For those who do not know the Esomar Congress it is probably the most prestigious event in the field of market research where professionals from all over the world present their most recent research.
We were therefore delighted to learn that we were selected to present a paper at the next Esomar Congress; this is the third time in a row (which to my knowledge, is a first for a French research institute:- ):
. in 2006 at the London Congress, with Moët Hennessy we presented the Emotional Monitoring tool, a real disruptive innovation for the understanding and monitoring of the imaginary perception of a brand, and which has now become the object of a licence with partners in the United States (PERT) in Germany (OPINION) and in Spain (ADVIRA) who now offer Emotional Monitoring to their own clients .
. in 2007 our presentation at the Congress in Berlin concerned our presence in the virtual world of Second Life,
. and finally, in 2008 in Montreal, with Danone Research we shall present a paper on the inclusion of non verbal communication in our research methods, via VideoEtude, a concept developed by our partner Franck Saunier. It concerns a whole field of research aimed at approaching the consumer from a holistic point of view by never separating verbal from non-verbal communication at any stage of the study. Beyond the theoretical aspects, we shall present very concrete examples in two areas that seem especially promising: The detection of unconscious insights able to help anchor disruptive innovations, and the measurement of the emotional involvement aroused by a stimulus (concept, communication, product...).
Beyond implementing the Co-design process, the purpose of Repères in Second Life is of course to explore these new digital words to gain more knowledge of them and to advise our clients in their marketing strategies in these virtual worlds.
We also want to play an active role in the Second Life community and to participate in its development, namely by disseminating the results of studies we conduct on our own initiative, or by making research organisations benefit at cost price from field studies conducted by our panel of avatars.
It is within such a framework that we are publishing the results of a qualitative study we conducted last year on the perception by the residents of Second Life of the first launches of brands in SL.
The investigation, under the form of an "in world” focus group (via avatars in SL) and in Real Life, concerned the automobile sector which already presented a certain diversity in marketing terms. The aim of the study is to determine the key factors of success for a successful launch in a virtual world.
You may download all of the findings here, which you may also view in a slide presentation below (given the density of the text, I recommend the option “view on slideshare / Full”)
For further details, please contact Emilie Labidoire, project manager at Repères Communities.
The development of virtual worlds about which we regularly communicate is a part of the more global process of the massive integration of digital technology in our reality.
This new reality we are moving towards, where the border between the virtual and reality will become less and less discernable, is sometimes referred to as the metaverse.
In the spring of 2007, a group of experts, researchers and players in the field of virtual worlds published a remarkable study on this subject : the metaverse roadmap overview. The authors identify four leading trends which, through their convergence, lead us to the metaverse:
. Virtual Worlds
. the mirror worlds, the digital reproduction of reality (Cf. Google Earth)
. enhanced reality : the integration of the digital in the real world, for example via enhanced reality glasses (you walk in an Antique site and thanks to these glasses you have a completed view of the buildings instead of the ruins)
. lifelogging, which consists of recording all the events of one’s life on a digital medium.
You will find here the support materials from a talk I gave on this subject at the summer university of a consulting company. In addition to the 4 trends of the Metaverse Roadmap, you will find some elements concerning another change I believe is fundamental: the notion of the enhanced body (exoskeletons, cyborgs and brain-computer links) where, here again, the visions of science-fiction writers are confirmed.
To finish with this theme of the metaverse and immersion, here is a video in which a system for measuring brain waves makes it possible for a person to move his avatar in Second Life mentally:
There are many surprises in store for us.
Happy new year, and please see the film below to discover our wishes for 2008.
Among these new approaches, we are investing especially in all the “collaborative” techniques which represent a change of position within our profession. The citizen consumer is moving from the status of respondent to that of participant.
Hence, on the occasion of the last SEMO trade show, Emilie Labidoire, in charge of Repères Communautés, and I presented a series of collaborative approaches aimed at the following:
. mobilising consumers and involving them in designing the offer:
- co-designing, namely by using the Second Life platform,
- a concept test under the form of a collaborative blog, with 60 to 80 respondents alternating during a fortnight between collective exchanges and individual questionnaires
- a prototype test via the Home Use Blog, previously mentioned in this blog
. but also at gaining a better understanding of consumers via the creation of Virtual Communities of Interests, making it possible for a company to get a better understanding of its target and to continuously exchange with this target in a real spirit of partnership.
In addition to this new position as a “participant”, clearly in line with that of the consumer-citizen today (Cf. the book, “Génération participation” by Thierry Maillet), the strong point of these approaches is that they are based on new time frames: We are no longer working with 15-minute quantitative questionnaires or 3-hour focus groups, but with a collaborative experience over one or two weeks (collaborative concept test, Home Use Blog) or even several months (Communities), thus providing a definite opportunity for ideas to ripen and for the experience to be integrated. Another important aspect is the advantage of asynchronous communication limiting leading effects (each participant integrates the opinions of the others, but with a "distance" which enables him or her to evaluate these opinions and to preserve his or her individuality) and also makes it possible for the respondent to express himself/herself in a very personal way.
At Repères, we are continuing to develop and experiment with these collaborative methods which hold great promise, naturally for general consumer issues but also in the field of BtoB (for example: the development of a co-design protocol with certain key customers, or the creation and moderation of communities of retailers…)
In short, we are fortunate to be working in a fascinating profession offering a host of new prospects!