Protocols for the face-to-face and online and focus groups were similar with an obvious difference that the face-to-face focus group discussion was moderated by a facilitator. Six unique surveys were created - one for each community. First, ten pictures were selected to represent the top pull factors for new residents from all six communities. These pull factors were identified from the results of the new resident survey conducted in each community. The top pull factors across all communities were:

  • simpler pace of life
  • quality time with family
  • employment opportunities
  • less congested place to live
  • job opportunities

Community representatives worked with researchers to identify images that they believed portrayed the top pull factors. From the photographs identified by community representatives, researchers selected ten images for use in the focus groups. Images were both single photographs as well as collages of two or more photographs. For each of the ten images, respondents were asked to give their impression of the community portrayed in the image.

Next, respondents were given a series of ten pictures that were unique to each community. Images were selected that portrayed the top pull factors to each community as well as the top rated community assets as identified by the new resident survey. Community representatives were again asked to identify pictures that represented the top pull factors and community assets with each community having a unique combination of factors.

All respondents were also asked to rate their level of agreement on how well various community characteristics were represented by the image. A five point Likert scale where 1 was strongly disagree and 5 was strongly agree was used. To facilitate a quick response without in-depth discussion in the face-to-face focus groups, respondents used Turning Point software response cards, commonly called "clickers", to convey their level of agreement that a given image conveyed the various attributes. After each "vote," the groups' responses were shared showing what percentage of the total agreed or disagreed.

In addition, respondents were asked to offer advice as to how to best depict three specific phrases in an image. The three phrases represented the top three pull factors to each community. For example, a respondent was asked to describe "quality time with family" in an image. This offered participants the opportunity to provide open- ended and additional feedback on an image and to link these responses to images that were viewed earlier in the process. Online focus group respondents were also asked to comment on the communities' logo and slogan and to provide basic demographic information.

Protocols were established for the face-to-face and online focus groups using established focus group guidelines. In addition, facilitators in each community were trained to ensure a level of consistency across the community sites. Questions asked were the same at each site; however, the size and the structure varied at each location. The structure changes allowed each community to gather the unique input needed for their marketing plans.