Archive for the ‘Insights’ Category



Craft Beer: Qualitative Insight into Emerging Trends

Posted on: August 16th, 2017 by doyle No Comments

From the desk of Natanya RubinBeer 2

Every year, on the second weekend in August, 6,000 beer enthusiasts gather in Madison, WI, to partake in the Great Taste of the Midwest Brewing Festival (fondly referred to as GTMW).  With close to 200 breweries represented, and over 1,200 beers available to taste, GTMW is one of the premier craft brewing festivals in the country, and for the last ten years, I’ve been lucky enough to attend.

What brings me back year after year?  It’s the opportunity to be among others who share my deep passion for this product—both creating and consuming.  And every year, I get a peek at the emerging trends in craft brewing, trends that are often mirrored in the greater marketplace.

What notable trends were on tap this year?

  • Low ABV beers make a resurgence. After years of craft breweries competing to provide the highest alcohol content per glass, this year’s fest provided a refreshing range of low-alcohol or “session” beers to a somewhat relieved audience.  Light and refreshing pilsners and pale ales harken back to the Midwestern roots of craft brewing, when breweries like Pabst and Coors, now enormous national brands, delivered easy-drinking but full flavored beers to the local populace.
  • Wild flavors tantalize and delight. With an audience increasingly open to palate-challenging flavors (witness the increasing popularity of fermented drinks like kombucha and tangy condiments like kimchi) this year’s fest was rife with wild and sour ales, whose pungent, distinctive and downright funky flavors are starting to challenge prestige favorites like IPAs and barrel-aged stouts in sheer numbers.
  • Boutique brands lend authenticity to their corporate parents. Although GTMW started as a celebration of home brewing, there were a striking number of breweries that have been purchased in recent years by multinational conglomerates.  These well-considered craft breweries have continued to turn out creative beers under the umbrella of much larger corporations.  But in an industry that values individuality, there is a perceptible tension to the question of which companies belong in the craft category.  However, the long lines at the Goose Island booth (purchased in 2011 by Anheuser-Busch InBev) seem to indicate that consumers will, in general, continue to enjoy familiar local brands even after they’ve been acquired by larger entities, echoing movement in the larger market.

The creativity, growth, and surprises to be found at GTMW every year make me confident that I can look forward to many more years of learning, exploring, and of course, tasting!  Cheers!

GO DEEP OR GO HOME. Why digging behind social media trendlines matters.

Posted on: August 15th, 2017 by doyle No Comments

pos-negFrom the desk of Carole Schmidt

We’ve discovered two common practices in social media strategy: most companies receive some type of a social media data feed (monitoring), and most researchers have no idea what’s driving the conversation indicated by that data feed, leaving them unaware of the treasure of insights and opportunities that lie below the surface of this valuable research channel (listening).

Social media listening should, by now, be an indispensable research tool to you as an Insights professional, because it provides a vast quantity of unsolicited voice of the customer data that can be utilized to inform important business decisions.  At Doyle, we chuckle at calling social media listening “the world’s largest focus group,” but there’s a terrific, simple and useful truth there. In fact, we tap those same trained anthropologic and analytic skills to proactively listen to and analyze your customers’ voices in social media—the sentiment, the context, the intent, the impact—that we use in webcam interviews and mobile journals and focus groups. In our analysis we carefully examine context-dependent opinions, implicit subjects, and implicit product features/issues since people communicate in a more familiar manner in social media. It’s powerful and revealing because, just like rich ethnographic interviews, we can see beyond what people say (capture) into what people mean by what they say (intent).

Three great applications for qualitative social media analysis that will help you make smarter business decisions:

FOUNDATION  What language does your customer speak? Who does your customer perceive as competition, whether you do or not? Where and with whom is your customer talking about your category and your brand? What are they saying that is behind that brand decline or a spike in category sales?

Example: celebYoung people increased usage of the same brand of rideshare after popular celebrities tweeted about their rides. Potential company response: free ride policy among select, relevant celebs may go a long way toward expanding the client’s brand awareness and usage!

IDENTIFICATION Who is your customer? What elements of the customer experience (CX) matters most? Who or what influences them? Investigating the real meaning or intent behind innocuous data feeds can better inform how your brand (or PR team) needs to respond. Exploring the domains they use, the forums on which they post, and learning who your customer is influenced by tells you a lot about who they are!

Example: A recent emergent trendline related to a rideshare topic revealed a “scared” sentimenPicture2t echoed among consumers. Qualitative research revealed that it wasn’t aggressive post 1or dangerous driving skills consumers were questioning in social media conversation, but rather, the aggressive personalities of the drivers, overstepping professional driver boundaries. To increase customer satisfaction, the more meaningful change in rideshare driver training is to include customer service and professionalism skill building, not just road tests.

