Posts Tagged ‘consumer insights’

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!

The Digital Age Demands A Steady Ideation Regimen for CPG Companies

Posted on: March 10th, 2017 by doyle

From the desk of Laura Duguid

Technology companies have set the bar high when it comes to expediency in new product innovation. What’s more, the products/services offered have contributed to a consumer mindset of instant gratification (in terms of shopping for and/or receipt of goods and services); and expectation for immediate and constant digital interaction with the companies from which they buy.

Interestingly, it is this perpetual customer-company communication nLDBlogPost1.ARTorm that is playing a notable role in new product demand within the CPG industry. As observed by Cisco Systems, Inc., “…the [CPG] shopper becomes a major driver of innovation through e-commerce, omnichannel retailing and mobile platforms. Based on the increasing demands of its end users, companies have found they must create new products, achieve faster time to market and lower operational costs to remain competitive”.1 Additionally, Cisco cites one in five consumers as saying they are always looking for new products, the implication being that innovative merchandise is a significant basis for growth.

To this end, ongoing, deliberate idea generation is of paramount importance. The benefits of creating ideas regularly – rather than once every few years – is threefold:

Assures relevant ideas are always in the pipeline: Today’s constant customer-company interaction provides opportunity for discovering a wealth of compelling consumer insights, with new and interesting points of view streaming in regularly. Routinely scheduled brainstorming sessions using newly discovered insights assures relevant ideas are always on-the-ready to test with consumers.

Allows for creative depth: Regularly scheduled ideation sessions focusing on a few insights at a time allows for richer creative exploration. The result is stronger, more compelling ideas for consumer consideration.

Encourages and maintains a large quantity of ideas: While you may only need one good idea, continually creating many is essential. Statistically of course, a larger number of ideas increases the odds of hitting on a winning idea. Equally important however is recognizing quantity as a divergence technique. When brainstorming, the obvious ideas come out first. By pushing for quantity, you break out-of-the-box and reach higher levels of innovation.

Maybe your pipeline is already packed. No matter. Run regular ideation sessions to assess, modify and build upon what you’ve got. Try looking at the ideas using new consumer insights or market findings as creative lenses. Create all the ways an idea might be changed or re-created to be relevant again, considering the new findings. Keep your company’s creative juices flowing and you’re sure to stay in step with your consumer and boost your bottom line.

 

1  Ó 2012 Cisco Systems, Inc. White Paper, Cisco Public Information

Qualitative Insight: 5 Consumer Food Truths That Just Don’t Change

Posted on: February 28th, 2017 by doyle

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From the desk of Carole Schmidt

The qualitative strategists at Doyle Research have spent countless hours with your shoppers/users.  We’ve observed Millennials ordering dinner on smartphones, shopped alongside couples choosing among brands at the grocery shelf, witnessed moms preparing snacks and meals, even chatted with gamers stealing from their secret stashes of treats at midnight.

Putting our trained brains together, we have noted remarkable consistency in 5 food attitudes and behaviors across food projects, year-to-year:

  1. Taste remains king. While we are seeing the penetration of healthier eating buzzwords among those who, 5 years ago, wouldn’t have known their non-GMOs from their “clean ingredient list”, we’ve also seen consumers’ real pantries and refrigerators. They’re not yet willing to compromise on taste.

Case study: Research to help revitalize a declining shelf-stable snack brand revealed that even the health-focused segment regularly rejected buying “light” versions of several snack types, and instead bought the full-calorie, but perceived better-tasting competitor with the intention of eating smaller portions (yet they didn’t!).

The take: “Tasty made healthier” trumps “healthy made tastier”.

  1. Consumers don’t read labels or packaging copy. In reality, most American shoppers rely on what they perceive your food to taste like using packaging photos, color palette, graphics.

Case study: A baking company sought to distinguish itself in the U.S. super-premium cookie category by featuring its unique product history through copy points. In “mock aisle” research, consumers overlooked the brand story in favor of the competitors’ delicious-looking photography. Research insights helped fuel a graphic “map” of the brand story, enhanced with cookie photos and iconic imagery.

The take: Especially as online grocery shopping increases, the more graphically intuitive your packaging can be, the better.

  1. Consumers believe that local tastes better. Consumers expect better taste from–and feel better about–your brand when your product includes ingredients produced in their state/region, or is associated with local people, co-marketers, or events. Consumers take pride in supporting their local economy.

