What is digital research?
At 2cv our digital work separates into two distinct areas.
The first is the use of digital technologies to enable or enhance our research; we call these our 'digital research tools'. As with any set of tools, each has a specific purpose; mobile interviewing, social media tracking, and qualitative digital communities to name a few. Crucially, each tool is only applied where it is relevant and will add value to a research project. We never use a tool just because it happens to be shiny and new.
The second is our understanding of human behaviour and how this relates to digital technology, our 'digital thinking'. This gives us an understanding of how digital platforms are being applied in the marketing arena and how consumers react and interact with the digital world. We haven't fallen into digital through our line of work. Digital has always been an integral part of our personal lives. Our knowledge is not just on the job; we constantly experience, discuss and appraise it. We are the digital consumers!
What do we deliver?
What we've always delivered, a deep and detailed understanding of the consumer. The temptation would be to revert to digital outputs as insight itself, but as researchers our role is to understand and unpick the real impact that marketing initiatives have on people. It's people first! As technology evolves and digital and media platforms change, our ability to understand the impact that brands have on people remains unaltered as we bring the focus back to human behaviours and needs.
The phrase 'digital natives' was coined by Mark Prensky, an author and educational expert, back in 2001.
"Digital Natives: students today are all 'native speakers' of the digital language of computers, video games and the Internet…Those of us who were not born into the digital world but have, at some later point in our lives, become fascinated by and adopted many or most aspects of the new technology are, and always will be compared to them, Digital Immigrants." Marc Prensky, 2001.
Prensky has his detractors - there are many articles available that dismiss this terminology as overly simplistic, caricatured or simply irrelevant, but even a brief flick through YouTube demonstrates why the post-millennial generation should be considered the first true digital natives.
Online Research Communities
As digital natives, social networking plays an integral role in most aspects of young people's lives. In order to credibly engage them we need to seamlessly tap into their existing behaviours.
Online research communities emulate social networks and have been successfully used for clients including Nokia, Adidas and PlayStation. Used to conduct both pre and post face to face research, they proved hugely successful in delivering rich findings that mirror participants' natural behaviours.
Photos and comments were uploaded in the same way as would be done on Facebook, Orkut, Ren Ren etc. and became part of their regular online repertoire.
The functionality of these platforms encouraged participants to paint a picture of their lives, interests, passions, tastes etc. using a combination of personal photos, collages and stories. The only rules were that we made the process stimulating to the participant, fun and natural to them.