A benchmark is English for measuring nail: a nail that is driven into the ground so that the surveyor can always measure and compare from a fixed reference point.
The term benchmark was later often used during quality assurance. If a product or service is required to meet certain criteria then those criteria are taken as a "benchmark" and used to measure whether the products and services provided meet them.
Benchmarking is now seen as "the search for and application of best practices" (R.C. Camp, 1989). The methodology used (and also applied by The Blue Hour) follows these steps:
Through a set of questions, a target group is surveyed (each respondent is always asked the same questions);
Each respondent is individually compared to the target group through a benchmark report;
Differences and similarities are analyzed so that things can be improved based on insight.
The Blue Hour's comparative research focuses on markets and is anonymous. Different organizations are compared to the average in their market (the benchmark is the average) and similarities and differences are analyzed based on that information.
The benchmark report prepared by The Blue Hour acts as a substantive conversation piece and basis for any advice provided by The Blue Hour's clients.
Of course, the content of the benchmark is determined by The Blue Hour's clients. Click here for more information on our approach.