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TEN PEOPLE TALKING incorporates various tools and exercises in the design of a focus group project to maximize insights. The tools are used to increase participants’ ability to express themselves by using indirect forms of inquiry to get at feelings, beliefs or motivations that may be difficult to express or articulate with direct questioning.

Examples of Tools:

  • Collages
  • Journal writing
  • Non-linear associations
  • Perceptual mapping
  • User drawings

Individual and group collages allow participants to choose pictures and words from magazines that communicate how they view a product or organization. Participants are sometimes better able to express perceptions, emotions, beliefs and motivations through collage work than by direct questions and answers. The collages can serve as resource for the creative team.

Journal writing
By having participants complete a journal writing exercise prior to the focus groups, insights can be obtained about their daily lifestyles and what is important to them. Those insights then can be built upon in the focus groups.

Non-linear associations
Using a non-linear template, participants fill in all the associations they have with a brand or product. It is an effective tool for quickly capturing the range of potential positive and negative associations. The exercise can reveal consistent patterns about how a brand is perceived and illustrate how a brand needs to be shaped.

Perceptual mapping
Consumers naturally categorize brands and products. Perceptual mapping is a tool that allows clients to see where consumers place their brand or products in relationship to their competitors.

User drawings
Participants draw the typical user of a product. Their stick figure drawings communicate how they view a brand or product. For example, they may draw someone who is young or old, high or low income, or a Nordstrom or a K-Mart shopper. Often a pattern of a typical user unfolds, showing whether a brand is resonating with the right target market.

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