KLM / AirFrance Research Community Case: Doing More With Less
Recession can prompt unusual levels of creativity. With constraints to deliver more impactful research within a shorter time frame and lower budget, qualitative researchers need to take maximumWhat to expect? advantage of their creative skills by crossing the boundaries of their discipline. The staged innovation approach of Air France and KLM to develop new transfer concepts illustrates how to move beyond the barriers of time, methods and professions.
Introduction: difficult times require a changing mindset
Turning the threat of recession into an opportunityThe start of the global recession is characterized by the fall of Lehman Brothers on September15th, 2008. The on-going economic uncertainty we have been facing since, is affectingbusiness and public sector alike, causing both threats and opportunities. The wave of badeconomic news is eroding confidence and buying power, driving consumers to adjust theirbehaviour fundamentally and perhaps permanently. Throughout the recession, consumers soughtout and were exposed to a growing array of tools, techniques, programs and emergingtechnologies – from list-making and comparison sites to stepped-up loyalty and rewardsprograms – to help manage spending and maximize savings. This more thoughtful approachto buying has evolved into an appreciation for cheaper brands, new channels and formats whileconsumers are even learning to do without whole categories of purchases(PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and Kantar Retail, 2010). In every recession marketeers findthemselves in poorly charted waters because no two downturns are alike. Companies need tounderstand changes in consumer behaviour and fine-tune their strategies according to evolvingconsumption patterns (Quelch and Jocz, 2009).
The confrontation with many uncertaintiesincreases the need for research, as business isseeking every bit of data to close a deal or findlucrative markets. In addition to the severe threatscaused by recession, opportunity also abounds, aseconomic downturn can be the catalyst to makeorganisations even more relevant, producing areturn for the business. Srinivasan, Rangaswamy The direct connection between uncertaintyand Lilien already introduced the construct of and the need for research is changing the„proactive marketing‟ in the International Journal of expectations of organisations towardsResearch in Marketing in 2005. Their research researchers; they need to do more with less.indicates that firms who develop an intense The challenge of providing better resultsmarketing response during recession can actually faster and at a lower price is promptingimprove both market and business performances incomparison to firms who cut back, waiting for the unusual levels of creativity in the researchrecession to pass. Brad Bortner perfectly articulates industry.the paradox market research agencies are facing asa result to the economic downturn in a Forresterreport written at the beginning of the recession(Bortner, 2008):“Fewer dollars will be available fornew studies, while the business will demand newideas more than ever.”
Increased expectations confront researchers with their boundariesAlthough the uncertainty affects market research Reports from moderated research blogs andas a whole, we believe qualitative researchers communities are not representative according to the definitions of market research, but naturallycan play a central role in increasing the cannot be ignored on account of the numbersbusiness impact of research, not only based alone. With constraints to deliver more impactfulon their skills, but also because the focus in research within a shorter time frame and lowerresearch is shifting from representative to budget, qualitative researchers need to taprelevant (Verheggen and van Slooten, 2011). into the opportunities provided by newThe rise of Social Media generated a move technological tools and take maximumtowards the use of data which has not been advantage of their creative skills by crossingcollected in accordance with traditional marketresearch methods. New tools allow researchers the boundaries of their discipline.to connect with more consumers, over a longerperiod of time, and to integrate a variety of In an innovation project to improve the transfertechniques to generate a holistic view on the lives experience for frequent flyers of Air France andof consumers. KLM, we challenged the following boundaries to increase the business impact of the research:
• Boundary of time - How can we build a bridge between past research on a topic and the current information needs? How to design the approach for impact now and in the future? How to conduct research faster and at the same time increase the opportunity to truly connect with consumers?• Boundary of methods - How to transcend the boundaries between qualitative and quantitative research? A hybrid methodology allows you to approach the research question from multiple angles and gain more knowledge from the same project.• Boundary of professions - How to learn from other disciplines on communicating results for maximum impact? Which techniques can we apply to really get to know our stakeholders? In the redefinition of roles, we even broaden our scope to evaluate the role of consumers in research. With this paper we want to trigger qualitative researchers to move beyond time, methods and even the boundaries of professions by sharing examples of the approach we applied in the co-creation of transfer concepts for Air France and KLM.
