Yesterday, at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, I lectured on ethnography. I have no doubt I rattled the brains of my Italian and Austrian graduate students. (Even my American students tell me I speak too fast.) Yet I trust they got something out of it as the results of a small exercise, exploring the essence of Italian students, were intriguing.
Using ethnography marketers seek to successfully posit the brand at the confluence of consumers and culture. Further, ethnographic tools can provide insights that allow brands to create their own culture – a culture that resonates, in highly personal ways, with their target consumers.
Real life tools. Real life time. Ethnographic tools allow marketers to explore the inner lives of consumers from the inside/out. Thus, the insights found are not only relevant, they are actualizable.
Show me. Don’t tell me. What people tell us and what they think are not necessarily the same. Enter ethnography. Spending time immersed in the lives of consumers’ ethnographers can begin to tease out the cultural truths using sensory observations and insightful interpretations. We find tribe leaders and learn how to tell resonant stories that connect and changes. Through ethnography the ordinary become extraordinary.
Artifacts speak truth. Yet, the truth is not obvious. We must dig and sort. Going back again and again to tease out insights. Like the finest Italian wine, superbly distilled insights reveal exquisite truths. So, what do our initial findings suggest about our young Italian subjects?
Italian students love communication – and cigarettes fuel the conversation.
And so they began. Faced with a completely different style of teaching, and a single lecture in a language not their own, these students gathered data that opened the door deeper insights. Given more time and ethnographic training, imagine what their explorations could distill for brands trying to reach young Italians.
Le possibilità sono infinite!