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Dear diary… digital ethnography as a method for capturing behaviours and experiences in the moment

Dear diary… digital ethnography as a method for capturing behaviours and experiences in the moment

Ethnography is the study of people in a real-world environment. At a time where this is increasingly challenging, not just due to COVID-19 but as our lives become busier, digital ethnography is leading the way as a solution that delivers insight as it allows you to understand your customers in their own environment.  

Digital ethnography allows us as researchers to gain in-depth insights more easily, due to the development of ‘smartphone’ technology, tasks such as video and photo uploads means we can access our clients customers and stakeholders and capture and assess behaviour and reactions as they happen, delivering true to life insight in a fun and flexible way.

As a methodology it offers – discretion, authenticity and inclusivity. It provides multiple ways to interact at a time that works for respondents meaning greater objectivity and in the moment feedback. It is an ideal approach for identifying – what, when and how. It is great solution to capture in the moment behaviour, experiences and decisions. It allows for a layer of context by observing visual cues like body language and facial expressions. In summary it allows for a more rounded holistic layer of insight. 

Looking back to a time when there was no way of capturing ‘in the moment’ experience other than a good old-fashioned camera or notebook, people kept diaries. In the simplest form, digital ethnography is a way of capturing behaviours and experiences in the moment and one way to do this is, yes, you guessed it a diary – only this time it is digital.

Explain are at the forefront of delivering innovative solutions for clients and have been using digital ethnography to deliver insight – our most recent example of this is the work we undertook for Babyled Food. Babyled is a food manufacturing start-up with growing traction in the baby food market and has a strong online business and stocks in many family friendly venues across the North East. The business has an ambition to feature on the supermarket shelves in 2020. Babyled required evidence of their products appeal in order to convince supermarket buyers of the gap in the market for good quality, healthy products that support baby led weaning and challenge the array of pureed foods provided in jars and pouches that currently dominate the market.

Babyled appointed Explain to engage with parents and evidence the growing baby led weaning trend, the propensity to purchase their products and importantly to gather sensory feedback on baby’s enjoyment of the product.

Explain delivered a multi-strand research programme which included developing an online survey which provided robust evidence on aspects such as awareness to the product and baby led weaning as a concept, past purchasing  behaviours, views on pricing and packaging and propensity to purchase.

The second phase of the research was undertaken with a group of parents who took part in a mobile ethnography project, this took the form of a week-long video diary of their weaning journey using the Babyled Food products. The mothers and babies completed a series of six tasks across the course of a week in order to provide their feedback on their experience of preparing the product as well as their babies experience of consuming it.

Rebecca Crinson Research Director at Explain said “Throughout the fieldwork period mothers uploaded videos providing their feedback verbally alongside footage of their babies enjoying the product in different contexts. This provided clear qualitative feedback of the babies enjoying the product and robust evidence as to the gap in the market.” “We received some great feedback and testimonials which were overwhelmingly positive. Babyled Food is armed with the insights they need to deliver a convincing pitch to supermarkets as to the relevance of their products.”

Explain has over 25 years of delivering customer and stakeholder insight to organisations across a range of sectors. Draw upon this experience and contact the team today to understand how you can bring your customers voice, views and experiences into the heart of your business. Contact Rebecca at rebecca@explainresearch.co.uk or 01912615261 for more information.