The Secret Box: How to create a safe environment for your market research participants to unveil their deepest secrets that help you have the best product
When you're surveying people, you're often trying to make your product the most personalized and relevant for your users. However, whether in a group or even one-on-one, often they don't feel comfortable telling you more personal or emotional things. You want to know what their biggest weakness is, so that you can provide a solution. You want to know the things they long for. So this is a technique you can use:
1. First tell them, "I'm going to be giving you a notecard to write something personal, and when you are ready, place it in this box. Your answer will not be shared with this group." Indicate the group of fellow survey participants in the room (not the market research team).
2. Ask them to take a moment, close their eyes and focus on their center. Ask them to take a deep breath.
3. Now tell them: "Please dive deep and into your center and ask yourself this question: What is something you have really wanted lately? Why? When you are ready, write it down and place it in this box." Or ask whatever you wish to know: it could be asking them what they most struggled with in the last week.
4. Then add, "Please don't forget to write your participant number on it." The participant number would be a number assigned to each person, which should also be printed on their name tag. This allows for an additional amount of anonymity that helps people share more. Afterwards, you would label the notecard with their real name for your internal records, as you would have obtained their consent to take notes on them individually.
5. You can later see if you can connect this data with product improvements, or take a moment after collection to review this data as it might clue you into relevant product questions you can ask. Use the information on the individuals and the group to create your personas and also your product.