Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Extreme Drive Car Rally 2012 (2200 kms across Karnataka. Bangalore - Mysore - Madikere - Mangalore -  Udupi - Shimoga -  Honavar - Ankola - Dharwad - Belgaum - Bijapur -  Jevargi - Raichur - Bellary - Hospet - Chitradurga - Sira - Chikballapur - Bangalore)

If life is sum total of one’s experiences, this one really enriched my life. It was a phenomenal experience, going across this entire route in just about 34 hours of drive time. Going through the terrain of fields, forests, ghats, perfect world class highways and completely mud tracks …. For me, the navigator of the team, it was still easy but I can completely appreciate what a challenge it would be for the drivers. There are some credits I want to personally accord post this event.

1)      Toyota Camry, the super car. It took all the bumps, shocks, continuous drive for over 24 hours without switching off the engine even for 10 minutes. Infact complete surprise to me was that there were 2 XUVs and both broke down. One had a steering jam and the other one had reverse gear failure. Even cars like Skoda Laura, Polo and Cruz suffered serious breakdown issues. And the little NANO on the rally completed the rally.

2)      Karnataka terrain – It was a beautiful countryside that the rally went through. Drive from Shimoga to Ankola was beautiful. Crossing ghat mountains multiple times was quite a challenge. Drive through the mountains of Someshwar was one of the most exciting, most scary and most challenging that I have been through. Hair pin bends like I had never seen before. At one hair pin bend, our car couldn’t take the full turn and stopped and a lorry climbing right behind us, stopped one inch or so behind us. My breathing halted for a moment. Very fine maneuvering of the rather big car on the rather narrow road, saw us through. Stretch of Bijapur to Jevergi was one straight road, running straight for kilometres altogether. Stretch from Dharward to Belgaum on NH 48 was brilliant.

3)      Lorry drivers on the highways – I was really impressed with decency and discipline with which lorry drivers drive on the highways. On the entire stretch, not a single lorry driver tried over taking or tried stopping cars from over taking them. They decently gave way, using indicators for the same. Infact, during night driving, they even dip their headlights when a car approaches from the other side. There was no fight, no lack of discipline, no rash driving. Cars and busses are not half way as decent as lorry drivers are. It is such decency on the part of the biggest driving segment on roads that made the drive such  pleasurable experience.

4)      Hira Motors – On the whole, I really want to congratulate Hira Motors on planning and executing this project. It was a brilliant idea to cover the terrain of Karnataka on a rally like this. It was overall very professionally managed. The detailing in terms of maps, check points, marshals, mechanics on call, stay food and beverages arrangements was very professionally delivered. Thanks to Imran and his team on delivering this event completely brilliantly.

5)      Last but not the least, super driving by Sujay. While probably Sujay was the best driver, many drivers were very good. Good driving is not about aggression, fast driving, over taking other vehicles. It is about control. About control to be able to use your car the way you want to without so much as hurting a stray piglet on the road. Very well done, drivers.

I hope to be able to go for more such trips.

Shubhra Misra

Thursday, February 10, 2011

"But where are the projective techniques?"

“But where are the projective techniques in the guide”, said the King (Customer is King. For us, clients are customers) for the 4th time. I had just explained to him for 10 minutes why direct questioning works best in case the respondent is an expert and is being interviewed as an expert. Now the dilemma for me was should I be true to my art and insist on what I consider best for the client’s business or give in to his demand and keep the King happy.

Ofcourse like a committed client servicing person, I went with the latter.

Few weeks down the line, we were presenting to the King and his boss, the Lord. Now having discussed technicalities of the business and all the technical stuff with more difficult sounding words than we ever use in our life, came the slides on projective techniques. “your brand is considered to be a cat, implying that it is fast. It is also considered a tiger, that is fatal for enemies, doesn’t leave the prey”. “Now let me tell you about brand personification of this brand of chemicals … It is Male, about 35 year old … is likely to be a scholar and a researcher ….” The Lord couldn’t digest this disconnect in the flow of presentation. He looked quizzically at me, the hapless presenter, who was not sure of the need of what she was saying. King came to my rescue, “We just needed this to understand the brand better. We will use it incase we go for any communication. You can move ahead as of now. This is not so critical”. Great. But why were projective techniques required in the first place, Mr. King !

I am sure lots and lots of market researchers face this situation. While we put the blame for this on the clients’ commitment to jargonism. But the significant blame lies on the half baked knowledge of researchers and more on blatant commercialism in research under which people sell jargon because it sells. (I agree that I also fall prey to this when I get a client who will buy only jargon and not solutions.)