For most travellers the „transfer between The kind of insights which can inspire ground-connecting flights‟ is a phase in their journey breaking consumer-relevant innovation can be timely and costly to generate. Traditional methodsthey would happily skip. Transfer flights are often require a lot of observations or face-to-facechosen mainly because there is either no other option time with consumers and run the risk of merelyavailable or travellers need to make a trade-off giving specific answers to known questions, ratherbetween time and costs. It is crucial for airport than exploring peoples‟ lives looking for inspiration.and airline companies to understand the needs,expectations and emotions of those travellers. The backbone of this project, a MarketThis is particularly relevant in developing delight- Research Online Community (MROC),evoking moments and in adding something positive to involves different types of frequent flyers andmoments like a transfer, which is characterised bynegative emotions. Increasing the focus on the integrates a variety of plug-ins like a personal Multimedia ethnography blog and an Ideation toolcustomer experience is relevant for Air France and to match the specific objectives of each stage. AnKLM, as major airlines continue to struggle in the MROC is a relatively cost-efficient answer to morerecession. In addition to further improving this complex research questions as it connects moreexperience to increase loyalty, there might also be an people over a longer period of time while facilitatingopportunity to develop additional business activities in in-depth discussions. MROCs were developed as athe transfer journey. To gain insight and to develop research methodology to take advantage of theand validate new concepts to optimize transfer characteristics of modern consumers, matchingservices, the Customer Insight team and the their social media behaviour and emphasizing theR&D Customer Ground Experience team of dialogue between brands and consumers.Air France and KLM connected with theirfrequent travellers in a staged innovationapproach.
InSites Consulting defines an MROC as “a small group (up to 150) of highly engaged people joinedtogether by a common passion, connected online for a longer period, who are systematically engagedby applying various social media techniques for different business objectives, especially co-creationor even collaboration”. By definition, MROCs are not representative, as they work best with participants whoidentify with the topic and/or the brand hosting the platform (De Ruyck et al., 2010).In the co-creation of new transfer concepts we applied the following 3 steps: Figure 1: Overview of the staged innovation approach
1 InsightmentIn a first stage, the research community was used to detect new needs and frictions fromtransfer passengers. We started with Multimedia ethnography (Verhaeghe, Van den Bergh &Colin, 2008); 39 frequent flyers reported their transfer experience on a personal blog on thecommunity. Through 400 observations in text and pictures we were immersed in the world of thetransfer passenger. The meaningful observations from this blogging stage were further shaped inthe discussions on the research community. The blog stories and community discussions wereanalysed through info structuring and pattern detection while visual analysis principles (Pink,2007) provided understanding in the pictures. This phase resulted in 68 insights combined into 10insight platforms.
2 Ideation and concept developmentDuring a 3-week ideation and concept development community, another group of 46 frequenttravellers joined forces in generating over 450 ideas and comments, resulting in 32 new transferconcepts. The MROC environment is particularly stimulating for idea-generationexercises; consumers receive challenges based on the detected insights and can build further oneach other‟s ideas to make them more relevant. With these creative consumer tasks, it is crucialto provide a stimulating environment by also discussing trends and best practices . Asgamification elements have proven to increase participant engagement in MROCs (De Ruyck andVeris, 2011), we added a countdown to the challenges, addressing the competitive nature ofpeople to come up with as many ideas as possible in a limited time frame. No competition withouta reward: the most popular ideas were visualized by the industrial designer in our project team.
3 Quantitative validation During a concept selection workshop, the four consumer-generated concepts showing the highest relevance for both travellers and Air France and KLM were integrated in a quantitative idea screener. The results guided a workshop to re-write the concept boards and develop the final proposition. In every stage, we challenged the current status quo, making this case a perfect illustration of how qualitative research can re-invent itself. Throughout the paper we‟ll refer to specific elements of this case study to show how qualitative researchers can move beyond the boundaries of time, methods and professions to increase the business impact of research.
