Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category



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!

Qualitative Research: Through a Different Lens

Posted on: January 26th, 2017 by doyle

PrintFrom the desk of Kathy Doyle

I spent last week in LA at QRCA’s 2017 annual conference.   It continues to be the “go to” event for qualitative research practitioners who want to stay abreast of trends and share best practices with colleagues.

This year the theme of the conference was The Power of Perspective – looking outside our industry for insights, as well as observing our industry through a different lens.  Through five standout presentations, I gained insights from teen journalists, a radio show host, a comedian and theater major, an attorney, detective, ASL interpreter, visual illuminator, zoo director, storyteller, educator, conductor, social worker, and even a forensics expert!   Many thanks to Teen Press, Susan Sweet and Jay Picard, Laurie Tema-Lyn, Chris Kann, and Dina Shulman and Marc Engel for your fabulous contributions.

Five things I took away from the conference (plus so many more!):

  1. Talk less, listen more.    Across a variety of professions that listen for a living, some variation of that theme emerges.     Observe body language.  Mirror physical responses.  Empathize.   But stop talking so much!
  2. Resist the urge to fill the silences in an interview or focus group.  Sometimes sitting with the silence will reveal insights that simply take longer to emerge.   And sometimes a long pause is………… part of the answer.
  3. Look to Hollywood for storytelling inspiration.    View your report as a story, with a plotline and characters.  View the executive summary as a trailer.   Make sure your report features the equivalent of the “I want” song found in most musicals.   And, when appropriate, create composite characters (what we call personas) that represent key segments.
  4. Rethink the belief that maintaining objectivity is the best stance to take as a researcher.  Perhaps it’s OK to reveal parts of yourself–to be human, and to truly immerse yourself in your respondent’s world–to convey context and gain deeper, more authentic insights.
  5. Reconsider how we ask Q’s.  Consider starting specific rather than general, upsetting the funnel approach which has been our gospel. Perhaps that completely open-ended question is too open and leads to responses that are too broad to yield true insight.  And consider the value of asking your respondents to ask questions of themselves, rather than doing all the questioning.   You might be surprised at what you learn.

I walked away feeling energized and empowered to look at what we do, on a daily basis,  with a fresh perspective.

Qualitative Research: Can it Produce System 1 Thinking?

Posted on: October 10th, 2016 by doyle

From the desk of Kathy Doylesub-con-mind

Multiple times in recent months, I have been told by clients that they are being advised to forego conducting focus groups because they elicit rational, logical responses – System 2 thinking – rather than tapping into subconscious, emotional responses of System 1 thinking*. These methods include facial coding, biometrics, eye tracking, EEG’s, etc.   However, while Doyle Research has experience with some of these methods, I’d like to go out on a limb and argue that qualitative research, when done well, can actually produce System 1 thinking.

The issue we face is that most traditional research methods ARE tapping into System 2 thinking. We are asking questions, and waiting for answers (“look at this, and tell me what you think”).   What we get are rational, considered, thoughtful responses.   But that is only a portion of what really drives human behavior.  So we need qualitative approaches executed by trained moderators that can tap into System 1 thinking in order to better understand the subconscious influencers and drivers of human behavior.

Here are four ideas to consider:

  • Incorporate projective techniques.    An easy “add” to a focus group session, projective techniques are designed to get below surface responses to uncover subconscious attitudes, feelings and behaviors.    Just one example is the use of picture sorts. Respondents are given a series of pictures totally unrelated to the topic at hand (perhaps scenery or animals for a CPG category) and asked to select the picture that best fits their feelings about a brand, a product, an experience, a situation.  They have to step out of their System 2 thinking in order to do the exercise and emotional, subconscious thoughts are the result.
  • Incorporate an observational component, so that you can observe discrepancies in behavior between what someone says they do vs. what you observe.     A classic example that actually came from a laundry care project many years ago:  as respondents were sorting their laundry during an in-home interview they would say “I sort my clothes into whites and darks”.   But time after time, respondents would generate 5 or 6 different piles that did not appear to fall into either a “white” OR a “dark” pile.  What you are seeing are behaviors that are automatic and, sometimes, totally subconscious. By discussing what we had observed, more nuanced answered were elicited.
  • Capture behaviors over time, in a short-term community, or using mobile ethnography.    An example: we recently followed new moms for a month to understand how feeding decisions were made.  They used their smart phones to complete a guided audio and video diary, sharing their thoughts and experiences as a new mother.     They were not aware that understanding their feeding decisions was our end goal; we wanted to observe the context, influencers (medical personnel, literature, family, employers) and emotions that went into their decision.
  • Capture “In the moment” behaviors using mobile technology.   Example:  mobile intercepts with panel members whose location services are on, and who enter a geo-fenced location. This allows us to capture respondents’ reactions to an experience, as it takes place, and while respondents are literally in- the-moment.

