A Closer Look at Eye Tracking

Eye tracking is about where we look, what we look at, how much time we spend looking at it, how our pupils react to different kinds of visual stimulation and when we blink, according to IMOTIONS.
Put most simply, eye tracking refers to the measurement of eye activity. More specifically, eye tracking implies the recording of eye position (point of gaze) and movement on a 2D screen or in 3D environments based on the optical tracking of corneal reflections to assess visual attention. While the idea of eye tracking is quite straightforward, the technology behind it might strike you as rather complex and inscrutable.
No need to hit the panic button. The following pages are packed with all the need-to-knows and useful tools to help you get a solid grasp of eye tracking technology and best practices.
IMOTIONS created an eye tracking infographic for a fun and easily digestible overview of eye tracking:

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6 Tips Marketing Researchers Can Learn From Social Media

This post was
originally published on Lightspeed
GMI’s blog

Social media has caused a massive shift in the way people
communicate, interact and share experiences and personal interests. Consumers
are always on, always connected. Consumers build unique online relationships;
they are connected to brands, athletes, teams, family, friends and co-workers
on multiple channels. Sharing everything from political views to favorite
products, social media users are leaking valuable information and insights for
researchers to take advantage of.

Marketing researchers have adapted Mobile
First best practices
; but are we also looking to benefit from the same
openness and flexibility that social media platforms have to offer? There are
six ways to successfully engage and capture relevant and actionable
feedback from your panelists based on social media best practices:
Focus on
people, not metrics: Our
industry refers to panelists, not people. Are
we focusing on why individuals are dropping out of surveys? Are we worried
about their enjoyment of a survey or just survey completes? Create consumer
conversations, not metrics.  
to Digital Stats, 92% of consumers say they trust earned media like personal
recommendations above other forms of advertising.
 Authentic brands do
better on social media, but trust is earned over time. If you want to capture
genuine consumer insights, treat your online survey as you would a social media
account. Be honest and upfront about your intent.
don’t push:
 Want to get better research? Consider the way you are
asking questions. Similiar to social media posts, consumers favor shorter,
visually appealing surveys with a strong narrative structure.Engage
your respondents first, ask questions later.
Let the
consumer decide:
video, text or photo? Social media platforms are
constantly evolving, but they always remain focused on consumer adoption. According
to Spinklr, marketers need to find new ways to capture the attention of the
consumer who has seen just about everything
. Every day, more and more
individuals are starting surveys on their mobile devices over PCs. They are
deciding when and what device to take the survey; why not let them decide on
the format? We design for cross-device research, so why not design
Across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, you want to reach
your target audience with relevant content ‘ photos, posts and videos. Like
social media, marketing research is a crowded space; panelists are flooded with
survey invites daily. Be relevant: ask
the right questions, in the right sequence to the right audience.
first, technology second:
 Social media planning 101 = interactions
first, channel second. Allow your panelists, not technology, to drive the
future of the industry. Are marketing researchers allowing technology to
dictate the future or panelists? Are you focused on building mobile research
apps or consumer feedback apps?
Gaining success in social media isn’t easy; it’s a process,
a way of thinking. Social media can be used to create and collect customer
intelligence through listening techniques. And this can also ring true in the
online survey world. Think about it: Brands have the capacity to cultivate
conversations with consumers…but often don’t. Researchers who are successful
in gaining insights from surveys are the ones who allow the consumer to take
the wheel and drive how marketers can collect information from them. Platforms
such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram allow users to be
creative and communicate in whatever method is enjoyable to them.  Why not
allow online panelists that same freedom? By allowing panelists to communicate
with you through mediums that are most enjoyable to them, through video for
example, you could garner more authentic and elaborate feedback. Rather than
force tedious or possibly challenging lengthy open text responses, try allowing
an option for using text or video responses. Instead of requiring respondents
to rate a product on a variety of features through a MaxDiff exercise, try
engaging them in conversation through communities or discussion boards.

The perfect solution for the survey world isn’t available in
140 characters or less, unfortunately. But the successes of social media are
ours to grow from.

