A Human Approach To Digital: How We Show Up Differently

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  • by Sarah Urmston

A Human Approach To Digital: How We Show Up Differently

These days, online/digital research is no stranger in our industry.

You’ve likely already heard about the rise of digital research and the benefits that come along with it: it’s faster, it offers a nationwide recruit, and it’s available to moderate from the comfort of your own desk, couch, park bench… or wherever you like to work. And while all of these things are true, we at SEEK believe there’s an even deeper impact to digital research that goes beyond the common purpose.

When it comes to digital research, a lot of people who take the approach think it’s a very black and white process. It’s a list of traditional questions to ask consumers, and they reply with a list of traditional answers back. You ask, they respond. You’re done -- and you’ve got your, well, traditional data. But what if there’s more to it than that? What if there’s a way to get even more from online research, beyond the status quo?

At SEEK, we believe in the grey area.

As researchers, we have set ourselves up to humanize innovation for the world. What this means is that we honor and respect respondents as people. We spend so much of our energy around human connection when it comes to our in-person research, and we hold the same standards in our digital work, too.

Compared to other online research, we take this different, human-centric approach. We focus on making a deeper human connection through interaction, asking thoughtful questions, and making the consumer feel valued. We honor that the human voice be heard rather than just collecting and focusing on the data and seeing them as numbers on a screen.

When we do that, we can walk away with more than traditional responses. We can uncover deeper, human insights, tensions, ideas, and so much more.

So how do we approach digital research differently than the other guys?



We play in the grey.

We probe for the deeper context. We always circle back around to a question when we believe there’s more to the story -- because most likely, there is.

They’re black and white.

Questions and answers are simply just that. Probing that is kept at a minimum, or none at all, leaving questions as is without trying to understand more context behind it.

We dig deeper.

Thought out, in-depth questions that strive to uncover deeper, human truths. We boldly play in emotional territories and aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo, bringing more meaning to their responses.

They take it for what it is.

High-level questions resulting with short, direct responses. The status quo of discussion guides.

We read between the lines.

We don’t rely on the machine to do the dirty work for us, but rather hand-code our own analyses and themes. This allows us to never miss a thing.

They pass through verbatims only.

They run machine-coded reports that only capture what was provided in the initial search, allowing important context to fall through the cracks.

We’re person to person.

We spend time communicating directly with consumers, reminding them that their responses are valued and being heard by a human on the other side of the screen.

They rely on the survey.

Automatic responses an/or little to no communication/interaction. There is little connection established, leaving consumers less engaged.

By making these human connections with our respondents, we can see the deeper truth of their needs, wants, and motivations around the things in their lives that have a greater impact than we understand upfront.

At SEEK, applying empathy to our research will always be the way we show up. Ready to learn, get our hands dirty, and deep dive into the unknown. And it doesn’t have to stop at in-person.