Category: Trends and News

Ideas for How to Help Your Community

Photo by Nina Strehl on Unsplash

One of the things that really stuck with me from school is research on helping behavior. There’s a lot of cute research out there showing that humans, from a young age, have a strong inclination to help others. Even animals will help other animals. Rats will help other rats, even if they do not interact with them and even if they have to give up chocolate! Right now is a really strange time for many of us. If you’re like me, you are a nonessential employee who can work from home. I know the best thing I can do for others right now is to follow social distancing guidelines. But I just feel a strong desire to help, like we all do in an emergency, so I’ve been trying to find creative ways to help support my community and those who don’t have the luxury of staying at home. Here are some ideas we’ve run across.

Continue reading

It’s Time for the Ultimate Survey

Letting the Government Know That You Exist

I had an exciting moment a couple of weeks ago.  I walked home from work (ah, those pre-COVID days), opened the mailbox, and …

…The 2020 Census had arrived!

Now granted, I may find such things a little more exciting than average, because I’ve worked extensively with census data over the years and I’m acutely aware of the value of census data.  But you should also be excited, because this is where you let the government know that you exist, and as Woody Allen once said, “Eighty percent of success is just showing up”.

Continue reading

Tips for staying sane in your home office

For as long as our firm has been around, we’ve almost always had at least one person working remotely. All of us started our careers in the Denver office, but as spouse’s jobs pulled people to different places, we have adapted to having a more dispersed team. Because of this, we were in many ways well prepared for the current situation.  (See our other blog about our work-from-home infrastructure.)

Because several of us have spent years working from our homes all day every day, we’ve tapped into our expertise to prepare these tips for those of you who are newer to the ongoing work from home experience. Working from home can be hard. It can be especially hard if you didn’t get to plan for it and are potentially also caring for (hiding from?) children while at home. However, since we may be working at home for a while, what can make it easier? Whether you are working from a beautiful home office or from your kitchen table while watching your kids, here are some things that have been helpful for us and might be helpful for you. And if you do end up having one of those days where you can’t remember if you showered, you ate peanut butter straight from the jar, etc., remember that tomorrow is another day.

Continue reading

COVID-19 Impacts by Age Group in Colorado

Like most Coloradans, I’ve been checking the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment’s COVID-19 case counts webpage daily. And as a Gen Xer, I was struck by the proportion of cases among those of us in our 40s and 50s, which seemed higher than I’d expected based on the size of our cohort in the population. So, I grabbed Colorado’s 2020 population data from DOLA and made this graph. As I’d thought, Gen Xers have more than our share of COVID-19 cases, though so does everyone over age 30. Compared to older groups, there are way fewer cases among young people aged 0 to 19, and just slightly fewer for people in their 20s.

Continue reading

The US Census: Why is it important?

Photo by Enayet Raheem on Unsplash

Usually the Decennial Census is an exciting time for survey nerds. First, we get a wealth of new population data to use for our projects. Additionally, we learn how well any new data collection methods used by the Census worked. Plus, it’s just a really impressive survey effort. It’s available in more than 50 languages!

But beyond helping with survey methods, why is the Census so important? Sure, it’s nice to know how many people live in an area, but is it that critical? Actually, the Census provides invaluable data that determines all sorts of things, from Congressional representation to federal funding. Many organizations from all different sectors (e.g., private businesses, public government, local nonprofits, etc.) use Census data to plan. For example, it can help people decide whether a new elementary school should be built in a neighborhood, whether a new store would likely thrive in a new location, whether you should offer your programming in another language at your nonprofit, etc.

However, even before COVID-19 was ramping up in the US, the Census was already a bit behind in preparing for the Decennial Census. The printing was initially delayed, and they also were behind in their hiring goals for Census workers. But now COVID-19 has thrown a huge wrench in how the Census normally collects data, which might impact its accuracy. For example, normally college students are counted in their dorms, but with a significant portion of them finishing the year via online classes, the Census has had to change their approach. Additionally, the Census normally sends field workers to the homes of people who have not responded to the mailings. So far, those operations are suspended through the end of the month, and they may need to be delayed further.

Continue reading

What’s everyone saying in those COVID-19 update emails?

If you’re like us, you’ve received ~1,000,000 emails from seemingly every organization in the world at this point with a subject line like “COVID-19 Update” or “How we’re supporting you during the coronavirus outbreak”

Using our qualitative analysis software, we thought we’d have some fun analyzing the language being used in these COVID-19 update emails. So, we analyzed the emails from 80 organizations across a range of sectors and industries to see what we might learn. This analysis is by no means intended to be representative of entire industries, but it does give us some insight into the messages being prioritized by organizations during this unprecedented time.

We grouped the emails into the following categories, then analyzed the text for the most frequently used words across each category:

  1. Overall, capturing the most frequently used words across all 80 organizations (word cloud above)
  2. Purpose-driven organizations, including education, cultural, and government organizations
  3. Hospitality, transportation, and travel, including airlines, hotels, and transit
  4. Food and retail
  5. Health and wellness, including medical and exercise
  6. Pet-related, including retail and veterinary
  7. Market research, including vendors, associations, and our COVID-19 update
  8. Financial institutions
  9. Media and entertainment

For each category, we provide the set of organizations included in the analysis, as well as a word cloud with the most frequently used words by those organizations in their COVID-19 update email. Words mentioned more frequently are shown in larger fonts.  The location and color of words are simply for clarity in reading. Words that are obvious to such messages, like “coronavirus” and “COVID-19,” were removed from the analysis. Words that share the same root, such as “continue, continuing, continuously,” are counted together. The number of organizations studied in each category is indicated in parentheses.

