By Betsy Herrick
How do you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? It’s a simple task, but using only words to explain the process makes it seem far more complex. Images are easier to interpret and comprehend quickly. Show an image of a PB&J, rather than detailed instructions, to a sandwich-making rookie, and you’ll get your sandwich a lot quicker.
The human brain processes visual images 60,000 times faster than any other type of stimuli. The use of images is a powerful and efficient tool to help convey your message. In today’s digital world, not only are people using visual communication more than ever, they’re also communicating better.
Using visuals enables your audience to see the meaning behind complex or large amounts of information by breaking it down into digestible pieces, simplifying the communication process and enhancing comprehension. Graphics can demonstrate hard to understand information and increase recollection and retention of information. In fact, information presented visually is six times more likely to be remembered days later versus information presented orally.
Although visual communication alone is shown to be more impactful than purely textual communication, the most effective method combines both types of content since visual communication is sometimes ambiguous and needs clarification. According to a study by Robert E. Horn back in 2001, combining visuals and text enhances comprehension by as much as 89%.
We approach deliverables with this in mind, and since there are a variety of visual techniques that can draw out (pun intended) the story behind the numbers, we often have to decide on the best route. For example, simple charts can enhance comprehension
of data, and by adding color coding, iconography, and other graphic elements, a higher level of detail can be revealed. The data becomes more organized throughout by displaying structure and visually mapping relationships within the research results.
Some visual methods are designed for impact, and are more likely to be remembered and shared, which is something to keep in mind when considering socialization within an organization. Using an infographic or interactive presentation to report results is 30 times more likely to be read and absorbed than plain text. These powerful mediums can convey meaningful results faster and more effectively than a data-heavy report. They strike an attractive balance between content types while telling a compelling and relevant story. Infographics, in particular, can be very engaging, and their versatility makes them a value-add for any industry’s research results.
No matter what medium you use, insights are only valuable if they are provided in a way that makes them easy to implement. So whether you use video, posters, dynamic presentations, infographics or plain old PowerPoint, make sure you keep them clear, concise, and easy to understand by your audience.
Betsy is CMB’s Graphic Design Specialist and has been in the market research industry for over 15 years. At work, she enjoys turning ugly ducklings into swans…and speaking of ducks, she lives on a 30-acre farm in rural Maine with her husband and once had a duck named Monty that thought he was a cow.
NEW WEBINAR: Join us and Research Now on Thursday, July 16th hear the results of our recent self-funded Consumer Pulse study that leveraged passive mobile behavioral data and survey data simultaneously to reveal insights into the current Mobile Wallet industry in the US.
By Eliza Novick
There is a strong belief that gender identity can be used to predict behavior in the marketplace, and we see evidence of this belief in advertising every day (and we also regularly poke fun at this idea - see the video below). Despite this, the standard approach to collecting information about gender and behavior often lacks the depth and complexity necessary to reach the meaningful insights around gender identity. How can we fix this? One way forward is to incorporate social science into our questionnaire design.
There’s a large body of evidence from social science research that indicates social identities, like gender, can have concrete economic implications for people belonging to certain groups. Gender is not only an expression of individual identity, but is also negotiated on a group level as we practice and enforce patterns of hierarchical social, political, and economic relationships (including work and family life). So, while one woman’s social, political, and/or economic profiles may deviate from the profiles of women as a group, she’s still subject to the systematic opportunities and barriers that these group profiles represent.
At CMB, we often leverage social science in questionnaire design to elicit responses that most closely reflect the market. As an industry, we could (and should) go further in the way we collect demographic information. For example, respondents are typically allowed to select only one employment status from a list of several options: employed part time, employed full time, full time homemaker, full time student, retired, or unemployed. From the social science perspective, this question is problematic because it ignores the fact that respondents may fall into more than one category and that women are more likely than men to experience overlap in these categories in their lifetime. A question like this might produce compromised data, particularly for respondents who are young, female, and/or low-income. Another example is marital status: is the marketplace behavior of a same-sex unmarried couple categorically different than that of a couple in a traditional marriage? Depending on the industry, the answer may vary, but with a few easy questionnaire tweaks, we can capture that information.
From segmentation to optimization, demographic information is often a critical part of the analyses that solve our clients’ business challenges. But our answers to their problems are only as good as the questions our surveys are asking. Revisiting demographic collection is an easy update that goes a long way towards generating higher quality data, making better evidence-based recommendations, and pushing businesses forward.
