What is an Ethnography?
Asking consumers to tell us directly how they behave can often prove to be ineffective.
People may not always be willing to share what they did, or even recall what they did. And often, even if they are willing to, they may not remember perfectly or even inflate certain behaviours or deflate others to fit into norms of society.
Sometimes the behaviours researchers are interested in studying, may even be hard for the respondent to report.
- Acknowledging the number of drinks people have. Or the number of cigarettes they smoke could be an acknowledgement of a problem. Some behaviours may be so ingrained that the respondents themselves fail to take note or do it on autopilot.
What are the benefits of Ethnographies?
Ethnography involves observing firsthand how people behave within their natural environment where they are comfortable, and those behaviours are not contrived. In doing so, it helps bring to surface behaviours or biases consumers themselves may not realise or admit.
Ethnography can also help observe System 1 thinking the brain’s automatic, intuitive and unconscious thinking mode. Helping the research observe instinctive in-the-moment behaviours.
An ethnographic approach can be applied wherever an understanding of consumer behaviour is required. This could include:
- How they shop an aisle?
- Understanding how consumers actually use a product?
- How much they consume?
- Where and how they interact with different technology?
Ethnographic research can help you decide:
- How your product should be packaged by observing how people shop
- Where they use them
- How people stack their pantries. It can help with designing new products by exploring how consumers use them and the features or functionality they rely upon.
Ethnography can also be used when researching sensitive topics where consumers are likely to provide a response they think is socially acceptable. For example, when studying how and when people consume unhealthy foods.
How Ruby Cha Cha can help?
At Ruby Cha Cha, we have a range of flexible tools to conduct ethnographic research that can be tailored to each client’s unique requirements.
We conduct accompanied shop-alongs where we go on shopping missions with respondents to observe what they are actually doing instore. How they shop a category? How they interact with products and the shelves? How they choose one product over another?
Where it is important to observe behaviour over time we use online communities or digital diaries. We get respondents to video themselves and make entries each time they do something. For example, eat fast food or drink spirits.
- The benefit of using technology to conduct ethnographic research means that we can reach participants wherever they may be, at any point in the day, and can ask them to report on what they are doing. We can also get them to participate in tasks where they inflate, reduce, or even stop consuming a product – and observe how they react.
Through ethnography, we are able to test beliefs about how consumers behave. In doing so, bridge the gap between what you think your consumers do and what they actually do. It allows us to delve into your consumers’ lives and enables you to make both strategic and tactical decisions, based on accurate research findings.