Increasing impact by going back in timeThere is no lack of data in the business world; in addition to research reports from the past and consumer-generated content on social media, an increasing number of organizations is also retaining informationfrom their customers as a „by-product‟ of their activities. Customers do not only know that data like flightbookings and preferences are collected, they also expect airline companies to use this knowledge; for exampleby applying a personalized approach or feature recommendations. It is important to address market research asan element of this „big data‟ reality; research studies are set up in isolation too often. At the research agency‟sside, the challenge is to keep surprising clients with even more results and recommendations. To move from„insight‟ to action, research should not only focus on the here and now ; it should close the gap with thepast to understand how to be successful in the present. In order to be truly impactful, results from one projectshould built on existing knowledge. However, a database with all existing insights on a topic is often lacking. It iskey to link parts of unstructured information and qualitative researchers have the skills to cross this boundary. Figure 2: Illustration of how we crossed the boundary of time
The Customer Insight team and the R&D Customer Projective techniques, typically applied to reveal emotionsGround Experience team of Air France and KLM are of research participants, can also be applied to our clients.conducting research in order to provide its Based on personification techniques we developed apassengers with the best service at a continuous board game to place the Air France and KLM teampace. Although previous research was not focussed in their customers‟ shoes, allowing us to map all theon the transfer process, there already was a lot of current assumptions about their needs. The team membersknowledge available spread across different reports. were all assigned a persona representing a typicalTherefore we organized a workshop at the passenger. During the board game, they had to come upbeginning of the project to connect the dots with needs and problems their persona could have duringwith previous research. In fact, we applied similar transfer. In order to stimulate out-of-the-box thinking, theytechniques that qualitative researchers use in info were given probing cards revealing more information aboutstructuring: each participant to the workshop was the persona. This could be both a more intrinsicasked to go through the previous research and had characteristic of the persona (e.g. always being up to dateto pick the three most important transfer learnings with the latest technologies) and contextual informationfrom each report. For each finding, we further (e.g. returning from a 3-week long business trip andprobed to detect the insight explaining the finding. missing the family).This exercise was wrapped up by clustering theinsights based on the findings across researchreports. It is an illusion to think that all information isexplicitly captured. Often, marketing decisionsare made based on the assumptionsmarketeers have about their client. In order toalso capture this more implicit information within thecompany, qualitative research can help us bybringing marketing assumptions in the organizationto the surface. Figure 3: Board game
The workshop lead to a knowledge map summarizing all existing insights, knowledge and assumptionspresent in the organisation before starting the actual insightment (phase 1). The Connecting the dotsworkshop resulted in 26 insights leading to the definition of 5 consumer insight platforms. As a result,we could focus on the blind spots in the knowledge map during the research. Given that it‟s not alwaysobvious to proof the ROI of such research studies, this approach also allowed us to indicate the addedvalue of new research by comparing the knowledge present at the start of the project with the insightsgained during the observation with frequent travellers. This observation phase helped us to discover 68insights, 42 of which were new, which is a 61% increase. Five more insight platforms could be added.Moreover, the research also rejected 6 of the 26 assumptions which were generated during theworkshop. It is clear that by tapping into knowledge and assumptions from past research, wecan increase our added value in the present.
Faster, better, strongerMarket Research Online Communities are typically conducted for a longer time span (3 weeks to on-going).The asynchronous longitudinal nature of communities has several advantages:First of all, it allows us to go Secondly, it allows us to get The transparency of thebeyond one single feedback more out of the moment. methodology allows stakeholdersmoment of our customer. There is an increased opportunity to follow the conversations of theKnowledge gained in a first stage to connect. As not only the participants and to probe oncan be applied immediately, consumers but also the Customer important topics.which automatically gives the Insight team and the R&D Tools like Daily Consumer News,discussions more depth. Customer Ground Experience Highlight Mailing and IntermediateMoreover, it is also a faster way team at Air France and KLM have Update Sessions manage theto turn around research results. access to the MROC whilst it‟s efficiency of staying in touch with yourBased on the initial findings, live, this increases the community. By engagingactions can be defined and engagement within the team. stakeholders with these tools, theyimmediately also checked and are more likely to act upon the resultsimproved by consumers. of the study (De Ruyck et al., 2011).
