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Local Government Market Research Examples [Case Studies]

Victorian Local Government Disability Quantitative Research (Case Study One)


Market Research Goalhobson's-bay-case-study

A local Victorian city council sought newfocus to help develop a strategic document that would outline the ways in which the council could reduce barriers and create an accessible and inclusive community for people with disabilities.

newfocus conducted an extensive community consultation process involving a large phase of qualitative research to understand residents’ perceptions towards people with a disability and their involvement within the community


Process – Market Research in Action

The development of the disability strategy was informed by undertaking research which included:

  • A review and evaluation of the achievements as a result of past action plans
  • A data profile providing information about the demography of people with a disability in the city council area
  • A policy review, which presented an overview of legislation, policy and issues that would impact on the Council’s Disability Strategy
  • A consultation process with the broader community and people with a disability specifically

The project design involved community consultation using qualitative (focus groups) and quantitative (telephone survey) research techniques.  The project collected the views of a representative sample of the population with stratification by age, gender and geographical location. The council’s Social Planning developed the community survey, while newfocus reviewed, adapted to interviewing language and pilot tested the instrument.

Pilot testing the questionnaire insured that the questions aligned to a more simple and understandable language. It also ensured that questionnaires met the Code of Professional Behaviour and the Market & Social Research Privacy Code. newfocus pays special attention to questionnaire pilot testing. No data is useful unless the instrument used to collect the data is fully accurate and has been checked throughout before being spread to a broader audience. Taking the time to get it right eliminates the potential for ambiguities and issues (variation in responses, redundancy, double-barrelled questions, implicit assumptions, position bias, etc.)

Random samples of 300 residents were interviewed using newfocus’ in-house CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interview) facilities. Random sampling means that each element of the population has a known and equal probability of participating in the survey.


Market Research Outcome

The results of the research found that people within the community felt that people with a disability can make positive contributions to community life, but there were too many barriers, hindering people with disabilities to participate in community life. It was in agreeance that more should be done to ensure that people with disabilities can participate in the community. The research drawn from the survey were subsequently used as an indicator of change to measure the success of interventions developed, and the results from the research were implemented into the strategy. 


SA District Council Brand Community Attitudes and Perceptions Research (Case Study Two)


Market Research Goal                                                                            council-tree-case-study-newfocus

The district council is currently experiencing significant population growth, which is expected to continue over the next twenty years. A large proportion of the growth
is expected to come from new urban development, including the construction of new residential estates and homes. The council had identified a need to gain insight into the council as a brand, and gain vision into the perceptions amongst residents and business in Adelaide and the Adelaide Hills area.

newfocus was commissioned by the council to undertake strategic market research around brand perception and a communication program to raise the profile of the council and to help in the development of strategies to improve perceptions and awareness of the attributes associated with the area. Objectives of the research included:

  • Understand perceptions of the council area as a place to live, move into, rent or purchase an investment property
  • Purchase intentions and appeal of the council area
  • Uncover motivators and inhibitors in considering the council area as a place to live or rent
  • How potential residents’ views can be changed
  • Perceptions of the council area as a place for business and investment
  • Uncover motivators and inhibitors to doing business and investing in the council area
  • Determining appropriate positioning and communication for the value proposition


Process – Market Research in Action

In the undertaking of the strategic research process, newfocus applied the Model for Community Engagement, which was developed by newfocus from previous research partnerships with local councils nationally. The model addresses key stages of local government research, starting with the identification of the research need, consultation, evaluation of findings, and strategic insights/recommendations.

The research process used a mixed model approach, first utilising qualitative research techniques and then backing up that process with quantitative research.

Qualitative Research Stage:

Residents: Four focus groups were conducted in gaining insight about the research objectives (2 x metro residents and 2 x hills residents)

Business: Two focus groups with greater metropolitan Adelaide

newfocus used a range of qualitative techniques to undercover emotional factors associated with peoples ways of thinking (eg pre task collages, and videos at the end of focus groups to summarise key findings).

The pre-task (task for respondent to complete before attending the focus group) was developed in order to collect respondents’ perceptions about their ideal suburb to move or live, and another visually showing the main strengths and weaknesses of the area. The pre-task collage was also used as a visual piece of stimulus within the focus group. The video summaries highlighted the main findings from the research, namely the positive and negative perceptions about the council area.community_engagement_model_website

These qualitative research techniques were seen to be useful tasks, adding to the value of insights and providing a creative way to present the respondents views, and report the results.

Quantitative Research Stage:

The quantitative stage was used to put hard numbers to the insights from the exploratory qualitative research stage. Online surveys (metropolitan residents) and CATI (residents of the Adelaide Hills) was the combined quantitative approach which provided:

  • Engagement with a greater number of residents
  • Cost effectiveness by having two approaches

The quantitative survey provided a benchmark of perceptions for comparison for opportunity of future tracking research.


Market Research Outcome

The strategic market research sought to:

  • Provide data and strategy to assist in the development of a communication strategy for the council area as a place to move to and live
  • Provide data and strategy to assist in developing a communication strategy for the council area as a place to do business and invest
  • Provide the first benchmark of residents and business’ perceptions and attitudes that can be used to inform the council about future trends (achieved in the quantitative research stage)

The results drawn from newfocus’ market research was consequently used in the strategic plan for 2015 and onwards, and used to assist in the development of the council’s brand communication strategy for residential and business segments within the area. The research recommended a combined strategic marketing and brand development plan that aims to secure a unique identity from the council and its towns.


This project demonstrates that newfocus  has the unique ability and experience to undertake a number of market research techniques to undercover perceptions and attitudes, while working in partnership with the council and external and internal stakeholders alike.


Find out Local Government Market Research examples in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide


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newfocus is a national market research company, specialising in strategic market research and social research, with offices in Melbourne, Sydney & Adelaide.


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