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Why big qual is the next big thing

New book shows how to unveil the power of persuasion through analyzing qualitative data on a large scale.

Big what?

Now that everyone has access to big data, the problem of the overflow of data arises. How to extract relevant insights from them, to take on your marketing challenges? The new book of WHY5Research CEO Jan Callebaut and journalist Wouter Verschelden states that the solution lies in big qual, combining the real life consumer-generated content of qualitative research with the statistic relevance of quantitative research.

Analyzing how people talk about a brand, which arguments they use and which ones are the most powerful in changing people’s mind: it is exactly what marketers want to know in order to build powerful brands and to orient their marketing and communication strategy. With the big qual research tool CrowdPulse, we collect the exact arguments of people about a brand and analyze whether these (instead of predefined statements) influence the crowd on a large scale. In the end, you know exactly where the power of persuasion lies: what are the effective arguments and which people are open for them?

Mapping the conversational landscape

Jan Callebaut and Wouter Verschelden applied the big qual tool CrowdPulse on the brand Belgium, in their new book ‘Het merk België’ (Dutch for ‘The brand Belgium’). In the research, a national representative sample of Belgians were asked to score how they felt about their country and the arguments to justify that. These literal arguments were submitted to another sample, to see whether the arguments of their peers influenced their own opinion.

As a result, there was a clear vision of the themes that define the debate about Belgium and their respective share of voice. Conclusion: it is not the waffles, beer and chocolate, neither the king nor the national sports heroes that unite the country. There’s not even a real expression of strong emotional connection, let alone love for the country. It is the ratio and pragmatism about e.g. the way the society works (20% of the arguments), the economy (16% of the arguments), and the social security (16%) that all Belgians hold in common.

Digging deeper in the themes, you get to the sub-themes and the verbatims of the respondents, discovering the considerations and pros and cons around every topic, and – again – the quantified importance of them. So, using CrowdPulse, you get a valid overview of what people say about your brand, product or service.

Building the brand

As a marketer, you want to make these data actionable. With CrowdPulse, you know who is open for changing his or her attitude about your brand when confronted with other people’s arguments. The research about Belgium showed that 3 in 10 Belgians are prepared to change their opinion: 11 procent became more positive about the country after the interaction with another Belgian’ arguments, 20 procent turned more negative. There’s clearly room and need for a new story about the country to respond to the natural dynamics of the debate.

Researching the respondents’ literal arguments that create a positive, neutral or negative influence gives insight in why people change their mind. That are the buttons to push to strengthen or to develop the brand. In their book, Jan Callebaut en Wouter Verschelden formulate several recommendations, like strengthening the narrative about the social security, repositioning entrepreneurship as a binding value, and how all this could be done.

In short, the CrowdPulse research about Belgium unveiled the power of persuasion about the country: what people say, who is prepared to change his or her mind, and what arguments are effective. It’s vital input for strategic and tactical marketing of the brand: what is the actual perception, how can it be changed, what messaging is needed to which target groups, and so on. Want to know how CrowdPulse can help you?

‘Het merk België’ by Jan Callebaut and Wouter Verschelden is available in Dutch (publisher Manteau, ISBN 9789022334577).

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