Accelerating towards Consumer Centricity
Research has shown we have vaulted five years forward in consumer and business digital adoption. And this happened in merely eight weeks since the start of the pandemic. The use of video conferencing and social media platforms boomed as a result of the confinement at home; the same goes for the use of digital qual and especially online communities in the research world. The desire to connect has only got stronger, fueling an eagerness to actively collaborate with brands to shape products and services together in this new reality.
In this age of relevance, clients and consumers stood side by side. Both experienced the ups and downs of the last nine months. Priorities have been reassessed, the value of home and family reasserted; people have faced the unthinkable. And our conversations with consumers have gone deeper as a result.
“Over the last few months, we did a really nice job in connecting to consumers to talk about their lives, not about us. It was necessary for us to zoom out to this macro level and rather understand the context in which consumers were using our products.”
The pandemic taught us that, in extraordinary circumstances, we are capable of moving faster and further than we imagine. We witnessed countless examples across the world of brands and organizations adapting at an astonishing speed. They all had one thing in common: an outside-in perspective.
“eÿeka as a creative crowdsourcing methodology opened our eyes to the potential of crowdsourcing. Those creative consumers bring fresh thinking to our innovation pipeline; they even crack some of the briefs that we weren’t able to.”
Agile decision making
In today’s unpredictable business environment, brands must harness different voices from outside their organisation to survive and even thrive; they should enter a mode of agile and fast decision making. To be successful at this, rather than looking at a snapshot of everyday life and behaviors, we find brands are seeking to establish ongoing dialogues with consumers. They are investing in customer closeness programs so they can respond rapidly to changing needs.
“Now more than ever it is time for us to do quick, agile research. With what’s going on, we know that people’s thoughts, attitudes and behaviors differ from day to day. Therefore, we should get away from big 25-minute questionnaires and move towards mapping consumers’ journeys at different moments in time.”
CASE: How an agile community approach supported the development of the Ben’s Original™ Brand
Mars Food understood their Uncle Ben’s brand needed to change; racial inequities were associated with the brand’s name and imaging. They wanted to truly understand the emotions and opinions around this sensitive topic. And so they decided to look for an agile, quick way to listen to the consumers around the world and consult them on how to move forward.
Using our existing long-term community for Mars Food, we recruited an ethnically balanced sample of participants in the UK and US. We then engaged the selected community members in qualitative discussions to assess the potential impact of adapting the brand identity; capturing preference of new potential brand names; testing the tone of voice of a new brand narrative; and discussing potential actions to enhance inclusion and equality. Next, we zoomed in on how the brand purpose could reflect the new brand identity and finally, the community members shared their feedback on the brand’s first concepts for design, logo and packaging.
Through short, iterative research cycles that provided an in-depth, rich understanding of why and how changes were needed, Mars Food could move forward rapidly and pivot its brand identity to reflect societal change. Three months after launching the research project, the brand launched its new brand name and its purpose. Moreover, in collaboration with its consumers, Ben’s Original translated their purpose into concrete action to enhance equity and inclusion.
“Collaborating with InSites delivered real-time insights that have helped us navigate through a complex, highly emotive issue and shape our decisions. The InSites team took the time to understand the issues at hand, translate that into best-practice insight generation and deliver high-impact reporting at breakneck speed. The iterative process and flexibility of approach are highly valued and will continue to be fundamental to the CMI team.”
Collaboration is the new modus operandi. Being responsive is the new competitive advantage. But how to adopt such a collaborative mindset and become Better Together? Our industry-leading community platform the Square helps brands build ongoing connections. It’s 100% flexible, following the pace of your business needs, allowing you to set up research activities yourself, or rely on our experienced consultants. Whether exploring branding, innovation or customer experience, online communities foster collaboration and trust; that is when people and brands can shape the future better, together.
Get in touch to book a demo of our community platform or to learn more about our consumer networks.