25 January 2012

Business ethnography as a key strategy for international brands

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Two interesting posts by Danish photographer and visual ethnographer Jacob Langvad Nilsson:

Business ethnography as a key strategy for international brands
When penetrating new markets, two critical mistakes seem to repeat themselves. The first mistake involves thinking that because it is already a big and recognizable brand, its potential consumers will be overwhelmingly impressed when the products becomes available in a new market. The second mistake is for the business to think that solely relying on macro-economic data and quantitative research methods will suffice to understand the aspirations and needs of its consumers.
If a brand builds its consumer insight on data derived from an endless list of questions, it will help little more than to re-affirm pre-conceived notions. Fortunately today, smart brand executives are becoming increasingly aware of the potential value in a more thorough use of ethnographic research. A meaningful market research today is build on immersive studies combining participant-observations with social behavior analyses to build a holistic understanding of the consumer based on patterns of behavior.

Business ethnography: the new middle-class consumer
What does a modern, informed teenager from São Paulo have in common with his New York counterpart? Probably more than with another teenager from his own country but from a smaller city like Manaus, the capital city of the state of Amazonas and Brazil’s seventh largest city. Ethnographic studies show that culture and consumer behavior across the world capitals are more comparable than within a country’s capital and its second- and third-tier cities. This does not suggest that the average, middle-class teenager from Manaus has everything in common with another from a place like Hyderabad (India), Chongqing (China), or Krasnoyarsk (Russia). However, it does imply that they are all witnessing an incredible economic development of their countries, and together, with the rest of their generation, they are in fact the driving force behind it.

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