Connecting dots: A pragmatic approach in using and interpreting findings of qualitative research

Diaa Rashwan
Savola Foods, Egypt


Sometimes research is blamed for providing misleading results and hence can lead to improper decision making. This is even more said on qualitative research since its methodology by nature includes some bias and is not representative. Although research can’t be 100% accurate, qualitative research is to a great extent innocent from this claim; provided it is used for the right objective and, more importantly, interpreting findings are done in the right context. In other words, the ability to extract the true meaning of respondent’s feedback and transform it into meaningful business implications.

This paper will share a business case showing how a “multiple-method” qualitative research, when properly used and interpreted in the right context, led to successful business results by finding the proper positioning for a newly launched brand in a country with very challenging market dynamics (Sudan). Consumers in this market mostly use unpacked/unbranded products sold by kilo or liter. Hence it is more of a commodity market. This was applicable not only for edible oil (subject of the case) but also for most categories in the market. The challenge was to convince consumers to change their habit and pay a small premium for a brand of oil in a market where per capita incomes are one of the lowest in the world.