Daily consumer news Highlight mailingThe Air France and KLM team was kept up to date During the Ideation & Concept development, thewith the most striking and refreshing consumer involvement of the client team was vital to stimulatestories of the day. Seeing pictures of transfers and the frequent flyers in their generation of relevantreading the transfer stories from the minds of ideas. A communication plan was set up to evokeconsumers allowed them to better connect with curiosity and motivate the Customer Insight teamtheir target group. The „opportunity to engage‟ was and the R&D Customer Ground Experience team ofalso extended by allowing each team member to Air France and KLM to clear some time in theirfollow a passenger from packing his luggage all the busy schedules to visit the community and join theway to his/her arrival at destination. Intermediate update sessions. This communication plan took full advantage of the excitement generated during live interaction moments, by sending debrief pictures and quotes of participants, while also sharing teasing insights. Figure 4: Example of highlight mailing
Intermediate update sessionsTo keep in touch with the ideas and discussions on the Ideation & concept development community,InSites Consulting organized weekly update sessions, sharing top level results with Air France andKLM, facilitating an online brainstorm to focus and probe on surprising elements. This closeconnection allows us to tap into another advantage of MROCs: given the longitudinal connection, wecan adjust the conversation guide at any given moment in time based on what we are learning,supporting an agile research design. In conclusion, qualitative researchers should embracelongitudinal research approaches allowing you to not only conduct impactful research in aquicker way but also to get more out of this valuable moment of consumer connect.
The roots of marketing research lie in the US polling While differentiating between quantitative andindustry of the 1930s and George Gallup‟s conviction qualitative skills is favourable for the quality ofthat one could anticipate the voting intention of millions the research, we can‟t be limited by thinking inof voters nationwide by asking a representative cross- silos. Too often we think in terms of types of datasection of the public (Worcester, 1983). Qualitative (textual, visual and numeric) and data collectionmarket research as we know it also originated in the methods (surveys, discussions, observationalUS under the title „motivational research‟ in the 1940s, research), while the strength is often in a fusion ofbased on psycho-analytic principles of identifying research techniques (Verhaeghe et al., 2010). But howunconscious or repressed needs, notably through in- to make a quantitative researcher comfortable withdepth clinical-style interviews with small samples of qualitative research and vice versa? Are we - asconsumers. After emerging with promises of psycho- qualitative researcher - not too often afraid to cross theanalytic insight, it succumbed to warnings about its boundary with quantitative research? In our search forstatistical unreliability and subjectivism, before entering new innovation during the transfer process, we createdthe era of love and understanding, and the time of the two hybrid research design; the one where wecreative consumer. It then expanded, but some argue analysed qualitative data with a quantitative„dumbed down‟, until it had reached the current stage mindset and the other where we integratedwhere the multi-source, interactive, emotional, ethical emotions, typically a goal of qualitative research,consumer-cum-king has taken over (Cooper, 2007). in a quantitative concept screener. Figure 5: Illustration of how we crossed the boundary of methods
Quantitative skills in qualitative researchAlthough qualitative research is conducted on a non-representative sample, is it still possible to quantify the data.For example: during the observation (blogging) stage of the research, we collected over 1000 consumer stories,each highlighting different aspects of the transfer experience. Each of the stories was tagged according to ananalysis framework. This was not only the start of the info structuring, but a deliverable by itself. We uploaded allthe tags on post level in a Consumer story dashboard. This is an online reporting tool for visual & unstructuredinformation which allows the qualitative researcher to intuitively analyse qualitative data in a quantitative way. Oncethe results were uploaded, we could easily compare the rich input on many dimensions like type of airport, stage inthe transfer process and type of frequent flyer traveller, without the need of any statistics. With a simple drag &drop, the different dimensions were visualized, making a very intuitive tool for qualitative researchers to work with.Moreover, it allowed us to quantify which needwas most prominently present in the consumerfeedback but also to compare the stories of forexample Air France vs. KLM passengers.Analysing the results with a quantitativemindset via this dashboard allowed us toprioritize qualitative insights and comparethem for different target groups in a mucheasier way considering our large sample of Figure 6: Consumer story dashboardobservations and consumer stories.
