How mobile ethnography helped a communications agency to understand the everyday routines and lives of farmers


The agriculture and farming industry is almost as old as time itself. Across the world, farmers work tirelessly to produce raw materials that we all consume at a later stage in the supply chain. However, it is possibly the most diverse industry imaginable and understanding the routines and behaviors of farmers can be difficult, but crucially important for understanding the challenges they face and meeting their needs.


The Challenge


As a segment, farmers may be the most difficult group of respondents to understand. Firstly, farming is not a typical 9-5 profession and recruiting them to studies at designated locations is almost impossible.

Given that they commit the bulk of their time to work, designating time to complete lengthy research is not an option. Add in that they will often work in remote locations, spread across endless geographic locations, gaining access to them is both a logistical and costly nightmare. Bringing them to a facility for IDIs or focus groups, or even sending out an ethnographer to meet them at home, is not always possible.

When our client approached us, they were desperate to find a way to understand a truly representative sample farmers across the USA. But they also wanted real insights. They wanted to see the routines, habits and attitudes in the context of life on the farm.

The Goals


Our clients goals were to:

  • Gain a real-life insight into the everyday life of farmers

  • Understand the routines, attitudes, habits and needs of farmers across different states and producing varied goods

  • Find a way to engage farmers, to guide communications strategies that reach and resonate with them into the future


The Solution


When it comes to engaging hard-to-reach respondents, mobile ethnography can serve as an effective medium of doing so. At Indeemo, we relish the opportunity to help clients to reach into the lives of such respondents to gain a true understanding of their routines. Recruiting respondents for agriculture-based projects can be a challenge, but credit to our client, they allowed themselves adequate time to ensure they had screened respondents to optimise for engagement.

For this project, we worked with our client to create a task list that would gain authentic insight into life on the farm. Utilising our all-at-once tasking methodology, it was decided that respondents would be given a month and a half to respond to 9 tasks covering introduction videos, mind-maps of everything important farming life, thoughts about the future, sustainability, problems, and an ongoing diary of farm life and the farm.

Through over 500 photos, videos and text notes, farmers showed our client everything about their everyday rituals and routines. Getting such an unprecedented periscope into life on remote farms allowed our client to truly see life on the farm in real-life. In doing so, it allowed them to identify common attitudes amongst respondents. Although farmers are notoriously difficult to engage, the volume of detailed uploads received by reflected just how passionate and enthusiastic they are as a group when given the correct platform. And that platform is mobile. Given the opportunity to use their mobile to create a visual map of their world, they jumped at the chance to have their voice heard and present their real-life experiences.


If you’d like to learn more about how mobile ethnography can help your brand to understand hard-to-reach segments such as farmers or trades-people, please get in touch using the form below.

Contact us

Mobile Ethnography is a rich, agile way to get a deeper understanding of participants everyday lives and behaviours.

Projects can range from a few days to as long as a year but are typically 1 to 2 weeks in duration.

After analysing the engagement on hundreds of projects, we’re have learned a lot about how to optimise research for mobile and can activate your Mobile Ethnography projects in as little as one working day.

If you’d like to discuss your project and explore suggestions about how we might be able to support your research, please submit your details here and we will get back to you right away.

We’re looking forward to speaking with you.

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