Creating rich consumer segments

Customer segmentation is the art and science of creating clearly identifiable clusters of people who share similar beliefs, needs, motivations or other characteristics. Why is it so important?

Our insight driven segmentation enables brands to define a more accurate marketing mix and refine messaging that resonates more powerfully with their most influential or valuable customers. This means more focus, better use of resources by intelligent targeting and ultimately real competitive advantage.

We use segmentation to make sense of the complexity of markets and consumer behaviours. We generate rich and actionable insights to speak directly to the issues that matter most to high potential consumers and customers.

Our approach to segmentation takes into account important factors such as:

  • Identifying clear statements about attitudes, personal preferences, problem solving approaches and self-perception
  • Enriching the context with preferences, interests, lifestyle, hobbies and culture
  • Avoiding statements that result in too much consensus (polarisation is key!)
  • Communicating with language that is accessible and familiar to consumers (no manufacturers’ jargons)
  • Validating respondents’ profiles & cleaning data comprehensively.

We bring the clusters to life through well-articulated profile portraits and work with clients to translate these ideas into the marketing communications planning cycle.

If you’d like to find out more about our experience in segmentation, contact Rob.

The art of brand naming in China

There are no hard and fast rules to getting a brand name right for China. Finding the best Chinese name for a brand takes time and needs to weigh up several factors.

Almost half of all brands go for an approach where the Chinese name sounds similar to its original. This solution can be good for globally consistent branding, but can mean that the name in Chinese lacks any real meaning.  For example, Audi sounds like AO DI and means “profound enlighten”.

Taking an approach where the Chinese brand name reflects the meaning of the original can also be a good way to go – and about a quarter of brands choose this route.  The Chinese brand name has a good sematic fit to the original, but global communication is more difficult.

Some brand names used in China have been able to stay close to the original in both sound and meaning. These examples are rare, difficult to achieve, but give a global brand the best chance of success. Nike (sounds like NAI KE and means “endurance conqueror”) and Coca Cola (sounds like KE KOU KE LE and means “can be tasty can be happy”) are amongst the best examples.

Our approach to evaluating Chinese brand name ideas takes into account the consumers’ voice and view, the role of descriptive bias, linguistic and cultural imagery, sound symbolism, context, message intention, memorability and uniqueness.

If you’d like to find out more about our experience in brand name testing, contact Rob.

The rise of healthy eating

Eating trends come and go at speed, but one trend which has remained constant in recent years is the healthy eating trend inside and outside the home.

This is not only limited to the rise of the ‘free-from’ trend (gluten free, lactose free, alcohol free) or the reduced salt, reduced sugar, and reduced fat alternatives that abound.  There’s also a fundamental shift in the kind of dishes and the openness consumers have to new styles of eating. And Asian fusion dishes are playing a big role.

It’s no surprise that Poke, which started appearing in top food trends around the world in 2015, is topping charts today.  Interest has peaked every summer since 2015 and as of January 2018 global interest was more than 17 times higher than in 2016.

In many ways Poke has all the ingredients to make it a top healthy eating trend.  With a lot of similar flavour profiles to sushi, Poke is an easy to understand and easy to reproduce dish at home.

There’s a familiarity with dishes such as sashimi, ceviche and tartare and in its latest iteration as the Poke Bowl, there are many similarities to chirashidon, Buddha bowl, chipotle burrito bowl and Korean bimbimbap.  People feel confident in recognizing something familiar, yet still keep a sense of newness and discovery.

Key to Poke’s success as a healthy eating trend is its freshness, the quick preparation approach and the creativity people bring to making their own versions and combining their own favourite elements.  No strict recipe to follow and plenty of freedom make Poke fun and flexible.

If you’d like to find out more about our experience in food trends, contact Rob.

What’s on your mind?

Engaging consumers through new technology

Consumers are not afraid to voice their views and demand change from brands, but collecting this valuable consumer opinion, especially among younger age groups and through traditional techniques, has become a challenge.  Put simply, the threshold to filling questionnaires has never been higher.

We have developed several tools to engage consumers using the language they speak and in the places they are present – whether that is the shopping mall, concert hall, theme park or transport hub, we are able to reach large numbers of consumers in a short time frame and get their thoughts and ideas – direct, fresh and unfiltered.

Participants get the satisfaction of airing their views and we collect valuable data to generate new insights.  The interaction is engaging and fast, building positive associations for brands, who are actively listening and inviting their consumers to comment.  We call this tool ‘Mind Touch’.

Our mobile application ‘Mind Shot’ integrates research into consumers’ daily lives. Consumers are offered a variety of tasks to perform.  They decide which tasks they take and are then rewarded based on the tasks completed. The tool is designed primarily for on the ground and in the field checks of how brands are presenting themselves and the network of ‘consumer researchers’ enables fast validation at scale.

By harnessing consumers’ direct participation, we are able to generate fresh and compelling new insights based on first hand evidence of what consumers are buying, using and experiencing in the world around them.

We also deploy tools using QR codes, which means that instant customer satisfaction and feedback can be gathered – perfect for evaluating retail, hospitality and entertainment experiences.

If you’d like to find out more about these tools or other innovative approaches to research,contact Rob.

Real driving behaviours

Everyone reacts differently in traffic – and in heavy traffic stress levels and behaviours can vary considerably.  Some switch lane frequently, others doggedly stick to their position; some leave big and cautious gaps between vehicles, whilst others squeeze up close; some get competitive with the vehicle in the adjacent lane, whilst others stay firmly in first gear and keep the speed low.

