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Geo-Targeted Insights – Don’t Get Lost in Translation

locationsWe can filter our data in many ways. There are so many different perspectives we can take when analysing survey responses, and each one can teach us new, valuable information. Our panel respondents for example come from across the UK and more than 70 countries; and it’s always fascinating to see how data can vary between from one country to another, or even between two cities.

Are Your Panel Respondents Happy?

Measuring happiness isn’t an exact science, but that doesn’t stop countless happiness surveys being conducted every year. When you think about it, panel respondents are always being asked if they’re happy. Are they happy with their broadband provider? Are they satisfied with their insurance plan? Recently the Office for National Statistics released figures that suggest that people living in the UK are getting happier with the average respondent rating their life satisfaction an average 7.3 out of 10, making them happier than those living in France, Germany and Italy.

Are Some Panel Respondents More Likely to Answer Yes?

We may never get any hard and fast answers as to why answers can vary between countries. Some geo-targeted insights have produced some rather interesting figures bringing to light just what variances occur when you conduct a multi-national survey. Something as simple as the propensity to answer ‘yes’ to your average yes-no question can vary by country. Last year, a survey conducted across 30 countries suggested that Western countries and more developed markets in Asia were less likely to answer ‘yes’ while panel respondents from India and Asia tended to answer ‘yes’ more often.

What do we really learn from geo-targeted insights?

So while it seems that there are so many variants between panel respondents from different countries to be of any value, geo-targeting your survey results can provide some extremely valuable insights. It’s always important to remember that a panel survey is an instant snapshot of opinions, so it will never be predictable. Geo-targeting can tell you how your product is performing overseas, whether city-dwellers eat healthier or if Londoners have more disposable income than Mancunians.

On the surface geo-targeted results can seem a bit ad-hoc, and almost too haphazard to be of value. As we’ve seen, there’s almost no predicting how panel respondents‘ answers will differ from country to country. However, this can be that extra bit of information that makes for a great headline, gives focus to marketing campaign or gives you a great idea for your next overseas venture.

Have you ever come across an unexpected result with geo-targeted results?

Do you want to carry out a multilingual panel survey? Dont know where to start? You can download our free whitepaper on Conducting Effective Market Research for an introduction, or contact us for an all in one survey solution.

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People, Personality And 360 Feedback Appraisals

One of the greatest skills an HR professional can possess is an understanding of people. The more you understand your people, the better you can manage their needs and create a successful work environment. Of course, every person is different and every organisation contains a wide variety of individuals and personality types. This means the average HR professional has to apply a wide variety of people management techniques.business people resized 600

Processes like 360 and employee feedback provide valuable insight into both the personalities and the development opportunities available to individuals and groups within the organisation. While these processes can provide insight into personality, they are also heavily affected by personality.

Feedback And Personality

No two people are exactly alike, meaning every piece of employee feedback will be different and every individual will respond to feedback in a different way. According to research by Smither, London & Richmond, personality type has a significant impact on how employees and leaders react to and use feedback.

According to the research, people with a more extraverted and/or conscientious personality are far more likely to use feedback findings to pursue development opportunities. This theory appears to be backed up by further research by Bono and Colbert who found that high self-esteem leads to positive reactions to feedback while low self-esteem or introversion can cause employees to have a negative reaction to feedback.

Using Employee Feedback

This research has been used in some quarters as evidence of a problem with 360 feedback style appraisals. The argument often put forward is that the application of a uniform 360 feedback program can have a negative impact on certain personality types. However, rather than evidence of a flaw in 360 feedback, this research offers an opportunity for HR professionals to implement more effective employee feedback programs.

By taking into account an employee’s personality, and identifying the appropriate approach to each, HR professionals can create the ideal development plan for every individual. Employees who respond positively to feedback can be given the freedom to manage their own development. Meanwhile, other personality types will get the benefit of a more structured training and development plan.

The key is to understand which approach works for which employee. Like every facet of HR, it’s about understanding your people.

See how 360 feedback has benefitted companies like M&S, Tonic Life and Home Group, by reading our case studies.

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Brand Awareness and Technology – The Hidden Link

laptop, technologyTechnology has become, and always will be, a fundamental part of our lives. It’s everywhere we look. One study suggests that between the time we wake up and arrive at our desks we have encountered 100,000 forms of technology and been exposed to almost 200 brands. That’s a lot of exposure in a short amount of time I’m sure you’ll agree.

