Why Chirp? Lifealongs!


In our upcoming Why Chirp? series, we’ll explore some of the qualitative, quantitative and innovation methodologies we offer and how multi-phase, mixed-methodology research forwards our clients’ objectives.  First up, we’re talking Lifealongs with Lizzie Shepherd, Managing Director of Qualitative Research and Blair Jackson, Senior Qualitative Analyst.

What’s a Lifealong?

Lizzie:  Lifealongs are inspired by the ethnographies conducted by anthropologists. They allow market researchers to immerse themselves in the lives of consumers, to put themselves in the relevant context and moments we’re studying.  While traditional in-home ethnographies take place in the home and shopalongs happen in-store, Chirp’s lifealongs can happen just about anywhere.  Chirp has conducted lifealongs in flight, in home, at stores, in cars…(nearly) any moment or environment. We’ve gone to houseboats to better understand storage and organization needs.  We’ve gone to spin class to understand hydration and even been a third wheel on couples’ date nights to see what menu choices they make and why.

Why is that perspective so important?

Blair:  Clients, naturally, have a pretty zoomed in lens on one facet of their target consumer’s life. But that’s not how consumers actually engage with products and brands. Our client’s product is one piece of a larger puzzle that makes up the consumer’s reality.  I think the ability to see that full puzzle through ethnographic research, and then revisit their specific piece of it has been very valuable for a lot of our clients who are actively coming up with ideas, products and services to better serve and fit the needs of the consumer.

Can you give me an example?

Blair:  We had a client who wanted to explore one of their target segments that self-identified as health-conscious. This particular group of consumers described health as a big part of their identity and a driving force behind how and why they choose products, brands, etc.. For the lifealong, the client expected this person to be “healthy” in most facets of their life….your stereotypical health nut if you will. But when we observed these consumers in their home and explored their life, it became clear that they were not a one-dimensional caricature of health. There was depth and nuance to them and to their lives. We also learned and saw in action how “health” and “being healthy” can take on different meanings for different people.

What can clients expect from a lifealong that might not be achievable in a more traditional focus group?

Lizzie:  In a lifealong, we have the opportunity to expand our learning beyond what consumers say and take in the whole environment. We can identify and understand things that they forget to mention because it’s just second nature to them or that they don’t mention because it’s part of their reality rather than their aspirational self. Lifealongs are uniquely suited to exploratory research.  Whether a client is looking for white space in their market or hoping to gain a more holistic understanding of their customer segmentation, lifealongs capture rich insights.

Why choose Chirp?

We design, execute and analyze research from start to finish. For Lifealongs, that means managing and coordinating the plethora of logistics of being in people’s homes or running errands with them from location to location. We have years of experience of making this smooth and seamless for all parties involved: the client and the participant. It’s a very intimate experience, stepping into someone’s life for a moment in time and we have the training and tools to make the participant comfortable so that they are able to share their life and give rich insights.

Explore other methodologies in the Why Chirp series: