Hyve’s CEO Michael Bartl about using web communities and the long tail for market research

Those who follow this blog probably know that I like to relate the work of a Munich-based company called Hyve AG. The consultancy has worked with (mainly German) brands like BMW, Nivea, Henkel or Osram in co-creation efforts; building branded engagement platforms and setting up consumer communities to co-innovate with consumers. Hyve’s CEO, Dr. Michael Bartl, recently talked to Werben & Verkaufen (“promote & sell”) about web-based user communities and social relationships. Since the interview is in German, I thought I would translate some excerpts into English…


Is social media adapted to market research? (00:08)

Not only can we nom monitor discussions on social media, but we can also observe communities of interest to extract insights and needs; it’s called netnography. If we seek more involvement, we can also use toolkits for idea competitions which allow people to contribute with original ideas, to express problems, and to help peers to solve these problems. These new methods are much more thrilling than completing survey and ticking Lickert scales.


How does a market research project look like in you company? (01:30)

At Hyve, we invent and develop products, but we also apply these innovative methods: crowdsourcing, netnography, co-creation. We love asking questions like “Develop the next deodorant”, “Develop the ultimate basketball sneaker” or “Invent the automotive services of the future”, because that’s where we can apply our different core competencies on the various stages of the innovation process.



Nivea's co-creation process: the case of the Invisible for Black & White deodorant (Nivea)


What are the limits of these methods? (02:35)

We’re talking about tapping into mass creativity in order to get original ideas. These creative people are not necessarily representative of one’s target market or one’s target audience. Crowdsourcing is not meant to be representative but to feed the fuzzy front end of innovation with broad knowledge.


A lot of consumers don’t respond to phone surveys. How participative are people on the internet? (03:25)

Consumers are eager to talk about niche subjects that interest them. And we’re not only talking about facebook, the most famous of the 700+ social networks out there, but also about speclialized networks like PatientsLikeMe, an American health-care related social network. People tend to feel better in communities where like-minded people hang around… but ultimately, it’s their own decision to share information with peers or not.

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