DISCOVERY What are new uses for your product? Who are your unexpected users? What are customers’ compensating behaviors in their user experience (UX)?  What are the emerging territories of future opportunity and growth? One client surfaced a new daypart for their center-of-plate food products that they had never considered before, adding an additional revenue stream. Anotheruber dinner found a peculiar new niche adult audience for their collectibles that were originally targeted to youth.  Yes, we dig far beyond the graphs, into the posts, to find those elusive and often surprising insights.

Example: Having your Uber or Lyft driver stop for food or drink is a rapidly growing trend that has led to innovative new services and marketing partnerships!

Our fresh eyes and “outsider” perspective often reveals stories in the data that our clients’ data feeds cannot expose without that qualitative lens.

Want to try it out? Give us a holler and Doyle Research will provide you—gratis!–with a qualitative peek into the social media buzz around your brand or category!

Sesexyxy driving. An emerging trend? Who knew?

Garbage in. Garbage out. The Need for Concept Optimization.

Posted on: June 1st, 2017 by doyle

From the desk of Carole Schmidtsusana-fernandez-56313

I’m just going to say it. We see a lot of bad concepts.

Look, we fully understand that it’s not easy to create a compelling new product and seemingly impossible to carve out real brand distinction in crowded categories. And rocket speed-to-market means you’ve got six months to get this thing on shelf!  But, sheesh, too often we are handed concepts that are still being written as we’re performing participant introductions during the research.  In other real world scenarios, waves of team review, and legal’s approval, have created some real concept doozers, delivered to us researchers either diluted to mush, with the core idea buried in euphemisms, or wholly lacking a reason for being.

I’m just going to say it. Spending time getting the “test” concepts right is worth its weight in gold.

Checking in with your customer along the way, while you’re crafting those concepts, reduces the misses on the back end, saving valuable time and money. Several “presearch” avenues are inexpensive and fast and they will help you get to great concepts, faster.

Relate to a need: The most successful concepts address a real customer’s unmet need or compensating behavior. How do you discover those? Get out of the office to observe your customer in situ by going in-home or in-car.  Tap mobile journals or geofenced intercept interviews to capture and understand the customer experience at the point-of-purchase or use.

Reflect the language of the target to increase relevance: Yogurt eaters are particular about thick vs. Greek. Gearheads know what a four-banger is. Tap qualitative social media analysis to get a handle on the language your customers speak.

Understand concept-product fit: When you have a product in mind as well as a concept, go both ways. Explore your concept first among some and probe for product expectations. Investigate your product first among others, then probe how to communicate about it.  This is where your internal employees/staff can be of great help, formally, with a series of moderated on-site or webcam interviews, or informally, discussed around the water cooler or lunchroom at the office.

 Consider exposing the concept unbranded, too: Probe, “Is there an idea here?” independently of revealing the brand behind that idea to better assess the concept’s strength and the power of your brand as part of that concept. Branded and unbranded concepts can be rotated in online boards just as readily as they can be in focus groups.

Communicate as intended: “Gives you energy to take on the day” was meant to be a sustaining and satiety benefit, but in research it was also incorrectly perceived as a telltale sign of high carbs or sugar to many. Communication checks for concept clarity are efficient and inexpensive; they can be done in a day, in–person or online.

 I’m just going to say it again. Take your concepts as seriously as you do the rest of your research spend. Get your customer involved in optimizing your concepts before testing them. We look forward to your future successful concepts!

Qualitative Design: Utilizing Positive Affect Techniques

Posted on: May 8th, 2017 by doyle

From the desk of Laura Duguid

Positive AffectTraditionally, positive affect techniques have been used in the context of brainstorming sessions, helping to free minds and encourage divergent thinking. Often overlooked however is how inducing positive affect in qualitative design can be beneficial.

Positive affect refers to the extent to which an individual subjectively experiences positive moods such as joy, interest, and alertness. Research shows that by inducing positive affect, one can improve a person’s verbal fluency.1 What’s more, positive affect has been associated with generating increased dopamine levels in the brain, which in turn has been shown to improve cognitive flexibility.2

Practically, inducing positive affect is all about establishing and maintaining an affirming, comfortable environment where respondents feel relaxed and completely free to express their thoughts and opinions. Telling them is not enough. The moderator, the room set-up, and the discussion guide all must contribute. For example:

  • A comfortable, living-room type environment rather than a formal conference table set-up
  • Ease into the discussion more slowly by doing an extra ice breaker, going beyond only respondent introductions
  • Humor! One idea is to find an appropriate yet comical video on YouTube that’s related to the discussion topic as a means of inciting laughter. Humor is one of THE most powerful, efficient ways to induce positive affect.
  • Incorporate movement. Halfway through the group, direct respondents to get up and move around or change seats. This helps literally and figuratively change their perspective, alleviating stale, repetitious responses.
  • Integrate highly engaging, respondent tasks into the discussion guide. Think of creative ways to garner information that require respondents to draw, assemble something, get up and walk to images posted in the room, do brief creative writing exercises, etc.

