Collaborating with consumers to grow your business

Nowadays, the business environment is changing faster than ever. Whether you are one of the bigger players or a smaller company, national or international, we all have the same end goal of growing our business. In the current economic landscape, we face challenges every single day to stay ahead of the competition and to keep up with the radical changes that are taking place at a speed never seen before. Consumers have become more empowered than ever and have the power to make or even break brands. In order to be able to react quickly to emerging consumer needs, companies need to collaborate structurally with them.
Let’s face it: the time has come where there is only one successful way for your company to grow and that is together with your consumers.
In this blog post, I’ll share three different cases in which companies grow their business by collaborating with consumers.
Tweetaway redTweetaway: 3 case studies showing the power of #consumercollaboration to grow your business by @Dries_Verhaeghe via @InSites #mrx

Digging for gold in new markets

The Tienen sugar refinery T-Sugar is a Belgian company focusing on refining sugar beets into sugar. T-Sugars is a strong brand in Belgium, mainly because of its innovative sugar product range – both as a product (with the well-known hard sugar cubes) and for its packaging concepts.
Tweetaway greenTweetaway: Identifying new market potential for @TienseSuiker by @Dries_Verhaeghe via @InSites #mrx
Identifying new market potential for T-Sugars' innovative sugar product range
The ambition of T-Sugars is to increase their specials market share outside Europe and hence create more value in those markets, i.e. getting out of the commodity trap. Therefore T-Sugars wanted to identify the market potential within several of these countries (e.g. the USA, China, South Korea etc.) and get insights as to which range(s) to launch. Based on a concept screener to identify the long-term innovation opportunities of six innovative concepts already existing in Belgium, T-Sugars got to know these new and unknown markets better in terms of buying and consumption habits and the competitive landscape in each of these countries.
This research proved that growing your business in the US market could be a good strategy. However, it would be fundamentally wrong to penetrate this market with products that work in the Belgian market without adapting them to the American consumers. A striking result showed that 4 out of 5 Americans do not buy sugar cubes regularly, whereas in Belgium most of us do have them at home. Glocalisation (or adapting your product offer to the specific consumer needs in the new market) will be key for T-Sugars to be successful in the US!

Growth via an ongoing consumer dialogue

VLAM is Flanders’ Agricultural Marketing Board which promotes sale, added value, consumption and image in Belgium and abroad of products originating from the Flemish agriculture, horticulture, fishery and agro-alimentary sector.
Tweetaway yellowTweetaway: Spotting #foodtrends for @VLAM_be via an ongoing consumer dialog by @Dries_Verhaeghe via @InSites #mrx
Spotting food trends & pre-test VLAM's communication campaigns via an ongoing consumer dialog
Since the beginning of 2013, InSites Consulting has been running a structural Consumer Consulting Board (i.e. an ongoing research community) for VLAM. The main goal was to learn more about the why of current buying and consumption behavior, in order to discover market needs and insights, taking into account upcoming trends. Through the structural community, VLAM connected with 100 Flemish consumers and got more insights into consumer and food trends in a yearly trends report. This case clearly revealed that consumers do not necessarily buy brands because they think they offer a higher quality level. Consumers expect more of brands! Today, the added value of brands lies in the emotional experiences rather than the product specifications. Nowadays, consumers have extreme expectations; they also switch easier to competitive brands or even private labels. Nevertheless, with the emotional component linked to the brand and unexpected marketing campaigns, you could still win the consumer for your brand!
For an example of how Consumer Consulting Boards can have a direct impact on connecting with consumers (link in Dutch). We all know that kids and chicory is a difficult combination, but consumers in the research community explained us how they tried to convince their kids.

Growing in existing market with new products

Vandemoortele Bakery is the innovation leader in frozen bakery products offered to artisan bakers, professionals and industrial customers as well as to retailers who sell them as fresh finished products to the final consumer. To be sure they choose those bakery innovations with the highest potential in four markets and to get more directional input for their go-to-market decisions, Vandemoortele asked InSites Consulting to validate 13 concepts.
Tweetaway pinkTweetaway: Optimizing the go-to-market strategy for @Vandemoortele by @Dries_Verhaeghe via @InSites #mrx
Optimizing the go-to-market strategy for Vandemoortele Bakery innovations
Through this research, Vandemoortele and its customers learned which types of concepts work best amongst those responsible for purchasing bakery products, taking into account general consumer trends, InSites Consulting’s external benchmarks on many appeal- and purchase-related KPIs, reasons why consumers love or hate the concept and the target group which is most in favor.
Vandemoortele acknowledged that things are changing more rapidly than ever and that creations and innovations have a shorter life cycle than let’s say 10 years ago. That’s why companies need to speed up their internal clock and should be able to take the fast track by connecting structurally with their consumers. Next to that, it is essential to generate real brand lovers by embracing the WE. Have you ever noticed how sports fans talk about their favorite sports team? Right, everything they say is about we: ‘we won the game’, ‘we should not have used this tactic’, ‘luck was not on our side’. If your employees, customers and other stakeholders are talking about we, this indicates that you are really reaping the fruit from murmuration, with everyone flying together in perfect harmony and the successive rise of a new form of leadership – a collective one!

Want to know more?

Join us on Thursday 12 March for a 45-minute inspirational webinar on Collaborative Growth and discover how to conquer new markets by collaborating with your consumers on a structural basis.
Tweetaway orangeTweetaway: Join the #InSites Collaborating for Growth #webinar on Mar 12 #mrx #newmr #consumercollaboration

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