Community research is… qualitative research with a quantitative twist

At Blauw Research, we do all kinds of research. Some of our projects are heavier on the qualitative and others are heavier on the quantitative, but we do it all.

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Community Research | Blauw Research

When we’re talking to clients and assessing their needs, we usually tell them that community research is somewhat of a hybrid quant/qual methodology… qualitative research with a quantitative twist.

As a Community Manager and Researcher at Blauw, I take care of our community platforms from beginning to end. I will work with clients to create a strategy, set up the look and feel of our communities, recruit members, make sure member questions are all answered, try to make it fun for people to participate, and in the end I am also the one making reports and doing analysis.

What I like most about working with communities is that you get to build relationships with your members.

Recently, at Blauw Research we’ve been seeing a an increase in the uptake of community research or MROC requests. We’ve been working with communities for the past 10 years and we’ve gotten to see that the technology just keeps getting more and more sophisticated. It’s becoming increasingly easy to get eye-opening results and better analysis. The flexibility and speed with which we can gather insights and foresights from our communities for our clients fits perfectly in ourI personally know each and every member, what they value and how they live, so I can place their opinions in the right context. agile way of working.

When we first came across CMNTY, we were looking for software that could help us, as researchers, ask questions in different ways and that could handle multi-media (picture/video uploading). We wanted tasks that could be both challenging and engaging so that people could feel invested in their contributions. At the same time, we wanted a platform that was intuitive enough for our community members to feel comfortable and at ease. The fact that CMNTY Platform had all of these was a big reason why we went with them.

When I’m running community projects, I get to know much more about everyone and place their answers in context.

Building relationships

What I like most about working with communities is that you get to build relationships with your members. When we do survey-only studies, for example, you never really get to know the people who are providing responses. When I’m running community projects, I personally know each and every member – what they value and how they live – so I can place their opinions in the right context.

Communities also help us build relationships with our clients. In particular, with our ongoing communities, we use one community for several projects with the same client. At this point, not only do we know our community well, but we’re also able to help advise our client better because we know how their needs will fit into the context of a community. Many of these relationships feel more like partnerships now.

Bringing consumers close

I’ve found that my clients are sometimes scared to start with communities because of how close it can bring consumers to the processes and decisions of the company. Over time, however, I see our clients learn to embrace the community feedback. Consumers are also just people, you know? And when they are engaged and willing to give feedback and think along, you can gain valuable feedback throughout the process.

Often, the results are visible pretty quickly

Members love community's

Many of the people participating in our community research participate in other research as well. We always hear that they particularly like to be part of the communities because, often, the results are visible pretty quickly. For example when they do a commercial test, they will see the commercial that they have tested on TV pretty quickly after they have just given feedback. That kind of thing encourages members to be more involved with both the community and the brand.

Once there was a woman in a community that needed to go to the hospital. She contacted one of the other members to ask if she could let everyone know that she couldn’t be active in the platform for a while. It was almost like letting your colleagues know you aren’t coming to work that day. I was really surprised, and I think it’s a proof for how invested members can get in a well-run community.