Ethnography helps you understand your customers and employees in a holistic and well-rounded way. With this knowledge you can respond to consumer needs, anticipate customer desires and create healthy and productive work environments. Ethnography provides the detailed description that can help you create loyal, passionate, and long-term customers and employees.
Ethnography attempts to understand how people live their lives in their natural or “native” environments – where they live, shop, work and play. The ethnographic method requires a well-trained researcher skillful in immersing him or herself in diverse environments, cultures, and populations; in establishing rapport with people in these social contexts; and in interacting with them through participation, observation and dialogue to uncover their attitudes, beliefs, perceptions, and values, as well as the unspoken cultural patterns that shape behavior.
In a business or marketing research context, ethnography is used to uncover, interpret, and understand the consumer and/or employee point-of-view and the hidden rules of environments. Whereas focus groups and surveys rely on self-reporting and memory out of context, ethnography provides a holistic view of consumers/employees in the context of their daily lives. There is no substitute for the opportunity to experience what consumers or employees experience. People are affected by changing family patterns, unseen cultural factors, social dynamics and other products and objects in the proximate environment. Ethnographic research is the best means for getting at these unspoken cultural and social patterns that shape behavior.
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