Eliza Novick is an Associate Researcher at CMB. Her favorite Boston attraction is the New England Aquarium, particularly the Edge of the Sea exhibit where you can pick up clams and starfish.
Want to know the latest on barriers and opportunities for the next generation of mobile payment providers?
By McKenzie Mann
Since the death of popular dad-blogger Oren Miller in February, there has been a resurgence of an initiative he started: pushing Amazon to change its parenting program’s name from “Amazon Mom” to “Amazon Family.” Amazon Mom is a subscription-based service that allows parents to get deals such as 20% off diaper subscriptions and 15% baby registries. Members also receive emails with messages like “As a busy mom, your time is precious. That’s why we’re offering you two free audiobooks—so you can catch up on today’s best sellers even when you’re on the treadmill, in yoga class, or toning up.” It’s apparent from its name and its messaging that Amazon has chosen a target market for this service, and it is not Oren Miller.
However, in other countries, Miller wouldn’t have had to start this initiative. Elsewhere in the world (Canada, France, Austria, Japan, Germany, and the U.K.), Amazon Mom is already known as Amazon Family. The sites all look similar and offer similar discounts, so why is the name different in the U.S.? While Amazon has not made any comments on this, it is clear that they thought naming the program Amazon Mom would be more successful for the brand in the U.S. marketplace. This one word change has an immense effect on who might use the program. As Miller frequently pointed out on his blog, the name insinuates that mothers are the only capable caretakers and, thus, the only ones who would use this service.
Why would Amazon do this? Probably because even though using the word “mom” instead of “family” ostracizes an entire group of people, it allows Amazon to directly appeal to this service’s primary target market: moms. This is a situation in which a segmentation study could have come in handy. Although sometimes the markets for services or products seem obvious, segmentation studies can identify underlying groups that might otherwise be missed. It can use goals, experience, usage, characteristics, and needs to group similar people together in ways that might not be obvious at first. In this case, a segmentation could show that Amazon was missing a smaller—but vocal—group in dads.
Miller’s petition is nearing its goal amount of signatures. If it hits its goal, will it make a difference? Will “Amazon Mom” actually change to “Amazon Family”? Possibly. It’s at least something to consider as more and more people get involved in the cause, using #AmazonFamilyUS to shine light on the situation and to illustrate how angry they are at being excluded.
McKenzie Mann is a Senior Associate Researcher at CMB. She spends most of her spare time trying to convince her friends that it’s funny to replace the word “man” with “mann.” It's a work in progress, but mann will it be great when it catches on.
By Abe Vinjamuri
Every year we hear bold new predictions about mobile wallet, and every year those predictions fall flat. So, with some trepidation, we ask: is this the year when mobile payments finally take off?
A lot of pieces of the puzzle are finally in place:
NFC and tokenization have been accepted as the standard for payment tech (QR is fighting a losing battle although some heavyweights still back it)
Networks (Visa, MasterCard etc.) have managed to co-opt the mobile revolution and avoid the threat of disruption
Credit card providers see the opportunity to drive growth
EMV (chip and PIN) standards have forced retailers to upgrade payment terminals which now are NFC enabled
Mobile service providers have given up their bid to control the payments business
And most importantly, consumers are increasingly comfortable with the idea of using smartphones to pay for purchases-they are at a similar point in the adoption curve as they were with online payments a decade and half ago
So, yes, mobile payments will grow in the next 12-18 months. And smartphones will continue to drive that growth. But the big news is that mobile wallets are poised to get a major boost from the proliferation of wearables. In our latest Consumer Pulse study, we surveyed nearly 2,000 smartphone owners about mobile wallets and wearables awareness and habits. Here are a few of the key takeaways:
Formerly confined to fitness trackers, and to some extent smartwatches, wearables are still emerging for the average consumer. Currently, about 60% of the market is at least somewhat familiar with wearables in the generic sense. And with the pace of technology, this is a low barrier. A new product that fulfills a need (perceived or not) can gain attention in the flash of a Snapchat.
As the wearables category broadens to include trackers, shirts, bands and other devices that are an extension of the wearer, mobile payments are a natural offshoot. In fact, beyond table stakes (battery life, pedometers etc.) 40% of likely wearable buyers want built-in mobile wallet functionality. Our data shows that wearable and mobile wallet adoption is symbiotic in nature. A majority of those looking to buy wearables say having mobile wallet functionality would bring them closer to the purchase decision. And a similar majority say they would use mobile wallets a lot more if it were a part of their wearable functionality. Looks like a win-win.