There are now numerous in car features available to enhance safety and provide information and entertainment – and all can help to take the strain in heavy traffic.  We undertook a piece of research to investigate and observe the real use of such features and to identify across various driver profiles what worked well, what was appreciated, and what could use a re-think.  Taking drivers into high stress and heavy traffic situations in five European cities, we were able to evaluate actual driving behaviour and use of newly installed safety, information and entertainment features.  Each car was equipped with sensors, cameras, and data logging equipment, including internal and external video recording and car computer management devices.

Situations over the 4.5 hour drive sought out rush hour traffic and traffic jams, motorways, busy congested inner city streets – and interaction with motorbikes, cyclists, bus lanes and pedestrians.  In addition to technical data gathered concerning the drive and use of the features, the co-driver (our interviewer) was also able to collect further insights into driver satisfaction, frustration, confidence and so on through interviewing and observation.  Each session also concluded with a driver self-completion questionnaire and summary discussion.

The output has been invaluable to understand how best to position and communicate new driving features – and in some cases where to take a step back and re-consider assumptions based on actual driver behaviour and need.  The variety of research techniques and methods meant that this was also a highly efficient and innovative approach – enabling us to gather deep and immediately actionable insights into from the 25 respondents in each of the 5 cities.

To find our more about our automotive experience, or to book a test drive with us, contact Dam.

What are the kids watching?

It’s becoming the holy grail for advertisers targeting children – everyone’s convinced that kids’ media consumption is changing, but few have got the solid facts and data to support the big budget decisions. Do you stay true to TV, with its tried and tested measurement or switch significant budget online?

Most agree that TV still plays a big part in kids’ lives, but it’s undeniable that the older they get the more their online and second screen viewing behaviours are evolving and for some occasions even taking over.

Today’s children have not grown up with any kind of traditional idea of how to watch TV – for them there are simply favourite shows and programmes and you can get access to them from a variety of platforms and devices, all perfectly natural and intuitive, whenever you want.  Or rather for the younger ones, whenever you’re allowed to.

In a recent study, we analysed children’s TV and online viewing behaviours in a variety of western European countries and in North America.  What emerged was a surprising picture of how strong TV viewing remains – kids are still tuning in with an appointment to view mentality, switching through kids channels to follow the schedule and catch their favourite shows.  In Europe watching TV is also a highly social activity involving friends and siblings, whereas North America reveals a much more solitary event.  VOD, catch-up tv, kids channel sites and youtube certainly have a role in watching back favourite shows or looking for extra content, and the ability to navigate the smart TV, laptop or tablet are well engrained even amongst 5 and 6 year olds.

For many advertisers, this leaves a problem however – how can you invest most effectively in online TV to complement the more traditional broadcast TV?  How can you determine when the extra bit of reach or additional frequency is really worth the added investment?  And shouldn’t we be thinking in any case of the unique role and potential that online offers – for children directly, but also importantly for reaching or retargeting their parents – many of whom after all still hold the essential purse strings when it comes to purchase decisions.

Our approach is sympathetic to real family dynamics and behaviours and fully compliant with all guidelines to interview parents and their children on viewing and media consumption behaviours. If you’d like to understand more about the children you’re trying to engage, we’d love to discuss our approach and methodology with you.

To find out more about experience with researching children and their media habits, contact Rob.

Brand Attachment Analysis

Brand Attachment Analysis measures five levels of customer experience. These levels are compared across competitive brands to determine strong and weak points, and to focus marketing attention on those parts of the communication where it is needed most. Complete competitive sets of 10 or more brands can be compared and tracked in this way.

In this example, Brand X on first view seems to be the much stronger brand – after all it has 86{1f220ac64b9f6618bf0eb6cb6c1308cba7a01755811f72c92eb8a9a5d4c07adf} awareness compared to Brand Y with just 33{1f220ac64b9f6618bf0eb6cb6c1308cba7a01755811f72c92eb8a9a5d4c07adf}.  However, even though many more people have heard of Brand X, its strength in terms of reliability shows a steep drop off. Brand Y – although known by fewer people – is much better evaluated by those who do know it. If Brand Y can focus energies on awareness building, it’s in good shape to mount a serious challenge to Brand X.

What it does for you:

  • Identifies where in the customer experience brand attachment is strongest and where weaknesses exist.
  • Highlights where the brand needs to focus in order to fulfil customers’ expectations.
  • Enables to refine action plans and communication briefings.

To find out more about our brand attachment tool, contact Rob.

Customer journey dynamics

What’s really happening at each stage of your customer’s purchase journey?  And where can you tailor your message and choose your media to bring the greatest possible return for your marketing investment?

To find out more about our methodology for getting the most out of customer journey touch points, contact Rob.

Marketing in a multi-screen world

Millward Brown’s Ad Reaction Report gives a fascinating insight into the use and impact of multiple screens in our increasing online connected lives, including analysis of behaviours such as overlap with tv and screen shifting.  In terms of favourability and attention, TV seems to be out there in the lead, but is clearly supported by other screen use with viewers receptive to ads that feature links a brand’s website or facebook.

To find out more, contact Rob.

Yowk! The perfect soft boiled egg.

British newspapers are full of horror at the launch of the Yowk –  the perfect soft boiled egg.   How can the nation have reached this state?  Isn’t this just another example of marketers and supermarkets selling us something we simply don’t need?  Well, the launch of Yowk reveals less about our ongoing desire for convenience, and a lot more about consumers’ lack of confidence or skill to get the perfectly soft boiled egg.  What it promises is no more disappointment and no more egg boiling anxiety.  Maybe we’ll see a backlash of authentic cooks and a revival of real kitchen skill.  Or maybe we’ll just watch Masterchef.  Good luck Yowk!

To find out more, contact Rob.