Qualitative Research in Branding with Duane Varan

September 6, 2021

duane varan on brand

“A lot of the assumptions we make are bad assumptions.” When it comes to making assumptions, sometimes we marketers can’t help ourselves. To avoid this, we need to ensure that we have a good mix of both quantitive and qualitative research. Dr. Duane Varan is a leader in the field of qualitative research and was my guest this week on the On Brand podcast.

Enjoy This Episode Now

About Duane Varan

Dr. Duane Varan is CEO of both MediaScience and HarkConnect. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Australian Prime Minister’s Award for University Teacher of the Year, and is a global pioneer in developing new methodologies for the study of audience behavior. MediaScience is a leader in lab-based audience research counting almost every major US television network, social media platform and many global brands as clients. HarkConnect is the world’s most advanced qualitative research platform. Although Dr. Varan is now based in industry, he continues to contribute to academic journals. In fact, in four of the past six years, his work was voted as Best Paper of the year or runner up for Best Paper by the Journal of Advertising Research.

Episode Highlights

“Qualitative gives us space to explore.” I kicked off our conversation by asking Duane what makes qualitative research different. He also cautioned against the stigma that it’s not as serious as quantitative. “That’s a mistake.”

How is HarkConnect different when it comes to qualitative research? “We have a direct measure of emotion vs. what people are telling us,” Duane said, as he shared how the technology works.

A balanced diet of metrics. I couldn’t resist being a little punny … Duane stressed that there are actually three data sets that should be in your diet—qualitative research, quantitative research, and your performance metrics.

What brand has made Duane smile recently? M&Ms! “I smile every time I see the characters.”

To learn more about Duane, check out the websites for HarkConnect and Media Science.

As We Wrap …

Did you hear something you liked on this episode or another? Do you have a question you’d like our guests to answer? Let me know on Twitter using the hashtag #OnBrandPodcast and you may just hear your thoughts here on the show.

On Brand is sponsored by my book Brand NowDiscover the seven dynamics to help your brand stand out in our crowded, distracted world. Order now and get special digital extras. Learn more.

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Until next week, I’ll see you on the Internet!

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is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World and Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, an educator at the University of Iowa, and host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.