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How to Make this Valentine's Day One to Remember

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How to Make this Valentine's Day One to Remember

April Bell Research Group

When we decided to write a blog for Valentine’s Day, my first thought was “how are we going to talk about love in a way that’s interesting, non-cliché and meaningful? 

April Bell Research Group

Then, I asked myself: “what would I want to read?”  I want to read bullet points, ideas that are easy to act on, or could bring about a shift in my thinking. On a day where there is so much expectation about love, I wanted to write something that could go beyond a “significant other”.

So, the more questions I asked, the more I realized this blog should really be about key questions to ask on Valentine’s Day.  And as a researcher, this just felt better anyway!  So, here goes my list of Valentine’s Day questions as food for thought – along with some resources that helped me answer my questions!!

  1. What would happen if I smiled at everyone I saw today?  
  2. How would I feel if I complimented someone I admire?  
  3. Why is there so much talk about “self-love” being a precursor to loving others? 
  4. What are the things that make my heart happy? 
  5. How can I be more kind to people who really irk me? 
  6. How can I find time in my crazy schedule to spend more time with people I love? 
  7. What can I do to love more and stress less? Thank you, my dear fellow Texan, Brene Brown, for your poignant quote, downloadable here. 
  8. What can help give me an immediate lift of joy?
April Bell Research Group

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TMRE: Shifting to an Emotional Lens in the Drive-Thru

TMRE: Shifting to an Emotional Lens in the Drive-Thru

The majority of our thoughts take place in the subconscious mind. Usually, we don't know WHY we are doing something if we are asked directly, but there is usually an emotional reason for it hidden in our subconscious. The folks at Coca-Cola were curious to learn about people's experiences in the drive-thru. Instead of conducting this research ethnographically, which would involve being right there with consumers in the drive-thru to observe their actions and emotional reactions, Coca-Cola decided to take a different approach and do 30 one-on-one IDIs (in-depth interviews). 

The way they did this successfully was by asking respondents to go through the visualization process, to mentally bring them back to their drive-thru experience. "If you ask them to tell you about one of their memories or experiences, they tell you something you might not have heard otherwise," says Kristian Aloma from Brandtrust. His team even asked respondents close their eyes while answering some of the questions for better recall of the event. "The key is NOT asking them why. There are ways a trained researcher can get past the surface to uncover their actual experience," Aloma states.

To Coca-Cola's surprise, many respondents revealed very emotional experiences at the drive-thru. For some it was a place where they could go in the morning to brighten their day; for others it was a get-away from their hectic routine where they could have someone else take care of them. It was a part of their ritual, and it made them feel good.

The presentation was definitely intriguing, and it was also very educational. I learned a lot about the different techniques that can be used to get respondents to open up about their experiences, especially if an ethnographic study is not possible. I'm eager to tell my team members about the interesting findings of this research!

Mayuri Joshi isResearch Magician at April Bell Research Group, a boutique, full-service marketing research firm, committed to delivering fresh insights you can act on! Learn more at aprilbellresearch.com.

Live from #TMRE13: The Pragmatic Brain

Live from #TMRE13: The Pragmatic Brain

"Brands are stereotypes within themselves," he states. When you hear the word Disney, you might immediately start thinking of Mickey Mouse or your favorite Disney movies and feel some kind of emotion. What you may not realize, is all of those thoughts and feelings that the word Disney brings about is the stereotype that you have of the brand. And in this scenario, the word "stereotype" is not necessarily a bad thing. 

A great example Sack provided is of a prank that Jimmy Kimmel pulled back when the iPhone 5 was about to be released. The phone had not actually come out yet, but Kimmel surveyed people on the streets by showing them the iPhone 4S and telling them it was the new iPhone 5. He asked them, "How do you think this is different than the previous iPhone?" And to my surprise, these people were convinced that they were actually holding a new iPhone 5 and described it as "lighter" and "sleeker" than the iPhone 4S. It just had to do with the perception or stereotype they already had in their minds about the new and improved iPhone 5, and it was affecting their reality. 

All of us have ideas and images that come to mind when we think of certain brand names. So, when thinking about your brand as a whole, it is important to understand the stereotype that it holds in the marketplace. 

Mayuri Joshi isResearch Magician at April Bell Research Group, a boutique, full-service marketing research firm, committed to delivering fresh insights you can act on! Learn more at aprilbellresearch.com.

Live from #TMRE13: Trend Spotting: Trends that Define a More Discerning Consumerism

Live from #TMRE13: Trend Spotting: Trends that Define a More Discerning Consumerism

How awesome would it be to work in the liquor industry and have the word "Vodka" in your job title? Well Janu Lakshmanan, Head of Global Vodka Consumer Insights for Beam, does exactly that. 

Based on her presentation, it was easy to see how passionate she is about her job (and who wouldn't be?) and how hard her team has worked on figuring out the 5 current trends in the vodka industry. 

1) Think Global, Get Local - People have started to care about where their food/drink comes from. Chipotle is a company that does a great job with emphasizing that it only uses local ingredients.

2) Maximized Moments - This is all about taking things to the next level and enhancing the overall experience. Heineken put a chip in their beer bottles that would light up based on the energy in the room (for example, it would light up to the beat of the music).

3) Collaborative Lifestyles - There is something special about sharing and making the world a better place. Lyft is a car service program where people offer rides in their personal cars to create an interactive experience of helping out others, while getting the chance to meet new people. 

