Online communities: the secret weapon of insights

28 May 2020


Online Communities have been a humble player in the background. Now it's their time to shine.


With a rich background in developing and ultimately mastering online communities, Janhavi Surve, one of our New Zealand based Consumer Strategists gives us a reality check on how important it is to keep customers within arms reach and reminds us of how the demand for contact-less insights will only increase in our new normal post COVID-19.

Online communities have their moments, even sliding into the limelight occasionally for a brief moment. But for the most part, they remain largely inconspicuous, dwarfed by the more formidable positions held by the traditional qualitative and quantitative methodologies.

The truth is, online communities can bring together some of the best aspects of the two to give you nimble consumer insights. Never has their role been more important than it is now, in a world that’s changing rapidly around us.

At One Picture, we call them the Neighbourhoods.

If there is one thing the Neighbourhoods have taught us, it’s that customer-centricity doesn’t have to be complicated, time-consuming or expensive. Your customers want to be heard and more often than not, want to know more about you and what you have in store for them. What’s often lacking is the right platform to facilitate this interaction - one that can stand apart from the countless faceless surveys that customers eventually learn to ignore. That’s where Neighbourhoods come in.

But first, let’s lay some ground rules

A Neighbourhood can be a great tool to have in your insights arsenal when you put it to the right use. What makes it effective is ironically, what’s it’s not. It’s not a platform for deep dive exploratory research or quantitative functions like market sizing or choice modelling. What that leaves you with is an agile two-way platform where you can run quick pulse checks, test ideas, products and creatives, evaluate and optimise your campaigns and even engage in some collaborative idea generation. Its strength lies in its efficiency and speed.

It’s highly functional and uniquely yours

Once you get yourself a Neighbourhood, its exclusively yours, down to the look and branding on it, to the members who are chosen , whether they be highly involved with your brand or of certain demographics. The functionality of the Neighbourhood comes from the embedded tools in it which helps you answer a range of your business questions.

Imagine a fast approaching holiday season with brands all around scrambling to get out some winners. Jenny, a Brand Manager at a large chocolate company is in the same race, and about to launch a new flavour in her most popular range. She has countless flavour ideas pitched by her team and a few tasting sessions under her belt, but no clear leads on what her customers favour. A Neighbourhood Survey can get her to the right answer in a matter of hours.

In a slightly more complicated scenario, Jenny has a last-minute presentation to the board about new product ideas to ramp up their sales before the holiday season. She knows the numbers like the back of her hand, but has never had the chance to hear from her customers what’s missing in their lives. In this case, a Neighbourhood Discussion can get her some great ideas directly from her high value customers and help her uncover the most popular opinion. You get the gist. The Neighbourhood keeps things simple, which also means it delivers insights much faster than most other solutions - and speed to insights means speed to decision-making. 

It’s often the simplest ones that pack the biggest punch

COVID-19 is forcing consumers to rapidly change the way they work, shop and interact with one another. A Neighbourhood can allow your team to get closer to you customers through quick insights, and keep your brand close to their heads and hearts.

The transition back to what we know as normal will not be a smooth ride. If we’re able to stay in tune with our customers’ needs, there’s the chance to be a step ahead. We believe now is the right time for both your business and ours to leverage this platform for keeping our collective fingers on the pulse.


Like this article?

If you'd like to hear more, subscribe to Frame or live chat to the team right here on this page. Why not say hi to Janhavi on LinkedIn, too?

Tags: Creative, Insights, Communities, Neighbourhood