Continue reading

So, About Our Name…

We were Corona long before that pandemic thing was corona.  Here’s the story of how we were named.

How Corona Insights Got Our Name

A well-known quote says that “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”  It’s commonly attributed to P.T. Barnum, though there’s no definitive proof that he was the originator.

I guess we at Corona Insights will test that theory in the coming months, but we hope that no one holds our name against us.  It’s a really cool name and we’re really nice people.  And unlike the quote above, we know the provenance of our name.  So if you want a mild diversion, I’ll tell you the story of how Corona Insights came to be named.

I founded the company in 1999.  At the time, I was the only employee, so the company’s work was whatever I found interesting.  At the time, the Denver market had a need for strong market research and I was very interested in the field.  I had done some projects in my previous job as outliers from the company’s core work, and I found the process and outcomes of market research to be fascinating.

So I decided to fill the market gap, and I quit my job to start our company.

But what should I name it?  I knew that the name would be important, so I started doing my due diligence.  I decided that there are three types of names for companies.  First, some people name the company after themselves, such as “Raines Research”.  I didn’t like that at all.  It seemed egotistical, and I had a vision that I would build a company that had value beyond my own reputation.  So that possibility was rejected immediately.

Continue reading

When the virus shares your name: An update on COVID-19 from the Corona Insights team

You’ve probably had your share of emails about COVID-19, its impacts, and what organizations are doing to cope (and to help you cope, too). As many are right now, we’re taking this seriously and doing our part to stop the spread of COVID-19.

While Corona Insights is not typically a consumer-facing company, our work does bring us into contact with our community, from conducting in-person research, to community activities with our clients, and of course our clients themselves. It’s a rapidly evolving situation, but here is where we stand as of today.

Direct Impacts to Date

  • Research participation. Recruiting for in-person research (e.g., focus groups largely) has largely been postponed with few exceptions. Beyond just the challenges, we feel this is the right thing to do at this time as we want participants, clients, and staff to be safe and comfortable in their participation. We have not yet seen impacts via other research modes. We’ll continue to monitor the situation and current recommendations with our partners to assess additional needed changes.
  • Research impacts. Beyond just participation, we’re recommending assessing the impact, if any, on the project itself, such as the impact the current situation will likely have on some research topics.
  • Project timelines. Whether it’s due to a reason above, or clients themselves being swamped, we are helping mitigate potential delays as best we can. We’ve always been flexible for our clients’ needs and that’s true now more than ever.

What Corona is Doing

  • Proactively managing projects. Corona is advising clients about the impact COVID-19 is having, or will likely have, on our work together, as well as how we recommend addressing it.
  • Altering research modes. Corona’s has a breadth of research tools and we are working with our clients to determine if and when it is appropriate to either change how we’re collecting data (e.g., moving more research online) or delaying research if we think the current impacts can’t be mitigated enough.
  • Recognizing the increased possibility of response bias. With an unprecedented level of societal changes happening to tackle COVID-19, we want to do what we can to avoid collecting data in a non-normal state right now. For instance, we recommended delaying one project that has to do with transportation, including public transit. Due to transit being used less right now, we will wait until behaviors return to normal before continuing with the study. We’re happy to talk through this with any clients who might have questions.
  • Working from home. Remote offices are nothing new for Corona except now it’s mandated. Staff will only be in the office as needed for critical functions, and we will determine the need for in-person meetings on a per client basis (most, perhaps all, have already moved to virtual or been rescheduled).
Continue reading

Displacement, Disruption, and Distortion: Three Forces Threatening Your Mission Delivery in 2020

The marketplace is more crowded than ever with issues, causes, and candidates vying for attention as the election cycle kicks into high gear. It’s never been more challenging to be heard among so many competing messages targeted at your customer. That’s why Differentiation Zone is the tool of our time—the customer era. Differentiation Zone leads you to discover your customer’s mindset and helps you accelerate strategic success.

What trends are affecting your mission delivery? I’d love to hear from you. In the meantime, let’s bring these broad issues into view and explore what they mean for us today and the coming months. Welcome to Viewfinder 2020. Together we’ll explore the mega shifts impacting our lives across work, play, and home.

Read the full article published here.

The Future of Qual

Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

For years, qualitative market research has been dominated by focus groups and one-on-one interviews. Each methodology offers benefits. However, as timelines shrink and research objectives expand, it may be time to rethink our “go-to” qualitative methods. This blog will discuss the shortcomings of traditional methods and how refreshed methodological approaches can overcome these pitfalls.

Co-creation Activities

We all know the stereotype—a focus group room with a two-way mirror providing a thin veil between participants and researchers. It has long been argued that this barrier maximizes participants’ comfort and allows for authentic, unbiased, discussions. The two-hour focus group is typically designed as a question-answer format with activities peppered throughout to break up the monotony. Historically, activities ask participants to complete a task individually and then share their thoughts and responses with the group. This approach is especially effective when delving into emotions or personal reactions. However, researchers are increasingly designing focus group activities that are group-based and co-created.

At Corona, we have eagerly implemented co-creation activities for marketing campaign and message testing projects. In 2019, we were working with a local association developing messaging for a new nonprofit giving-based program called Refund What Matters. Participants were asked to get in groups of 2-3 and create a print advertisement for the program. More specifically, they were asked to come up with a visual for the print ad, a tagline, and a hashtag. The client observed as the participants worked together to create their advertisements. The advertisements revealed the inner thoughts and motivations for nonprofit giving and the discussion between participants while creating the advertisements provided insight into how Colorado residents may try and pitch this giving program to their family members, peers, and coworkers.

Continue reading