For research purposes, it’s important to understand that respondents can express negative opinions about a discussion topic without putting a damper on the positive affect. How? Through positive reinforcement from the moderator. Once a respondent has shared information – positive or negative – complimentary encouragement by the moderator (for ALL respondents) is key. In fact, according to Professor Norihiro Sadato, study lead and professor at the National Institute for Physiological Sciences in Japan, “To the brain, receiving a compliment is as much a social reward as being rewarded money. We’ve been able to find scientific proof that a person performs better when they receive a social reward after completing an exercise.”3

While it’s highly unlikely respondents will trade their participation honorarium for compliments, the power of the two together, along with other positive affect influences will certainly assure rich, prolific qualitative results.

 

1 Science Direct, L.H. Philips, R. Bull, E. Adams, L. Fraser, Positive mood and executive function: Evidence from stroop and fluency tasks

2 Psychological Review, 106 (3) (1999), pp. 529-550, A neuropsychological theory of positive affect and its influence on cognition, F.G. Ashby, A.M. Isen, A.U. Turken

3Forbes Online, November 9, 2012, David DiSalvo

Will the Trend Toward Urbanized Seniors Affect Your Brand’s Future? Four Factors to Consider.

Posted on: April 12th, 2017 by doyle

From the desk of Carole Schmidt

If you’re not an urban dweller today, you will likely become one–within 15 years. In 1800, only 2% of the world’s population was urban. By 2014, 180,000 people were added to the urban population each day!  In 2030, 84% of the population in developed countries will be living in urban areas.  While economic powerhouse “megacities” have doubled from 14 in 1995 to 29 in 2015, the fastest-growing urban centers are small and medium cities — already accounting for 59 percent of the world’s population!

So, who makes up the fastest-growing population? As it turns out, that’s people age 60 and over, a group that is growing at nearly 3.7 percent a year globally—one quarter of each of the world’s urban regions is expected to be 60 or over by 2050!

Urban SeniorsWhat is happening in response to the emergence of the urban senior? What should you be thinking about for your brand? Are your brands positioned for success with this trend?

If you’re not exploring how urban populations might help or hurt your brand or business, you should be.  Here are four things to consider:

  1. More seniors are walking, biking, using public transit: This means there are increasing numbers of small businesses, local retailers and delivery services designed to meet the needs of this segment. E-commerce will continue to grow because it brings products and services to this population. Is your product’s packaging easily transported? Is your e-commerce strategy optimized? Are you looking at geo-located smartphone and kiosk advertising to replace freeway outdoor spends and conventional TV?
  2. Packaging that reduces waste is critical for urban living: Fast growing cities are aggressive about reducing future trash. San Francisco leads the U.S. with an 80% success rate at keeping discards out of landfills.  Keurig cups were just banned in Hamburg Germany. If you aren’t looking at reduced packaging by now, you’re already behind as urban restrictions increase.
  3. Personalized healthcare will influence CPG development: Medical needs of urban seniors will influence product successes and failures. Just as local “minute clinics” and home-based care are increasing, so are wearable medical monitors that will soon respond to product ingredients and features, warning users, for example, “no, too much salt or high in cholesterol,” or “reviews say this vehicle’s seat design yields poor back support.” How will your products fare as medical care, customer reviews, and products intersect more directly? 
  4. As urbanization increases, senior will favor more hedonistic pleasures and unique physical experiences as antidotes to the stress of dense environments. Global travel is expected to increase fourfold in the next ten years to help urban dwellers recharge. How and where will seniors engage with your products? As a replenishing snack after their local spin yoga class? Can your appliances be redesigned to promote a pleasurable experience, not just a functional one? Will urban dwellers find your product wherever they travel, reinforcing their loyalty to your brand?

Urbanization will produce economic, social, and environmental improvements. Don’t let doomsayers distract you from the opportunities before us. Prepare your brand strategy to work with the growth in urbanization. Giving thought to how you can engage and nurture today’s customers as they become urban seniors over the next decade may result in increased loyalists for a healthy brand future!