to continually re-recruit new members.

Fortunately, there is an alternative that provides the benefits of your own branded community with fewer downsides.

Short-term research communities offer a 'best of both worlds' solution when you need fast, research. For many of our clients, rather than investing up-front in an online community, instead they tap into our Caféstudy community when they need it for fast quantitative or qualitative research. This can include existing customers of your brand as well as potential customers, with the ability to control and monitor to ensure a representative sample.

The sample is always fresh and engaged, and Edentify manages your project from start to finish, freeing up your team to focus on turning the insights into action.

Edentify has been running online research communities for many years. Contact us to find out more about how they can help you understand your customers better.

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