Studio & Entrepreneurship – Week 11: Market Research – Revealing Gaps, Targets & Audiences for a New Product or Service Idea

Week 11 Lecture & Resources

Thoughts on Resources & Lecture


Market Research

Hotjar

I read an article from Hotjar (shared by Alice Wheal on the Ideas Wall) on a lean approach to conducting market research, which briefly explained the 4 most common methods of gathering data, in addition to the pros & cons of each:

  1. Surveys
  2. Interviews
  3. Focus Groups
  4. Observation

It also recommended creating customer “personas” once you have gathered some data to get a picture of your target audience/users and analysing the initial findings to observe trends within the data, as well as people’s behaviours/opinions.

Interestingly, quite a few elements that I had previously encountered in the History & Futures module when looking at Service Design and Human-centred Design cropped up, including creating a customer journey map and using a flow model to visualise a flow of information (or people).

The Hotjar website also has a number of survey templates that can be used as a starting point for market research and product research.


Workshop Challenge

The authorial project I have chosen to develop is a zine, celebrating the alternative music scene in Edinburgh.

Zine Concept

The idea behind the zine is to use it as a way to bring people with a common interest together. There’s a long-standing underground scene of alternative music in the city of Edinburgh, something I have personally been involved with for 20+ years.

For the project, my idea is to have 3 distinct stages:

  1. Create a zine, which aims to celebrate the Edinburgh alternative scene, its music and the diverse people who are part of the community
  2. Use the zine as a way to facilitate the next stage, where I would create an archive, collecting together stories, anecdotes, photographs and other ephemera (such as gig tickets, club night flyers, mix tapes and band t-shirts) from the alternative music scene in the city
  3. Hosting a showcase event in Edinburgh at a suitable venue to share the archive and to bring the community together.

The archive could then potentially go on to fuel a follow-up edition of the zine. A website could also be created to showcase the collected items. Another option in the future that might be interesting to explore would be to invite others to collaborate by giving them access to the archive and see what they create with it.

In the image below are some thoughts on the format, style, layout and design of the zine.

Notes on different aspects of the zine.

Project Summary Report

Click on the image above to view the report as a PDF.

Market/Target Audience Research for Fanzine

I carried out a survey using SurveyMonkey to gather opinions and gauge interest in the zine idea by asking a sample group (of people I happen to know personally) that are interested in that type of music, who would correspond with my target audience. Below are the results.

Question 1. I asked respondents if they had links to the city of Edinburgh.
Question 2. I felt it was important to make sure the people taking the survey were definitely in some way interested in the alternative side of music.
Question 3 was a direct question with a majority of positive responses.
Question 4 was a bonus question to find out if some respondents might be interested in contributing to the music fanzine project.

Visual Research

Flyers for Edinburgh alternative music club nights, circa 2000.
Please click on either of the moodboard images to view full size.

Zine Research

Screengrabs of zine inspiration – visual research on Pinterest.

I also referred back to some of the zine research I carried out for the zine I made as part of the Contemporary Practice module (see my blog posts for weeks two and four, and a moodboard on the process of zine making).

Zine created by fellow student Heidi Baker for Week 9 of the module.
Spread from an article about NYC in issue #4 of Lionheart Magazine.

Visual Development

Sketching visual and type ideas inspired by the city.

Typography concepts for the zine front cover

The typography is a deliberate mix of styles, intended as a visual nod to the different sides of the alternative music scene in the city: metal, punk, grunge, goth and so on. It also reflects the nature of Edinburgh itself, which is a blend of old, new and somewhere in between, where ancient buildings are juxtaposed with modern architecture and street art contrasts with classical art. A colour palette of red, white and black has been used to echo those commonly seen within the visual language of alternative music.

Experimenting with name ideas and DIY stencilling.
Creating painted textures to potentially use as a design element.
Scanning in painted textures (created with acrylic paint).

Reflection on the week

Music is very much part of the DNA of Edinburgh… but with the increasing gentrification of the capital, there has been a loss of grass-roots music venues in recent years, something keenly felt in the city’s underground music scene. Anything that can help to support and celebrate smaller music venues, the creativity of the musicians and the loyal music fans they play host to, despite all the challenges they face, can only be a good thing.

I also felt it was important that the zine was realised in a very tangible way (as opposed to being a digital artefact), with the aim of bringing together members of the alternative music community in the real world.

After the struggle of spending many months apart, with no gigs, clubs, pubs or ways of expressing that common connection to the music (outside of virtual events), and no possibility of socialising with familiar faces for months on end during the pandemic, it became even more important to create something physical, with the intention of reactivating that sense of community spirit through shared memories and experiences.

Originally I had thought I would design a monochrome zine, to emulate and pay tribute to the original punk fanzines made using black and white photocopies. As my ideas and the visual aspects for the zine have evolved, it made more sense to use a wider colour palette – this definitely gives the content more visual impact and depth. If I had retained a tonal approach, I think it would have ended up looking somewhat flat and lifeless, which would not have been a good reflection of the energy and passion I wanted to portray.


References

ARNOLD, Chloe. 2016. ‘A Brief History of Zines.’ Available at
https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/88911/brief-history-zines [accessed 17/08/2021]

COHEN, Ben and GREENFIELD, Jerry. 1997. Ben & Jerry’s Double-Dip – How to run a values-led business and make money, too. New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks.

Edinburgh Metal Scene. Available at https://www.facebook.com/EdinburghMetalScene/ [accessed 25/08/2021]

Eduardo Recife (Misprinted Type). Available at http://www.misprintedtype.com/fonts/freeware/ [accessed 15/08/2021]

GRENIER, Louis. 2021. ‘How to do market research in 4 steps: a lean approach to marketing research.’ Hotjar. Available at https://www.hotjar.com/blog/market-research/ [accessed 09/08/2021]

HALL, Jake. 2016. ‘The seminal zine that charted LA’s 70s punk scene.’ Dazed Digital [online]. Available at
https://www.dazeddigital.com/artsandculture/article/32358/1/the-seminal-zine-that-charted-la-s-70s-punk-scene [accessed 17/08/2021]

HEBDIGE, Dick. 2002. Subculture: The Meaning of Style. London: Routledge.

LAING, Olivia. 2013. ‘The art and politics of riot grrrl – in pictures.’ The Guardian [online]. Available at https://www.theguardian.com/music/gallery/2013/jun/30/punk-music [accessed 10/09/2021]

SurveyMonkey. Available at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/ [accessed 11/08/2021]

The Book of Zines. 2018. Available at http://www.zinebook.com/index.html [accessed 17/08/2021]

YOUNG, A, 2011. Brand Media Strategy – Planning in the Digital Era. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

Wikipedia. 2021. ‘Sniffin’ Glue.’ Available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sniffin%27_Glue [accessed 17/08/2021]