DON’T OVER-RELY ON FOCUS GROUPS

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I remember while working on a beer brand a few years ago, we had decided as a team that the beer needed some facelift therefore there should be a new label.

The global branding agency had worked tirelessly to come up with some exciting materials.

So client picked the material that seemed most effective, i.e had all beer cues, good use of colours and exciting special effects that will get the brand noticed even in a sweaty chiller.

It was wise to put the new material under some ‘acceptance test’ before the final approval. Na so client call research agency to organize a focus group session so as to ascertain the wide ‘acceptance/appeal’ of this new label. A date was fixed and we were all excited to share this material with the world.

The D-day reach and everything looked perfect. Though the session didn't kick off at the due time but the respondents were already seated . For me, they were the most important people at the gathering. Everything was finally put in place and we were ready to go.

After some initial questioning, the moderator decided to play a quick one on the respondents ability to recall. Olboy thank God sey the woman take this wise step oooooo.

That’s how a mixture of the ‘then’ current label and the proposed label was placed on the table for the respondents to identify the  current label that was on the beer brand.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and hearing.

Sweat begin roll down my face even though the AC for the control room was super-efficient. They put me, the senior brand manager and a manager from client’s planning department in that control room so that we could see the through glass while the respondents felt at home when being questioned.

Unbelievable!!! JESUS!!!

Almost all the respondents picked the 'proposed label' as the label of the beer they’ve been drinking for so long. In fact one said he still had the beer the day before and that was the label.

We were so shocked in the control room that we thought maybe we had some eye problems. To confirm if our eyes were not playing tricks on all, we asked the moderator to ask them which would be there preference as the label for the beer. And they ALL picked the old label (the ‘then; current label).

Great! So it was obvious that the two labels were distinctively different. Obviously something is not right somewhere.

So the FBI side of me decided to go into action.

I walked up to one of the respondents after the session and tolf him they they fantastically well. So I asked him how long is been into stuff this and his reply was:

Bros e don tey!!!

‘Na here we dey  see food o!

He continues: ....But I’m also running a part time course in LASPOTECH. I will be done with my OND soon.

‘Great’ I replied.

Then I asked if he was in a hurry to leave the premises and he said ‘No’

‘I no get anything wey I wan go do for house. I still full ground here’.

So I asked we look for a bar around where we can sit, have a drink and talk business since I would love his ‘click’ to be part of another focus group I was trying to put together. He jumped at the bait.

As we approached the beer parlour, he asked if it has to be a beer parlour, couldn’t we look for a ‘Fast Food Joint’ around.

(Hian! No be food dem just give una for the focus group now now}

Sounding very surprised, I asked why?

(I couldn’t believe his reply)

Bros I no dey drink beer o, infact I no dey go beer parlour.

So I asked, But you dey go club sha and you dey do spirits sometimes?

Even club sef I no dey go…I NEVER TASTE ALCOHOL FOR MY LIFE BEFORE!

It was like I was watching an indian movie that I couldn’t understand what they were saying.

So why did you now take part in a focus group that was centered on beer I asked

Bros na so we dey do our job o. Once one person get the call, he MUST carry all of go. Na so we dey do am!

I was speechless!

I just gave the guy 1K for the useful insight and told him to get himself some ‘Fast Food’ enjoyment!

Hmmmn…That’s for you!

As expected of me, I advised client against taking the report seriously.

Na my job be that!!!

 

My name is Yomi Olaniwun, a brand building consultant.

I lead a team of Digital Marketing strategists at BB BUZZ.

@THEBBBUZZ