For years, we at MSInteractive have been saying (and our clients agree) that using the Perception Analyzer® in focus groups helps eliminate “group-think” by allowing everyone to respond to questions based on their own opinions and not be influenced by the more vocal respondents in the group. It also facilitates more honest feedback through the anonymity derived from their own personal dials because people are not afraid to share opinions that may be embarrassing or unpopular.
Well, every once in a while we have our position validated by people far smarter than us. In this case, it is by way of a quote from Americus Reed (marketing professor at the Wharton School of Business). The context of the quote is in reference to traditional focus groups as compared to ethnographic research, the topic of the article in which he is quoted.
A focus group is like a chainsaw. If you know what you’re doing, it’s very useful and effective. If you don’t, you could lose a limb. Group opinion can be swayed by more vocal and strident members and findings can be skewed by participants’ reluctance to share their true feelings in front of a group.” [L. Tischler, “Every Move You Make,” Fast Company, (April 2004), 73-75.]
Users of the Perception Analyzer certainly know what positive impact the elimination of those two concerns have on their research.