Podcast: Shifting your Mental Model from Voice of the Customer to Mind of the Customer

Today, we bring you an exclusive podcast recorded with TMRE exhibitors Brandtrust.  We recently sat down with CEO Daryl Travis to discuss things like the importance of insights, the importance of social sciences in insights, and the future of insights.  Daryl will be at The Market Research Event next week in Boca Raton presenting Transforming Dreamers into Riders: Expand the Market by Deeply Understanding Emotions Along the Journey along with Greg Alley, Sr. Director Consumer & Market Insights, Harley-Davidson Motor Company.  If you’d like to attend the presentation, register today and mention code TMRE12BLOG to save 15% off the standard rate!

Download the Podcast MP3.
Download the Podcast Transcript.

Here’s an excerpt from the podcast:
The title of the podcast is ‘Shifting your Mental Model from Voice of the Customer to Mind of the Customer’. Why is that important for insights professionals?

Daryl: That’s a great question. You know, many years ago when we started this work we recognized that brand was very important, but that we didn’t fully understand how brands work. I think, to be fair, if we maybe did true confessions at the time we’d have to admit that we didn’t know exactly what happens when something like Nike becomes an iconic brand and we are irrationally drawn to it and the same thing doesn’t happen to Reebok. It doesn’t exactly make sense. They are just athletic shoes. They seem very similar. Reebok, in fact, was a larger company than Nike in the early stages, so what happened? What happened to begin to explain why Nike drew away and became such a powerful brand? If you really have a chance to deconstruct it, you’d say: ‘Well, you know, it’s not rational. It’s not the kind of thing that is easily explainable.’ 

We know we have great tools to help us understand what’s happening in the market. I can tell you that I prefer Nike and I’ll go out of my way to find it. I’ll pay more for it and I’ll wear it more often. I can tell you all those ‘what’ things, but I can’t always tell you ‘why’. I don’t honestly know why. I’m not fully conscious of it. That’s because so much of our behavior is driven by non-conscious influences because of the way our brains are constructed and the way they work. So we realized early on that if we really want to know what drives great brands we were going to have to get into people’s heads. But we had good market research tools to help us understand what was happening in the marketplace, but we didn’t have very good tools to help us understand what was happening in the market, but we didn’t have very good tools to help us understand why.

So, as you mentioned, we are in research and strategy. But, over the last ten years or so we’ve become social scientists because there are so many wonderful techniques emerging from the social sciences to help us get into people’s heads, to get into their deeper motivations, their deeper emotional drivers and to help us understand the kinds of things that people either can’t or won’t tell us because those are things that can really drive us to one brand or another and really influence our behavior. So, obviously, for market research and for marketing, that’s critical, right? Because what we’ve learned over the years is that if you really want to know why people do what they do about the worst thing you can do is ask them. Once you do a conventional ask or a conventional survey kind of question, you throw the brain ‘ all that non-conscious processing ‘ you throw it into the ‘What’s the right answer’? mode. So, the brain naturally wants to give you the right answer, but it’s not really the answer that’s driving our behavior because one, we are not fully conscious of it and two, the brain just naturally lapses into ‘What’s the right answer’? Then it begins to rationalize answers rather than what really drives our behavior. 

So, what we’ve seen is that we are really able to get to the deeper reasons why and one of the things that we pay a lot of attention to at Brandtrust and in our work with many of the leading brands in the world is something that we call the ‘NINA Principle.’ NINA stands for ‘No Insight, No Advantage’. So, NINA simply serves to remind us to always ask the question ‘Is that really an insight’? because the great strategies are driven by great, deep, rich insights about what’s really underlying human behavior ‘ what’s really motivating people. So, we ask ourselves is that really an insight or is that just a bit of information that may be useful to know. Or is it what we affectionately refer to as ‘TBU’ ‘ ‘true but useless information’. So, it’s that kind of thing that really, really matters to research professionals and marketing is to be able to get to deeper, richer insights to get better strategies.

Your Life, By The Numbers

Today’s post comes from TMRE Guest Blogger, Katie Clark. She is also known as @InsightsGalon Twitter and a client-side market researcher, project manager, and social media maven.

As we get closer to TMRE I’ve been thinking more and more about data.

  • -The data that we are gathering and analyzing during our research projects
  • -The data that flows through the estimated 75 million servers worldwide each day
  • -And what’s most interesting to me lately – the data that we are all capturing every day about our daily lives. What we eat, how fast we run, what medicines we take, how many times we post to Twitter, and so on.