Through this humble attempt, I want to bring to the notice of doers and users of research to reflect upon the need of projective techniques before you ask for it / sell it. It is to be used carefully, only in circumstances where direct questioning is not likely to get you a real understanding of what the respondent believes. It is required and is effective in circumstances when you need to delve into the sub-conscious layers of the respondent. There is no need to use projective techniques when the respondent is lives and breathes the category and has a clear answer for all your questions.

So King, the customer, your ‘will’ be done. But why bother to project, when you could ask !

Written by : Shubhra Misra

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cost of development is paid heavily by environment

http://azresearch.in/articles/Eco_hazards_of_mobile_phones.pdf... but those who gain from development, do they pay as much as a second thought to this?

A study done by us a couple of years back showed that an average Indian Household emits 2382 kgs of CO2 annually - this is 3010 in the Indian metros while it is only 1313 in rural India. In the lowest income segment of < Rs. 3000 monthly income segment, annual CO2 emission is only 1169 kg per household. This is as much as 5433 kg in the highest income segment ie., Rs. 30,000 monthly income. This amply demonstrates that the cost for development is paid by the environment. CO2 emission comes from usage of electricity, petrol, diesel, cooking fuel etc. Apart from these, there are other items like disposal of polythene, electronic items, batteries, cell phones etc which also contribute significantly to eco hazards caused as an aftermath of economic development as we understand it.

This development will be difficult to afford over the long run. That sustainabledevelopment needs to eco friendly is a well accepted fact. But those who benefit from the rewards of development,  are they aware of the costs and more importantly, are they willing to pay for the cost rather than making environmemnt pay for it.

To check this out we took the category of mobile phones to check the consciousness of the eco impact of mobile phones. Cell-phones contain elements like cadmium, lead, lithium, arsenic, mercury and beryllium, which are a potential threat to the eco system if not discarded properly. Lots of cell phones are discarded by just throwing away, wherein these hazardous elements in the cell phones come into direct contact with earth’s eco system. Some of their elements become toxic over time or when they are in contact with water over long time. The immediate impact is contamination of the earth and any water source that may come in contact with the cell phone waste. Then comes the issue of EMRs ie the dangerous radiations emitted by usage of phones.

Does the common user realizes the eco hazards of cell phones. And if so, what aspects of these, is the user aware of and is he willing to pay a premium for a more eco friendly phone. To check this, we at AZ Research Partners conducted a survey to understand salience of eco hazards amongst cell phone users. 1100 respondents participated in this survey that was done primarily online and on phone calls.

Very interesting findings came from this research. 87% of respondents mentioned that they are very concerned about environment related issues. Key issues, they are concerned about, as shown below in the chart, are related to pollution by vehicles and pollution of rivers and oceans by industrial waste.

Eco hazards of cell phones
When specifically asked if they consider cell phones to be an eco hazard, 30% of the respondents said that they did consider cell phones to be an eco hazard and another 54% said that 'may be' cell phones are an eco hazard. The key concern that the respondents have with cell phone are related to radiations which are considered as eco hazards - 55% of the respondents mentioned EMRs as the key eco hazards of cell phones. That cell phones have toxic metals and other compounds which poison soil and water disposal was mentioned as an eco hazard by 34%.

Benefits sought from Eco friendly phones
33% of participants felt that low radiation handset is the most important eco benefit for them and close to this, 31% felt that ‘made from eco friendly materials’ is the most important eco benefit in cell phone. These two are closely followed by ‘easy to recycle’ which in essence is same as made from ‘eco friendly materials’. These users are interestingly willing to pay a premium of upto 20% over normal phones for these 3 benefit propositions.

Therefore, our key takeout from this exercise was that urban consumers are concerned about environmental issues. They are aware of eco hazards of a category like cell phones which has a very high penetration in urban India and most importantly, are willing to pay a premium for more eco friendly phones.

Are manufacturing companies listening?

For detailed report on this research click on the link http://azresearch.in/articles/Eco_hazards_of_mobile_phones.pdf

Monday, July 19, 2010

Top 5 mistakes that people make with MR

1) Over sampling or under sampling – This is the biggest mistake people make with research ie., have sample sizes which are not robust enough or are hugely inefficient. While 2 FGDs are not enough to conclude on anything, usually beyond 20 FGDs, you cannot add value to any single question. More than 20 FGDs would be required only if you are researching a portfolio of questions. It might be better to split the research into separate projects, for better focus. Similarly in quantitative research, those prone to over-sampling do not understand that sample sizes depend on variability and not universe size.

