Jodi McGee on market research’s role in creating trusted brands

Jodi McGee, co-founder and Chief Insights Officer at Inquisitive Insights, a woman owned business that performs qualitative research for consumer brands, recently joined our podcast to talk with us about brand trust. Inquisitive works with curious leaders and their trusted agency partners to explore preferences, attitudes, motivations and behaviors. During our conversation, she shared more with us about the fact that successful brands are trusted brands and the way to understand the level of trust is through qualitative research.

She says, “Trust is the greatest predictor of brand engagement. And you can't just simply measure trust by looking internally. You really have to go to the people who have the trust in the brand and talk to them and listen to them. Most importantly, you have to understand not just what you think of the brand, but what your um consumers think of the brand.” This means changing the way we ask questions and approach research, and she gives us a few examples of what this means. She also shares models that her team uses to uncover these types of insights, including a discussion about measuring authenticity, capability and empathy.

“The more successful brands are the ones that have a symbiotic relationship where the customer believes, not only is the product going to do what it says, it can do authenticity, do that thing well -capability - but also that the brand cares.” Jodi shared a few examples to bring this concept to life, and how focusing on these pillars can create new opportunities for brands - driving trust and engagement. She also touches on how brands can recover from damage or declines in trust, including being “purposeful and practical in talking to their clients...taking the time and listening” so they can course correct in the right way.

She shares more with us about the approach at Inquisitive Insights, and how they lean primarily on quantitative research but also use mixed methods where appropriate. They focus on the action being taken from the insights, answering the question “what were we able to extract from this?” Jodi shares an example of this in action, and how insights influenced action in a project the company worked on, including potential pitfalls and how to overcome them. 

We can’t have any discussion without touching on AI and the huge impact it is having on all aspects of life and business. Jodi discusses the importance of research partners in preventing bias when using AI, and the conversation turned toward other expected trends in the coming months. She believes mobile ethnography will be a popular methodology, providing rich data on white space thinking, exploratory work, usage, behaviors, and attitudes. In addition, we touch on focus groups, as AI becomes more prevalent, the desire for human interaction may rise, making focus groups effective in providing real human context while maintaining scalability.


We discuss a few more topics, including some nonprofit endeavors and book recommendations. Tune into the podcast to hear the whole episode! 

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