They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Let’s stand by that. Pretend one picture is equal to (literally) 1,000 words. If it took, let’s say, five seconds to look at each picture in an album (remember, one picture=1,000 words), that means you would be able to consume 12,000 “words” per minute by looking at pictures (please note this is just for fun; a picture is not actually equal to 1,000 words). On the other hand, according to this Forbes article, the average reading speed for an adult is only 300 words per minute. If my non-conventional calculations are correct, that would make picture-viewing 40 times faster than reading!
All math aside, the message is clear: Visuals are quick and engaging for delivering a message, and trends in online content reflect that idea. In an effort to capture the short attention span of web surfers, marketers are using images and video to efficiently deliver their brands’ messages. Last week, Kate talked about the positive effect of “fluency,” or easily processing information. Visuals are a great tool to achieve this. Websites and social media platforms like Buzzfeed, Instagram, and Pinterest are supporting conversations and stories almost entirely through visual storytelling and photo essays. We’re also seeing an explosion of short videos in the form of GIFs. Mashable talked about how the New York Times used a looping animated image last week for its cover story. On the more informal end, a new app called Vine lets users create short video clips. Check out this (very amateur) one I made coming into the office the other day.
Part of the job of the market researcher is to understand the ways marketers are delivering messages to their brands’ target audiences, such as these trends in visual storytelling. By doing this, in Corona’s Insights for Strategic Marketing, the process is cohesive and interconnected, from an initial situation analysis all the way to program evaluation and monitoring. In other words, when we conduct a focus group, we’re making sure we ask the critical questions to guide marketers when they’re ready to reach out to target demographics. Beginning with the end in mind is crucial. That’s the role of the data-driven consultant.
*This figure is made up
In recent years, the qualitative research field has seen an explosion of new online or mobile tools that allow researchers to capture data in ways we couldn’t 5 to 10 years ago. Although we’ve previously reported on the rise qualitative analysis software and what it means for Corona and its customers, we’ve decided to launch another investigation. This time, we’ll be looking into tools (both old and new) that might help us gather qualitative data and provide unique insights for our clients.
It bears mentioning that Corona already utilizes a wide array of qualitative tools to help our customers get the information that they need. Amidst other tools in our toolbox, we frequently conduct focus groups (in-person and online), in-depth interviews, online bulletin boards and other ethnographic research. But as technology continues to evolve and society becomes increasingly mobile, new ways of gathering data are emerging all the time. We already have smartphones and tablets, and other new wearable tech tools are looming on the horizon (Google Glass, anyone? Or what about an iWatch?). On top of all of these gadgets, there are also countless online platforms that allow market researchers to gather data in a structured manner, which then allow us to conduct subsequent meaningful analyses.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is that there are lots of qualitative tools out there, and quite frankly, the options can be overwhelming. Today, we can launch one-on-one conversations online with a specific target audience within minutes. We can ask participants to send us videos from their smartphones while they shop. We can lead focus group discussions with people from all over the country. But with what seems like an unlimited amount of options these days, how do clients know which methodology is right for them and their needs? While these new trends certainly sound neat, are they reliable? Do they provide quality results? And, most importantly, can they get us the answers we’re looking for?
There are definitely questions to be answered, but fortunately, that’s where our team of passionate research professionals comes in. We’re in the process of becoming subject matter experts on the most current online qualitative research methods and how they can benefit our clients. We have a feeling that you might be interested in what we find out, so we’ll keep you posted along the way. Stay tuned!
Bill Daniels had an insatiable hunger for knowledge. Although he only received a 2 year degree at a junior college, his hunger for knowledge and strong work ethic paved the way to an extremely successful business career as a pioneer in the cable television industry.
In 2012, Corona Insights had the pleasure of conducting stakeholder research for the Daniel’s Fund Foundation. The branding research aimed to better understand how the various types of people who interact with the Daniel’s Fund feel about the organization, including their perceptions of Daniel’s Fund, their overall awareness of Daniel’s Fund’s work, and their perceptions of the Daniels Fund in some key branding areas. This information served as a baseline to better inform upcoming branding efforts and possibly serve as a basis for comparison in a similar effort in the future.