2) Not giving due importance to translations – this can create a complete hara-kiri for the best designed questionnaires. Researchers spent hours / days in designing questionnaires – all the ‘to and fro’ with the client and all that included. Incorrect translations take away the complete essence. Sometimes, the issue is not even incorrect translation but language incompatibility. It is so easy to reel off ‘neither important nor unimportant’ in English. Try translating this into Hindi ! The questionnaire can become complete garbage going through the translation process.

3) Not pre-piloting questionnaire – simplest of questions should be piloted. No new questions should be put into any research without at least a small / simple pilot. People have multifarious ways of interpreting questions and unless piloted, the response might be different from what we are interpreting it

4) Selection of methodology – Usually, there is not much issue in selection of quantitative vs. qualitative. But the issues usually creep in DI vs. Group OR CLT vs. In Home. Categories where people might have any concern with sharing data in public forums, should be handled as DIs / or In home. Or whenever the research needs to understand, knowledge levels, it should be done as one-on-one.

5) In case of data not fitting pre-conceived notions, assuming that there is a problem in fieldwork. While, there are cases of fieldwork goof-ups, mostly, fieldwork is ok. Try looking at the data again, are there patterns / reasons you do not know / think of. If not, try looking at data prep, did something go wrong there? Or in data analysis? If nothing explains, call back the respondents and ask them to explain the data. Usually, this solves most of the problems.

Written by: Shubhra Misra

Monday, June 21, 2010

Changing Face of Women in India…is it real?

She is an important part of everybody’s life. She functions on all kind of food, she is able to embrace several kids at the same time, gives a hug that can heal anything, she cures herself when sick and works for more than 18 hrs a day, she gives herself , so that her family can thrive and ‘SHE’ is the ‘WOMAN’. Woman has strength that amazes man. Woman THEN and Woman NOW!!!
There are many women who have made India proud….be it Indira Nooyi or Kiran Bedi or Chanda Kochar or Kalpana Chawla, the list would be endless…..As history bears the witness, there have been many famous and successful women…..be it India or any other part of this world..

The status of women has undergone a major change in the past few decades…and surely for the better. But this is not the happy ending of the changing story that began few decades ago. There are various issues that still need so much attention….No doubt that the position of women is definitely better than what it was then but women are not liberated completely. A majority of women end up as homemakers and they end up being referred to as Mrs X. Parents want their daughters to get modern education and at the same time they want them to follow the orthodox values. There are still so many cases pending on sexual harassment on women. Can justice be done to a woman who has undergone such a painful trauma?

Women have conquered all possible arenas in the world, be it being a bus conductor or an astronaut, women of today have been there and done that. Still somewhere down the line, there are many men who do not permit women to walk along with them. The age old tradition still persists, women changing their last name after the marriage, women going to husband’s house after marriage and many women bearing the burnt of the male dominated society. We all say dowry is illegal but there are innumerable people who take gifts informally from the girl’s side giving some other name to “dowry”. Strange but true….that is what is Indian tradition and culture.

Reservation for women, equal rights to women, providing women equal opportunity etc, the Indian government is doing every possible thing for the empowerment of women but that is not enough. The society also has to accept that any woman today is no less than a man. As Gandhiji has rightly said we must be the change we want to see. Wake Up, We are the “WE”.

Written by : Shruti Wadavi

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Mumbai Indians most favourite team in IPL 2010

In an online research conducted by AZ Research, Mumbai Indians was the most favourite team in IPL 2010. It was the most favourite team for 54% of the followers. Its appeal, however was a little lower amongst women at 41% as compared to men at 58%. A significant percentage of women liked Chennai Super Kings most. In conjunction with this, Sachin Tendulkar was the most favourite cricket in IPL 2010 – liked most by 52% of the viewers. Like Mumbai Indians, appeal of Sachin is also higher amongst men at 56% and comparatively lower amongst women at 38%. Sachin is followed by MS Dhoni who is liked most in IPL 2010 by 14% of viewers – only 8% amongst men and 33% amongst women.
AZ research did an online research to assess viewer-ship and feedback to IPL 2010. This research was done amongst cricket followers, males and females in the age band of 15 to 50 years. Sample size of 1550 interviews was achieved in this research. This research brings forward some interesting findings about viewership and preferences of viewers regarding IPL 2010.