Although at present wearables are primarily associated with fitness trackers (smartwatches are perceived a bit differently though that line is blurring really fast); many see wearables as an extension of the smartphone category – and expect smartphone brands to lead the wearables march. While the top players are as expected: Apple and Samsung, the door is still wide open for a variety of players like Google, Microsoft, Fitbit, Sony, Nike, and LG. And perhaps the best news is that, in general, buyers expect highly functional wearables to cost between $175- $275. Of course, there are always those who are willing to splurge north of $400.
In all this excitement around wearables and mobile payments we can’t forget the critical role of payment companies. As mentioned previously, networks and credit card companies have a critical role to play. At the moment, usage data indicates two things: one, usage of credit cards in a mobile first world mimic that in the physical world – card usage behavior (primary card, share of wallet) has not changed. Two, checking accounts, debit cards, PayPal have a large presence on mobile wallets. We continue to maintain that mobile payments present an opportunity to shake up some of the existing stalemates in the industry and at present it seems like no single player has a decisive advantage.
Depending on how narrow or widely mobile payments are defined, the trillion+ dollar industry is fluid at the moment, with everyone trying to get a large piece of the pie. From a purely consumer-centric perspective, the barriers are lifting, the options are expanding and before you know it a majority of consumers will have access to mobile wallets through smartphones or wearables. The key to winning them over will be to make the experience natural and seamless. The day someone can put together an experience where my jogging shirt tells me to run faster between miles 5 and 7 and then pays for my smoothie is the day wearables would truly achieve their potential. I’m betting that the day is not far away.
Abe is a payment-tech and ecommerce Project Lead, Strategist, and CrossFit enthusiast.
By Kirsten Clark
Last week, a few of my colleagues and I headed down to San Diego to soak up all the sun, insights, and networking opportunities we could from the Marketing Research Association’s Insights and Strategies Conference (ISC). Here are my top 4 takeaways:
1. Stop thinking like a farmer. In Jeremy Gutsche’s opening keynote, he stressed the importance of learning how to adapt. Companies are able to identify market opportunities, but they’re often unable to fully capitalize on those opportunities. Here’s an example: Blockbuster had multiple chances to buy Netflix, but declined each time because the board thought Blockbuster should focus on retail. Why do companies fall into this trap? Because we have farming instincts that make us complacent and repetitive. In order to successfully adapt, we need to tap into our hunting instincts and (1) dedicate resources to opportunities that might fail, (2) constantly search for new opportunities, and (3) seize those opportunities.
2. Emotions matter. The whole conference was abuzz about emotions. It’s important to fully appreciate just how much influence they have over our daily decisions. People do not think emotions. They feel them, and, amazingly, emotions are universal—they’re hardwired into each of us, regardless of culture, age, gender, etc. This makes understanding emotions critical to fully understanding your customers’ experience. It’s that understanding that allows brands to implement strategies that will spark more of the right emotions and fewer of the wrong ones. Make sure you check out our latest webinar on our decision-focused approach to emotional measurement!
3. Sear your brand into long term memory. How can a brand sear themselves into consumers’ long-term memories? Samantha Moore and Ralph Blessing from Ameritest suggested that brands have to tap into all three long-term memory banks: the procedural (do), the semantic (think), and the episodic (feel). As an example, they showed us a photo of two chairs on a beach and asked us what brand was being represented. The whole room simultaneously answered “Corona.” This is a brand that has successfully tapped into all three of those memory banks. There is a ritual associated with Corona (adding the lime), which taps into the procedural. When we think of Corona, we associate it with the beach, which taps into the semantic and makes us feel relaxed, which taps into the episodic.
4. Presentations should be clear, insightful, and beautiful. When you’re creating a presentation do you: include any and every data point you can on a slide? repeat the same stat over and over? rival a novel with the amount of text you have on any given slide? keep your audience guessing with unnecessary chart builds? These are the most common traps market researchers fall into when creating a presentation, according to Kory Grushka from Work Design Group and Andrea Blingen from PepsiCo. How can you avoid falling into these traps? Keep in mind that color should be used strategically, simplicity is often best, and consistency keeps the focus on the story you’re telling. Each presentation can be evaluated by asking yourself these three questions: is it clear? is it insightful? is it beautiful?
If you were at the conference and have anything to add, please feel free to share your insights below!
