Walking the Talk: Co-creating The Future of Online Research Communities

The current economic uncertainty and the re-evaluation of budgets result in a more critical view on research. In evaluating research methods and technologies it’s key to not only take automational, but also informational and transformational dimensions into account. The automational level results in a higher efficiency by reducing time and investments, informational improvements result in better and richer data while a transformational feature changes the rules of the game, bringing something completely new to the table. Online research communities are not only excelling in the automotive dimension, which is key in a period of downturn, but are also performing great on the informational and transformational level.

  • By clustering ad hoc research questions in a tactic (3 weeks), strategic (3 months) or on-going community, brands are taking advantage of automational benefits by accessing research results faster and cheaper. This approach is leveraged by not involving more participants than necessary, typically a group of 50 to 150.
  • The asynchronous and longitudinal connection with consumers provides a true understanding of their life, needs and motivations. The creation of an engaging participant experience (e.g. by integrating gamification) results in informational benefits; discussions excel in number of comments, length of stories and richness by multimedia integration.
  • Engagement on the client side transforms the impact of a research project. Iterative cycles and consecutive learning allow them to fine-tune concepts and feed them back to the community in a true co-creation approach. Another example is the reporting of research results in a gamified format.

Online research communities already anticipate changes in research buyer demands by providing more value for money, but there’s an opportunity to go beyond the current benefits by walking the talk and co-creating the methodology with our stakeholders. Together with brands, consumers and community managers we target not only automational improvements, increasing efficiency in these times of economic downturn, but also informational and transformational changes,  combining a lean and mean approach with an engaging and impactful experience.
The Walk the Talk project approaches each group of stakeholders in a customized format. Monthly Coffee&Learn sessions with the community team result in incremental updates of our approach and technology. Clients are invited to join our Client Connect Days and share their ideas, needs and barriers. Comparing these to the motivations of our best community participants ever, in the on-going Walk the Talk community, provides inspiration for break through innovations like co-researchers. After introducing the role of online research communities in the current economic climate, the presentation below will cover how we’re co-creating value with brands, consumers and community managers in the Walk the Talk project, concluding with a glimpse into the future of communities.

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