Ethnography? What is it and why you should be using it!

Written by Carl West

Ethnography resarch for brand strategy

Ethnography originates from the Greek word éthnos meaning folk or people. Through a brand management lens, it’s a qualitative research strategy for gathering behavioural insights around individual or group habits, experiences, and perspectives…obtained within the actual buying environment, whether that's in store, online, in the office or even at home.

Ethnography remains a very underutilised but effective approach for both B2B and B2C brands, which typically would include one or more tools such as passive observation, active listening, field notes,  vox pops, informal customer discussions, formal customer surveys, filming, or photography.

The purpose of ethnography is to take a deep dive into better understanding your customers views in how they perceive your brand, why they choose to buy or not buy, the problems they want the brand to solve, perceptions on the wider category, the buying process and of course, perceptions of competitor brand offerings.

Key takeaway: If you’re responsible for a brand as either an owner or marketer, you MUST get out of the office and into the field to watch, listen and learn from your customers or prospects – it’s probably one of the most valuable research initiatives you will ever deploy, and will ensure you remain market orientated.
Marketing Lab is a brand management consultancy working with regional, national, and international businesses to mitigate marketing investment risk and ensure smarter, more informed strategic decisions are made for growing sales, gaining market share, and building brand equity.

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