Understanding consumers market research methodologies

Introduction This booklet provides brief summaries of Unilever’s key market research methodologies. These common methods have been developed to ensure excellent standards throughout the business and to allow information to be shared and compared. Further details can be obtained from your Market Research Manager or the Uniworld website.
Base Understanding Habits and Attitudes Studies Observation Studies Idea Development Consumer Clinics Qualitative Research Sequential Recycling Mix Evaluation BAR test Innocheck PreView Product Testing Simulated Test Markets

Market Monitoring Brand Health Check Post Launch Evaluation Retail Data and Consumer Panels


They are carried out: • To provide basic information about a new or existing market • To fuel the innovation funnel As habits and usage information will inevitably differ between product fields. but it is more complicated to collect and can only be used with literate respondents. Habits and Attitudes Studies tend to be large. • Both habits and attitudes are important. • It is essential to restrict the information to be collected as it is easy to generate a questionnaire that is well over 2 hours long. usually about every four years. The interview must be restricted to a maximum of 2 hours and preferably to 1 hour. it is not necessary for a common methodology to be used. because of questionnaire length. If additional information is required this should be obtained from a separate survey. this should usually be based on what . Links should therefore be established with any existing regional/global team to ensure comparability of information. as the principles of H&A studies are common.Habits information can be obtained either from a diary or from an interview. If an interview method is used to collect information on habits. • A local project team should also be set up to make sure that all local issues are addressed. perhaps involving a recall on the same respondents so that the data sets can be linked.Description When to do a Habits and Attitudes Study Methodology habits and attitudes studies Habits and Attitudes studies are quantitative surveys which provide a comprehensive picture of the way consumers think about and use products and brands. there are some general guidelines which should be followed: • Habits and attitudes information will often be collected as part of a regional or global project. separate surveys should be used for these two types of information. In this case. An interview of this length may contain information that will prove interesting but it would be well beyond the limit of what can reasonably be expected of a respondent. Habits Interview . Diary data is usually more accurate as it eliminates memory bias. However. to collect both sets of information within the same interview. but it may not be practical. complex surveys and are therefore conducted infrequently.

the larger the sample size will need to be. to look at specific sub groups at the analysis stage than to restrict the sample in the first place. The purpose of an H&A study is to provide a solid database of information about a product field for subsequent interrogation.occurred ‘yesterday’ as this will be less subject to memory bias. It is particularly important that any questions about a category are comparable across countries. Sample A nationally representative sample of product field users will normally be required. brand ratings on functional and non functional attributes. As a result it is important that the information be stored in readily accessible databases upon which further analyses can be conducted as required.This will normally cover consumer attitudes at a general level and to the product field more specifically. The more sub groups that need to be looked at. The sample should be restricted (eg to urban respondents or users of certain brands) only after very careful consideration. It is far better. Management tips To ensure comparability. To allow for analysis of sub groups. If ‘yesterday’ questioning is used and habits differ by days of the week. as far as possible. it is important to spread the interviewing evenly across the week so that the data is representative of actual behaviour. Therefore. Questionnaire Analyses will usually need to be compared across countries. therefore. Analysis of results The comprehensive nature of Habits and Attitudes Studies means that numerous extra analyses are likely to be required after the main analysis has taken place. a sample size of at least 500 respondents will normally be required. brand preference data and limited habits data . At least 100 respondents will normally be required in any sub group that needs to be examined separately. Attitudes Interview .primarily for cross tabulation purposes. questionnaires should be cleared with the Consumer Science Unit and/or the Category Market Research Manager . Standard questions by category have been developed for most situations. global questions and responses should be used. It will also include problems.


two main types of observation study: 1. therefore.e. or questioning about.useful when wanting to record the natural process as it takes place. There should always be a written brief with clear objectives for all Observation Studies. so normal interviewing methods are not appropriate. It is important to remember that the interviewer is intruding upon and influencing the respondent to some extent and this should be minimised as far as possible. Watch and ask questions and/or take measurements . Observation studies are particularly useful for: • Generating basic consumer understanding • The early phases of product or concept development • Exploring how consumers actually use products or packaging compared with recommended usage instructions • Gaining an understanding of shopper behaviour Observation Studies often. This may be accompanied by a commentary on. 2. There are. consumers find it difficult to recall and verbalise them. involve the use of video cameras to record behaviour as it takes place.Description When to do an Observation Study Methodology observation studies Observation Studies involve the observation and recording of the behaviour of consumers in their natural surroundings.provides feedback on the process as it takes place and allows technical measurements to be taken. although not always. Typically time is required before the formal observation begins so that respondents can become accustomed to the observer. As these activities tend to be habitual (i. X . what is being done and why. Watch and do not disturb . there is no opportunity to gain an explanation of activities as they happen or obtain measurements of time taken. They are usually used to explore product usage or shopping behaviour. automatic). It is necessary to brief respondents well and put them at their ease so that their behaviour is as normal as possible. However. The interviewer should use naive listening and not impose any of their own prejudices on the respondent. asking questions or taking measurements may influence the behaviour itself. However.


The moderator will usually analyse the results of a clinic within one week. Other materials can be used to communicate ideas. Clinics require top quality moderation and normally cover about 15 ideas per group. mock-ups. along with suggested improvements for each idea. Clinics tend to be used at the earliest point in the development process. Managers are encouraged to observe the discussions. The discussion lasts for around one hour and as many as three separate groups can be run back-to-back in one session. Stimulus material can be quite rough and often consists of no more than verbal statements describing the idea on concept boards. XX UNILEVER MARKET RESEARCH METHODOLOGIES . Consumer Clinics are cheaper and quicker than standard qualitative research. The same considerations are involved in sample selection as for any other type of qualitative research. ranging from image boards to product prototypes and pack. Each group comprises about six respondents. when ideas are first thought of and could benefit from some development. • Everyone in the company should be encouraged both to submit ideas for inclusion in Consumer Clinics and to attend the groups to hear them discussed. Feedback is given via an informal debrief in which the key positive and negative responses are summarised. not test them.Description When to use a Consumer Clinic Methodology Sample Stimulus Material Analysis of results Management Tips consumer clinics Consumer Clinics are regular consumer groups in which new ideas are shown to consumers to obtain their responses and suggestions for improvement. • Avoid turning Clinics into an evaluative research tool – their role is to develop ideas.