Qualitative skills in quantitative researchSimilarly to the previous challenge, we also looked for Both the dual-task methodology as the timeways to bring qualitative aspects into quantitative pressure measurement find their grounds in neuropsychology. Recent evidence in this domainresearch. We closed the research project for AIR teaches us that our brain has two parts: aFrance and KLM with a quantitative idea screener of the reflective and rational route – which is involvednew concepts that were developed based on the when we are really „thinking‟ – and an automaticgathered insights. One of the main goals in qualitative route – which makes very quick effortlessresearch is to grasp the irrational, more emotional decisions based on past behaviour and thecustomer. But what about measuring emotions in emotional evaluation of past actions (LeDoux,quantitative research? In many cases, measuring 1996). Through quantitative research, weemotions in quantitative research is done in a very question the rational part whereas in orderrational way by asking people to indicate which emotionthey feel. Also, one can wonder to what extent to get a thorough emotional measure, weconsumers are aware of all their emotions and if they should connect to the emotional brain. Oneare even able to answer this question directly. However, way to do so is through the dual-task methodologyin this project we experimented with three (Gilbert, 1989; Pashler, 1998; Baddeley, 2000), a technique from cognitive psychology. Whilealternative ways of measuring emotions, in order indicating all emotions they experienced with ato see whether we could also reach this emotional certain concept, participants were asked todepth with quantitative research; through „dual remember a set of symbols shown prior to thetasks‟, „indication under time pressure‟ and a „picture emotional measurement.collage‟, benchmarked against a direct indication ofemotions.
Previous research (Kahneman, 2003) has shown that We benchmarked the tree alternative emotionalthis cognitive load will put more pressure on the measurements with also the traditional quantitativerational part of the brain and will therefore allow measurement where we asked consumer directly toparticipants to answer with their emotional brain. In a indicate which emotion they felt in a predefined list.neuropsychological technique we asked participants to Also, during the idea and concept developmentindicate their emotion per concept under time community, we presented the same ideas topressure. Bargh (1997) and LeDoux (2000) reported consumers and probed for emotional reactions.that the emotional route in the brain is much faster This allowed us also to compare the results obtainedthan the rational route; by limiting the response time to by a quantitative method with those from themilliseconds, one can avoid giving the rational brain qualitative method.the time to answer.A third technique was not based on neuropsychology,but again on tapping into projective techniqueswhere participants were asked to make a collagewith pictures expressing their feeling towards acertain idea. With this last method, we wanted to seeif we could apply a very common technique fromqualitative research on a massive scale in quantitativeresearch. All pictures were previously validated amonga subset of 20 coders. Per emotion, we selectedpictures that were uniquely identified as being part ofone specific emotion. By doing so, we wanted to checkif we could „quantify‟ the results at the end of thesurvey to their emotions.
The results showed that measurement of emotions is definitely not only restricted to qualitativeresearch. Including emotional and implicit measures in quantitative testing can help us detectemotional differences between groups and may help us complete the picture that we obtainqualitatively. It also helps us reveal emotions that consumers may not be aware of or that consumers findhard to admit.In conclusion, qualitative researchers should embrace quantitative methods. Analysing qualitativeresults with a quantitative mind-set can help prioritize findings and compare them between different groups.Moreover, quantitative plug-ins can help us reveal emotional (and social desirable) differences which can bedifficult to admit in the social setting of an MROC.