Case Study: A beverage producer wanted to regain lost share in the U.S. south. “Deep dive” research into resident lifestyles uncovered unique market “insider” activities/events to sponsor, and language for more effective messaging.

The take: If you manufacture or package using local, state, or regional resources, promote it!

  1. Mini’s motivate! Whether it’s miniature versions, duos, trios, “pop-ables,” “2-bites,” or “flights,” shoppers typically perceive multiples of smaller pieces to be tastier, more fun, and to offer more control to the user than a single larger version.

Case study: A leading manufacturer of breakfast foods was looking to enter the to-go snack marketplace. Ethnographic research surfaced consumers’ compensating behaviors of breaking full size foods into pieces. Developing half-size versions generated significantly higher concept scores, perceptions of being healthier, expanded dayparts, occasions, and users for the food.

The take: Explore creative ways of going smaller!

  1. Foreign, yet familiar: Indeed, consumers want new taste experiences. However, when every aspect of a new food is, well, new, the niche adventurer interest may not be enough to sustain a business or brand. Average, everyday consumers trust and buy new products rooted in a familiar element.

Case Study: Our client wanted to strengthen brand engagement among Gen Y singles and families by contemporizing the beverage delivery experience. Consumers balked at a combination of new brands, new flavor varieties, and a new delivery method. Insights helped optimize the concept with existing beverage brands which reduced the perceived risk of trial, reduced capital investment, and increased excitement around the concept. Research identified improvements for service operations and sanitation practices, as well.

The take: Too much “new” at once may alienate more buyers than attract them. Increase consumer confidence and trial by grounding your product with familiar forms, flavor varieties, or formulations.

In sum, the more things change, the more they stay the same.  Consumers are creatures of habit.   And habits die hard.

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.

ZOOM! 6 ways to cultivate attitudinal and behavioral insights faster

Posted on: March 23rd, 2016 by doyle

From the desk of Carole Schmidt

At the recent Quirk’s Event and in subsequent workshops, one recurring message for research practitioners was loud and clear—brand managers and marketing directors want SPEED SPEED SPEED! Decisions need to be made yesterday. Pressure to get to market sooner is stronger than ever. Can we really produce valuable and actionable insights, faster? And just because we can, should we?

Admittedly, the tendency among us qualitative strategist types is to balk at such a notion. Isn’t real insight–that latent gem or “aha”—discovered through distillation, incubation, reflection, analysis, and consideration?

Speed-of-LightIn truth, real behavioral or attitudinal insight can be expedited with an agile moderator and a collaborative team spirit. Here are 6 ways you can gain rich, actionable insight in a hurry:

Be laser focused: Instead of the conventional “narrowing funnel” approach to discussion, generate 3 specific hypotheses (not questions) before the research to optimize the recruit and focus the discussion on specifics first, to get to that revealing understanding sooner.

Go small: Individual interviews or mini-groups readily enable “laddering” or the use of projective techniques for higher order understanding, and reduce/eliminate respondent posturing.

Embrace the iterative approach: Question the need to mechanically repeat content from interview-to-interview in favor of debriefing after each mini-group to identify remaining gaps in learning, then, narrow the discussion scope in subsequent groups to gain clarity and richness.

Divide and conquer: Splitting your research design into two methods conducted simultaneously (e.g., an online community and a series of depth interviews) taps into different perspectives tackling the same hypotheses. Following up fieldwork with a robust, joint debrief leverages the contrasts for introspective insights.

Do your homework: Put your target respondent (and your team!) to work before you engage with them. Even the simplest exercises (an image representing everyday YOU and where-you’re-going YOU) captures emotional depth that grounds responses (and your team’s perceptions) in your target’s reality.

Look beyond the obvious: Examine social media first to observe conversations that surface language, imagery, and pertinent topics on which to probe further. Check out “dark social” too: peruse fans’ profiles and their “liked” sites/brands. Post a key question in your own social media channels and follow the positive and negative buzz to round out–or challenge–the insights gained in primary research.

There is no doubt that thoughtful design + incubation + comprehensive analysis = insights. But, to say that valued insights cannot be obtained through speedier approaches is hogwash. I’ve witnessed (and led) 4-days-to-the-finish-line projects. Admittedly, these projects take passion, energy, and rigor to focus narrowly — “go deep or go home.” Yet these sessions produce! And we all know that the cost of not doing research always exceeds the cost of doing it. So whether it’s 4 days or 4 weeks, with real insights come smarter business decisions.