Embedding Adaptability in the DNA of Market Research to Suit the Post-Pandemic Reality

What is adaptability?

Adaptability refers to the ability of a business or organization to pivot from its current strategies and approaches to keep in step with evolving market conditions. Since most companies do not have unlimited resources at their disposal, true adaptability requires leaders to have incisive insight in their business to understand which parts or functions are in most need of change or, can drive the most impact in terms of performance enhancement or ROI. Being adaptable is a constantly reiterative process of observation, examination, asking questions, experimentation and adjustment.

Importance of Adaptability in research analysis

Adaptability forms a critical component of our research frameworks because in order to ask the right questions at the right time, it is imperative to remain context-aware and evolve with the flow of events. Asking why without retaining the flexibility to adjust the scope of research can lead to unnecessarily skewed results. The right questions in research can lead you to the crux of the ‘why’ you are trying to understand and being sensitive to tiny fluctuations in your context and adapting to it can unlock true insight into your customers and your business. Enhanced business outcomes come from data-driven incisive insights applied to the context-sensitive marketing strategies.

The Value of ‘Adaptability’ during the pandemic

Human behaviour has mystified the greatest philosophers of our times. Needless to say, when you are looking to crack that code in the huge swirl of uncertainty caused by one of the greatest human crisis in living memory, the challenge is that much more magnified. After all, how do you conduct market research when entire consumer spending patterns are being dedicated by the whims of a mutating virus?

We found that the answer lay in finding novel ways to stay connected to the voice of consumers – even if they are not coming from places we would usually go searching for answers. And that brings us to our most critical find. Whatever data you may have relied on to drive reliable results in the pre-pandemic period have now simply become irrelevant. The pandemic has truly destabilized and destroyed many of our traditional marketing mechanisms for good and companies cannot afford to hark back to time-tested tools and methods to drive the same business results anymore.

We already knew that desire and motivation are highly nuanced multi-faceted phenomenon driven by everything from latent consumer psychology, to social and cultural norms dating back generations. But in the aftermath of the shared global trauma of the pandemic, those factors have now evolved to become even more nuanced. In short, consumer needs have evolved many degrees beyond the last temperature check by brands. It’s up to you to get involved in this new context with empathetic and highly attentive listening to decode the new needs and develop a strategy to address them with new innovations.

Think outside the box during this disruptive time by pivoting methods and approaches

The current market is one of rampant disruption. Old needs have been replaced nearly overnight in the wake of the pandemic with new ones. Traditional solutions simply don’t fit the mould anymore. While thinking outside the box is an extremely clichéd phrase, brands need to literally stand outside the context of the cage of their traditional business setup and survey the new reality they are operating in. This requires creative thinking and flexibility in approach that may prove uncomfortable for many established businesses. This is where context-aware research can help you ask the right questions to glean an understanding of how the market is evolving. Business methods and approaches need to pivot towards insights drawn from this active listening to be effective.

While your metrics will invariably feature KPIs, they need to be tuned up to the new reality to remove invariable inherent bias stemming from the reality of pre-pandemic times. Most importantly, you need to be able to prepare your audiences and communicate the truth of this new reality without jarring their perceptions and expectations.

Adaptability is part of our Value Proposition at BrandIQ

At BrandIQ, we pride ourselves on our ability to go with the flow of our contexts. This has served us exceptionally well during the pandemic times, as we worked overtime to figure out how to overcome the barriers to continuing our work in the fast-contouring reality. This experience truly enriched our toolsets to navigate the new context of market research in Los Angeles and figure out a trail of building comprehensive decision frameworks for brands to adapt themselves to the post-pandemic reality.

Here are three concrete examples how BrandIQ pivoted approach and method

During the pandemic, some of our clients wanted to stay connected to their target consumers over the next year. For them, we worked to create longitudinal studies using new communications platforms to reach out to the ‘right’ people to build deep relationships, stay connected and learn how their attitudes about a category changed as we moved through the pandemic towards the new normal. Needs and tastes evolved with the progress of the pandemic, as did the perceptions of ‘need’ versus ‘want’. We managed to get some fascinating insights through the exercises that further informed our modified business decision frameworks for brands post-pandemic.

For others, we overhauled in-person strategy workshops to craft highly engaging and effective virtual experiences using online tools, such as, Zoom. While it seems simple enough on surface, beating brand and Zoom fatigue enough to keep participants actively engaged and participate authentically was a challenging exercise. We relied on driving truly authentic conversation between participants to do away with the structured, formalized in favour of more laid-back experiential conversations that developed organically.

In our experience, it became obvious that in-person, on-the-ground, context-heavy research had, by necessity, given way to virtual in-context research that combined virtual assignments with in-depth Zoom interviews with subject matter experts. Formal structures had been replaced with experience-driven narratives – a trend that’s likely to inform communication approaches going forward.

In conclusion

Over the years, BrandIQ has established itself as a distinguished thought leader in multi-faceted avenues of research and guiding brands on tracking, segmentation, driver analysis, choice models, landscape studies, and more.

We continue to drive our insight-driven edge in brand strategy research in the post-pandemic reality through endemic capabilities of adaptability in our approaches and our relentless drive to decode fast-evolving human behaviour to inform atypical business decisions – a necessity of our times.

We are equipped to unlock your business ability to adapt to the fast-changing shape of consumer beliefs with virtual in-context research and developing ways for strategic adaptability of your brand voice.

Mike Murphy

Chief Energizing Officer

mmurphy@BrandIQ.biz

Real-World Expertise