Changing role of researchersWe should leave our ivory towers as researchers by learning from related disciplines, likestrategic consultancy and advertising. Current presentations and materials produced byresearchers fall far short of the mark. As a result, research buyers are currently stilldissatisfied with the impact that research has on their business with one in ten verbalpresentations and as many as one in seven written documents evoke discontent (Langer andBanks, 2011). Clients do not want a simple presentation of results and surface findings whichare superficial, linear and one-dimensional, but demand a much higher level of consulting whichassumes deeper analysis, non-linear and multi-dimensional assessments of the respondents(Alioto, 2007). Davison (2011) is also acknowledging the lack of research output in drivingchange and motivates researchers to know, understand and talk to their audience. “Clients areconsumers too and they are confronted daily with slick forms of information daily on theInternet”. Figure 7: Illustration of how we crossed the boundary of professions
Qualitative researchers tend to be better storytellers Therefore all consumer-generated concepts wereand, critically, are better at structuring their stories thantheir quantitative counterparts, perhaps because they integrated in a Deck of Idea cards, providing Airdon‟t have a wealth of statistics to fall back on and have France and KLM with a playful way to reviewto put more of “themselves” into their stories, according and apply the findings. Although it may not beto the experience of Langer and Banks (2011). feasible to implement them in the short term, theTherefore they are the ideal partner to take the lead in Customer Insight team and the R&D Customer Groundsetting new communication standards for the market Experience team of Air France and KLM will start everyresearch industry. The storytelling approach is not only meeting on the project by discussing one of theseapplicable to qualitative data, but can also inspire our cards, its potential and the implications on existingquantitative counterparts to be more creative and services and communication. The Deck of Idea cardsgenerate more impact. In the transfer co-creation of Air embodies the afterlife of this project and is a triggerFrance and KLM, we did not only focus on our role as referring to the other deliverables.consultants by organizing internal workshops, we alsoadvertised the research results during the project.Although only 4 consumer-generated concepts made itto the final phase of Validation, the other 28 transferconcepts also expressed answers to relevant consumerneeds. Figure 8: Deck of Idea cards
Although the research methodology is already moving beyond the boundaries of time and the deliverables ofthe research can make a lasting impression, there‟s a role for researchers to think along with clientsin translating findings into implementation in the business. As we started the project with anintensive workshop to create a knowledge map, we also organized a workshop after each phase to movefrom „insight‟ to action and define the next steps.1 Workshop after insightment The results of the insightment were not only highlighted in a presentation where we indicated how our research had added to what was already known, we also took advantage of the power of creative techniques in an Immersion and ideation workshop. All insights were presented in an Insight museum – the walls of the workshop room were covered with insight platforms, consumer quotes and pictures – allowing marketeers to discover the consumer stories behind a certain insight themselves. Through various projective techniques like the Brand alphabet (Coming up with solutions as if we were another brand, e.g. Google or IKEA) or the Crazy round (Losing all sense of reality to come up with the perfect solution), people were probed to come up with actions and new product ideas based on the insights.
2 Workshop after ideation & concept development A successful concept needs to fit both the strategy and objectives of Air France and KLM and the needs of consumers. During a Concept selection workshop the most popular consumer-generated concepts were reviewed with these factors in mind, resulting in the composition of 4 concepts to move forward with to the next phase.3 Workshop after quantitative validation To generate true impact and surprise with the results from the quantitative and emotional validation, we didn‟t just present the results, but we organised a Concept casino, requiring all the attention of the Customer Insight team and the R&D Customer Ground Experience team and providing them with a positive disruption. Each member of the teams received a number of poker chips. By presenting the scores of the different concepts for one KPI at a time, they could place their bet on the concept scoring the highest on unprized buying intention, for example. Not only did this stimulate a competitive, informal and creative atmosphere, it was also impactful in translating the results to a rewrite of the final concepts. Figure 9: Concept casino
Changing role of consumersIn challenging the boundaries of our professions, We gave up our expert status by involvingthere are opportunities to reach out and also to consumers to take part in the analysis of theredefine the role of consumers in research and research results through crowd interpretation.innovation. Business success is contingent upon the The crowd interpretation takes place in a gameadoption of innovations, new products, services, embedded in the insightment community. Participantsprocesses and ideas. In turn this is dependent upon are presented with the transfer stories from theirconsumers‟ acceptance and perceptions of an peers and are asked to analyse them with theinnovation. Traditionally, the consumer is treated as a research questions in mind. For this study, we„passive‟ player in this process, mainly because challenged the transfer passenger to detect newconsumers are often relegated to the role of „validator‟ needs and frictions in the consumer stories of thethrough traditional methods of consumer inquiry other participants. After the analysis, the original(Roberts et al, 2005). Following the emerging view contributor of the post could judge the interpretation(Prahalad & Ramaswamy, 2000 & Van Belleghem, and provide additional feedback. Previous research2012) that organisations should extend their search (Verhaeghe et al, 2011) has taught us that applyingfor competencies by co-opting consumer competence crowd interpretation leads to 20%-40% of additionalas a competitive strategy, our frequent flyers were insights. In the case of this study, involving consumerschallenged to take up the role as researcher and as research lead to an extra 21% of additional insightsinnovator in this project. from the same data.
