SPECTRUM OF BELIEFS
Over the past six years, studying over a million consumers across numerous categories in many different markets, we have uncovered a simple truth about how markets work.
Our world is made up of an almost infinite number of marketplaces. Each marketplace is shaped by a unique set of beliefs. Which means, each unique marketplace carries with it, a unique set of perceptions in the mind of the consumer. We like to think of these marketplaces as planes.
Each product or service offering has a primary "plane" or a primary marketplace. For example, through much research, we've discovered that the primary marketplace for meat is "protein". Which means that one's motivations to consume meat are shaped by one's beliefs towards proteins and the role proteins play in one's diet and one's life.
When we conduct an ethnography, our first job is to determine which primary "plane" a particular product or service lies on. That is, what are the primary set of beliefs that drive and motivate consumer behavior around that product/service. Each primary plane or marketplace is made up of a set of unique beliefs. These beliefs fall on a continuum or a spectrum. Just like the spectrum of beliefs that shape our politics, a spectrum of beliefs shape the decisions we make as consumers, as it pertains to any type of product or service we might want to pay for.
Since our beliefs lie on a spectrum, they bear a relationship to one another. That is, beliefs that lie on one end of the spectrum bear a relationship with beliefs that lie on the other end - typically as polar opposites.
For example, if you examine the men's grooming market in the United States, you will find that the left end of the belief spectrum is occupied by men who believe in challenging gender norms and societal expectations when it comes to the way they choose to groom and present themselves. While the right end of the spectrum is made up of men who are very traditional - they don't believe they really need to spend any time grooming and that those who do are in fact, effeminate or less "manly".
In every project, we first determine the primary plane and then determine the spectrum of beliefs that shape that plane or marketplace. This is the foundation of MotivIndex's Digital Ethnography process.