When the focus group involved in this study returned their lists of morning encounters, there emerged two distinct categories’ brands and technology, but there was little to no crossover.

Brand Experience Leads to Awareness

Brands are moving away from one-way communication and static advertising. Instead brands are marketing themselves, or at least some are, in a way that aims to engage with consumers a lot more. It’s now becoming more common that brands look to create experiences that can be seen as meaningful and enhance consumers’ lives. Think of the ‘Share a Coke’ campaign, it’s the perfect example of a brand experience.

In this type of marketing, consumers are choosing how and when they are engaging with brands, whether they take part in campaigns, how involved they decide to be. Brands aren’t creating standalone experiences anymore; they’re looking to create something that keeps going. How long have we been saying, ‘Should have gone to Specsavers!’ for example?

Brand Awareness Through Technology

Increasingly, these experiences are being implemented through technology. Advertisements prompt consumers to ‘join the conversation on Facebook’ and so on. The aim is align the brand with the consumer‘s lifestyle and engage with them.

Taking Facebook alone, one study found that 56% of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand after they have liked them on Facebook and 51% are more likely to buy a product after they become a fan on Facebook.

Measuring Brand Awareness

As the media has become more fragmented and consumer attention is more easily distracted, brands are expanding to cross-channel communication in an effort to build more awareness..

This new type of brand engagement calls for a new approach to measuring brand awareness. There is little sense in asking purely about television ads; considering your target market may be more exposed to mobile marketing.

With the media being so fragmented, you need to look to reach out to your audience through as many channels as possible also.

How do you feel technology has impacted on brand awareness? Is it easier to build now, or has it become too disjointed to gauge?

How aware are consumers of your brand? You can download our free whitepaper on‘Conducting Consumer Research in the UK’, and conduct some research.

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Brand Awareness and Technology – The Hidden Link

laptop, technologyTechnology has become, and always will be, a fundamental part of our lives. It’s everywhere we look. One study suggests that between the time we wake up and arrive at our desks we have encountered 100,000 forms of technology and been exposed to almost 200 brands. That’s a lot of exposure in a short amount of time I’m sure you’ll agree.

When the focus group involved in this study returned their lists of morning encounters, there emerged two distinct categories – brands and technology, but there was little to no crossover.

Brand Experience Leads to Awareness

Brands are moving away from one-way communication and static advertising. Instead brands are marketing themselves, or at least some are, in a way that aims to engage with consumers a lot more. It’s now becoming more common that brands look to create experiences that can be seen as meaningful and enhance consumers’ lives. Think of the “Share a Coke” campaign, it’s the perfect example of a brand experience.

In this type of marketing, consumers are choosing how and when they are engaging with brands, whether they take part in campaigns, how involved they decide to be. Brands aren’t creating standalone experiences anymore; they’re looking to create something that keeps going. How long have we been saying, “Should have gone to Specsavers!” for example?

Brand Awareness Through Technology

Increasingly, these experiences are being implemented through technology. Advertisements prompt consumers to “join the conversation on Facebook” and so on. The aim is align the brand with the consumer’s lifestyle and engage with them.

Taking Facebook alone, one study found that 56% of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand after they have liked them on Facebook and 51% are more likely to buy a product after they become a fan on Facebook.

Measuring Brand Awareness

As the media has become more fragmented and consumer attention is more easily distracted, brands are expanding to cross-channel communication in an effort to build more awareness..

This new type of brand engagement calls for a new approach to measuring brand awareness. There is little sense in asking purely about television ads; considering your target market may be more exposed to mobile marketing.

With the media being so fragmented, you need to look to reach out to your audience through as many channels as possible also.

How do you feel technology has impacted on brand awareness? Is it easier to build now, or has it become too disjointed to gauge?

How aware are consumers of your brand? You can download our free whitepaper on ‘Conducting Consumer Research in the UK’, and conduct some research.


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What Do Consumer Spending Habits Tell Us About Target Markets?

iStock 000011375943XSmallA study of brands and their 2012 profits has revealed there is a veritable sweet-spot to be found in brands that target the mid-income market. This income bracket catapulted 7 of their favourite brands to the top 10 global brands.

So what does this tell us about these consumers as a target market? Just how much can we learn about our target market when we look at their spending habits?

The Most Profitable Target Market

When looking at this research, one point that is immediately clear is that the middle-income consumer represents by far the biggest sector of the market. It is reported that 22.5% of the global population make up the middle-income market. So we know already there are plenty of potential consumers within this income bracket.

