Top 5 Reasons Your Company Needs An Employee Insight Community In 2021

Mike Chavarria, Expert In High Touch Research Approaches: Insights Communities, Mobile Research, and Digital Passive Metering


Who could have predicted that a year into the pandemic, we’d still be doing Zoom happy hours with friends, or changing diapers during conference calls (just me?), or even something that seems so normal now like working from home full time? Let’s be real, when this pandemic hit most of us thought “maybe this will last two or three weeks then we’ll get back to normal.” Seems silly to look back on now. What we’ve all done, even the most inflexible of us, is learn to adapt.

Employers are learning to adapt to this new environment too. According to research conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management 7 in 10 employers have struggled to adapt to remote work, and 2 out of 3 employers say maintaining employee morale has been a challenge. This makes all the sense in the world for those of us used to being able to collaborate with our colleagues in real time, whether it’s in a meeting, at the water cooler, or happy hour after work. It’s also the key reason we’re seeing a major increase in our research clients reaching out with interest in building Employee Insight Communities.

Insight Communities are the fastest growing Market Research methodology because they allow brands to gather continual and fast feedback from their core audiences, all while having an ecosystem that encourages community members to interact and engage with each other, kind of like social media. Predominantly we think about Insight Communities as a tool for customer or potential customer research, but there are a number of reasons they’re ideally suited for employers in our post-COVID world. For brands that want to do multiple things at once – gather critical insights about their employees while keeping them engaged, communities can be a time-saving and cost-effective tool.

Without further ado here are five reasons employee communities are blowing up in 2021:

Employee Engagement

With workers spread all over the place it’s super important to find new ways to keep connections with colleagues online. Most people think of Insight Communities simply as a place to do surveys or focus groups, but the interface is perfect for fun and interactive employee engagement activities. In our own ISA Employee Community we’ve had activities like Pet Pageants, Recipe Shares, and an ongoing Coworker of the Week. All of these activities have helped foster relationships and helped our team feel like a team, even though we’re all spread out.

Employee Pulse and Satisfaction Research

Let’s be real, it’s a lot easier to gauge an employee’s happiness in their job when you’re around them in person every day. Things get a bit trickier when you see each other in Zoom meetings here and there. Employee Communities are the perfect way to track employee satisfaction. Our clients have leveraged them to run quarterly satisfaction surveys, and some have even gone so far as to build Morale Diaries where employees check in each week to share how they’re feeling, what’s working, and what challenges they’re facing.

Ideation, Innovation, and Crowdsourcing

One of the biggest pain points for companies in a remote work setting is losing the collaboration that comes from your face-to-face interaction with colleagues. Using the Ideation Session functionality that comes in some Insight Community platforms such as ours (shameless plug) can help foster that same collaboration that might be missing. The crowdsourcing can run the gamut from perks and benefits workers would like to see, to new product and service ideas. Employees can vote on each other’s ideas, follow each other, and provide their own feedback on new ideas in the comments. Major bonus – your employees know your customers wants and needs more than anyone! Why wouldn’t you want to have a pulse on what they’re hearing from your customers?

Employee Recognition

I’m not going to lie, I miss hugs. I also miss pats on the back, and giving pats on the back. I think it’s safe to say I’m not alone. It’s tougher to give shout outs for a job well done in a remote world. Now, I’m not going to say an Employee Community can totally replace the feeling of an in-person shout out, but being recognized by your boss or coworkers in an online environment can feel pretty darn good too. We have clients who leverage the community interface to announce promotions, and in our own ISA Employee Community we built a “Shout Out” page where workers can give each other kudos for whatever they want. Shout outs for the win!

Advisory Boards and Leadership Committees

It’s very unlikely your company party planning committee is still meeting regularly. On the plus side, that leaves extra party planning budget for next year (goodbye pizza party, hello fancy corporate retreat, am I right?). You’ve likely thought about a Customer Advisory Board, or maybe you already have one in place. Employee Advisory Boards can fulfill a similar function. For those committees still meeting an Employee Community is a great way to connect. The built in Live Chat feature allows for real-time discussion among team members, or even Town Halls with leadership.

