Focus Groups

Focus groups were originally used within communication studies to explore the effects of films and television programmes. The idea behind the focus group method is that group processes can help people to explore and clarify their views in ways that would be less easily accessible in a one to one interview. Group discussion is particularly appropriate when the interviewer has a series of open ended questions and wishes to encourage research participants to explore the issues of importance to them, in their own vocabulary, generating their own questions and pursuing their own priorities. When group dynamics work well the participants work alongside the researcher, taking the research in new and often unexpected directions.

Contributor: Joshua Roberts, 2013
NIKE

Nike conducted extremely tailored focus groups for their shin guards in 2008. The focus groups consisted of highly elite soccer players and featured their current and future prototype models of shin guards to see what the player’s opinions and experience was with the different products. Nike says they didn’t want to discuss products like this with just anyone as they don’t give helpful feedback instead conducting a focus group with elite players that use products like this and push them to the limits of what they are designed for, helps to inform healthy design choices that make a great product.

Contributor: Joshua Roberts, 2013
COCA-COLA

Coca-Cola decided in 1985 to replace its old formula with a sweeter variation, dubbed the “New Coke”. Coca-Cola spent $4 million on market research. Blind taste tests showed that Coke drinkers preferred the new, sweet formula, but the launch of New Coke provoked a national uproar. Market researchers had measured the taste but had failed to measure the emotional attachment consumers had to Coca-Cola. There were angry letters, formal protests and even lawsuit threats, to force the retention of “The Real Thing”. Ten weeks later, the company withdrew New Coke and reintroduced its century-old formula as “Classical Coke”, giving the old formula even stronger status in the marketplace

Contributor: Joshua Roberts, 2013