Consumer Preferences

This research looked at what it was that this market chose to buy, and found that the majority of their preferences lay in experience-based activities and products that could deliver reliably over the longer term rather than lower cost, less reliable products. Travel, education, sports and recreation, products such as the iPad and MacBooks that were entertaining and gave lasting satisfaction, were all leaders in this area. So we know that this sector of the market likes practical products and are looking for lasting satisfaction from their purchases.

Identifying with the Target Market

This research reflects much of what we can learn from smaller consumer panels. Consumer panel surveys teach us a lot about how preferences shift towards quality, value and the perception of brands. Has something become a status symbol? Is this brand perceived as a purveyor of good value?

Findings like this suggests that the middle-income are concerned with long-term goals. They are more likely to invest in secure products and make calculated purchases; they’re more likely to invest in housing for example. Lower-incomes are more preoccupied with ostentatious branding and, interesting, are more likely to purchase a car as their first major investment.

Knowing Your Target Market

If we know how people are buying, we can tell so much about the market for our products and services. Taking the time to learn what is important to our target market, whether its branding, value or status, teaches us so much about our advertising, marketing and brand awareness.

You can easily learn this type of insight about your target market by surveying a consumer panel. While this research shows an overall trend, it generalises factors such as location and leaves out what could be crucial influencing factors such as employment, travel habits and family. Your consumer panel can zoom in on these influencing factors and give you an insight into what are the real needs and wants of your target customers.

Have you decided to do a bit of your own market research after reading this article? Our free whitepaper on Conducting Consumer Research in the UK should be able to help out with that.

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3 Ways To Measure Employee Morale

Managing and maintaining employee morale is one of the most important functions of effective HR. The cliche that a happy worker is a productive worker is a cliche for a reason. While it may be more accurate to say that an unhappy worker is an unproductive worker, every HR professional knows the value in good staff morale. 360 feedback resized 600

The first, and often most difficult, step in managing morale is measuring it. Morale is such a fickle and subjective topic; it can take a multi-faceted approach to really nail it down. It takes more than listening for negative comments in the break room to get a true picture of employee morale.

Employee Turnover

A natural place to start in measuring morale is churn rate. High staff turnover is often a strong indicator of morale problems in a specific department or team. There are some business functions, like customer service for example, where a high churn rate is to be expected; but it is always important to monitor turnover. And ongoing trends need to be analysed to avoid wider problems.

It’s also important to look a little deeper into that data. Staff turnover stats alone can only indicate a problem; to define it you need to talk to staff. Exit interviews often provide valuable, candid feedback; but you don’t have to wait that long. A staff attitude survey or other forms of employee feedback allow you to monitor morale at a high level. So you can identify potential problems before they happen.

Engagement

Employee morale is often evident in the level of engagement within the business. When morale is high employees are likely to care about the future and effectiveness of the business. While low morale usually leads to apathy. Inviting employees to provide ideas and feedback on business improvement can give you valuable insight into employee morale.

While the level of engagement won’t provide a definitive measure of morale, it will indicate potential issues. The content of the responses will also help. Even if employees aren’t asked to provide direct feedback on morale, their suggestions will usually focus on areas for improvement within the workplace. Those areas often relate directly or indirectly to morale.

Just Ask

The most effective way to measure employee morale is, simply to ask. And the more often you ask, the more comprehensive your data will be. Through the use of ongoing employee feedback tools like 360 degree feedback and staff surveys, you can create an open, communicative environment where employees are free to share their thoughts on the business. These functions, whether deployed individually or as an ongoing initiative, will allow employees to tell you directly how they feel.

It will also have the added effect of letting employees see that their opinions have value to the business. This can assist in improving morale, as well as measuring it, which makes employee feedback an ideal morale measurement tool. Certainly more effective than looking out for sad faces walking in on a Monday morning.

Read our blog focusing on how 360 Feedback can improve your working environment.

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Tablet Technology: Changing the Way We Conduct Research

TabletTablets have caused a revolution in the technology industry. Not only has the technology itself evolved substantially recently, the way we conduct ourselves as a result of this has too. Now when we design websites, publish blogs and even build online surveys, we have to give consideration to tablet users. This has had some fascinating implications for online surveys.

