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Recap - Qual360
February 26, 2024

On the topic of trust and authenticity at QUAL360

I was fortunate enough to attend the QUAL360 conference last week in Berlin, where I had the opportunity not only to listen to many amazing keynote speeches both from researchers and insights leaders of global brands from around the world but also to compare our experiences in the qualitative research industry.

At QUAL360, several main topics of discussion emerged and kept popping their heads up at different points during the two days of the conference, be it in keynotes or conversations with other participants, both representatives of other insights providers and representatives of some of the world’s biggest and most exciting brands.

One of these topics, of course, was understanding the Why’s behind the What’s and How’s, something that we are very familiar with at GetWhy. In their keynote on turning transactional flings into brand romance, Linda Koelemij from Booking.com and Joey Zeelen from Crowd DNA highlighted this need to understand more and dig deeper about Why their customers book the way that they do when they go on a vacation or a business trip, what aspects and circumstances affect their decision making.

In order to do that, one has to be able to put themselves in the shoes of their customers. Here I would refer back to the keynote made by Mihaela Tantas from Mast-Jägermeister on the empathy advantage and how qualitative research can unlock business impact. Mihaela’s keynote emphasized the vital role of cognitive empathy in our increasingly disconnected world. It’s crucial for brands to view issues from the consumers’ perspective, without imposing their own viewpoints on the customers’ experiences and the research that is being conducted, a practice that is becoming indispensable for every consumer brand. AI, if trained accordingly, offers a huge advantage in doing so, as it lacks our own biases and assumptions.

On the note of empathy, both PJ De Queker from Bose and Anisha Ratan from BBC supported by Mr. Alex Johnston from Jigsaw Research highlighted the importance of ethnographic research in achieving their companies’ full potential. Whether it be to understand their brands’ perception by their target audiences, or understanding what actions need to be taken to be able to reach a wider audience, through research on not only the ‘what’ but also the ‘why’ behind consumers’ everyday habits. This also aligns with how Marissa Bell sees Reddit gaining valuable insight into consumer behaviour armed with their depository of first-hand user data in the form of Reddit posts and comments enabling them to see through the eyes of their users.

Finally, both Marissa and Lynsey Lorrance from HelloFresh connected back to the topic of the opening keynote made by Sandeep Das from Mars Wrigley on the future of trust. While an insight provider might be able to consistently produce quality insights filled with compassion, it only matters if they can build a high level of trust that ensures that those insights are not only impactful but also reliable and credible. The word from the keynote that stuck with me to achieve this trust was ‘Face’. While being able to connect a trustworthy face to companies heightens our trust in the companies themselves through authenticity, the same is true for the insights that we gain from qualitative research, which is one of the foundations of our work and insights at GetWhy.

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