Focus Groups

Our experience with focus groups

We have over 25 years of experience of conducting focus groups not only within South Africa, but across Africa as well as into Asia and the Middle East. Within our team we have researchers who have conducted focus group based research across 6 continents. As such, we are highly skilled at conducting research across cultures and in multiple languages.

We have developed strong partnerships across Africa to ensure we always deliver the best quality. Our analysis and reporting are always handled internally to ensure consistency of quality and strategic insights.

What are focus groups?

These are qualitative discussions led by a qualitative moderator with 5 – 8 participants. A typical group can run from between 1.5 – 3 hours or more. The moderator follows a semi-structured discussion guide to start a conversation with the respondents and encourages them to respond to each other to generate a shared dialogue on the research topic.

Respondents are recruited on the basis of shared demographics, habits and attitudes to ensure the group members have enough in common with each other to bond as a group.

Why do focus groups?

Group discussions focus on understanding the ‘why’ behind behaviour, attitudes, perceptions, etc. Therefore they are an important research method for gaining deep insight into the research topic. They are especially useful for exploratory research, where the client has no, little or outdated information. The open-ended style of questions ensures new perspectives and insights can come to light.

Focus groups are useful when wanting to understand or explore the following:

  • Consumer attitudes, perceptions and opinions about a category, product, service or issue
  • New ideas, concepts, products, packaging, advertising, etc. prior to launch. Unsuccessful ideas can be weeded out while ideas with potential can be refined prior to quantification.
  • Ways of improving existing products or services
  • Patterns and trends in behaviour or attitudes
  • Social and cultural contexts that shape behaviour and opinions
  • The why behind quantitative findings

All of the above can be used to inform marketing and business strategies ensuring these are aligned with the target audience.

How do we conduct focus groups at Vibrand?

We adhere to 4 key pillars when running focus groups:

  • Research rigour. We follow qualitative best practices to maximise both the validity of the findings and the effectiveness of doing focus groups. This includes high standards of recruitment, top quality moderation and Director level involvement throughout the process from study design, client management, observation, analysis and reporting.
  • Creativity. We use both creative and projective techniques to delve beneath the surface into unconscious motivators and beliefs, including well-known and custom designed techniques.
  • Curiosity. At Vibrand we have remained innately curious. While we bring our years of experience to bear in each category, we never assume we know what respondents will say, but remain open to designing new approaches and hearing new insights from respondents. This ensures we deliver fresh and in-depth insights.
  • Flexibility. We pride ourselves on our flexibility which means we look for ways to realistically meet our client’s objectives, budget and timing. We openly discuss with our clients ways to meet their needs while retaining research rigour.

Note that we conduct both face to face groups, either in-viewing facilities or in-home, as well as online groups. When conducting fieldwork further afield, e.g. across Africa, we provide our clients with the opportunity to view the groups remotely if they prefer not to travel.