Increased in Online Activity

Tablets are dominating mobile Internet usage. Adobe Digital Index have discovered that global websites get more traffic from tablets than they do smartphones. As well as this, tablet users view 70% more pages when they are browsing online. From this, it’s safe to assume that tablets as a result are encouraging more people to use the Internet more often.

For online surveys, this means our potential audience and the reach of our online survey has grown too. Now that more people have ease-of-access online, we potentially have more willing participants for our consumer panels and audience samples.

Tablet User Behaviours

Adobe’s research concluded that tablets are suited to extended browsing sessions because they allow a user to be far more engaged. Online visits from tablet devices are more in depth and engaging; with video, social networking and online shopping a lot more common now.

Due to the reduced screen sizes, mobile phone type device interactions are reduced in comparison with the growing tablet usage. With more capabilities and ease of use, tablets allow us as survey creators to build more in depth surveys as the devices allow for such.

The Bridge Between Paper and Digital

As was correctly pointed out by Brian Steffens, director of communications at the University of Missouri, tablets provide a bridge between paper and digital as there is a familiarity between the old and new product. We can see this in the popularity of e-books and e-readers.

The same can also be seen with online surveys. An online survey viewed on a tablet device does pose a distinct resemblance to the traditional paper-based questionnaire. Maintaining the familiarity of the traditional paper-based survey with the accessibility of an tablet is a growing opportunity to extend the reach of online surveys.

So it’s clear that more people are online more often. Couple this with the usability and familiarity of the tablet format and the potential for online surveys grows exponentially. We have a wider, more engaged audience and our online surveys bear a close resemblance to the paper-based surveys we are familiar with from years of market research. So when designing your next online survey, have you considered checking it is compatible with, and optimized for, those wishing to respond using a tablet device instead of just those using a computer and screen?

With the coming of tablets, online surveys have a wider reach, and a higher response rate making this an ideal way of carrying out effective market research. If you want more information on online panel surveys, dont hestitate to contact us!

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Why Not Do Your Research Yourself?

can on a stringOutsourcing is commonplace in business; it’s now very much a way of life. For many businesses it’s now the only way to get something done even. With the growth of online services however, businesses have started to take back control of their previously outsourced operations. One area where this is possible is market research. Rather than outsourcing to a third-party, it’s relatively simple to conduct your market research yourself, online.

What online consumer surveys do is allow you to take back control of your research and cut out the middleman. Think about it; who is really doing the field work for your consumer market research – your agency or someone else that they are paying to do this also? This must surely be adding cost to the research. You do your marketing, selling and day-to-day operations yourself; why not conduct your own market research? Nowadays it’s not as hard as it sounds at all.

Selecting your target market

Nobody knows your target customers like you do. You deal with them every day; you’ve built up relationships and they’ve grown with you. In conducting your own market research with an online consumer panel research provider you are easily able to specially select your target customer. Are you targeting young couples, new parents or commuters? Whatever the specifics of your demographic, you can specify this as part of your research project brief.

The Benefits of Online Consumer Panels

Conducting market research is a time-consuming and often daunting process. From designing and building the survey to conducting it and collating the results; there is a lot involved. But a good consumer panel research provider is only too happy to streamline the process and make it as painless as possible to do ‘ so why not take full advantage of this goodwill and get precisely the insight that you need. Conducting your market research through an online consumer panel is far more time efficient, especially beneficial when you are trying to fit your research around running a business. They can help with the design and build and testing of your survey, host it online for you, and all you have to do is sit back and wait for the results to come in. There’s no need to be sending teams of interns out into the streets or have your sales agents try to push a survey when they’ve made a sale. Your survey is working while you’re working – and often the result are available much sooner than you’d expect. Typically most consumer panel research can be completed inside 10 working days – often much less than this.

Online Consumer Panels are More Flexible

The flexibility of online consumer panels is the standout highlight of this approach to consumer market research. It’s a great solution for both dedicated market research teams and busy business owners. ?Whether you’re looking to cut costs, or you want more control over your market research, dealing directly with your online consumer panel provider allows you to self-manage your market research from beginning to end.?

So why pay more than you need to by relying on 3rd party research providers; why not do your market research yourself?

3 HR Metrics That Can Be Improved Through Employee Feedback

As a HR professional, you often find yourself dealing with the intangible. You deal in satisfaction, motivation and dedication. These factors can be measured through processes like online staff assessment and development and employee engagement surveys, but measurement is only half the battle. Measurement can let you know where you are; the trick is to figure out how to improve those measures.man thinking resized 600

With effective employee feedback, the measurement tool also becomes the first step to improvement. And once you improve the more intangible factors, you should begin to see an improvement in some of your more practical measures too.