Kirsten Clark is a Marketing Associate at CMB. This was her first trip west of Texas, and it ultimately resulted in her first sunburn of the season.
Put down the brain scans and learn how we use Empact℠—our new decision-focused emotional measurement approach—to inform a range of business challenges—including marketing, customer experience, customer loyalty, and product development.
Introducing CMB's EMPACTSM: A practical approach to understanding the emotional impact of your brand.
By Erica Carranza, Ph.D.
Emotions matter in driving consumer choices.
This is fast becoming a truism—thanks in part to behavioral economics making its way to the mainstream press. For evidence from your own life, take a moment to think about your favorite brand. What do you like about it? What are the products or experiences it provides? Now think about how those things make you feel. Or think about the last time you swore off a brand. Like the last time I bought something from Ikea. They sold me an extra part they said I would need. They didn’t deliver the part, then they told me I didn’t really need it. But they charged me for it, and never credited me despite my investing 3 hours of time in calls with their customer service. I felt so frustrated, and so angry, that I swore I’d never buy from Ikea again. NEVER AGAIN! [shakes fist at sky] And, to date, I haven’t. But I digress…
The point is that scientific research, marketing research, and conventional wisdom all suggest that, if you’re trying to attract and engage consumers, emotions are an important piece of the puzzle.
So what’s the best way to understand how your brand or product makes consumers feel, and what role those feelings play in shaping their choices? Many marketers and market researchers have been wringing their hands over this question. Which, in turn, has led research vendors to serve up an array of solutions—including some positioned as ways to get at “unconscious” emotions, or to tap into how people feel without having to ask them. I call these “Superman Methods.”
If Superman wants to know what color your underwear is, he doesn’t need to ask. He can see it without your saying a word. He can see it even if you forgot which pair of underwear you chose this morning. And if you don’t want Superman looking at your underwear, too bad! HE CAN SEE IT ANYWAY.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we had Superman-like methods that tapped consumers’ emotions directly, without ever having to ask them how they felt?
I was witness to many a sales pitch for “Superman Methods” while I was on the client side. It's hard not to be drawn in by their promise. But ultimately I was bothered by a few key things:
Biometric measures (e.g., skin conductance, facial EMG, brain waves) are often positioned as Superman-style tools. But even when they do a great job of measuring how good or bad someone feels (as with facial EMG), they don’t provide good measures of discrete emotions. For example, they can’t tell you if negative feelings are driven by Anger vs. Anxiety, or if positive feelings reflect Amusement vs. Pride.
Facial coding does measure some specific emotions. But it only gets at the “basic” emotions, which are: Happiness, Surprise, Anger, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Contempt.
Notice anything about that list? There is only one positive emotion. The rest are all negative—except Surprise, which could swing either way. So unless you’re trying to help Dan Aykroyd sell the Super Bass-o-Matic (for which disgust, anger and contempt could top the list of consumer reactions), understanding how your product makes people feel would ideally capture more granularity in terms of their positive emotions.
For example, what about feeling relaxed? Proud? Entertained? Secure? Indulged? And even among negative emotions, there is more nuance. What about feeling frustrated? Bored? Disappointed? Or embarrassed?
Consumers’ emotional lives are more complex than what the “basic emotion” faces can reveal—and understanding that complexity can help you find a more direct (and competitively differentiated) route to capturing their hearts.
While it’s true that people don’t always know why they do what they do, it doesn’t follow that they don’t know how they feel. I might not know all the reasons why I choose Seventh Generation for my kids, but I know how its brand promise makes me feel. And while we can’t always trust the reasons consumers give, isn’t that why we derive importance through experimental designs and predictive models?
Furthermore, how much “Superman Methods” really tap the unconscious—or add value to self-report measures in consumer domains—is debatable. For example, many scientists question whether the oft-cited Implicit Association Test (IAT) actually measures unconscious associations. And meta-analyses (including one led by a creator of the IAT) have found that it doesn’t work as well as self-reports to predict consumer preferences.
What measures like facial coding, EMG, and the IAT do do well is subvert socially sensitive situations—where people know how they feel, but don’t want to tell you. (The IAT was first developed to study prejudice—a great use case, since people with racist attitudes usually try keep them on the DL). But if you want to know how your brand, ad, or product makes people feel, in most cases you can trust what they tell you. Especially in a context where they feel comfortable being honest, like an online/mobile survey. In the hands of a skilled moderator, in-person discussions can also be a great way to uncover emotional reactions, but that method isn’t scalable to large samples.