As a recent hire at Corona (9 months with the company), I wasn’t directly involved in the project, but had heightened awareness of the Daniels Fund. In March, I had the opportunity to volunteer with Goodwill Industries of Denver as a panelist of a mock scholarship interview for Daniel’s Fund scholarship finalists. In essence, this was a confirmation of the branding research Corona Insights had conducted in 2012. I went into the volunteer experience knowing very little about the Daniels Fund and left with a lasting impression of the foundation’s work. Bill Daniels once said, “I guess one just fails to realize the impact they have on young people. That is the one legacy I will be proudest to leave.” The Daniels Fund Foundation has been able to carry on Bill Daniels’s legacy beautifully after his death and the students I had the privilege of meeting were a testament to the success of the Foundation.
Bill had an ability to find kids who were at risk of falling through the cracks and he’d invest in them personally and enjoyed watching them succeed. In March, I met Glenn who is exactly the type of person Bill would have been honored to assist. Glenn is a senior at North High School, one of Denver’s “turn around schools”. Although he struggled in middle school to even attend class, his perspectives changed when he was cut from the basketball team his freshman year. Yes, I said cut. After attending every practice and conditioning session, at 210 pounds and only five feet tall he was cut. Running and working-hard made Glenn feel great. Although he was cut from the team he didn’t want to give that up. He continued running and as his body transformed, so did his mind. He is now top of his class and in 2012 he completed a half marathon. Glenn has faced much adversity in his lifetime; he grew up in a bad neighborhood, was touched by gun violence, and has never had a father. However, in the hour I spent with Glenn, I observed a humble kid who had integrity, valued honesty, and cared about his community. He aspires to go to Occidental College in California to get a degree in Aerospace engineering. He will be the first person in his family to attend college.
This year alone, the Daniels Fund will give 256 students in the four state regions of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and New Mexico a chance to pursue their futures. The Daniel’s Fund is keeping Bill’s legacy alive by making sure these kids who exemplify great character and potential have the opportunity to go to college.
On April 26th, Glenn received notice that he had officially been chosen as a Daniel’s scholar. He reacted to the news as he does to any honor, very humbly not wanting to brag, but knowing that he had just received a gift to the future he envisions for himself.
While I’ve been working on the Cultural Plan project (www.ImagineDenver2020.org; please submit your input if you haven’t yet!), I’ve been thinking a lot about data presentation. I’ve been thinking about it partially because people who enjoy arts, culture, and creativity obviously value aesthetics, but also because the data from this project, like most projects, will be useful to many people and should therefore be presented in an easy to use format. Data presentation comes in all forms, such as tables or infographics; however, it often is not given enough thought because it is generally one of the final steps of a research project. Data presentation is such an important step, though, especially when you want people to act based on the findings.
Easy-to-digest data actually have some very powerful psychological effects. In psychology we refer to the sensation of easily understanding or processing something as an instance of “fluency”. If something is easy to understand or process, people feel happier , they perceive it as more beautiful, they perceive it as more familiar, and they are more likely to believe that it is true. Thus, when data is presented in an easy-to-understand format, people will feel more comfortable with the data and even happier.
There is a growing push to produce presentations of data that are not only easy to understand but that are also beautiful. We tend to assume that data are not aesthetically pleasing: they consist of numbers, are often messy, and tend to be put in dry tables and documents. But as any good data nerd will tell you, there is a beauty in the numbers. Creating easy-to-digest data presentations can make it easier for people to appreciate the beauty of the data. There are plenty of websites out there documenting beautiful data presentations, such as coolinfographics.com and blog.visual.ly. Other researchers have taken it a step further and have tried to present data in a format that mirrors the content of the study. One extreme example is the analysis of David Bowie’s music; the researchers translated the results into sounds as a form of data presentation.