Percent of Performance Goals Met or Exceeded

Goals met or exceeded is a great universal measure because it provides an easy performance reference for both employer and employee. It’s also a metric that measures hard work and dedication. Improvement on this metric usually comes when employees apply themselves and effectively ‘work harder’. But, of course, hard work and application aren’t the only factors in meeting goals.

An employee’s ability to perform is also affected by their motivation, their satisfaction in their role and their interaction with colleagues. ‘Goals Met’ can’t tell you any of this, but employee feedback can. It can also flag workplace factors that negatively affect productivity and help employees to identify areas they can improve on.

Absenteeism

One of the most common negative impacts on productivity is absenteeism, particularly in larger businesses where absenteeism can become a culture. If absenteeism is becoming a problem, employee feedback can help you to get to the root of the issue. Employees may miss days because of common motivational issues or problems with the work environment. Employee feedback will help you to identify this problem and allow employees see that you value their input.

Engagement of Satisfaction Rating

That feeling of value will also have an effect on your employee satisfaction metrics. By giving employees regular opportunities to share their feelings, you can create a better all around atmosphere. It will also help you to identify a key factor in employee satisfaction, job fit. Employees that are dissatisfied may simply be working in the wrong role or on the wrong projects. Once this has been identified through employee feedback, you can work on making sure all of your employees work in a role that makes best use of their skills and keeps them satisfied.

As a HR professional you are charged with managing the intangible factors in your employees’ performance. And your success is often measured through some of the more tangible metrics mentioned above. Employee feedback offers a single solution that can help you improve both sets of metrics.

SurveyShack provides a flexible and cost-effective 360 degree feedback solution. To learn more,download our free white paper on the benefits of 360 degree feedback.

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Finding The Ideal Approach To Assessing Employee Performance

chickensThere are an infinite number of ways to assess employee performance. From detailed statistical analyses to drawing promotion appointments out of a hat, they range in accuracy and effectiveness. While there is no way to definitively identify the most accurate measure of employee performance, there are some methods that are regularly highlighted as best. We all have our own favoured methods too.

Employee Performance And Context

While many HR professionals rely solely on statistics, others prefer to use first hand accounts of the employee and base decisions on those views. While neither side can provide conclusive proof that their approach is correct, neither side can disprove the other, either. To truly understand performance, you need to understand both statistics and opinions. Both are required because, one offers context to the other. Without the context of first hand opinion, certain statistics may flag an issue incorrectly or identify a problem but suggest the wrong solution.

The same is true of opinions without statistics. Managers often praise employees who generate mediocre metrics. Without the statistics, that employee may end up being promoted or handed responsibility for the wrong reasons, or to the wrong position. Which leads to a negative situation for all parties.

Poor Stats And Strong Opinion

To illustrate the point, lets look at two of the most common statistics for assessing employee performance. ‘Goals Met or Exceeded’ and ‘Absenteeism’. From a purely statistical point of view, these metrics should always point in different directions. High absenteeism, low goals met; and vice versa. However, opinion can add a new dimension to that data. You may have an employee who is seen by their colleagues and immediate manager as knowledgeable, skilled and engaged; but achieves mediocre results and is regularly absent. That may point to an employee who is a valuable asset but is engaged in the wrong work or has an underlying issue that, when resolved, would free them to achieve better results. Without proper context, both employer and employee could miss an opportunity for development.

Great Stats Aren’t Everything

The same goes for employees with perfect attendance and strong metrics. By combining that data with the opinions of those who interact with that employee every day, you can identify whether they are achieving the best figures they can or if there is potential for more. They may have reached their level with little potential for improvement. You may also find that they are not engaged with any success beyond the fulfillment of those metrics. This attitude can be common in sales and customer service roles where metrics are seen as the only target. Employees like that, despite strong figures, may lack development potential.

These are simplified examples, and different industries will achieve better results with different approaches. However, one thing is clear, assessing employee performance is about a lot more than what the eye can see and what a stat can prove.

360 Feedback can provide a fully rounded view of your employees’ performance and add that vital context to your performance metrics. Download our whitepaper 10 Steps to Great 360 Degree Feedback to find out how you can get the most out of your employee feedback.

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