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Corporate Ethnography

What is it?

Corporate ethnography is the application of the methods and theories of cultural anthropology to business. It is a branch of applied anthropology, which takes the observational skills and analytic insights of professional anthropologists and uses them to develop real-world solutions for specific challenges. In recent years, corporate ethnography has become an indispensable part of the marketing toolkit for Fortune 500 companies, including tech companies Microsoft, Intel, Xerox, as well as consumer giants like Proctor and Gamble, and Sara Lee.

By immersing themselves in the culture of a company and the lives of the customers who consume its products and services, ethnographers can detail and illuminate the challenges that occur along all stages of a product lifecycle – from conception and design, to launch and promotion, to building communities of users, to retiring the product in light of later gen models. Ethnographers can help craft your brand, message, and delivery using the powerful evidence only fieldwork can provide.

What can it do for me?

As ‘professional strangers’ ethnographers play the role of unbiased outsiders to help you identify and assess hidden beliefs members of your particular business culture share. Many times, this culture contains assumptions about the role its products and services serve in the lives of consumers that are more reflective of internal dynamics than of everyday realities. Ethnography helps to refocus the lens on the needs of actual consumers, embedded within their daily lives.

How does this help me?

By recording the uses of your products and services in the hands of consumers, and talking directly and at length with them about what these mean to them, we can often uncover new ways in which consumers play with them, fitting them with new roles and functions, giving you insight into how better to market and deliver your offerings. We can do the same within your organization as well, revealing unknown risks and costs, resolving obstacles to success, and providing new potential areas for profit.

Why do I need this?

Your biggest investment is in your people, and often goes under-utilized. Your richest resource is your customer base, which often goes under-analyzed. Let us help you maximize both of these for you, at a fraction of the cost of a new technological or other capital investment. Ethnography is a time-tested, flexible, low-cost, high return methodology suitable for a range of business issues. Anytime you need to know what people think about your product offerings, or how they use them, or what issues might arise in their development and promotion, an ethnographer can help you.

When can you reach us?

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