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Qualitative Research at BDRC Continental

Good qualitative research doesn’t tell you what researchers think, it tells you how consumers think.

At BDRC Continental, we believe that genuine findings are evidence based; that clear links need to be established between the data and the conclusion. We believe in clear, creative and occasionally inspirational thinking, but we don’t believe in the cult of the qualitative guru. This led us some years ago to adopt ZMET® as our ‘leading edge qualitative methodology of choice’.

ZMET®, developed and tested by a team of academics led by Professor Gerald Zaltman at Harvard University, is grounded in the principles of cognitive neuroscience.  ZMET® applies a range of new and existing qualitative research techniques and links them to form a clearly defined process from data generation through to insight exploration.  

Scientists agree that the role played by your conscious mind is much smaller than previously thought. In a recent episode of the BBC's Horizon series, scientists estimate the size of the unconscious, and draw fascinating conclusions. Find out how much of the brain is given over to the unconscious by watching the clip - Horizon: out of control?

Dr. Roger Donbavand, Managing Director of BDRC Jones Donald, recently published an article in which he looks at what we've learned about the brain from neuroscience and how retailers can apply this. Neuroscience and retailing: who needs whom? provides an insightful overview of ZMET's benefits.

For more information, please contact Richard Smith 020 7400 1018.

What our clients say

"I have used ZMET® with BDRC and indeed would recommend it wholeheartedly to any problem brand."
Fred Puillot, General Manager Europe
Newell Rubbermaid Baby & Parenting Essentials Business.


For more information on ZMET® - the principles, the process, and to hear about ZMET in action - watch the interview with Richard Smith, Director of Qualitative Services, below:


How does ZMET® work? (once you've started the show, go to More to see in full screen or autoplay)


We’ve discovered that ZMET® takes our clients to the next level of understanding; answering questions such as:

  • How mass affluent consumers frame financial investing
  • How a global advertising campaign ‘works’ at a deeper level
  • Why people really buy premium cookware
  • What connects business users to their mobile phone networks on an emotional level
  • What white van man really thinks about his vehicle


Satirist and film director Morgan Spurlock is a man who’s made it his business to understand brands and consumerism. He’s certainly put the leg work into researching them, having lived off McDonald's for a month for ‘Super Size Me’ to demonstrate the horrifying effect on his body.

However, the research for his new film on product placement goes deeper, much deeper. Using ZMET®, a qualitative research methodology that’s grounded in cognitive neuroscience and only employed by BDRC Continental this side of the pond, Spurlock gained an understanding of his own personal brand. He then used the insights he gained when pitching the concept of his latest film to corporate marketing departments.

Did he get their buy in? Well, it is called ‘The Greatest Movie Ever Sold’, a film about product placement, funded completely by, yes, product placement.

Watch the TED Talk video below to find out more about how ZMET® uncovered the Morgan Spurlock brand (jump to 12:14 to see ZMET® in action).