SunResearch Methodologies

Authentic Ethnography



  • Live: Authentic ethnography involves multiple processes of live observation, including live in-person ethnography with a cultural anthropologist and small team, followed by virtual live digital ethnography that is self-reported online by the participant over time. Live ethnography gives a powerful picture of what happens within consumers’ real-life worlds, how real life impacts upon products and brands, and illuminates needs that lead to breakthrough findings.


  • Observe: Authentic ethnography emphasizes observing respondents’ natural behavior in and around their key environments as close to the time of natural behavior as possible. These three-hour to half-day-long observational encounters show real-life universes of our selected respondent, family, and even community, on cultural, behavioral, emotional, attitudinal, and motivational levels...the anthropologist and client team observe and understand authentic respondent experiences and attitudes naturally as they occur.


  • Reveal: Authentic ethnography reveals consumers' natural, everyday events, purchases, shopping experience, product usage, lifestyle, decision making, and household icons, linking them to personalized symbolic codes and rituals with dynamic relevance to wider cultures, regions, and consumer segments. Our case histories show how a behavior or attitude revealed in context has revolutionized a category or brand.




  • Crystallize: Archetypes crystallize emotional attraction and add compelling depth to branding, research, and new product development. The process uses a mythic, symbolic depth approach to tap into deep motivational forces and bring a brand into sharper, crystallized focus that differentiates it from competitive brands.


  • DNA: An archetype is the DNA of a brand. Archetypes represent the deep patterns, images, and legendary symbols derived from mythologies, folklore, life stages, and iconic historical imagery that represent the universal emotional and instinctual elements for an idea, brand, or category. Archetypes resonate with all people in all cultures for all times.


  • Compel: A Jungian archetypal psychologist, Ava uses a three-part process to identify a compelling archetypal pattern: a) Team training in the transformative 12 archetypes, b) examination of the brand’s and competition’s history of advertising, digital imagery, and key events to identify the current archetypal map, and c) creative exploration of archetypal motivations to help the team choose the most compelling archetype for its new brand focus.

Creative Focus Groups



  • Interact: Creative focus groups heighten the collective spirit and interaction of participants within groups. They are conducted in-person within facilities on in on-line formats with 6-8 respondents over two hours. For special studies, triads and quads are more intimate interactions and gain deeper results.


  • Dialogue: Our moderating process combines open-ended dialoguing, free associations, and imaginative projective exercises such as photo gallery explorations, drawing exercises, archetypal exercises, provocative word sorts, collage creation, and spontaneous storytelling with sensitive probing. Dialoguing identifies controversy, the benefits and obstacles of a product or concept, and are a lively, spontaneous forum of opinion.


  • Prioritize: Groups give a broad, exploratory, and initial understanding of a category to learn which elements are the most important to prioritize and follow up in later research. In a mixed methods study, we use groups to select the best candidates for journey work involving later online diaries and in-person ethnography.

In-Depth Psychological Interviews



  • Narrate: In-depth psychological interviews with single respondents discover the personal narratives of respondents and the psychology that unlocks the meaning of these stories.


  • Magnify: Conducted over an hour, 90 minutes, or two hours, in-depth interviews magnify our individualized, more emotional, and subjective understanding of personal conscious and unconscious forces at work in a participant’s motivations and feelings.


  • Unearth: In-depth interviews unearth the deep feelings and a-ha’s that link participants’ personal stories with the brand’s story.

Vision Sessions



  • Dream: Vision sessions help the team dream out loud and then make dreams come true. Our creative ideation sessions use Synectics, CPSI, and archetypal processes to synthesize complex research findings after groups and ethnographies, generate team wishes and ideas, and develop new strategies for concepts, products, or messaging ideas for the brand.


  • Imagine: Team imagination is intensified through fast-paced, free-wheeling, and provocative creative exercises and projective exercises like role plays, drawing, collage, treasure hunts, war games, and metaphorical excursions.


  • Manifest: Some sessions identify new consumer needs to fill with powerful solutions. Others solve problems and resolve marketing challenges. All manifest concrete solutions and breakthrough results. Vision sessions range from a few hours to 2+ days in length and are conducted in conference rooms, research facilities, or off-site locations to enhance creativity.

Multiple Languages and Multicultural Subcultures



  • Discover: Discover deep insights about culture and subcultures when anthropologists, psychologists, moderators, and ethnographers collaborate in our special qualitative process. We network with native-speaking Spanish, French, Italian, and Asian researchers.


  • Connect: We creatively connect at every stage of a multilingual project to achieve accuracy, resonance, and coherence of findings. When conducting Hispanic or French groups, our native Spanish-and French-speaking moderators lead the groups, while Ava sits in with participants and joins the energy of the interactive experience to debrief, continue with ethnography, and stay close to collaborative analysis and writing of the final report.


  • Resonate: When exploring and comparing cultures, multiple researchers extend the comprehension of observing teams in order to deeply resonate with the culture. We learn and communicate cultural findings from the inside out.

Training For Corporate Teams 



  • Learn: Trainers help corporate teams to learn three methodologies: Authentic ethnography and the secrets of observation, archetypes using the 12-archetype system, and the power of creative ideation.


  • Practice: Each training is a unique mix of principles, case history, team practice, and evolving demonstrations. By practicing what they learn, teams are strikingly prepared for the ethnographic, archetypal, and creative processes in the research to follow.


  • Collaborate: Each training strengthens and enhances collaboration between senior executives, middle managers, or stakeholders with consumers and the research team. Running 2-3 hours in length, training can be standalone or in combination with projects.

Archetypal Coaching



  • Comprehend: Archetypal coaching is one on one. In private sessions, we explore an individual’s comprehension of his or her true calling, optimum career, and expanded creativity.


  • Co-create: Using the Pearson-Mark-Marr archetypal system, the acorn process of archetypal psychologist James Hillman, and aligned with imagery, projective tools, role plays, and vision exercises, archetypal coaching seeks revelation of an individual’s core purpose. We help co-create perspective on a client’s authentic self for deep personal meaning and success in the world.


  • Calibrate: Conducted sequentially in multiple sessions, archetypal coaching calibrates one’s calling with executional strategies and decision making. Coaching is for the individual exploring true north, facing a compelling opportunity, developing a revolutionary idea, or reimagining life after change.