Appeal of Mumbai Indians is over powering and is impacting perceptions of all dimensions of appeal. It is also seen as the most stylish and most aggressive team. After MI, RCB has a clear lead on being the most stylish team. These are followed by CSK and KKR on being most stylish teams. MI leads on being the most aggressive team also. However, after MI, CSK has a clear lead on being the most aggressive team.

Since IPL is expected to be an amalgamation of cricket and glamour this research also asked the IPL 2010 followers on who was the most stylish team ambassador in IPL 2010. Expectedly Shahrukh Khan emerges as the most stylish ambassador for an IPL team. He is followed by Preity Zinta who leads over Shilpa Shetty and Deepika Padokone. Katrina Kaif also emerges almost at par with Preity Zinta. Nita Ambani and Vijay Mallya feature at position 5 on this – just ahead of Deepika Padukone.

Amongst the viewers of IPL 2010, DLF is the most recalled brand. Being the main sponsor for 3 consecutive years has given DLF a significant recall. On the top 10 recall positions, there are 7 brands which are either cell phone handsets or mobile operators. Recall of brands on top ten positions is detailed herewith.
Rank 1  -  DLF (78% recall)
Rank 2  -  Kingfisher (71% recall)
Rank 3  -  Aircel & Royal Challenge (both at 65% recall)
Rank 4  -  Idea (59% recall)
Rank 5  -  Vodafone (56% recall)
Rank 6  -  Nokia (51% recall)
Rank 7  -  UltraTech Cement (48% recall)
Rank 8  -  Hero Honda, Karbonn, Maxx (all at 45% recall)
Rank 9  -  Deccan Chronicle (43% recall)
Rank 10 - Videocon mobile (39% recall)
This research was conducted online and feedback was received from about 18 cities of India. 33% of the sample size was students while 67% was working class, mostly were middle level executives.

Contributed by : AZR Online

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Back to the future

We all hear it too often – how ‘advanced’ the next generation is! How ‘different’ they would be

Am sure most of us have heard our mother say “we didn’t have the guts to speak in this way with our parents… you do not respect elders”. Our parents thought that way about us, mothers today would think the same way about the next gen.

Is it really true? Is the next gen going old world norms as we call it or are we heading backwards albeit in our own fashion?

The other day during a casual discussion, someone pointed out how probably in the next few years to come kids would address their parents with their first name and ‘mom’ ‘dad’ would be passé. One of them retorted… How can they! Absolute disrespect… we are going the American way…! Surprise my friend... even my grand mother & her siblings used to call their parents by their first name! And I have heard that there were more like them in their day and age.

The other day I was watching Swami & amp; friends… the classic by RK Narayan... it was interesting that the story set in a small town in pre-independence era had a protagonist who can pass off as a kid of today with changes in his attire. Independent, individualistic (he refused to go to the school because his principal punished him… forced his parents to accept his decision – talk about pester power!), friends meant the world to him; image conscious (borrows a ‘topi’ from a friend because his upper class friend Rajam is visiting him) the list can go on… so are these values really ‘new age’?

Talking about kids... many people believe that today’s kids are smarter than their age… that they are, but mostly due to increased exposure that they have in today’s generation. Just look at the architecture our forefathers have come up with (without the help of technology which the new age architects have), most of today’s discoveries are some where based on and / or are possible because of our forefathers’ inventions.

Realization dawned on quite a few post the cult movie 3 Idiots, that one should follow ones heart / passion & not make a career of what their parents want them to do, the new age gyaani went on to say how its excellence that is to be pursued and not winning over others – and that’s the new gen moto? Well, following your passion or hobby is definitely an “in” thing today… but is it really a “new” thing? Though I wasn’t born then... I am not sure if in 50s and 60s… it was believed you need to be an Engineer to gain respect and status in society. What was revered was excellence in your field of choice – be it a scientist, an administrator, a politician or an artist… you had to be excellent and you would be revered for it. It was “excellence” and not “winning over others” that mattered then – isn’t this what most of us loved about 3 Idiots?

So does it mean times have not changed? It would be wrong to conclude that way… times have changed, and changing too. ‘Idealism’ has made way to ‘being practical’, ‘grey’ is more prominent than ‘black and white’… ‘Materialism’ has replaced ‘simplicity / simple living’. The articulations, definitions of all these terms and values have changed with time… but still this is the age where AOL is making waves (old wine in a new bottle, anyone?). May be that’s why wheel symbolizes time… ‘kaal chakra’ because it comes in a full circle.

So, leaving it open for discussions with a nagging question on my mind… in future will we see more of ‘new age values’… or will the ‘best of old world values’ get recycled?

Written by : Aruna Priyadarshini