What To Look For In Initial Research

Don’t confuse opinions with passions.

I’m combing through survey data of 5000+ members a prospective client has sent through.

We’ve done this hundreds of times and keep seeing the same mistake.

If you build a community concept (or action plan) around survey data, you’re building a plan based upon your audience’s opinions on an issue, not their passion for the issue.

Opinions aren’t worth much. We all have opinions on climate change, refugees, politics. But we don’t act on opinions, we act on passions (emotions).

Survey data has its uses, but in person interviews reign supreme. You need to know the identity of your members (who do they think they are? what group do they think they belong to?) You need to pick up what they’re passionate about. Survey data can’t tell you this because people struggle to articulate what they’re passionate about.

You have to do regular real-time (ideally in-person) interviews with members. It’s only here you can pick up on passions. When people describe an issue, do they seem bored or do they start speaking passionately? Does their tone of voice go up, do they talk faster, does their body language shift?

These tiny, insignificant details reveal what members really care about. And it’s these topics that people will participate in a community for.

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