Sadly, a bad presentation can mask interesting data. It is important to create a presentation that makes the data easy to understand without detracting from the story of the data.
Here are three infographics we found that make us happy (i.e. perceived as beautiful and easy to understand).
 Winkielman, P., & Cacioppo, J.T. (2001). Mind at ease puts a smile on the face: Psychophysiological evidence that processing facilitation increases positive affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81, 989–1000.
 Reber, R., Schwarz, N., & Winkielman, P. (2004). Processing fluency and aesthetic pleasure: Is beauty in the perceiver’s processing experience? Personality and Social Psychology Review, 8, 364-382.
 Whittlesea, B.W.A. (1993). Illusions of familiarity. Journal Of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 19, 1235–1253.
 Reber, R., & Schwarz, N. (1999). Effects of perceptual fluency on judgments of truth. Consciousness and Cognition, 8, 338–342.
What have Denverites been imagining for arts, culture and creativity in their city by 2020?
“More superstar performers coming out of the coffee shops”
“An environment that is integrative and inclusive of the arts – everywhere!”
“Feature Colorado artists and events at Denver International Airport”
“Art in ALL schools”
“A vibrant vibe across each neighborhood of our beautiful city, where the arts contribute to sustaining healthy, educated, and fun loving citizens”
Team Corona has been busy working with Denver Arts & Venues, on behalf of the Mayor’s Office, to facilitate Imagine 2020: Creating the Future of Denver’s Culture. We’ve been capturing community input through our stakeholder leadership group, booths at cultural events, neighborhood meetings and our public input survey (follow the pointing finger). Survey respondents can enter a raffle to win tickets to Red Rocks Amphitheater, Denver Performing Arts Complex and more.
For example, City Councilwoman Susan K. Shepherd hosted a terrific meeting at The Oriental Theater to hear what residents of northwest Denver think. Check out the list of community events to see where we’ll be next.
Check out our Facebook album to view all the pictures from the event.
We often get approached by budding market researchers for informational interviews. A common question is, “what type of person makes for a great market researcher?” So, we asked our staff what they thought. Here is what they said (larger words/phrases were more often chosen than smaller ones):
By no means an all inclusive list – and some projects may require more of one and less of another – but I think it does a good job at summing up the range of traits and interests common among researchers.
Of course, other hard skills are required for specific jobs (e.g., statistics, moderating ability, etc.), but those can be learned. Having the underlying curiosity and drive cannot be as easily learned.
What do you think?
As I was writing this post, I was reminded of the following quote from Carl J. Ally, an advertising executive. Perhaps he sums it up best:
The creative person wants to be a know-it-all. He wants to know about all kinds of things: ancient history, 19th century mathematics, current manufacturing techniques, flower arranging and hog futures. Because he never knows when these ideas might come together to form a new idea. It may happen six minutes later or six months, or six years down the road. But he has faith that it will happen.
Sandwiched between signings of the Wilderness Act and the Clean Water Act, the first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970. A lot has changed over four decades of the environmental movement, but one thing hasn’t changed—the need to track metrics and gauge progress. Here at Corona, we thought it would be fun to dig into the numbers, and see what has happened around the world and around Denver since the first Earth Day.
- 192 countries participating in Earth Day 2013. Source: www.earthday.org
- 76 miles of Colorado’s Cache la Poudre River that are designated at Wild and Scenic. Source: www.rivers.gov/rivers/rivers/cache-la-poudre.php
- 33 animal and plant species listed as threatened or endangered in Colorado by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since 1973. Source: www.fws.gov/endangered
- 20,000 commuters who participated in Denver’s Bike to Work Day in 2012. Source: biketowork2013.org
- 3 major revisions of the Clean Air Act since 1970. Source: www.epa.gov/regulations/laws/caa.html
- 153 feet to the top of the tallest Blue Spruce in Colorado, discovered in rural Mineral County. Source: www.coloradotrees.org/programs.php#champion
- 316,000 jobs supported by tourism and recreation at national parks, wildlife refuges, and other lands managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Source: www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/2010_02_23_release.cfm
- 4 climate change assessment reports published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change between 1990 and 2007. Source: www.ipcc.ch
- 10,362 pounds of carbon dioxide emitted per capita in 2009. Source: data.worldbank.org/topic/environment
- 143 years since the birth of Enos Mills, the father of Rocky Mountain National Park. Source: EnosMills.com
- 70 miles of salmon habitat restored when the National Park Service removed the Elwha Dam in 2011. Source: www.nps.gov/olym/naturescience/elwha-ecosystem-restoration.htm
- 6,973,738,000 people living on Earth who can help conserve our natural resources.
