|A relaxed atmosphere during the focus group/interview
The path to reliable information starts with creating an informal atmosphere. The respondents have to feel at ease, in a cozy environment, surrounded by people they can trust, people that become their friends for the next few hours. During a focus group, the respondents expose their hearts step by step and in an indirect way for the interviewer to get the most genuine information hidden inside.
We need to make the respondents go deep, face their emotions, their hidden feelings and confess them to us in our games and indirect questioning.
MIA uses a closed TV circuit. A small camera is barely noticeable and its presence is more likely to be quickly forgotten.
How do our moderators establish this kind of relationship among people who have never met before the interview? The solution lies in creating the frame of a "get together". The respondents need to know that they count as individuals, that they are not just raw material for a marketing study, that they are appreciated. A warm hand-shake at the entrance and a "it is so nice to meet you, thank you for coming here, John" is the first step to make them loosen up.
As they enter the room, the moderator makes sure that they get in touch with the rest of the group. Step by step a relaxed and friendly atmosphere is created to overcome typically Romanian low trust and reluctance.
The main disadvantage of name tags and formalism is the fact that the respondents can feel
unimportant as individuals, they do not count as much as to have their names remembered by the others and the moderator from the very beginning.
Special interviewing techniques
The modern marketing research deals with unveiling motivations, needs and feelings hidden in the human soul. We apply specific techniques in order to reach the source of reliable, unfiltered information.
On the early stage of the interview the moderator has to create a safe, reassuring atmosphere. To do so the moderator uses direct questioning as a main technique of interviewing. The respondents will feel at ease commenting on common topics and they will open up gradually, allowing the moderator to dig his/her way further into the deeper and more sensitive layers of a personal profile. At this point, the moderator slowly moves to the deeper parts of the respondents' psychic. He/she will make respondents explore more specific subjects and will use both direct and indirect questioning.
Along questioning, the moderator will introduce games that involve creativity and imagination. Thus, the respondents will take a step forward to projecting their emotions and motivations, revealing their own experiences, perceptions and core triggers of behavior representative for the target group.
Double selection of respondents
Taking into account that in Romania respondents are quite defensive, beside the specific criteria needed for a certain research, the respondents also have to match some other criteria in order to provide the best information. They have to be communicative and able to relax.
The respondents have to pass a second, empathic selection, performed by one of our staff members.
As he/she greets every respondent at the arrival, he/she will check if that person is appropriate to be interviewed. MIA people have been specially trained to recognize proper respondents on the spot.
Only after being checked by a MIA staff member, the respondents will get to become part of a focus group. Double selection is essential for ensuring that information is delivered by proper respondents.