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The Power of Pulling Up a Chair…And Breaking A Few Rules

At Egg, we love our fine-tuned methodologies, but we’re always looking for new ways to engage with audiences and creatively approach problems. Often, bespoke solutions, even those that flip the script, are just what clients need to unlock richer and lasting insight.

Focus groups are like a well-orchestrated dance. Consumers gather together to discuss and share perspectives on a specific topic. Moderators lead a tailored conversation, designed to dive deep into a project’s core objectives. Clients listen behind a two-way mirror or in a virtual backroom to avoid disrupting the intimacy of the unfolding dialogue. Each participant plays a key role in the rhythm and flow of successful groups.

Yet, in market research speak, there’s a bit of magic that happens in the front room. Consumers share viewpoints that challenge organizational beliefs, reveal motivations that unlock new opportunities, or passionately agree or disagree. Despite compelling PowerPoints and presentations, how do you effectively bottle up that energy so clients feel rather than hear the most relevant consumer insight?

Recently, we partnered with a financial services company who wanted to help their C-Suite leaders better understand and empathize with their customers transitioning into or currently living in retirement. Our client’s objective was less about uncovering new or transformational insight and more about equipping the company’s most senior members with stories and perspectives that would stick with them, and ultimately, guide their decision making in the future.

So, we broke a few rules.

Instead of placing clients in the backroom of a focus group facility, we asked them to pull up a seat at the table. Sitting alongside their customers, the C-Suite took off their suit jackets, rolled up their sleeves, and listened as clients laughed, cried, and shared what they expected retirement to be like, what it’s actually been like, and the role their financial advisor played throughout their journey. Afterwards, the C-Suite members reflected on the experience as a team. Some realized they were speaking an entirely different language than their customers. Others were reminded of how big (and emotional) the transition to retirement truly was. Overall, the C-Suite team not only left the offsite with a deeper appreciation for their client’s needs but were inspired to keep consumers at the heart of the business moving forward.

In this case, breaking from traditional research convention allowed the most senior members of a financial firm to bring faces and names to strategy. Other times simply breaking from expectation yields more interesting and compelling results.

What conventions are you trying to break?