At CMB, we do a lot of research that calls for large samples, so we wanted to develop and validate a way to measure how brands/touchpoints make consumers feel that is: practical (e.g., scalable, fast, cost-effective, easy to combine with other measures such as brand perceptions); comprehensive (in terms of the range of emotions measured); robust (leveraging insights from the scientific study of emotion); and systematic (to enable brand comparisons, or track over time). Oh yeah—and we also wanted results that are clear and compelling. Because, if you can’t effectively communicate them to people who need to use them, what’s the point?
Our solution is a survey-based approach to measuring the emotional impact of brands, communications, products and experiences called EMPACTSM. Curious? Join us on Thursday, June 11 at 1pm EST to learn more and join the conversation.
Erica Carranza is a CMB Account Director with supplier- and client-side (American Express) experience. She is also our resident social psychologist; she earned her Ph.D. in psychology from Princeton University.
Dear Dr. Jay,
How can my organization create a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) that’s really useful?
-Meeta R., Seattle
A key performance indicator (KPI) is often used to communicate to senior management how well the company is doing, with a single metric. It could be based on a single attribute in the questionnaire, e.g., the top two boxes of intent to continue using the brand. Another popular KPI is the Net Promoter Score (NPS), based on likelihood to recommend, where we take the percentage of customers who are promoters and subtract the percentage who are detractors.
Over the years, likelihood to continue, overall satisfaction, and likelihood to recommend have all been candidates for inclusion in creating a KPI. We find these measures are often highly correlated with each other. This suggests that while any one measure might be a decent KPI, there is a unique piece of each that is not captured by the others. Likelihood to continue and likelihood to recommend both have a behavioral dimension to them, while overall satisfaction is most likely purely attitudinal.
There are a few key things to consider in selecting (or creating) a KPI:
The number should be easy to explain and compute.
It must be tied to some key business outcome, such as increased revenue.
Finally, it should be fairly responsive to future changes.
In the third consideration, a balance of behavioral and attitudinal measures comes into play. If you’re trying to predict future purchases, past purchases are a good measure to use. For example, if my past 10 credit card transactions were with my Visa card, there’s a very good probability that my next transaction will be made with that same card. Even if I have a bad experience on the 11th purchase with my Visa card, the prediction for the 12th purchase would still be Visa. However, if I include some attitudinal component in my KPI, I can change the prediction of the model much faster.
So what is the best attitudinal measure? Most likely, it’s something that measures the emotional bond one feels for the product, something that asks: is this a brand you prefer above all others? When this bond breaks, future behavior is likely to change.
A final word of caution—you don’t need to include everything that moves. As your mentor used to say, keep it simple, stupid (KISS). Or better yet, keep it stupid simple—senior management will get that.
Got a burning research question? You can send your questions to DearDrJay@cmbinfo.com or submit anonymously here.
Dr. Jay Weiner is CMB’s senior methodologist and VP of Advanced Analytics. Jay earned his Ph.D. in Marketing/Research from the University of Texas at Arlington and regularly publishes and presents on topics, including conjoint, choice, and pricing.
NEW WEBINAR: Join us June 11th to learn about the decision-focused emotional measurement approach we call-Empact℠: Emotional Impact Analysis. Put away the brain scans and learn how we use emotion to inform a range of business challenges, including marketing, customer experience, customer loyalty, and product development.
By Heidi Hitchen
Warning: This post contains spoilers for George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire and HBO’s Game of Thrones.
“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.” This is the message of popular book series A Song of Ice and Fire and hit HBO TV series Game of Thrones. In the fictional world of Westeros, you learn pretty quickly that honor, duty, and loyalty will get you nowhere.
As market researchers, we can learn a lot about loyalty from Westeros. There are more kinds of loyalty than there are self-proclaimed kings of the 7 kingdoms—and just like those kings (sorry, Tommen), these types of loyalty aren’t all created equal. Luckily, we have a way of categorizing (and then quantifying the value) of different types of loyalty—a concept I’ll illustrate using some of our favorite Westerosi characters.
In the world of loyalty measurement, everyone starts in the first archetype, which is just plain “Loyal.” Assuming that everyone is loyal in some way is certainly a dangerous assumption in Westeros, but we’ll take our chances and put everyone who isn’t a Wildling into that category to start.
