Utilizing Social Media-Inspired Qualitative Insights to Identify Consumer Trends in Digital Imaging Technologies

An association in the consumer technology industry wanted to assess the opportunities and threats in the digital imaging landscape by gathering detailed insights regarding consumers’ use of digital imaging devices, their perceptions of how and why the modes of digital image creation and sharing were changing, and the role that they would like technology to play in the future of digital imaging. In light of the increasing prominence of multi-use devices (such as smartphones) in recent years and the subsequent concern that consumers may opt to give up their dedicated devices in lieu of devices with multiple functions, determining the reasoning behind consumer habits and attitudes became all the more important. The insights were needed to help shape the association’s own strategic initiatives, as well as to provide its wide range of member companies with valuable market information and emerging trends that they could, in turn, use to enhance their products and services to meet shifting consumer needs.

To this end, Rockbridge conducted in-depth qualitative research (supplementing a quantitative research phase) in order to help our client develop a more intimate understanding of the consumer and make sense of why certain industry trends were occurring. The qualitative data was captured through Rockbridge’s proprietary online research methodology known as OpinionPond™. OpinionPond™ is an online forum that utilizes a social media interface to allow participants to comfortably interact with one another on a selection of topics.

A total of 50 consumers participated in the discussion forum by posting comments and uploading photos they had taken using their devices over a period of several days. All of the discussion topics were moderated by Rockbridge, and participants were actively probed to dig deeper into their thought processes and to eliminate uncertainty when comments posted were unclear. Both the convenience of the OpinionPond™ forum being online without any restrictions of time or place as well as the user-friendly, social media-like interface served as an important advantage. Not only were participants able to contribute their thoughts with no hassle, but these features also made it easy for project stakeholders to view the discussion topics and provide feedback as often as they desired throughout the data collection period.

Upon conclusion of the OpinionPond™ discussion, an Excel file containing all of the qualitative data was delivered to the client. Analysis of the comments and photographs that were shared on OpinionPond™ led Rockbridge to identify the key themes that emerged within each discussion topic, and chosen participants’ individual perspectives were showcased in an executive summary to personalize the story behind the statistics obtained in the quantitative phase. Additionally, relevant quotes from all of the discussion topics were included throughout a comprehensive PowerPoint report; these quotes served to reinforce trends and findings also observed from the quantitative data.

The rich consumer insights produced using OpinionPond™ provided a thorough look at consumers’ preferences and setbacks in terms of their digital imaging needs, allowing our client’s diverse membership to utilize this fresh information to aid in their product development decisions.