Viewing entries tagged
consumer insights

Telling Better Stories Means Happier CEOs

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Telling Better Stories Means Happier CEOs

I recently had the opportunity to attend my first Southwest chapter MRA Educational Forum. I was lucky that the conference was held close to home - in Fort Worth, TX - and loved how they tied in the Texas theme by calling the conference “Research Roundup”.

The keynote speaker at the event was Brett Townsend, Director of Insights at Pepsico. He started his presentation with a humorous, yet scrambled and confusing story in order to provide a basis for his argument - more and more CEO’s don’t see the value that marketing and/or research provide their organizations. The main challenge he sees today is that both suppliers and clients present too many findings vs. summarizing the finding in a useful story, causing decision makers to miss true insights. Considering my role of writing reports here at April Bell Research Group, I definitely wanted to understand why this seems to be a recurring theme and how we, as a supplier, can help our clients by presenting clearer findings.

From Brett’s perspective, in order to cull through insights and report the clearest story back to our clients we need to understand: What is the goal of insights? Yes, we hope to increase sales or improve a product’s performance, but the real goal is to CHANGE BEHAVIOR. And, according to Brett, in order to change behavior, we need to do the following:

  1. Understand who and what drives demand.
  2. Tell consumers why they should be buying your product.

Understanding what and who drives demand seems simple, but even as researchers we don’t always get this right. Brett explains that consumers will do 1 of 3 things when questioned (no matter the subject): 1) they answer correctly, 2) they can’t answer correctly so they answer incorrectly, or 3) they won’t answer. So by having a clearer understanding of demand we can increase the quality of respondents and learnings we gather. An example Brett shared with the group was a Jimmy Kimmel skit. A week before the Super Bowl, Jimmy went to Hollywood Blvd and asked people what they thought about the outcome. You’ll see in the skit, even if people are unsure of their answers, they want to come across as knowledgeable and will tell you what they think you want to hear (even if that means lying about their answer).

The second step to changing behaviors involves telling consumers why they should buy the product. Brett showed us a great example of how Gatorade does this by showing the compelling story of how Gatorade improved Kevin Durant’s basketball performance.

I really enjoyed Brett’s presentation and will keep these 2 factors top of mind - 1.) understanding who and what drives demand and 2.) ensuring consumers know why they should be buying your product - the next time we present learning to our clients. By doing so, I hope to clear the clutter and provide our clients with insights that will help change behaviors (and ultimately make happy CEOs!).

 

 

 

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Uncharted Territories for Prestigious Summer Art Exhibit

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Uncharted Territories for Prestigious Summer Art Exhibit

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Jeffrey Johns of Northstar consulting recently presented on “Using Insight Innovation to Re-Invent a 247-Year Old Institution” at the 2016 QRCA Worldwide Conference on Qualitative Research. His investigation piqued our interest and made us want to dig deeper to understand his methods and findings. The Summer Exhibition at London’s Royal Academy  is one of the most significant and unique visual experiences in the world due to the combination of works from emerging and established artists. However, since its inception in 1769, the structure of the exhibit has remained largely unchanged. But for the upcoming 250th Summer Exhibition, London’s Royal Academy intends to make changes that incorporate the needs of a new generation of visitors as well as other trends from our changing world.

Consulted for their expertise on customer-related research, Northstar was brought in to help The Royal Academy as it moves forward with its redesign. Northstar’s undertaking of this project was unique because The Royal Academy had never consulted with researchers before, thus making the collection and presentation of findings original and unfamiliar. In fact, Northstar’s insights were reflected in the 247th Summer Exhibition in 2015 and visitor volume and art sales were noticeably higher; a good indicator of the impact they will have on the 250th anniversary. The study itself was unique because of its short timeframe and methods used, unlike those commonly used in ethnographic research where experiments are long and data collection is extensive. Northstar’s goal with this immersive research was to provide consumer insights that could make the Summer Exhibition more popular and enjoyable.