Years ago, my brother and I used to devour hot wings. Emphasis on hot. While I don’t always default to the hottest option now (age = wisdom?), I still opt for sauces on the hotter end of scale. But those scales seem increasingly far from standard.
Sauces used to be fall under mild, medium, and hot. Maybe there was even an extra hot (but this one goes to 11). But now, the sky is the limit on creative names. For instance, which is hotter? Atomic, Supercharged, or Hot? X-Hot, Way Hot, or Ram Hot? Afterburner, Yikes, or Scorcher? All are from real hot wing menus.
So what does this have to do with scales or even market research?
When asking a question with a scaled response it is important that each scale option is meaningful and distinct from the other options. While the order of the scale can lend to interpretation (just as, thankfully, the order of hot wing sauces from mild to hot indicates increasing hotness), it is best to have each response option be distinguishable on its own.
Each response should be interpreted the same way by each respondent so when all the responses are analyzed you can draw conclusions for your entire audience – such as, all of our customers were satisfied, this is the most common area for improvement, and so on. Just like when you and your friends (or siblings) are trying to pick the wing sauce, you’ll know you’re on the same page and can expect an equally hot experience.
“Big data” is a phrase that’s being thrown around a lot in the business world. The concept is simple: There is more data about customers, sales, social media, shopping habits, etc., available now than ever before, and analyzing that information can lead to incredible insights.
For big corporations, the amount of data is too immense for even large teams to sift through and make sense of without assistance, so they are working with software platforms like Hadoop to process vast quantities of incoming information. It’s an exciting time for marketers to gain solid ground for information-driven decision making. However big data also presents a huge challenge for marketers whose organizations aren’t collecting enough data, don’t know how to analyze that data, or don’t know how to act on it once analyzed.
What does all of this mean for nonprofits? For a lot of nonprofits, having a state-of-the-art software platform for processing giant amounts of data isn’t the issue. In the NTEN “The State of Nonprofit Data” ebook, nonprofits’ most significant barriers for tracking and using data were:
- Issues related to collecting and working with data
- Lack of expertise
- Issues of time and prioritization
- Challenges with technology
Sound familiar? Everyone understands that a data-driven decision will be better informed than simple intuition, but these barriers make creating a data-driven organizational structure difficult for nonprofit executives who are already up to their eyebrows with their current program workload. Now is the time for an extra hand. Corona’s role as a data consultant is to mitigate these barriers so that the process of collecting, analyzing, and making data-driven decisions fits smoothly into your nonprofit’s organizational structure.
How could your nonprofit function more effectively? What if the answer to that question was readily available to you? It is, and we’re here to help you uncover it.
Last week, the Wall Street Journal wrote a piece called, “Dear Airline, Here is the Problem…” about airline customer surveys and how they’re used. We enjoyed the article and wanted to share our key takeaways:
- The airlines sample judiciously to develop statistically reliable data with minimum intrusion on their customers. This is a more sophisticated approach that we at Corona also use.
- They act upon the survey results. Developing facts should not be the goal of a survey. Rather, the goal should be to use those results to drive actions and strategy.
- Per the LAX example, survey results are most effective when meshed with the real world.
- If done properly, the act of surveying itself can help create a positive customer experience.
Have you recently been surveyed by an airline? What was your surveying experience?