Build your consumer-centricity lighthouse with the Research Hub

The Research Hub

No two brands are the same, and neither are their research needs. As different brands come with different challenges, they demand a different type of online insight community to address their needs.

In this blogpost, we explore the Research hub, designed to address the following research need:

“I want a versatile solution that caters efficiently for all my needs and supports our consumer-centric thinking by democratizing research throughout the business.”

Through a Research hub, organizations build a versatile capability that addresses all their research needs (i.e., multi-method, multi-project) on one platform. This type of community is ongoing, providing room for multiple iterations, or even for plugging in certain modules from our modular research programs on CX, innovation, or branding & communication. As such, this community can be used to cover all research needs from the Flash, Deepdive and Program communities.

WHY – Key benefits

Collaborating with consumers via a Research hub comes with multiple advantages.

  • Agility & efficiency: this hub provides brands with an agile approach to keep an ongoing finger on the pulse of consumers – through small ad hoc projects as well as large ongoing research programs. As a Research hub is ‘always on’, new activities can go live in no time, in a cost-efficient way.
  • Consumer-centric thinking: the ongoing consumer connection via the Research hub allows brands to collaborate much more with consumers on a variety of topics they originally would not run by them. In the end, this will lead to more consumer-centric thinking across the organization.
  • Agency as business partner: through this type of structural collaboration, not only consumers but the research agency’s consultants also get closer to the business. Over time, the agency can almost become an extension of the CMI team, being fully aware of the broader business objectives and strategic goals. This helps to be proactive in planning future research as well as to frame findings in a broader perspective and act as a true business partner.
  • Meta-learnings: spending quite some time together with a brand’s target audience allows to connect the dots across segments, product categories or even regions, and to build further on previous learnings. This helps to easily come to conclusions in an overall strategic framework, derive meta-learnings and take this further.

WHEN – Some illustrations

Via foundational qualitative and quantitative research, a Research hub helps brands address their different research needs. This is also what we do for banking and financial services organization AXA Philippines, that wanted to differentiate and build strong relevance with the young and dynamic Filipino population.

Since 2017, we have been running ‘MyAXA Café’, the first Research hub in the Philippine insurance industry. Throughout the years, the team has launched over 40 studies and has been the ‘go-to’ channel for quick and agile customer feedback, directing decision making across various teams within AXA Philippines. Based on the success of the Philippine community, AXA decided to launch a similar community model in Hong Kong in 2018.

HOW – Best practices

When using the Research hub, certain watch-outs need to be considered. We recommend starting small, but thinking big and scaling rapidly. This means taking the time to build the community, in terms of both size and engagement – for example, starting in one market or with one product category. In a next phase, the community can grow, and its planning can follow the business cycle.

Despite the agility provided by the Research hub, this type of community requires thorough planning – think for example about an overall content and engagement plan. Regular refreshment waves are also needed to always have a fresh pool of interested and interesting participants.

Finally, observing discussions in an online community setting with a large group of participants is very different from following a focus group that typically consists of 8 to 12 people. The risk exists that stakeholders get overwhelmed and cannot easily spot the relevant observations. Developing a stakeholder activation plan – which combines a broad spectrum of creative deliverables and activation tools – is therefore key when running this type of community.

Did you miss the articles on what the other community types can mean for your brand? Catch up on the Flash, the Deepdive and the Program communities!

We’d love to showcase what Insight Communities can do for your brand. So get in touch to request your demo!

Online Insight Communities

Online Insight Communities

Research communities, online discussions boards, bulletin boards, insight ecosystems… what’s in a name. In this bookzine, we bring clarity by defining four different community types, each linked to a concrete research need, illustrated with best practices. 

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