Ethnographers vs. Moderators: Know What You Are Buying

The other day I was speaking with someone about ethnography and was informed by the person in question that she too was a “moderator.” She, of course, practiced ethnography, such as it is, and informed me she had been “moderating ethnographies” for years.  Yes, it made my skin crawl. Not because someone was crossing disciplinary […]

It’s Not Just the Products

Shopping habits can be observed in multiple ways: how people react during social interaction, how they present and see themselves, and how they define situations with others. In other words, people need emotional connections to what you sell and how you sell it as much as they need to know about the products in your […]

Taking to the Field: Client Collaboration

Perhaps naively, many ethnographers assumed that we would work in a vacuum when they learned their trade. We’d go into the field – people’s homes, workplaces, and leisure areas – and then report to clients what we learned. However, we soon realize that some clients take us literally when we state ethnography will bring them […]

The Great Dumbening (Wait, Is That A Real Word?)

There is a growing contempt for thinking amongst certain quarters in this country and it is as dangerous as any foreign power has ever been.  Contempt for knowledge, real innovation and critical thinking have become a rallying cry for anyone in disagreement with the dogma of the far right.  And while it didn’t begin with […]

Local Marketing, More Than Geography?

There is a belief current amongst marketing professionals that the mass market is starting to break down, and instead of an easy to target homogenous consumer groups in a mass market, the market for many products is dividing into large number of niches, that could make mass market products redundant. Now, I would be disinclined […]

Screaming in Retail

Human beings act toward the things they buy on the basis of the meanings they ascribe to those things. These meanings are handled in, and modified through, an interpretative process used by the person in dealing with the things he/she encounters. Shopping, then, can be viewed through the lens of how people create meaning during […]

Good Retail Displays Are More Than The Materials

In Las Vegas, what you see is not necessarily what you get.  Whether it’s the gambler, the convention goer or the restaurant in the casino there is often a hidden agenda or a disguise. Las Vegas is a playground and a stage, a liminal space writ large. The events Global Shop is no exception. Across […]

Doing Away With Disciplines?

When it comes to explaining what business ethnographers do the first hurdle we often face entails adequately describing the disciplinary substance of anthropological and sociological practice to business professionals not necessarily versed in any aspects of social science. Ethnography is a buzz word in most business circles, but it is more than that to those […]

When Technology Strategies Fail

Lowe’s, Home Depot, the local nursery — they’re all gearing up for the rush on seed, fertilizer and tools with which to till the soil. Our agrarian roots run deep and while people in this century have run to get off the farm, we still see growing things as a noble act.  Thousands of years […]