True Loyal: You can argue that as the sworn sword of Renly Baratheon (deceased) and Catelyn Stark (also deceased), Brienne of Tarth has not been terribly successful. But, you can’t deny that she’s gone out of her way to fulfill her vow of reuniting the Stark girls. Come the Hound or high-water, she’s devoted. This is the type of customer (or sworn sword) we’d all like to have in our corner.
At-Risk Loyal: Varys may say he’s true to the 7 Kingdoms, but the former Master of Secrets’ loyalty extends only so far. . .which Tywin Lannister (RIP!) learned a little too late. In Westeros, and in the marketplace, this type of loyalty is the one you’ll have to work to hold on to.
Deal Loyal: Your customer may enjoy your product as much as Bronn enjoyed being with Tyrion, but don’t forget that sell swords and Deal Loyal customers are primarily motivated by bags of gold—or discounts.
Uninvolved: This could have described our friends in Dorne until very recently (thanks, Cersei), but perhaps the most accurate example of the Uninvolved are the average citizens of Westeros. These people don’t hold much allegiance for any king—they just want to make it through another winter with their heads attached. It’s the same (well, not exactly the same) for your uninvolved customer. They use your brand but are pretty indifferent overall.
Distribution Loyal: Petyr Baelish’s allegiance is questionable at best. Baelish (who is better known as Littlefinger) spreads his loyalty across the kingdom, manipulating people and resources to slowly claw his way into power. He may be loyal to House Tully (and the Starks by extension), but we know he’s also made major plays for the Lannisters. It’s all about the end game for Littlefinger, which is why he’ll use people as a means to an end and then switch when something better comes along.
Captive Loyal: Poor, poor Sansa. Can’t a girl catch a break? She’s had three fiancés and two husbands, and she's still held prisoner by her claim to the North. While she’s recently learned how to use her circumstances to her advantage, I’ll go out on a limb and say she’s probably on the lookout for a better option—the North remembers. Like Sansa, Captive Loyals aren’t satisfied with your product, but they’re likely to continue using it for the time being.
Where does your loyalty lie?
Heidi Hitchen is a true loyalist to House Stark. She’ll continue to root for the King in the North until the White Walkers come for her. Winter is coming!
Join us June 11th for CMB's newest webinar-a results-focused emotional measurement approach we call-Empact℠: Emotional Impact Analysis. Put away the brain scans and learn how we use emotion to inform a range of business challenges, including marketing, customer experience, customer loyalty, and product development.
By Blair Bailey and Hannah Russell
Last week’s Front End of Innovation (FEI) Conference brought together today’s brightest innovators to showcase designs, discuss developments, and. . .build marshmallow towers? (More on that later.) This three-day event provided countless opportunities to discuss innovation in today’s marketplace. Here are our top 5 takeaways:
1. Be prepared to pivot. Peter Koen, Director of the Consortium for Corporate Entrepreneurship, kicked off opening night by having teams build a freestanding structure from marshmallows and wooden sticks. Although my team didn’t win, we did gain some insight into how using a learning strategy can enable quicker reactions to any issues during a process. Setting up processes for reacting efficiently and effectively after failure is becoming increasingly important for companies looking to keep up with the fast-moving marketplace.
2. Be a hero. Dustin Garis, Founder of LifeProfit, gave some great examples of brands (such as Coca-Cola and Expedia) that are becoming “heroes” for consumers by breaking up the mundane routines of our everyday life. Given that 80% of millennials prefer experiences over “stuff,” brands that can create an experience will have a much better chance of having top-of-mind awareness with younger consumers.
3. Fail fast. Deborah Arcoleo, Director for the Innovation Center of Excellence with The Hershey Company, reviewed some key points to remember when incorporating innovation into your corporate strategy. Her motto? Fail fast, fail cheaply, and make sure you capture the learnings. Innovation is often an iterative process. By catching failures early, companies can prevent costly failures further down the pipeline.
4. The innovation paradigm is shifting. Eric von Hippel, a professor of innovation at the MIT Sloan School of Management, drew our attention to the shifting paradigm of producer innovation and user innovation. Steve Jobs famously said, “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” While producers and manufacturers were considered primary innovators in the past, users are taking an ever-growing role in the innovation landscape. Users are developing products on their own and taking advantage of open source programs to spread and build upon ideas. Even producers themselves are getting in on the fun by providing users with the tools to innovate.
