December 2012 Archives

leaping across the fiscal cliff

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I found this article interesting because I am also a political science major. But I found myself thinking about evaluative research because it runs into the same problem as the fiscal cliff: expense. Research is super expensive. And the research community is dealing with this through technology, how to stream line the process, and make it cheaper. Also with technology, they are making research as close to as effective as expensive, time consuming person-to-person research.

Social Commerce

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The first story line in the article is social commerce. Social commerce is interesting because it is an entirely new way to market to people, and advertising looks different on websites like facebook, pintrest and twitter. It is much more about connecting with individuals and promoting comversations.

From a research stand point, social commerce is an excellent tool. You are able to monitor who sees your posts, when they are seen, and can even determine why posts are being seen. All of this can be done either cheaply or for free as well.


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Is research really being helped by incentives? I know it helps get responce rates up, but I thing getting something in return for taking a survey makes people less willing to say negaitve things. This is not helpful. THis blog sums it up well.

Researching market research

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All top is a site that has news stories about current market research. It is a place to see trends in research, innovations, and how research differs for different products and brands. For a research professional, this is a site that help you keep current with trends that companies may want to utilize, or see what new techniques work or don't. It is a way to keep your research on the cutting edge.

Consumers Lie?

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This is an article about innovations in market research, looking for tracking how people act, not just what they say. It seems that this is the next place research is going. We see eye trackers for where people look at websites already.

More and more research is moving to studying people's actions not just their thoughts. Companies even go so far to build store sets for brand research, to see how consumers act in the store.

Qualitative vs. Quantitative

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We have talked a lot in this course about quantitative v. quantitative research. Which is better? When do we use which?

For me, I like qualitative better. I like to hear why people like a brand or product, why it is special to them. I think qualitative research helps a company become more personal to their publics.

I realize that qualitative research is hard to generalize, and is not perfect for everything, but I think it does have a lot of value.

I think qualitative v.s. quantitative shows a difference between PR and advertising. Advertising research has a specific focus- to sell something. PR is more about getting people to think positively about a brand, it is about getting the feeling you can only find through qualitative research.

Target GLBT ad

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target gay marriage ad.jpg

This is an add for Target's wedding catalog. It is one of the first pro GLBT ads from a major department store.

This ad came out during the marriage amendment debate in Minnesota before the election in November. During this time Target came out for the "vote no" movement. Beside this act, they sold shirts with rainbows on them, a common GLBT symbol. Target is based out of Minneapolis. Through research, Target knows a decent amount of their costumers are part of or support the GLBT community.

The wedding ad is not the first time Target has gotten involved in politics. In 2010, the company supported a candidate that was not in support of the GLBT community. People were extremely vocal about their displeasure of Target's political support.

I believe part of the reason Target came out so supportive of the Vote No campaign is because of the media crisis in 2010. There was a decent amount of backlash for Target in 2010. The wedding ad had more of a goal than promoting registering at Target. The ad was meant to show Target;s support of the GLBT community, a community that makes up a good amount of "guests" at the department stores. I think part of the reason for the ad was to make sure to negative press from 2010 would not come back to haunt the company,

I think the ad was successful, In a buzzfeed blog, the ad was named as one of the 60 best things for the GLBT community. No one is talking about the incident in 2010 anymore and the general view of Target is positive.

Samplify by Peanut Labs

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Samplify is an online sight that offers a pool of people to create a sample for surveys.

According to the article linked below, going through a company like peanut labs usually takes a lot of time and money. Samplify is more of a "do it yourself" sampling.

This is similar to the sights we talked about during the survey modules, groups of people prepared to participate in surveys. Also, it reminded me of the online focus groups we looked at. It seems like the internet is making research cheaper, easier and less time consuming.

I do have some reservations about having a group of people willing to take surveys when ever. Are they being paid for being in this pool? Will being this willing to take any surveys affect how they answer the questions?

Guest Speaker in JOUR 5501: Public Opinion

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In public opinion, we had a a guest speaker who is the head of social media for Target. He spoke about how he is working on getting the Target Pintrest page more reach. They are working with an individual who has millions of followers. She is repinning Target pins to get more followers.

This reminded me of the pull opinion leaders have. He said they are now getting hundreds of hits a day to the pintrest page, all because of one person. It reminded me of the differences between PR and advertising research lecture we had today. PR cares about the reach the woman at pintrest has because the a successful PR campaign tends to focus on increasing knowledge of the brand, and increasing "good vibes" surrounding the brand.