Life tracking, as it’s called, was profiled in 2010 by Gary Wolf of WIRED in an article for the New York Times entitled The Data-Driven life. In his article, Wolf highlighted that what was once the playground of the “ultrageek” was becoming increasingly mainstream as social and mobile grew:

‘People got used to sharing,’ says David Lammers-Meis, who leads the design work on the fitness-tracking products at Garmin. ‘The more they want to share, the more they want to have something to share.’ Personal data are ideally suited to a social life of sharing. You might not always have something to say, but you always have a number to report.

This is how the odd habits of the ultrageek who tracks everything have come to seem almost normal.

So yeah, there are “ultrageeks” like Tim Ferriss and Nicholas Felton who track their lives on a very deep, granular level. But us ‘regular folks’ are starting to pursue life tracking, whether we’re aware of it or not.

  • -Perhaps you’re trying to lose weight so you’re logging your meals with WeightWatchers orSparkPeople
  • -Perhaps you’re trying to PR your next half marathon, so you’re using your&GarminForerunner to calculate your time, distance and pace, and wirelessly send your data to your computer.
  • -You might even be using RescueTime to track how productive (or not) you’re being at work so you can modify your habits appropriately.
  • -If you’re heavily into social media, you may even be using apps like Memento to take your social updates and put them into daily diary format.

If you’re doing any of the above, you’re well on your way to life tracking.  There are an a bundance of apps for your i-devices that allow you to track pretty much everything about your life.

So, why do I find this so fascinating? Two reasons:

  1. 1) The more mainstream life tracking becomes, potentially the more willing research participants might be to share life tracking information.
  2. 2) Big data. The more folks get into life tracking, the more data may become available about the research participants and/or trends we may want to study.

I look forward to discussing market research, big ideas, big data, and even life tracking at TMRE - I’ll see you there!
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More about Katie: Based in Portland, Maine, Katie manages the market research team at Diversified Business Communications. She has worked with companies large and small and in industries such as seafood, 3D laser imaging, software, fragrance, finance, and entertainment to help them move the business forward through actionable insights derived from market research. She is passionate about bringing the’Voice of the Customer’ inside the organization. The opinions expressed here are her own and not those of her employer.

If you’d like to join Katie at TMRE 2012 this November 12-14 in Boca Raton, Florida, register today and mention code TMRE12BLOG and save 15% off the standard rate! For more about this year’s program, download the agenda.

Final Call to Reserve Your Spot at the World’s Top Market Research Event

In exactly one week, more than one thousand leading research and insights executives from around the world will gather at The Market Research Event. Don’t miss your opportunity to share stories, get inspired, collaborate, and create partnerships with the best in the industry.

Just a few reasons TMRE 2012 is one you can’t afford to miss:

‘ Meet the right people ’60% are client side practitioners, 72% are director level and above
‘ Get global perspectives – Over 20 countries and 5 continents are represented
‘ Be exposed to visionary trends and insights into the future of market research
‘ Exclusive opportunities for personal and professional development – Be transformed from an insight partner into a strategic consultative leader
‘ Access to a network of close to 10,000 members through TMRE’s virtual communities
‘ Complete control over your learning experience – Over 140 sessions focused on all the hottest topics in research and insights

There is a reason why TMRE attendees choose TMRE year after year. Come experience this world renowned event for yourself ‘ it’s an investment into your future that will pay off ten-fold. For more information on this year’s event, visit the webpage.

As a reader of this blog, register today and save 15% off the standard rate when you mention code TMRE12BLOG. If you have any questions about this year’s event, feel email to email me at jpereira@iirusa.com!

You’re Hired!

Today’s post comes from TMRE Guest Blogger, Katie Clark. She is also known as @InsightsGal on Twitter and a client-side market researcher, project manager, and social media maven. 

So, we’re hiring. I don’t tell you that because I’m sharing a job posting here (that’s here), I tell you that because building a strong market research department that is

well-rounded
nimble
focused on doing solid research 
an innovation leader

has been top of mind recently.

To that end, I’m quite excited to attend the “The Next Generation Researcher: Skillsets, Interests & Backgrounds To Look For and Nurture” interactive discussion hosted by Intel at TMRE…which is next week!

What goes through my mind when hiring is likely similar to what goes through yours. Questions like:

  • - What’s the makeup of a department that will drive the business forward? 
  • - What skills must a candidate come to the table with, and for what skills are we willing to offer training?
  • - What industry experience do the candidates have that is transferable to the industries in which we work?
  • - Are we going to ask this resource to hit the ground running, or are we going to give them a longer lead time to get up to speed?

