Before people all over the world used social media to highlight great moments in their life, to demonstrate their special connection with certain products, to unravel their opinions or to showcase their creative DIY outbursts; as market researchers we just 'simply' had to ask them about all of it.
However, 'simply' questioning consumers how they use different products & brands, what they create with them, how they make them feel, who else uses them, ... is actually not so simple. It requires a huge involvement of the respondents participating in these kind of 'Usage & Attitude Studies'. Even though the business of market research hasn't been on hold. Nowadays, participants can complete U&A studies whenever & wherever. But no matter how many flashy icons, participant friendly layouts or mobile diary apps we create, there is still a level of experience which we are missing. A quantitative U&A study will only give you the big picture; the main ways of how people are using different products. Cutting it short most products within e.g. the dairy industry are used alone, at home, without adding anything. Integrating an additional qualitative angle with in depth-interviews or picture/video sharing can give us a look behind the scenes; but requires quite a lot of resources (budget & time) and investments from participants to make robust conclusions which in turn can impact business decisions. Additionally, running these big quantitative U&A studies are mostly only a momentary snapshot. In real life, usage of & attitude towards products & brands fluctuates over time and might be better captured in another way.