4) Synthesthesia - Engaging all of your senses to make the overall experience better. Salta is a beer company that wanted to tie together Rugby and beer by having vending machines that men have to tackle, and based on the strength, the machine gives out bottles of Salta beer. 

5) Made for One - Customized just for you. CustomMade is a company that can make anything (from tables to toothbrushes) custom made.

I loved the presentation! Her passion and energy, as well as her use of creative examples, made this one of my favorites! 

Mayuri Joshi isResearch Magician at April Bell Research Group, a boutique, full-service marketing research firm, committed to delivering fresh insights you can act on! Learn more at aprilbellresearch.com.

Live from #TMRE13 - Billion Member Focus Group: Using Social Media Analysis to Understand Today's Real-Time Customer

Live from #TMRE13 - Billion Member Focus Group: Using Social Media Analysis to Understand Today's Real-Time Customer

Social media has become a part of daily life, and in today's world, it's hard to find someone who does not have either a Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account. Consumers are constantly on their computers, tablets, and mobile devices, posting and tweeting their thoughts and opinions. 

When you think of the number of people on these social media sites, it's difficult to even comprehend the magnitude of data that is generated on a daily basis. In fact, according to Wayne St. Amand, Vice President of Marketing at Crimson Hexagon, there are 1 billion posts that go up every 48 hours! 

Social media is the single largest source of unsolicited consumer opinions, and very few companies are doing a good job capturing and analyzing this data. All of this data is already readily available at your fingertips, and there is much opportunity to utilize it to uncover meaningful insights.

St. Amand provided an example of a large automotive brand that sought to decode this social media data by initially categorizing the comments and posts into positive, negative, and neutral segments. But simply looking at the data in these segments did not provide the level of insight desired because the WHY piece was missing. It is not as powerful to know WHAT consumers are saying if you don't know the reasoning behind it. Once the brand dug deeper into this data to figure out WHY the customer comments were positive, negative or neutral, the company was able to uncover the detailed insights necessary to successfully complete their rebranding efforts.

The large amount of information being created on social media still might be hard to wrap your head around, but what is clear is that this data is already being captured, and it's up to you how you want to use it!

Mayuri Joshi isResearch Magician at April Bell Research Group, a boutique, full-service marketing research firm, committed to delivering fresh insights you can act on! Learn more at aprilbellresearch.com.

Live from #TMRE13 - Experience Design: Key Steps to Delivering Customer Delight and Business Results

Live from #TMRE13 - Experience Design: Key Steps to Delivering Customer Delight and Business Results

Lesley Mottia, Executive Vice President of Product & Experience at Zipcar, gave an extremely interesting presentation on the key steps companies should take to improve overall customer experience. Companies can follow these steps in order to find out what makes their customers happy and drive business results.

1) Be with your Customers - You get a completely different experience by actually being in person with your customers and observing their actions. Ethnographic experiences are much more valuable because you can see consumers' actions first-hand. CustomMade spent time with its customers in order to better connect with them. 

2) Imagine the Ideal - Instead of focusing on solving today's problems, imagine the overall picture of where you want to be years from now. Moo disrupted the business card segment by creating customized business cards to better suit the needs of small businesses. They came out with Printinfinity, which allows companies to print different images on the back of each card.

3) Design the Whole Experience - It is important to look at the overall user experience, instead of focusing on just one aspect of it. Zipcar had a problem with consumers being unable to locate their cars, so they added guides and location photos to make the overall process easier. 

4) Humanize the Details - Find a meaningful way to connect with consumers to make it a great personal interaction, whether it is online or offline. Warby Parker personalizes the experience of buying glasses online by sending you multiple frames to try on and giving you the opportunity to consult with their "social team" to receive input.

5) Recovery as Opportunity - When something goes wrong, make sure you act, and use it as an opportunity for a spotlight moment. Customers like when companies are able to bounce back quickly and treat it as a way to improve their business. 

6) Measure, Rinse, Repeat - Need to quantify how well the process is doing and decide what areas need improvement. This is the most important step of the process, in my mind, because companies should continuously be looking to improve their programs.

Mayuri Joshi isResearch Magician at April Bell Research Group, a boutique, full-service marketing research firm, committed to delivering fresh insights you can act on! Learn more at aprilbellresearch.com.

Live from #TMRE13: It's Just Not That Hard - Using Consumer Insight for Competitive Advantage

Live from #TMRE13: It's Just Not That Hard - Using Consumer Insight for Competitive Advantage

How does a market researcher come into a large organization as a one-man army, where there is no marketing research team and very little budget allocated for research, and come out successful? Susan Topel, Director of Strategic Insights at Centene Corporation, shared her inspiring story.

When she joined the company, there was not much knowledge regarding Centene's customer base, and decisions were made based on what the company "thought" the customers wanted. Topel's job was to dive in to uncover the reality of the situation and present compelling insights back to the company. 

How did she do this all on her own? "It's all about the right tools," she said. For her, that tool was Qualtrics, an online survey software which helps her save time on analysis so she can spend more time in the up-front process. By using Qualtrics, last year she fielded 453 surveys, all on her own! 

"You can do it all, and that is what I am here to tell you," she encourages the audience. Though it may seem overwhelming at first, all it takes is the right tools to get you on the path to quickly and easily discovering powerful insights.

Mayuri Joshi isResearch Magician at April Bell Research Group, a boutique, full-service marketing research firm, committed to delivering fresh insights you can act on! Learn more at aprilbellresearch.com.