today's questions, tomorrow's answers

Our Research

Research Philosophy

Our research philosophy combines conventional research with the unconventional.

In surveys, marketers often ask people to respond to statements relating to brands or specific issues as they want to know how much people agree with these statements; whether their responses vary by market segment; and whether significant changes in their responses have occurred over time. This information can assist marketers in identifying problems or assessing the effects of specific marketing activities. However, when people attach ratings of agreement and importance to such statements, their responses reveal only thoughts about what managers deem to be important, but which might not actually be the most relevant drivers of consumer behaviour.

In other words, people are responding to ideas imposed on them by marketers, not generated by them. As political psychologist Drew Western commented in his critique of focus groups, "If you ask people conscious questions about unconscious processes, they will be happy to offer you their theories. But most of the time, those theories are wrong".

Moreover, people may not really mean what they say!

Focusing only on what people say (product attributes and functional benefits) produces surface-level thinking, and fails to ask about the social and psychological consequences of those benefits (deeper thinking), or whether those social or psychological consequences fit into a people's values, beliefs, and life goals (still deeper thinking). Brand battles are waged and won or lost at the deepest level and hence the need to address people's thinking at this level in order to gain insight into the mind of the people.

At FutureThink we believe that it is critical to address people at the deepest level possible using a multi-disciplinary research design. Our multi-disciplinary approach combines online qualitative research with offline conversations to produce a cost-effective method that addresses marketers' needs and reaches people at the deepest emotional levels possible.