5. Follow your passion. Miki Agrawal, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Wild, THINX, and SUPER SPROUTZ as well as author of Do Cool Sh*t, had a wake-up call when she slept through her alarm on September 11, 2001 and didn’t make it to work on time. From that point on, she dedicated her time to following her passions, including opening a health-conscious pizza restaurant and creating a children’s television program dedicated to healthy habits. In each of her ventures, Agrawal identified her strengths and weaknesses, and she built teams that complimented one another to achieve her goals, rather than taking on the venture alone.
While the face and pace of innovation may be changing, one thing remains clear—incremental change leads to incremental growth. It’s time to start pushing the envelope.
Blair Bailey and Hannah Russell are Associate Researchers at CMB and recent graduates from Boston University. Personally, they prefer egg drop competitions to building marshmallow structures.
By Brant Cruz
For those of you living in Siberia, I have a news flash: Boston had a nasty winter. Fortunately, spring has sprung, which has put an extra pep in my step for the past few weeks. That glorious feeling, coupled with an engagement I’ve been working on for Electronic Arts (EA), has inspired this blog.
Martha Stewart says that “there are few rites of spring more satisfying than the annual clean.” Well, I’m no Martha Stewart (and for those of you who know me, the comparison is downright comical), but I do appreciate the general sentiment.
Martha’s extensive list of spring cleaning projects can be found here. But, instead of the proverbial laundry list, I’m going to focus on three of Martha’s tips that have implications in the world of insights, analytics, UXR, and consulting.
1. Organize files. Sure, there is also a tactical “file management” analogy here, but I’m talking about something more powerful and fundamental. I’m advocating that you step back and ask yourself whether you are appropriately allocating your resources to the right initiatives. Take a look back over the last year (or more) at all the work you have completed with a critical eye. Which projects have had true business impact? Which ones could have had impact, but weren’t adopted appropriately by your business partners? What types of work are you consistently conducting that either can’t or won’t have true business impact? Conversely, what could you be working on that would really move your business forward? When facilitated correctly, I bet that most of us would learn that we should shift at least some of our focus elsewhere.
2. Swap out heavy curtains, throws, and rugs for lightweight ones. Not sure if you’ve noticed, but we live in a “Mobile First” world. A world where consumers have more choices and are harder to pin down and our business partners need fresh insights faster than ever just to keep up. This reality provides both challenges and opportunities when it comes to “old” methods of designing studies and collecting data. There’s still room for “heavy” (strategic/foundational) projects and amazing storytelling deliverables. However, we also need to make plenty of room for methods that provide insights quickly, utilize mobile data collection (with modules “stitched” together scientifically when longer questionnaires are required), and use workshops to get key results to business partners faster rather than waiting for a beautifully packaged final product. Innovative companies (many of whom will be attending the Insights and Strategies Conference in San Diego next week) continue to create exciting new tools. We’re excited to launch Empact℠: CMB’s Emotional Impact Analysis methodology next month—our solution to measuring the emotional payoffs consumers experience, want, and expect from a brand, product, or ad.
3. Ensure Fire Safety. Admittedly, this analogy is a bit of a leap, but I find that spending extra time to make sure that my family is in no danger from fire analogous to spending time with my team to ensure that we are all on the same page, working towards the same goals, and that I am providing the support I can to ensure their happiness, balance, and high performance. I was lucky enough to participate in EA’s Global Analytics and Insights Conference offsite last month, and these few days provided a great blueprint for doing this well. In a nutshell, Zack Anderson (EA’s VP of Marketing Science) leads a team of more than 60 Consumer Insights, Analytics, and UXR professionals. The 3-day agenda he developed included a mix of motivational speaking, priority setting, cross-team pollination, and good ole fashioned bonding activities. The theme of the conference was “Ideas. Relationships. Execution.”—and I think it delivered brilliantly on all three counts.
I suggest you all spend time pondering these three tips and finding the right way to execute them in your professional life. While none of them are as fun as playing a round of golf, I bet they’re all more fun than some of Martha’s other tips, such as resealing grout lines and dusting refrigerator coils.
Brant Cruz is our resident segmentation guru and the Vice President of CMB’s eCommerce and Digital Media Practice.
Want to learn more about EMPACT℠: CMB’s Emotional Impact Analysis? Join us for a webinar on June 11th at 1PM EST as CMB's Brant Cruz and Dr. Erica Carranza share how we capture emotional payoffs to inform a range of business challenges, including marketing, customer experience, customer loyalty, and product development.