Housing and Residential Life Survey

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I took a survey for housing and residential life (HRL). It was an evaluative survey about the housing facilities, staff and dining halls. I found it to be a well written survey, There were many Likert scales. Also, the order of the questions were well done. There were clear sections for housing staff, activities HRL offers, and how satisfied we were with the facilities. The questions were clear and concise. I can see how the information will be used when planning for next year, and how the data collected from this survey can be coded and generalized. With this survey and the way it was written, I can see how it will have high external validity.

Facebook insights

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FB insights.xml

Facebook insights is a how brands, groups or opinion leaders can track their reach, the demographics of who "likes" them and how people are interacting on the page. The data I provided is for The University of Minnesota CLA Student Ambassador.

For brands it is a way to evaluate how the brand is being perceived, and if public are aware of it. Facebook has 1 billion users, so it tends to be a good indicator of the publics. Insights also provides a way to see how page admins should utilize the page. For brands like target, many people "like" the page to get deals. For CLA student ambassadors, we target students, but many organizations on campus "like" us as well, so we can be a way to get University information to students.

I find insights an interesting new trend in evaluating PR campaigns as well. It is free, but offers a lot of information.

Water Bottle Survey

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I took the survey for the Honors student in CFANS. Because of this class, I couldn't help but critique the questions. I did not like that the first question was in two parts, but since it was an open ended question it made it easy to break up my answers. Although she had an information page before the survey, she did not specify that "bottled water" was water in plastic bottles. All the questions were open ended which made it hard to answer fully, or know where to begin with answers. Also, because of all the open ended questions, I think it will be difficult for her to code the answers so she can create the survey that will go out next semester.

It does appear that she is not doing a convenience survey, since she asked a specific class to fill out a survey and not just her friends, or who she knew on Facebook.

Experiment on Using tablets as laptops

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Robert Schoenberger used a Samsung galaxy for 6 weeks instead of a traditional laptop. Like most experiments, it does not have much external validity. However, since this reporter was the only test subject, I would say even the internal validity isn't that great.

What it does a good job is comparing the pre test (using a lab top) to the experiment (using a tablet) The reporter did everything he normally did with a lab top on a tablet. He spent a lot of his article breaking down his results. What was harder, easier and the same.

For PR practitioners and adverisers, this experiment could be extremely useful. Schoenberger is an opinion leader for the tech world. He not only reports on new technology, he also likes to be a trend setter in technology. He shows that people are starting to use tablets for more than just entertainment. This means that PR professionals should start stratizing how to reach publics on a tablet format. Especially PR for computer companies, starting to push tablets, work on pushing work related apps, and test how the companies are being perceived will be an important part of how the company is perceived.

Casual Diners.jpg

Papa John's uses YouGov BrandIndex to track public perception. The most interesting thing about this article was the owner of Papa John's response. It is a perfect example of how numbers can be interpreted in many different ways. YouGov reported that perception was more negative for Papa John's after "Obamacare sur-charge" comments, while Papa Johns responded that perception was actually up, when calculating all factors.

It is also a good example of a company that is used to do brand research and track public opinion for brands. It shows how companies are constantly tracking polls, not just snap shots in time, but over time as well.

This article also illustrates the argument between correlation and causation. Did the Affordable Care Act comments really cause negative perception of Papa Johns, or did it just happen at the same time?

PEW Study on Millenials

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The PEW Research Center has created a personality profile of the millennial generation. Millennials are individuals born after 1980. PEW surveyed 2,020 adults in a cross sectional survey, over sampling millennial aged adults in January 2010.

The study is a combination of psychographic and demographics that generalize attitudes and the make up of the upcoming generation. There were also question about attitudes toward elders, and relationships with their parents.

What I found most interesting was that this study was primarily quantitative research, there was a follow up open ended question to see how/if millennials felt they were distinctive. I found the mixture of demographic, psycho-graphic and even more personal questions (i.e. relationship with parents) very interesting. It appears to be a very in depth study.


I also found it interesting hoe PEW chose to report its results. There is an executive summary and a copy of the full report. But there is a quiz "How millennial are you?" which is a quiz that comprises of 14 key questions that were deemed key elements of being a millennial. The quiz then shows how everyone else who took the quiz answered the questions. I found it an interesting way to get people to look at the study,and understand how this generation is generalized.

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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