Obtaining Reliably Comparable Data for International Survey Projects

A large global FMCG manufacturer conducts ongoing research to track consumption of its products, measure brand awareness and monitor industry trends. This project is carried out in 45 countries, in the relevant local language. One of the desired outcomes from this research is to compare how results vary over time and by geography (globally, region vs. region, country vs. country). Achieving this requires consistency in the data collected from all the different countries.

The challenge: too many cooks

Each of the 45 countries participating in the research had autonomy over how they chose to build and manage their part of the project. Although they were each assigned with an identical survey structure, the different countries opted for different technical solutions and applied different cultural nuances to how questions were asked.

These inconsistencies in survey presentation resulted in inconsistencies in the data, making it impossible to compare like-for-like between countries and derive reliable comparable insights on a global level.

The fragmented technical operations also proved to be burdensome for the external global market research team (at Kantar) who were looking after the project. In addition to the data inconsistencies, they also had to handle any technical problems for each country separately. Which meant having to contact multiple local technology and platform providers with different issues.

The solution: global unification

Kantar identified that better quality results could be obtained and workload reduced if the survey project could be unified globally. They also identified Nfield CAPI as the best solution for achieving this and recommended it to their client.

Nfield CAPI was adopted as the new, centralized survey platform and the project underwent a complete revamp. The survey got a fresh, modern, playful layout and one unified, multi-language script, both of which were shared with all the countries involved.

The outcome: consistent, more reliable data and reduced workload

Being able to perform the surveys in each of the 45 countries, in the relevant local language, via a single platform and script, has helped centralize and facilitate the project’s global work-flow.

Use of Nfield CAPI has proved it is possible to ask the same questions, in the same order, in the same way (despite language differences), anywhere in the world. The much-needed consistency and integrity have been achieved. Adoption of Nfield CAPI also delivered immediate efficiencies, with reporting time reduced by two thirds. It also reduced scripting time and the time it takes to launch a survey by one third.

Nfield CAPI has enabled validation and improved security. Because field researchers are now able to work via small, lightweight tablets instead of heavy, cumbersome laptops, they can take photographs to validate survey responses. And in countries with higher instances of street theft, carrying smaller, more discreet devices means interviewers are a less obvious target.

As an additional bonus, conducting face-to-face surveys via touch-screen tablets has led to better respondent engagement. Many respondents are attracted by the opportunity to interact with new technology and actually complete the surveys themselves on the tablets, under the guidance of the interviewer.

Keeping all your eggs in one basket can sometimes be the wisest move

NIPO’s close association with the global market research industry means we have full awareness of the challenges faced by international companies, whose need to consolidate data gathered by autonomous operations in different countries can be hampered by varying local preferences.

Since Nfield CAPI was adopted in 2014 for unifying and centralizing this ongoing research project, everything has continued to run smoothly and both the market research agency (Kantar) and the client themselves are very happy with the outcome. The script and the layout have been updated several times since the first launch and, more importantly, the client has been getting the reliably comparable data it needs.

This case demonstrates that unification can easily be achieved, resulting in the reliable results companies need together with additional benefits which help people do their jobs more easily.