Looking for better results with your Multi-Country Initiative?
Through decades of implementing multi-country studies for leading global brands, Radius has had the benefit of seeing, firsthand, what approaches lead to a successful outcome and what pitfalls must be avoided. Here are the best practices that rise to the top of our list:
1. Determine upfront what strategies you’re able to implement
Consider first what you are aiming to achieve given your business framework and goals. Are you looking for a global strategy for your brand or do you envision regional or individual country action plans? Or maybe your organization is more flexible and the research data can inform your next steps in terms of global vs. country strategy. Always bear in mind how your business is organized and how your internal teams will need to use the information. This simple step can streamline your approach and save a lot of wasted resources and painful experiences on the back end.
2. Recognize not all countries are the same — even in the same region
Treat each country uniquely, even if you are tapping into multiple countries within a region. It’s important to understand and pay deference to cultural nuances, such as which demographic questions are appropriate to ask, and how. Determine who your target audience is (age, socioeconomic, geography, usage, etc.) and then assess how to best represent that group methodologically. Perhaps online, face-to-face, or phone is most appropriate, or a combination of these methods. Translate for each country, even for projects covering areas that speak the same “language”, so that you’re able to capture specific phrases and expressions.
3. Leverage approaches that minimize country bias
Look for opportunities to utilize research designs that level the playing field across countries. These include choice-based exercises and association questions to prioritize attributes, evaluate brands, assess concepts, etc. Sorting exercises are also powerful for certain situations. In all cases, these techniques will often eliminate (or significantly reduce) the subjective interpretation of rating scales due to cultural differences and allow for more reliable comparisons across countries. This is particularly vital as you try to be efficient, and consistent with the solutions and strategies you put in place across the globe.
4. Select a “lead” country for fieldwork
If timing permits, stagger fieldwork and begin with a “lead” country. Better yet, conduct a pre-test and watch a day’s worth of interviews live. This enables you to see your survey tool in action, and make sure that you’re on track for success in getting reliable and valuable results. In taking the extra step to start in one country first, you can ensure that respondents clearly understand the questions, your survey length is on track, and that the overall survey is structured in a way that is respondent-friendly and efficient. Importantly, if the tool is lacking in any area, it offers an opportunity to refine and enhance the survey before you rollout globally.
While there are other factors, and many more details, to consider when implementing a powerful global initiative, these will get you on your way to creating the most effective design for your project.
Please contact us if you’d like to learn more about using these best practices for your next multi-country initiative.