“Populus’s research has laid a very important foundation, which will set us up for the next few years at least. This is going to help us develop some exciting new products for a big opportunity space that will have commercial ties as well” 

Sebastian Paynter, Senior Customer Marketing Manager, England and Wales Cricket Board.

The ECB approached Populus in order to conduct thorough match-side qualitative research, with the aim of targeting players from three distinct groups: youths, females and the South Asian community.

The challenge

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) needed to understand the landscape of the current play situation. It needed to further understand the nature of play across a specific sport, and those that play it – it was the first of its kind for this governing body.

A crucial component of this project rested upon the qualitative research. The qualitative research team set out to explore the views, feelings and opinions of minority groups, so that the ECB could better reach them.

What we did

Populus’s qualitative researchers immersed themselves fully into the cricket community. They conducted match-side in-depth interviews with players from three distinct groups: youths, females & the South Asian community.

By doing these interviews match-side, we were able to understand the context of the discussions – the equipment, the uniform, the venue – this allowed us to understand their individual needs, passions and pain points when it came to the sport and what they want to see develop in the future to better encourage play.

Populus filmed each conversation and produced a ‘highlight reel’ for each segment that brought our insights to life. In addition, Populus also spent time match-side with friends and family of the players to understand their perspective and how the players could be better supported.

The results

The qualitative research formed a crucial component of the ECB’s overall research, which resulted in a new strategy for the organisation with the potential to change the face of cricket. The research meant that the ECB was able to:

  1. Acquire direct access to the people they most needed to target, including hard-to-reach and minority groups
  2. Gain an understanding of cricket players’ individual needs, passions and pain points when it came to the sport
  3. Use match-side qualitative insights in the implementation of a new strategy.

As a result of the qualitative research, the ECB has been able to tailor and customise their offering to specific segments, introduce a new strategy to build on opportunity spaces and to raise the profile of cricket in the UK.