It is our responsibility, as qualitative researchers, to continually seek ways to get below surface responses and gain insights that are grounded in consumers’ actual behaviors rather than their reported ones, and more likely to uncover a more complete story than techniques that rely solely on System 2 processing.

*Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.

Digital Storytelling: A contemporary twist on a traditional projective exercise

Posted on: September 8th, 2016 by doyle

From the desk of Chris Efken

We all have stories. Some we feel comfortable sharing with the world. Others we share only with close friends. Stories are compelling because they serve as windows to the soul. And because they are more engaging and personally relevant, others’ stories tend to stay with us far longer than mere facts and figures. Perhaps that’s why storytelling or story sharing is one of today’s hottest marketing trends.

As marketers we learn so much from our users’ storiescreen-shot-2016-09-08-at-11-24-21-ams. Yet, often consumers struggle to articulate their thoughts, paint detailed pictures of their journeys and/or reveal disappointments, frustrations or setbacks. To help them overcome these challenges, I’ve learned it’s best to get a little creative, give participants an opportunity to have a little fun and set a lighter, more engaging tone making for a more productive project. I simply find an app that lets their photos and video do the talking.

Here are three of my favorites apps:

1. My preferred storytelling app is Steller. Steller is stellar because it lets users piece together visual stories comprised of the photos and videos currently on their iPhones. Using the app’s various cropping tools, headers and classic fonts, participants can create visual journals that reflect their feelings and personality. Some agencies have found Steller to be such a great storytelling app that they have used it to aid in selecting the best candidates to hire as interns.

2. Pic Collage is a digital collage tool that allows participants to create story collages directly from their smartphones or tablets, using their own personal photos or stock photos from the Internet.

3. Lastly, Skitch is another wonderful app that I use to help understand consumers’ stories of frustration. With Skitch, participants can snap a photo and then use the app’s simple mark-up tools to indicate where they encounter frustration or “points of pain” in, for example, their daily routines, shopping excursions or when using a product.

Though projective exercises are not new to research, these apps offer a digital twist on a traditional projective exercise that makes consumers’ stories more fun, creative and engaging for participants and far more insightful for researchers and marketers.

Can Market Research Be Delivered Cheaper, Faster AND Better?

Posted on: June 28th, 2016 by doyle

From the desk of Kathy Doyle

I had the pleasure of attending IIeX North America in Atlanta June 13-15.   It has become a “go to” market research conference for me, always providing a window into the future of our industry, from bothgoodfastcheap1 the client’s and research partner’s perspective.

This year, what I heard over and over was that clients expect their research partners to provide results cheaper, faster AND better.     For years, standard wisdom has been that clients could expect two of three, but never all three.   If you wanted the research to be better, you would have to sacrifice either cost or speed.   That is about to change.

Taking a peek into the (not so distant) future, the market research industry is beginning to embrace automation.   It is now possible to get machine translation of a multitude of languages almost instantly, and a human translation within 24 hours.   Audio and video clips can be instantly transcribed, allowing researchers to quickly search for and clip highlights to incorporate into a final deliverable. Text analytics is getting so robust that I actually heard clients say, in effect, “ if a machine can write the report, let it.   I am hiring you for study design, and for finding the insights and translating them into a story that helps us make decisions.”

DIY recruiting, DIY mobile surveys, automated incentive payments… exhibitors offering each of these was present at the conference, and their offerings were impressive.

So, while I still believe you get what you pay for, it is in our best interests as research partners to automate any activities that are repetitive, and that hinder us from being thinkers vs. doers.