I’m a big fan of qualitative research.  The two most common forms are focus groups and one-on-ones.  At What’s The Idea? a good deal of my discovery is handled through one-on-ones. Here’s why.

A recent Homeowners Association meeting in my community was attended by a typical assortment of personalities.  It was a contentious meeting as a number of members were not happy with the current board. The main issues seemed the result of poor communication and power (centralized or decentralized).  Anyway, at its worst the forum went downhill when bullies tried to take the floor.  Think school board meetings during Covid.  Bullies poison the water. They make others defensive and seek retribution. They keep people from saying anything. And it is flat out uncomfortable.

On a smaller scale this can happen in focus groups.  That’s why I like one-on-ones. At best they are conversations. A sharing of insights, likes, dislikes and attitudes. At worst you have to pull a few teeth. But conversations are bi-directional. They are about dialogue. Conversations are how we got the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. Not presentations.

My best brand strategies have been built on conversations.