Observe, Understand, Disrupt - How to Reap the Strategic Rewards of Ethnography for Your Brand

Marketing, May 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

Observe, Understand, Disrupt - How to Reap the Strategic Rewards of Ethnography for Your Brand


Attention young marketers. Here is a proposal to put in front of your chief marketing officer, aka the boss. You want a budget, a big one, to undertake some new consumer research. When asked what you wish to learn, your answer is simple: 'I don't know.'

In the ensuing awkward silence, it is important to hold your nerve, since reason is on your side. Research, by definition, seeks to illuminate some unknown. Yet much of what is conducted in the name of consumer understanding falls into the trap of proceeding from supposition to evidence.

Consumers are asked to navigate between communications ideas, supposing that any might be of interest to them; they are nudged into discussing your brand within 'the category' as though it had ever occurred to them to place it there; they are probed for 'insights' based on the assumption that their emotional connection with your offer runs that deep.

Consumer research is commissioned, in other words, by people who live and breathe the category. You, conversely, simply wish to become intimate with how people live and breathe. There is a seismic difference.

The methodology you propose is ethnography. Your boss has probably heard of this, but is unlikely to have either used it or grasped its true meaning.

Ethnography, you explain, stems from just one question: 'What's going on?' It is open to the discovery of deeper rhythms that connect the humdrum happenings of the day-to-day chaos, but makes no more suppositions than that.

It proceeds by quiet observation, in the real-life setting, for upwards of six weeks. Ethnography is the ultimate 'watching brief'.

What might it offer you? Again, the honest answer is 'Who knows?' Another possibility is 'Nothing much'. There is a third, though, and it really matters.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Observe, Understand, Disrupt - How to Reap the Strategic Rewards of Ethnography for Your Brand
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.