And that‟s not all! In addition to reaching out to research participants to improve our analysis inthe first phase, we also involved consumers in taking research to the next stage by usingit as the starting point for an ideation journey. 46 frequent flyers joined a 3-week Ideation& Concept Development community; half of them were selected based on their innovator profile– challenging the norm and in search of what is unique and original – combining a focus onfunctional benefits with social independence. The other half were influential – accepting the normand in search of what is relevant – being team players with a focus on social benefits. These twotarget groups collaborate on concepts which are both new and relevant (Van Belleghem and DeRuyck, 2012).Figure 10: Ideation tool
Although gamification is already fully embedded in online research communities (DeRuyck and Veris, 2011), we took it to the next level by addressing the participants‟collaborative spirit. Instead of attributing rewards to a participant or community level, basedon the achievements, each and every idea initiated by one of our frequent flyers received astatus. By commenting on the idea, participants were challenged to improve it and up the itsstatus from mining, rough diamond, cut diamond to diamond ring! As a reward, the most feasibleideas with the highest status were visualised by one of the industrial designers in the projectteam.Figure 11: Example of a concept board visual
The goal of our quest to cross the boundaries There are two business implications we canof our qualitative research is to increase the already share, while other exciting innovations arebusiness impact of research. We moved beyond still pending. One of the final concepts whichthe boundaries of time by digging into the past upon made it to the final phase, the Mobilethe start of the research project. By taking transfer application, is currently beingadvantage of the longitudinal nature of research investigated by Air France and KLM basedcommunities we were able to create an impact not on the insights and ideas of their frequentonly more rapidly but also in a better way. We went travellers. Since even travellers with a lot ofbeyond the boundaries of methods by experience are looking for more control on theiranalysing our data with a quantitative mind- transfer process, several minor improvements willset and by taking advantage of (new) ways of be carried out, like a new in-flight transfer videomeasuring emotions implicitly. We left the anticipating the information needs of transferboundaries of our profession behind by using best passengers. In addition to the final propositionspractices of related disciplines like advertisement or and the 28 other consumer-generated ideas, thejournalism in the presentation of our results. formulated guidelines on how to approach theMoreover, we welcomed consumers as co- transfer journey of frequent travellers will be theresearchers, allowing us to get more out of the starting point for many other new initiatives in thesame data. future.
In times where researchers are challenged Qualitative researchers can further develop theirto do more with less, qualitative researchers skills and apply them not only to interact withcan take full advantage of their skills by participants, but also to create more impactcrossing the boundaries of their discipline. towards clients. There is a need however to broadenThe examples provided in this paper don‟t have these skills; from advertising research results tothe ambition to provide a complete answer to the providing consulting to take research from „insight‟ tobarriers we‟re currently facing, but are designed action. We should familiarize qualitative researchto be a source of inspiration in order to trigger with quantitative techniques. On the other hand, weother researchers to think outside the box. Every also need to let go and reach out to empoweredresearch project has the potential to reset the participants who are willing and able to add value to ourboundary of time, methods or professions. analysis phase. With this change in expectations, the profession of qualitative researcher becomes an option for people with a background as varied as industrial design and general management. The composition of multidisciplinary teams will not only fuel the cross fertilization of skills, it has the power to bring projects to the next level and do more with less.
The authors would like to thank Bas de Luij (project manager ofthe Insightment phase), Renée Van Dalen (community manager ofthe Ideation & concept development community), Rosa Cruells(for analysing the Quantitative validation), Thom Rommens (foranalysing and comparing the emotional measures) and the otherInSites Consulting employees who contributed to the success ofthis project. Special thanks to Mike Friedman, AssistantProfessor of Marketing at Université Catholique de Louvain forsharing his expertise on emotional measurement and last but notleast to the complete Customer Insight team and the R&DCustomer Ground Experience team of Air France and KLM for theirenthusiasm and passion for taking this project forward.
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Research team Tom De Ruyck Thomas Troch Annelies Verhaeghe+32 9 269 14 07 +32 9 269 12 26 +32 9 269 14 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org@tomderuyck @thomastroch @annaliezzehttp://www.linkedin.com/in/ http://www.linkedin.com/in/tomderuyck http://www.linkedin.com/in/ thomastroch anneliesverhaeghe