I’m on the client/corporate side, so do you think my criteria for hiring are different from hiring managers on the supplier side?  John Hilland of Mindwave Research has a great interview with Cameron Cramer, owner of Marketing Intelligence Professionals that addresses that question.

It’s worth a read as he posits that supplier-side research hiring managers are more risk averse and want more immediate contributions from new hires, versus client-side hiring managers who are more inclined to hire someone who can “grow into” the position. Do I agree with Cramer? No, I don’t. In these times where we’re all doing more with less, being able to hit the ground running is imperative.

That said, we all should be considering what training programs are in place when considering what skills can be trained versus what skills a candidate needs to bring to the table.

A recent study by Best Practices, LLC highlighted that “70% of surveyed market research executives acknowledge that “soft” intrapersonal skills such as negotiation  and “listening” are critical competencies for market research professionals - yet most organizations do not have training programs nor systems to monitor and develop these skills in their market research staff.”

While I (think I) have all the answers for hiring for my department, I’m excited to learn from my peers at TMRE regarding what skill sets, interests and backgrounds they are looking for in their new hires. Hope to see you there!

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More about Katie: Based in Portland, Maine, Katie manages the market research team at Diversified Business Communications. She has worked with companies large and small and in industries such as seafood, 3D laser imaging, software, fragrance, finance, and entertainment to help them move the business forward through actionable insights derived from market research. She is passionate about bringing the’Voice of the Customer’ inside the organization. The opinions expressed here are her own and not those of her employer.

If you’d like to join Katie at TMRE 2012 this November 12-14 in Boca Raton, Florida, register today and mention code TMRE12BLOG and save 15% off the standard rate! For more about this year’s program, download the agenda.

Frito Lay Asks Consumers to Chip In Ideas

We’re sorry for the delay in blog posts this week at the TMRE blog and would like to wish any of our readers well who were in the path of Hurricane Sandy.

Today’s blog post comes from Forbes Consulting, an exhibitor at The Market Research Event.  You can find them at Booth 214.  Would you like to join them? As a reader of this blog, register to attend TMRE this month and mention code TMRE12BLOG to save 15% off the standard rate!


Frito Lay Asks Consumers to Chip In Ideas

Frito Lay launched a promotion recently to discover a new flavor for its potato chips. The ‘Do Us a Flavor’ contest challenges consumers to submit flavor suggestions via a Facebook page or cellphone. Suggestions consist of a name for the flavor, possible ingredients and a brief description.

According to a press release from Frito Lay, 20 random names drawn per day win $50 and a bag of chips, however, there may be a $1 million winner selected by ‘a judging panel made up of chefs, foodies and flavor experts,’ that includes known flavor expert Eva Longoria. Or maybe she’s a foodie. Either way, she’s tied up in all this.

Versions of the ‘Do Us a Flavor’ contest held in the UK, India and Australia, included suggestions such as Mastana Mango, Caesar Salad, Late Night Kebob and Cajun Squirrel. This raises the question of whether a contest like this simply provides fun or genuine insight into what consumers want.
It’s true that consumers have contributed to product success. In 1987, Susan Aprill was a student in her junior year at the University of New Hampshire. Working in the dining hall during the summer she noticed two young girls adding anything they found to a dish of vanilla ice cream, including banana slices, nuts and hunks of chocolate. She passed the idea along to Vermont-based Ben & Jerry’s along with the funny name she’d made up: Chunky Monkey. Twenty-five years later it’s still a popular flavor.

Aprill was given a card that lets her score free ice cream ‘ any flavor ‘ whenever she wants it. There were also lawsuits involving the name ‘ which two people uninvolved with Aprill claimed they made up ‘ as well as a lawsuit involving the rights to the cartoon monkey used on the packaging.
So that’s it ‘ gone are the innocent days when an ice cream company run by a couple of hippies in Burlington, Vermont can take suggestions from fans and pay them off with free ice cream. ‘Flavor’-doers will sign legal releases surrendering all rights in perpetuity’just in case any of their ideas are genuinely good. Keep in mind that the contest winner may not be a flavor idea that Lay’s chooses to greenlight. After all, Clay Aiken didn’t actually win ‘American Idol.’

In that spirit, feel free to use any of our ideas for your ‘Do Us a Flavor’ entry. We won’t make you sign a release:

  • ‘ Bama-Lama Brisket
  • ‘ Snackeroni and Cheese
  • ‘ Straight Bourbon
  • ‘ Who Beefed?
  • ‘ Not-So-Routine Poutine
  • ‘ If You Knew Sushi