Are you working on a nutrition and health strategy for change? Trying to convince your colleagues or board that your wellbeing approach is right? Developing a new food product and want to know how it will be received from a nutrition, health or sustainability point of view?

Over many years of working with people in the same situation, we know that you’re most likely to succeed if your process includes consulting those who will ultimately be influencing your target consumers – their key influencers including health leaders, NGOs, lobbying groups and health media.

Why carry out qualitative research with influencers?

Too often we’ve seen organisations launch a new initiative without consulting this important audience first – making it far more likely that the initiative won’t be the success it could be.

Do you know who is currently influencing your key target audiences on health and/or sustainability? Do you know what they are saying and might say about you and your initiatives?

These influencers will have a deep understanding of this changing landscape, the sector and the way population groups think and act as well as what they themselves want and may be telling them about your initiative. That’s what makes their insights so valuable – whether you’re using it as proof of an approach and a way to secure funding, or to help shape your thinking.

How to go about getting relevant insights

In 2019, we enjoyed many in-depth, eye-opening conversations with key health and nutrition influencers, carrying out qualitative research for clients. We listened, we learned and we helped companies inform their strategy, sell their vision to their colleagues and boards and develop new products.

The interviewing was vital, and it’s not always easy to get right. Here are our Nutrilicious top things to think about when embarking on your insights-gathering mission:

1. Choose your targets wisely. Work out the ideal criteria for mapping who you want to speak to and why. Always include disrupters and future thinkers if you have a longer term goal.
2. Your interviewee is likely to have a busy day job. Allow sufficient time for chasing appointments and contingency for cancellations.
3. Interviews don’t have to take place in a private space, but make sure it won’t be too loud.
4. Conduct the interview in pairs, to help capture everything but not overwhelm the interviewee.
5. You’re there to listen, not inform. You may be an expert in the field but you need to adopt a beginner’s mindset.
6. Try to extract facts, not opinion, and delve deep. The golden question is ‘why?’. Ask it again and again.
7. If you’re not a qualified practised insights interviewer, it’s important to work with a qualitative researcher or research team to help you. That’s why we partner with See Research. With stakeholder qualitative research we find that a combo team of a nutrition/dietetic expert lead and qualitative researcher is ideal.
8. Always ask permission before recording and don’t video the whole interview, just a summary at the end. You don’t need fancy equipment – a phone on a tripod should be enough, just check that you’re actually recording and your mobile is switched off!
9. If you can’t get a face-to-face meeting, video chat works too, using Zoom, Skype or an equivalent.
10. The interview should just be the beginning of the relationship. Use it as a way to build an understanding of what they care about, which opens doors for future conversations, for you helping them and indeed for them helping you at the communication phase.
11. What will you do with your results? Forget the insights report: it won’t be read widely. Better to paint a picture with infographics and edit your summary videos down to a single short film highlighting the key themes you’ve discovered.

We’re here to help

Hopefully, these points are useful. But if you need more support, we’re here to help – from helping identify your golden targets to delivering the learnings to support your objectives. Just get in contact, we’d love to hear from you.

 

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