Online Communities have come of age

Written by Katrina Copsey

Yes, online communities have been around for a while. But it’s taken time for their value to be felt and recognised among researchers and clients alike. Now, more than ever, consumers are happy to embrace the weird and wonderfully creative tasks set online resulting in new insights into their world.

The birth of online communities came with the expectation of ‘quick and dirty’ and ‘cheap’ and whilst they can be both of those things, they are so much more and that’s why we love them! For the social media generations, there is nothing more natural than expressing opinions online and capturing moments in their lives on camera. The door is well and truly unlocked to access consumer reaction in a raw, unbridled way, for those precious days (or weeks) we have consumers at our disposal.

Our clients feel online communities are frequently surpassing their expectations; the gusto with which consumers embrace their tasks, the richness of feedback and the sheer wealth of insight generated is impressive. The challenge for us as researchers is how we harness the contextual verbatims, film clips & imagery. The temptation can be to stick it all into the debrief to avoid losing the texture and richness that has emerged. But, at RDSi we believe clear and succinct debriefs with only the best verbatim and film edits to support get the key messages across to our clients. But all is not lost! New outputs, like our stand-alone community scrapbooks, have been designed to capture consumer language and imagery from the community. The community scrapbook, proving popular with clients, can also help the broader team including design agencies, ad agencies and R&D teams move forward whilst keeping the consumer voice with them.

We’ve got online communities covered, so if you’ve got a brief that might warrant this methodology or you are tempted to try it out, give us a call.

What our clients have said…

“Thanks. I cannot believe just how many posts are on here…. and the level of detail with which people have engaged. Really impressive.” Coca-Cola

“A great iterative methodology to capture rich, detailed, in the moment feedback and to observe how experiences and opinions of our consumers develop over time. RDSI have successfully run multiple online communities for us demonstrating their expert community management skills and delivering engaging deliverables time and again. Thanks RDSI team.” Unilever