Come on feel the noise! Landing community insights with impact

by Alex Culshaw

Online communities generate some of the most powerful and immersive insights available to researchers and clients. Whether it’s the ability to remain anonymous or the opportunity to express themselves in the comfort of their own home, you can typically bank on the fact that your online community will elicit rich and raw consumer insights. All of which are perfect for researchers to understand, interpret and mould into the laser sharp insights we – and our clients – crave.


So, job done, right? To a point, but here at Spark, we know the benefit of going even further in helping those insights land with a bang. Based on our collective experience, we’ve categorised three different families of outputs that can really supercharge what’s been heard and truly help land the voice of the consumer in a business. Let’s go!


Movies and more – Get the popcorn out! 

It’s very likely that participants will have been asked to take part in a video selfie style activity during a community – and whilst the quality of these will inevitably vary – there will be the opportunity to embed a few videos into the debrief deck. But how about going slightly further? Let’s think about a spectrum of video outputs. At one end we have basic edited clips included in a presentation. Beyond that, one can move to vox-pop show reels (simple to create in standard software) to more bespoke, professionally edited (perhaps with bespoke filming) showreels. Finally, at other end of the scale to simple clips, engaging with a specialist video team can help you create ethnographic mini movies with high production values and a real sense of story and theatre. Our team have created all these different outputs from in-home usage testing projects, through staff feedback sessions and shopper vox-pops, to heating engineer ethnographies. Obviously, each requires a different level of resource (and potentially cost), but the impact for clients is invaluable. 


Drawing the right insights – Capturing the creativity

As we know, and we’ve just explored, a picture can tell a thousand words and helping a consumer say what they feel ‘live’ really helps engage clients. But what about thinking slightly left-field for even more impact? In the past our team have used (simple) cartoons to tell a more ‘unusual’ insight story (for a leading FMCG brand to help them understand their target segments). And if moving illustrations are a bit too out there, what about creative illustrations fusing subject matter with insights to create distinctive assets? (Not to mention micro-sites, flip-books and podcasts….).


Making the most of media – A day in the life

One of the great strengths of communities is the level of multi-media that participants can generate. Such fantastic raw materials – from videos and pictures to maps and simple text – help fire the imagination and provide the building blocks for immersive outputs. As cases in point, our team have created pictorials for healthcare and B2B professionals to bring their worlds to life; fictional journal entries for dieters (to show the ups and downs of their food habits / journeys); along with personas for gardeners and novice investors (to help ‘segment’ the behaviours, needs and attitudes of target groups). 


It’s clear than that we don’t have to rely on the same old formats for bringing insights to life for our clients. From simple ‘DIY’ added value solutions to more complex ‘professional’ outputs, scope exists to offer more – not just for vanity and pride – but to really help land insights with ongoing impact and value. With experience and creativity at hand, speaking to the team here at Spark can help you create insights with impact.

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