Crafting interviews

Advertisers and Designers need to understand consumer insights in order to design products/services/strategies that resonate with consumers.  One of the methods that is widely used is to gain these insights is by interviewing.  According to this article, written by Paula Wellings, a blogger at a design firm shares her tips to conduct more effective interviews.

Highlights of her tips include:

Flow – Certain questions should be asked in a certain order.  Interviewees need to feel at ease and not be constantly wondering what they need to say to appease the interviewer.

Build Rapport – Ask questions that relate to the interviewee’s life.  Show an interest in them.  Asking impersonal questions such as demographic questions should be asked at the end of the interview.  

Show over tell – Ask the interviewees to bring the products to the interview.  They can show how they use these products.

Pacing – Once the rapport is built, asking difficult questions such as asking the interviewee to project themselves into the future can be asked later. 

Language – Minimize the use of industry jargon. Be in other people’s shoes.  Try to find the appropriate language that people can relate to.

Prioritize – Try to get the important questions answered first.  It requires a balancing between these type of questions while also trying to build a rapport

Practice and revise – Practice with co-workers, friends and family members. Based on their feedback, the interview can improve.

Jon Steel in his book “Truth lies in Advertising,” mentioned that interviews need to be conducted at the right time and at the right place.  His example in his book mentioned that going to a mall on a weekday morning is probably not the right place to find the right interviewees about their opinions and attitude towards tequila. 

Mr. Steel also mentioned that when conducting interviews, start asking questions from a wider view because asking specific questions may limit the effectiveness of people’s answers.  For example, the topic of disability insurance is unpleasant for the research subjects, insurance brokers and insurance company representatives. 

Rather than asking them what they think of disability insurance, the interviewer should ask them questions that relate to lives of the research subjects.  Examples include: Were they able to predict their current situations 10-20 years prior to today? Where did they see themselves in 10 years time? The result of the interview in Mr. Steel’s book was that the overall feeling espoused by all three parties (research subjects, insurance brokers, and insurance representatives) was uncertainty.  This became the main focus of the creative brief.  The ensuing ad campaign focused on how insurance companies have the right products to enable consumers to easier deal with unpleasant events and that consumers are not invincible.


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