Anjali Mishra PGP 2020-22 BATCH

The pandemic of 2020 changed the world in ways only the Simpsons could have predicted. As the ways of living and communication changed, the standards of marketing altered; right from research to advertising. This became an era where the one who adapts, survives. So we adapted, for the better!

Ever since its inception in 2009 in the lively land of Janapav kutti, the Utsaha family is growing with innovative modifications every year. 42000+ respondents became a part of Utsaha and more than 1000 participants attended the marketing workshop in 2019, portraying the ever-increasing connections. As exciting is the path that lays ahead, there’s no better time than this to pause and reminisce how a team made one fest grow into a community.

Utsaha started with an idea of helping the corporate understand the consumer patterns of the rural section, in light of the saturation of the urban market and a large untapped consumer segment in India’s unurbanized areas. Using disguised market research with the help of gamified surveys, the actual consumer trends, and how they understand brands and products could be tested. However, what started as an application of Marketing 101 for the students of IIM Indore turned eventually into environs of growth. Eventually, the paradigm of the surveys taken by Utsaha in collaboration with popular brands diversified so did the process of collecting and collating the data. The process has modified across the years to five major steps, deciding on the primary and secondary research objective, designing the game concepts and surveys for the research, conducting the survey, analyzing collected data using relevant methodologies, and ultimately integrating the findings into a report. Currently, the skillset of Utsaha varies from rural marketing to brand management and retail management strategy.

 As the family grew, the team felt a responsibility to give back to the community, which was onset for “Ummeed”, an initiative wherein projects related to rural education and provision of basic amenities were undertaken. With an underlying motive of bringing about positive change in society, the team has impacted the lives of more than 500 students by various sessions on career counseling, education in addition to proffering pure water facilities. 2017 saw the opening of a public library for the students of Janapav. In 2019, Ummeed visited five primary schools around Indore and conducted computer training sessions and counseling sessions, contributing their significant part to make them industry-ready.

This year marks a huge change in the history of Utsaha. In the decade of exponential growth in digitalization, Utsaha is embarking on a new venture of shifting its research on an online platform, allowing access to a larger audience. Though the methods have changed, the gusto instilled in each participant who makes Utsaha ’20 a reality is as high as it’s been for the past years.



Let’s face it. Customers don’t do what they say they’ll do. A respondent who knows the brand being surveyed may alter his or her responses as per the brand. For instance, if Mondeleys asks you to choose between Bournville and Lindt, there’s a high chance you’ll choose the former if you love Dairy Milk, or the latter if you’re sick of them. Why? Bias. The way humans respond is always pertaining to one bias or another. However, this is just one of the reasons why disguised market research has become the talk of the Marketing town in recent years.

Allow us to list why should you give this concept your attention and not leave the article midway to switch to Instagram.

Why is surveying so tricky?

We told you before, there’s no escaping to the fact that the traditional surveys consumers do are not exactly accurate. The responses change on the basis of past experiences, word of mouth, and self-confirmation bias. This deviation between responses and actual behavior can be detrimental to brands when they plan their product launches and marketing strategies around these results. Don’t believe us?  Consumers said that would never buy Sony’s Walkman cassette player that didn’t have the capacity to record in market surveys, and users would be irritated by the use of earphones. The Walkman went on to sell 330 million units. What if Sony had believed the research? Starbuck’s mazagran failed inspite of focusing on things which consumers wanted,  a cold, lightly carbonated coffee drink. Although Starbucks recovered by modifying the product into one of their best product innovations-the frappucino, your organization might not be that fortunate.

Don’t question your integrity yet, biases are natural and difficult to overcome

What is the solution?

It’s pretty simple, you collect their responses in a way they don’t get to know they are being surveyed.  That is exactly what disguised market research, or disguised observation is. The surveys are gamified to make it more engaging and creative. The questions are more open ended to allow respondents to think and answer without anchoring themselves. This form of research has specially gained buzz ever since the growth of internet and social media, where people want more engaging content all the time. “The Game Experiments” to Jon Puleston and Deborah Sleep highlights how this form of observation is more effective in terms of data quality in terms of traditional surveying.

However, the idea of indirect surveys can backfire if the goals of surveys are not clearly set. A proper mapping of these surveys and the goals you seek to achieve with the data should be in place before you take your survey out to the audience.

So the next time you think about floating a survey, try and go sneaky with your questions, let the audience out their thinking cap on.

Saurabh Singh PGP 2020-22 BATCH

Utsaha 2021



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