In this crazy environment it’s more important than ever to listen and keep a pulse on what’s going on with your workforce. Understanding employee satisfaction, crowdsourcing new perks and benefits, and gathering in-depth insights from your most valuable resource, your team, is crucial to a successful organization. Employee Insight Communities leverage the power of your team members engaging with each other while giving you the research tools you need to truly understand what’s going on in the workplace. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

ISA Group Launches First Ever Cannabis Consumer Research Panel

The Green Time is a cannabis-focused research community, providing feedback to a multitude of cannabis brands

SoapBoxSample, a member of The ISA Group, announced today the launch of their new cannabis-focused research panel – The Green Time. The first of its kind, The Green Time is composed of both cannabis consumers and industry professionals. The community was created to gather open and honest feedback about cannabis products, brands and services. The goal is to fuel brands with data and insights, helping cannabis companies develop a strategic advantage through the deep understanding of their customers and future customers. The U.S. cannabis market is expected to top $40 billion annually by 2025, according to projections published by Forbes magazine.

“We believe in empowering the cannabis community through research. The brands of tomorrow rely on feedback from consumers to improve their products, services and marketing,” said Jacqueline Rosales, President of the ISA Group. “We believe that the new era of cannabis will be driven by data and shaped by the people who use it and love it.”

The Green Time was developed to meet a specific need within the market – quick and targeted access to cannabis consumers. The ISA Group is committed to constantly updating its products and services to meet the evolving needs of the industry. Brands can target consumers based on their preferred delivery form, frequency of consumption, method of obtaining, monthly spend, and other lifestyle considerations. All members of the Green Time are subject to a rigorous screening process, including identity authentication checks and age confirmation (21+) through Imperium’s Veritas and Relevant ID services. In addition, SoapBoxSample applies its own in-house security processes to ensure the highest-quality participants in all research studies.

The ISA Group is committed to moving the cannabis industry forward. Their cannabis research has been featured in Mg Magazine, Marijuana Venture and The Cannigma. Their ongoing research explores a variety of topics, including different types of cannabis gifters (Traditional, Shared-experience, Altruistic) and the effect of COVID-19 on cannabis consumers. In March 2020, a significant portion of cannabis consumers began turning to cannabis products for wellness and emotional health reasons. Among those who reported consuming more cannabis since the COVID-19 outbreak, 60% said they were doing so to relieve stress, 57% to ease anxiety and 34% were consuming to combat cabin fever.

In November of 2020, The ISA Group announced their strategic partnership with Vertosa, a leading hemp and cannabis technology company based in Oakland, CA that provides customized emulsion systems for infused beverages, edibles, cosmetics, and more. The partnership combines ISA’s research on the unique attitudes and experiences of cannabis customers with Vertosa’s experience in bringing cannabis-infused products to the market. They recently partnered on a cannabis webinar titled, “From Concept to Conception,” which featured two female Co-Founders in the cannabis beverage space. During this webinar, the ISA Group shared insights about cannabis beverage consumers and described the biggest hurdles for cannabis beverage makers.

Consumers interested in becoming a member of The Green Time, can find out if they qualify here: www.TheGreenTime.com.

About SoapBoxSample and ISA Group

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know.

We believe that the new era of cannabis will be driven by data. Brands that deeply understand their customers have a strategic advantage. We connect cannabis brands with the people who matter most – their customers (and future customers). We provide guidance on the best ways to engage your target audience, and how to ask the questions that will support your business objectives. Clients leverage our expertise to develop new products, test marketing and advertising, understand opportunities in emerging markets (such as newly legal states), create detailed profiles of their customers, and stay on top of developing trends.

To learn more, visit www.isacorp.com/specialty/cannabis-research, where you can sign up for our weekly CANNAfact Friday newsletter. Get in touch: hello@isacorp.com.

Jacqueline Rosales Appointed President of ISA Group

The former SoapBoxSample COO and 25+ year insights industry veteran, Jacqueline has assumed ISA’s top leadership position

Jacqueline Rosales, President of ISA

“I am beyond excited to lead ISA moving forward. We stand on a strong foundation of 38 years of excellence; including capabilities, reputation and staff. Our plan is to integrate and evolve to meet the ongoing needs of our clients and the marketplace. Our continued goal is connecting brands with their consumers in new and exciting ways.”

