In July of 2012, we wrote in this blog about the fundamentals of MROCs (Market Research Online Communities). In that blog post, What is MROC? we covered some of the basics of MROCs, as well as reviewed those benefits that apply to all Communities.
Roughly stated, MROCs are large panels of like-minded individuals (e.g. they all are shoppers at Wal-Mart™ or they all use Pampers™, etc.) brought together for an extended period of time and who are willing to provide opinions related to that brand; data is gathered through both qualitative and quantitative methods. At ThinkNow Research, we have found that the best use of MROCs are exploratory in nature, like ideation studies, concept testing and strategic branding.
What makes Communities such a good customer-listening tool is that:
- The members all have an interest in the specific brand and are all regulars users of it
- They all willingly volunteer to participate
- They all know that their opinion is important and expected
- Over time, the members “get to know each other” and open up even more
Because the needs, wants and culture of Hispanic consumers are so different than those of the general population, several years ago, we began creating and managing Hispanic MROCs for our clients. These Hispanic communities fall into two broad categories:
- Brand-centric: Not unlike the traditional Communities mentioned above, Hispanic MROCs are built around a particular brand but comprised of Hispanic consumers only (e.g. Hispanic consumers of Campbell’s™ soup or Hispanic drivers of Ford™ automobiles).
- Consumer-centric: Here, the focus is on building a broader panel of Hispanic consumers – not tied to any one brand or product. These panels are ideal for those companies that want to take multiple brands into the Hispanic marketplace or for research firms and ad agencies that are looking to better understand Hispanic consumers and culture in an effort to support their clients.
Success with Hispanic MROCs
Recruiting the right people for the MROC is only half the battle. Once that’s done, Hispanic MROCs are only as good as the professional researchers that manage and engage the members. Two key aspects of community methodologies that are necessary for success are:
- Creating ‘discrimination.’ Historically, Hispanic consumers respond to research studies in very agreeable ways (i.e. they rarely speak negatively about a brand, even if they feel that way). However, engaging with them in a Community setting allows the researcher to dig deeper, create some discrimination (to uncover any underlying negative feelings) and better understand the Hispanic consumers’ true feelings and buying motives.
- Communicating with MROC members in their native tongue, not in Spanish translated from English. Genuine Spanish – and the appropriate colloquialisms – break down barriers and encourage the participants to open up and share their opinions. Starting with English and translating into Spanish is easy to spot and shows the Community members that you are not “authentic,” lessening your chance for open, honest dialogue.
Think of it this way… a standard research project (survey, focus group, etc.) is a Polaroid snapshot – you’re getting feedback at a single moment in time. Hispanic Communities, on the other hand, are living organisms which constantly change because they are representative of the Hispanic population, which is also constantly changing.
Created and managed properly, Hispanic Communities provide an opportunity to be truly purposeful with your Hispanic market research – not to just conduct generic research in a Hispanic environment. So, when you approach your research this way, barriers break down, comfort levels increase and the Hispanic Community members happily provide you with a level of insight that is difficult to uncover with any other methodology.
To learn more about how Communities can enhance your Hispanic market research efforts, visit our website or contact one of our MROC specialists for a free, 30-minute consultation on what type of Hispanic Community might be best for your business (info@ThinkNowResearch.com).