AI Myth #3: Generative AI can never be representative

Previously, we explored the power of human-AI collaboration in market research, highlighting how AI augments our capabilities rather than replacing them.

This time, we’re tackling a common concern, the perceived lack of representativeness in online data.

Generative AI isn’t representative, but AI can be

While generic generative AI tools might struggle with representativeness, bespoke and controlled AI can address this challenge. Here’s why: 

A generic generative AI tool was tasked with understanding consumer television reviews. The response offered some inspiration but not at the level required to inform key decisions about the brand and its products. Whilst it gave a few examples of the conversation topics, it did not say how prominent those topics were. Further probing revealed the tool based its conclusions on the first five reviews it found – clearly, not representative at all!

However, as practitioners, we can control the sources. For example, we’re able to gather 100,000s of TV reviews in a couple of days. We can then filter those responses to be sure they are TV reviews (not based on fridges made by the same brands), and deep dive into the meta data surrounding the reviews (e.g. digging into smart TVs produced by a specified set of brands).

If we humans are controlling the sources, we remove the black box, and help frame the context, to deliver recommendations with more impact.

Context is key

Beyond controlling data sources, human understanding plays a crucial role in extracting the most value from online data. For instance, holiday reviews typically showcase both positive and negative experiences. However, review sites and social media for some categories might function primarily as complaint platforms. In these cases, our analytical approach will shift to prioritise identifying pain points and gauging the extent of customer dissatisfaction.

Another important point to make. Much of the online data on review sites, blogs and forums are in fact most representative of what consumers see in their online decision-making journey. Ignore this at your peril.


The power of combining AI and primary research

While online data on a small scale is not useful, collecting it on a massive scale can help to quantify brand performance.

We recently worked with a client who was looking to understand the European budget hotel market in more detail. By collecting data across many different hotel chains, we had enough sample to reliably analyse strengths and weaknesses by topic area and competitor. We were also able to segment the market into large chains and disrupters, clustering the conversation of the latter to identify themes driving their behaviour.

By combining these AI outputs with qual and quant, we achieved a comprehensive 360-degree view of the market. This holistic understanding empowered the client to develop a strategic positioning plan for achieving sustainable growth.

In summary…

In this post, we explored how bespoke AI, combined with human expertise, can overcome representativeness concerns by controlling data sources and understanding context. We also highlighted the power of combining AI with traditional research methods (qual and quant) for a comprehensive view of the market.

STRAT7 is methodology agnostic. We take a business question and then look to the sources, methods and expertise within STRAT7 to answer those questions in the best possible way. Grasping the context of the questions we’re addressing and recognising when to complement this with other data sources, ensures our recommendations are robust and reliable.

Check out the next blog in our series which covers AI Myth #4: AI can’t quantify challenges and opportunities at scale.


Joe Lockey

Senior Analyst

Joe joined us after completing rotations across our consumer, services and health sectors, whilst gaining exposure to both qualitative and quantitative research techniques.


Alice Hedlund


Alice has experience in customer-centric growth, brand strategy and innovation at global scale. She specialises in brand transformation journeys, bridging the gap between business and brand strategy to create holistic and actionable plans for impactful growth.

Helen Donald


Job Title

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Tom Carvell


Tom has a science background with a PhD in Materials Chemistry. He has spent most of his career working on in-house front-end innovation where he delivered mid/long term strategic projects for brands such as Durex, Scholl, Veet and KY. He is focussed on delivering pragmatic but provocative innovation strategy for CPG categories.

Manick Pratheeban

Senior Principal

Manick is a brand strategy and consumer insight specialist with 15+ years’ experience helping to grow some of the world’s biggest brands. He has a proven track record of translating trends, consumer, and market data into actionable insights to formulate growth strategies.

Kate Jones

Senior Principal

Kate has over a decade of experience in creating transformative strategies for customer-focused businesses. With a background in consumer insight and behaviour change across consumer health, packaged goods, leisure, banking and other sectors she focuses on elevating the customer experience to create human-centric innovations and foster impactful growth.

Jacob Gascoine-Becker


Jacob specialises in leveraging consumer research to inform investment strategy and business case development. A management consultant since 2014, he previously spent eight years working in ecommerce and digital marketing.

Ines Achabal

Senior Analyst

Ines is inately curious and creative. She is known for her expansive thinking when exploring client challenges and elevating the visual quality of outputs to maximise their impact.

Helene Mills


Helene has 20+ years’ experience advising business leaders and investors on growth strategy based upon consumer and market intelligence. Her particular specialism lies in leisure, retail, food and beverage sectors.

Helen Donald

Helen Donald


Helen has consulted businesses at different stages of growth across a variety of sectors, specialising in consumer packaged goods and consumer healthcare. She is an adept strategist, bringing clarity to the most complex of situations and connecting dots to create rich, future-proofed platforms for innovation, brand positioning and growth.

Allan Chen STRAT7 Advisory

Allan Chen

Senior Principal

Allan’s core skillset provides an analytical and commercial lens to address client challenges. He started his career as an actuary, and since then has held a broad range of strategic roles, improving performance across the private and public sector.


Björn Dufwenberg

Managing Director​

Björn has 15+ years’ experience in insight-driven transformation, across management consulting, as well as brand and innovation agency roles. Most recently he headed up the Customer-Led Transformation practice at PwC Sweden, until joining STRAT7 in 2021. He’s worked on global projects covering consumer goods, durables, spirits and beverages, retail, banking, and private equity.

Kamilla Dala

Senior Principal

Kamilla has 10+ years’ experience leading and implementing insight-driven transformation within global matrix organisations in durable and consumable goods. Areas of expertise cover segmentation, uncovering and translating actionable consumer insights within innovation, product development, brand positioning, strategy and marketing.