Focus groups are as ancient as dinosaurs. The traditional model begins with the internal development of an idea and progresses to target consumer reaction groups and testing. Often it seems that at that point, the creative process has come to an end. The problem is that this model doesn’t unearth the true potential of consumer input. So, take this relic idea of a focus group and inject life into it. Utilize a “focus group” to create, access true consumer opinions and ideas, and find new energy.
At Ideas To Go, we include Creative Consumers® associates—who are like focus group participants on steroids—right from the start of a project. Here’s why: Creative Consumers® associates are highly-articulate, imaginative thinkers who are carefully selected and trained in creativity techniques—so they can help stretch your thinking and create your next big idea. They go beyond just reactions to offer their perspectives, insights and unmet needs. These creative individuals are brought into the process at the beginning to generate ideas that will be developed throughout the rest of the project. They work together with client participants to co-create ideas that are grounded in true consumer needs and experiences.
After Creative Consumers® associates have sparked creativity and the client team has selected target areas and developed concepts,then it’s time to utilize a group of consumers in a refining process. At that point, we incorporate iCoN® (Innovative Consumer Network) panelists for enhanced focus groups, either in-person or online. These panelists are everyday consumers, who assist client teams by sharing what speaks to them.
So when it’s time to find out what is important to YOUR consumers—why they shop and ultimately why they buy—forget the traditional focus group dinosaur and allow Ideas To Go and our Creative Consumers® associates to help bring your category to life.
Cris Swenson is a former Project and Facility Manager at Ideas To Go, an innovation agency that works with Fortune 500 companies in ideation and concept development to incorporate the voice of the consumer.