Northstar conducted its research within the institution and yielded 16 hours of data and 400 photographs. Their qualitative, ethnographic approach included methods such as listening in on visitors’ conversations, observing gestures/interaction of visitors with art, and conducting ‘non-interview-like’ conversations with visitors. The research uncovered trends such as “Visitor control”, “family”, and “divergence” which rose to the top across many exhibit visitors. But how does this help the London Royal Academy? What do these trends mean? “Visitor control” meant that visitors liked that they weren’t guided through the exhibition and were free explore on their own. “Family” referred to the fact that the exhibition has become well known to families who have made visiting the exhibition a tradition. “Divergence” showed that the combination of both emerging and establishing artists is a positive for the exhibit because it reflects inclusivity. By understanding these trends, the Royal Academy will have a better understanding of what is needed for the redesign of the Summer Exhibition.

Northstar’s innovative research methods provide d actionable insights for an institution that did not formerly utilize qualitative research. Utilizing qualitative research may be something that the London Royal Academy will continue to do given its increase in art sales and visitor volume since changes reflecting the trends of control, family and divergence were made. Entering uncharted territory was a success for Northstar because this unique methodology resulted in positive outcomes for their client; indicating that innovative methods could be advantageous and should be implemented in other non-typical areas.

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Safely Connected...How AT&T Is Using Consumer Insights to Help Seniors Age in Place

Safely Connected...How AT&T Is Using Consumer Insights to Help Seniors Age in Place

I was excited to hear about some amazing new technology from AT&T that is currently in the early testing phases. Stefanie Elder delivered a presentation about How AT&T Is Using Consumer Insights to Help Seniors Age in Place.

There are over 40 million seniors in the United States. Most of them face the reality of having to move into an assisted living facility at some point in time - only a few are able to stay in their homes with full time care. AT&T found that the vast majority of seniors would much rather stay in their own home yet lack the care or help they might need.

This is where AT&T is stepping in with Digital Life - a security system and home automation that includes video monitoring and sensors that will make it possible for seniors to stay put in their homes. Some of the most innovative features will utilize sensors - one of which will keep track of when the person gets out of bed and alerts someone (via mobile technology) if they don't. Monitoring for the system will be available 24/7 via web or app access.

They are currently testing this technology, in partnership with Burke, which is available to AT&T employees and their families. They are collecting feedback from seniors and their caregivers who are in many different situations - giving them a broad range of ideas and possibilities for the future. With this new technology, the future of seniors is looking pretty bright!

 

 

TMRE Keynote Presentation from Joan Lewis, P&G Officer, Global CMK

TMRE Keynote Presentation from Joan Lewis, P&G Officer, Global CMK

Joan Lewis' keynote presentation was great! As a researcher who strives to present complex insights in a very simple way, I appreciated her storytelling ability. She drew the audience in through three well-articulated case studies on: Pampers, Olay ProX, Secret Clinical. She described how meaningful consumer insights helped them develop and execute a very clear message and full advertising campaign.

The Pampers UNICEF case study she described resulted in this one message: 1 pack = 1 vaccine. You can see the result of this campaign here. Believe me, the video is worth the 1 minute watch time. I want to buy Pampers, and I don't need them!

And in typical P&G fashion, she concluded with a very simple, meaningful, clear message about their company belief: "We believe consumer passion brings innovation and competitive advantage."

And with a quote from their President and CEO, Bob McDonald, "Our purpose inspires us. Our values unite us. And all our innovation capabilities and culture focus us on making small but meaningful differences...every day...for the consumers who have ALWAYS been P&G's boss and our inspiration."

Thank you for your inspiration, P&G CMK April Bell

Understanding Trends to Help Build Concepts

Understanding Trends to Help Build Concepts

Uncovering the "trends" is almost as hot a topic as "consumer insights." 

Mixing current trends with consumer insights, and developing something meaningful as a result is a bit like painting a Van Gogh--it's only considered a masterpiece long after the fact.

Keep it real when trying to uncover the truth in qualitative research!  Trends only matter when it's relevant to consumers.  The basic, foundational level of any good "new idea" is still the same, as I've shown here graphically.  The primary difference with many of today's consumer groups is that it gives us as marketers more context from which to paint...