The ISA Group announced today that Jacqueline Rosales has been promoted to the top leadership role at the company. As ISA President, she will oversee ISA’s four divisions – ISA, Q-insights, SoapBoxSample and icanmakeitbetter. Jacqueline previously served as COO of SoapBoxSample. Founded in 1982, ISA is one of the largest insights firms in the U.S., specializing in quick turn, high-impact custom research solutions.

Jacqueline Rosales joined the ISA Group in 2012, when she was recruited to launch and lead ISA’s online division, SoapBoxSample. With more than 25 years in Market Research and proven success in launching, stabilizing and growing organizations, she quickly gained a reputation for her enthusiasm and unconventional leadership style. Under Jacqueline’s dynamic leadership, SoapBoxSample grew to become the most sizeable division of ISA. After ISA acquired community insight platform icanmakeitbetter in 2016, Jacqueline then took the helm of two divisions — SoapBoxSample and icanmakeitbetter.

Despite the challenges of 2020, Rosales lead the group through a fast and successful shift across the organization resulting in stellar performance in an extremely difficult year.

Anthony Kretzmer, ISA’s current president, will retire at the end of the first quarter, effective March 31, 2021. Anthony has led the ISA Group for nearly 20 years, overseeing the launch of SoapBoxSample in 2012, and the acquisition of icanmakeitbetter in 2016.

“The last 19 years at this wonderful company have been gratifying in the extreme,” relayed Anthony Kretzmer, current President of ISA. “Congratulations to Jacqueline on this well-deserved promotion. I know ISA will continue to flourish and thrive under Jacqueline’s leadership.”

Jacqueline is a thought leader, and sought after speaker, sharing her experiences with entrepreneurship, leadership, research and categorical expertise. Check out her Linkedin page to learn more.

UCI’s Customer Experience Advisory Board Welcomes SoapBoxSample’s COO as Their Newest Member

Image of UCI Campus

Jacqueline Rosales Joins Industry Thought Leaders to Guide the Next Generation of Professionals in CX

August 12, 2020, Los Angeles, CA — Research firm SoapBoxSample announced today that Jacqueline Rosales, COO of SoapBoxSample/icanmakeitbetter, will be joining the Advisory Board for the Customer Experience Program at the University of California-Irvine (UCI). With 25+ years in consumer research, Jacqueline Rosales was a natural fit for the Advisory Board role. Through her leadership at multiple insights firms she has demonstrated expertise in providing top brands with research they need to create great customer experiences. Consistent and collaborative research approaches enable brands to create feedback loops where consumers can feel heard and organizational strategy is supported by market insights.

“I am proud to share my knowledge and experiences with a group that will one day be among the leaders in their industries,” said Jacqueline Rosales. ”I’m excited to take this opportunity to give back to the industry and support the next wave of people who will contribute to the Customer Experience discipline.”

Executives from across the country are carefully selected by UCI to serve on the Advisory Board. They search for people who offer expertise within a multitude of industries in an effort to provide students with insights from industry thought leaders. The Program offers either a four-day, hands-on immersion program or an eight-week online program. Students will learn to apply principles that drive Customer Experience Innovation and the techniques developed by top companies. Jacqueline and other experts in their fields will be guide the students throughout the program.

UCI and SoapBoxSample also collaborated in the Spring of 2020 with a partnership to conduct epidemiological testing in an effort to understand the cumulative incidence of both symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19 cases in Orange County, California. With experience in managing serosurveillance testing in Los Angeles County, SoapBoxSample was able to lend their expertise in reaching diverse, multicultural audiences to aid in this crucial research initiative. SoapBoxSample’s COVID-19 research was featured in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Business Insider, and the KTLA 5 Morning News.

SoapBoxSample’s Cannabis Research Featured in MG Magazine

The August 2020 issue of mg magazine features an article co-authored by Adriana Hemans, Director of Demand and Special Projects for SoapBoxSample. In the spring of 2020, two consumer insights companies, SoapBoxSample and KNow Research, joined forces to explore consumer behaviors, needs, and preferences around the gifting and sharing of cannabis products for special occasions, including holidays. They gained rich insights into the category—ones that can provide gifting options at a wide array of holidays and for a variety of recipients. Here they share what they learned about what brands and retailers can do to make their products relevant, appealing, gift-able, and share-able.

Defining A Gift

Throughout the course of the study, we heard many definitions of “gifting” and what constitutes a “gift.” We came across three main cannabis gifting attitudes:

  1. Traditional Gifter: Some define a gift as something presented, typically in a package with a bow. “I got some chocolate-covered cannabis strawberries for Valentine’s Day from my husband,” one participant said. “There weren’t many. I kind of wanted to save them for myself, so he didn’t get any.”
  2. Shared-experience Gifter: Purchasing something to enjoy together was not necessarily a gift, even if the item was purchased with the holiday in mind. Rather, cannabis often can be a component of a shared experience that makes the holiday special. When asked why they wouldn’t consider cannabis a Valentine’s “gift,” one of these gifters clarified: “It’s more routine than a gift, because my husband and I smoke on a regular basis.” For these gifters, experiencing the cannabis gift together is part of the giftgiving experience.
  3. Altruistic Gifter: Some give without an expectation of sharing. Some used cannabis as a “hostess gift,” so the host or hostess could decide whether he or she wanted to share with guests or save the gift for later. Other altruistic gifters gifted with only the recipient’s pleasure in mind. “My friends and I took a road trip and the driver brought some candies for everyone to have, so she kind of gifted us a little bag of hard candies for each of us, for fun,” one participant revealed.

To gain more cannabis gifting insights, download the full issue of mg Magazine.

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SoapBoxSample Helps Riverside County Gauge the Spread of COVID-19

Antibody Study Shows COVID-19 May Have Infected 5.9% of Riverside County Residents, to Date

August 3, 2020, Los Angeles, CA — In an effort to understand and slow the spread of COVID-19, SoapBoxSample partnered with Riverside University Health Systems to test a representative sample of Riverside County residents for the presence of COVID-19 antibodies in their blood. The study was unique because it included adults and children aged 5 and older. This test was administered to 1,726 county residents to gain a more accurate picture of the spread of the virus in Riverside County.

Based on the county’s study, officials estimate there have been between 118,000 and 175,400 infections in Riverside County. On the low end, that would be 235% higher than confirmed case totals; on the high end, it would mean a confirmed infection prevalence that is 431% higher than the county’s current total number of confirmed cases. Riverside County has about 2.5 million residents.

SoapBoxSample recruited a random sample of Riverside residents through their proprietary sampling techniques, designed to ensure reach and diversity. Study participants were included via invitation only. Residents were not allowed to volunteer to be a part of the study, so that health officials could obtain a representative sample of the community, which is a critical component of the study. The study showed a positivity rate of nearly 6%, and officials used that percentage to estimate how many residents likely had the virus by applying the positivity rate to the overall population. These results emphasize the need to practice safe social distancing by wearing face masks and keeping 6 feet of distance from others.

“It is an honor to work on such impactful point-in-time research. We are incredibly proud of the work we’ve done here, assisting Riverside County with understanding the true spread of COVID-19 within their community. We will continue to partner with county officials, medical professionals, scientists and epidemiologists. We have a lot to learn about antibodies beyond just the prevalence.” said Jacqueline Rosales, SoapBoxSample COO.

“We continue to learn new information about coronavirus, and this survey adds important research to the growing knowledge of COVID-19,” said Riverside County Board Chair and Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez.

SoapBoxSample attracted attention from the local and national news media last March when the results of their serosurveillance study of Los Angeles County was released. The study, which tested 863 LA County residents, revealing a positivity rate of 4.06%, was conducted in partnership with the University of Southern California and the Los Angeles Department of Health. SoapBoxSample recruited the participants, developed the research instrument and designed the results portals, where residents learn the status of their tests. Read the full article in the Journal of the American Medical Association here.