Here Be (Inner) Dragons: The Art Of Storytelling

Day 3 at TMRE ended with a charming and funny keynote on
storytelling, by a man who’s lived and worked it for decades. Francis Glebas
has decades of experience at Disney and Dreamworks in their visual development and
storyboarding departments, and has written books about his work there (Directing The Story and The Animator’s Eye). 
90s kids in
particular would be impressed by his visual CV: helping nail the look of
Aladdin’s nemesis Jafar, and storyboarding the bittersweet parting scene in Pocahontas. Now Glebas storyboards Sofia The First, a show about a girl who
becomes a princess by accident. He shared stories from his career and spun them
into useful advice for research and marketing professionals looking to tell a
few tales of their own.
Presentations about storytelling tend to take two routes.
One is to focus on story archetypes
the basic concepts that sit behind almost all the stories we tell ‘ like ‘rags
to riches’ or ‘boy meets girl’. The other is to talk about story structure ‘ the shape of stories, and
the rise and fall of the protagonist’s fortunes. The two things cross over
somewhat ‘ ‘tragedy’ is both an archetype (a story with a sad ending) and a
particular kind of inversion of a typical story shape, as a protagonist rises
then falls, instead of the other way around.
Glebas had things to say about both topics. A storyboarder ‘
the person who draws out the way scripted action is going to look on screen, as
if it was a comic book ‘ has an enormous effect on how a story reaches its
audience. For instance, he worked on Pocahontas throughout its development ‘ he
was in the room when it was pitched, and he went on to storyboard the pivotal
scene where John Smith and Pocahontas must leave each other. 
This scene, and
the story as a whole, had been pitched as a Romeo And Juliet tragic love story,
but trying to draw it that way ended up flat. Then Glebas realised ‘ it’s not
tragic, it’s bittersweet. Not Romeo And Juliet, but Casablanca. He redrew the
storyboards to make the characters’ love more obvious and their agency more
apparent ‘ and it worked.
The lesson is that having ‘a story’ isn’t enough. You have to
be telling the right story, to get the emotional tone right and leave people
feeling happy. 
Glebas also talked about effective structure. His watchword
is the ‘four Ws’ which explain the arc of a great story. It all starts with a
WISH ‘ something the protagonist wants. But then they do something WRONG ‘
overreach themselves, make a mistake, find themselves up against too strong an
enemy. It’s then that things are at their WORST ‘ they have not only not got
their wish, but they’ve lost what they had. 
But, as Glebas put it, ‘when you
are in hell, you reorganise or die’. And the story takes a dramatic upswing
(like the neck of a fire-breathing dragon) into WONDER, where by making things
right again the protagonist gets more than they ever dreamed possible.
WISH-WRONG-WORST-WONDER. Glebas presented this structural guide
as part motivational lesson (‘find your inner dragon and ignite your fire!’)
and part pragmatic tip on how to structure stories when it’s your turn to tell
them. It was a warm, wise presentation. 
As with every storytelling guide the precise
set of archetypes and the exact ‘universal’ structure varies ‘ but once you’ve
seen a few that nets out as a feature, not a bug. Storytelling guides are like
diets ‘ it’s a case of finding the one that suits you, not hunting vainly for one
that never fails.

Category Insights: Rainy Day Segments #12 And #35

It isn’t often that marketers get to blaze a trail through
an entirely new consumer category ‘ rolling out brand identities and category
signifiers from scratch ‘ but legal marijuana offers just such an opportunity.
Except, as Emily Paxhia of Poseidon Asset Management ‘ a
firm that invests heavily in the budding industry ‘ pointed out in her
fascinating TMRE presentation, marijuana isn’t an entirely new category. The
rich cultural history of the herb in America is something the marijuana
industry has to negotiate as it tries to create an identity that appeals to a
new, more diverse generation of smokers.
Even the word ‘smoker’ is part of the drug’s heritage, not
its present ‘ marijuana users are as, if not more, likely to get high by
vaping, edibles, or topical lotions and patches. Marketers are faced with a
whole legacy vocabulary designed by the authorities to put people off
marijuana, not draw them in. They have to weed out phrases like ‘recreational’ ‘
with its negative drug war connotations. Most of all, they have to contend with
the Cheech and Chong or slacker-era image of the lazy stoner, something that
puts modern marijuana users on the defensive.

Weed culture: from this…

So who are these new users? Paxhia had the figures. 65%
male, 84% employed, average age 30, mostly well-off, and roughly evenly split
between the major political parties. Most strikingly, only 31% of users claimed
they used pot to ‘get stoned’ ‘ but 95% agreed that they used the drug to be
more present in the moment, and in the ethnographic part of the study they shared
stories of how mundane activities from cleaning to fishing to dog walking were
enhanced by cannabis. As Paxhia put it, these people are checking in, not
dropping out. Everybody must get centered.
This wholesale adoption of the language of mindfulness was
the biggest indication of what made this talk so fascinating. Branded Marijuana
‘ the unbranded stuff still does a brisk trade, I believe – is a very modern
category: it’s created by and for younger consumers, and fairly wealthy and bohemian
ones at that. So it conforms almost entirely to what they expect ‘ or what marketers
expect they expect – from consumer goods. Legal pot is artisanal, tastefully
designed, social, inventive and experiential.
Paxhia reported, for instance, that in San Francisco, chefs
and ‘budtenders’ are collaborating on private pairing parties where the
traditionally close relationship between weed and food can be explored in a
more upscale manner. The entire industry is being created along the principles
of post mass-marketing: it’s a trendwatcher’s dream.
Of course, most consumer goods categories balance modern
marketing approaches with a legacy of how things were done in the 20th
century. But while beer, say, struggles to reconcile the Craft-aware kids it
wants to sell to with the Bud-chugging masses it always has sold to, marijuana
gets to make a clean break. It’s at pains to reject its underground image as
corny or childish. No more Reefer Madness ‘ brands like Kiva and Goodship are
almost defensively tasteful. ‘It’s commonplace in the finance business’ said
one earnest young enthusiast, to the sound of weeping from Jerry Garcia’s
unquiet ghost.

…to this: Leafs By Snoop.

But what’s also interesting is that the real breadheads are
staying away. Legal pot is ‘ so far ‘ growing without much input from risk
averse corporations. Celebrities are getting involved: Snoop Dogg has a brand, naturally, though
older consumers recalling the sleeve art to Doggy Style may be disappointed
that it looks as discreet as any other. And the market is set to expand, with
legal marijuana propositions on the ballot in multiple states this November.
But for now, the legal weed industry has a unique, boutique
flavour. It is changing rapidly ‘ the marijuana industry moves in ‘dog years’,
as time in it seems to pass much faster (another departure from tradition). So
the business is collectively getting to grips with issues around portion
control, regulation, and packaging information ‘ a dramatically steep learning
curve. The legal cannabis products of even two years ago look a lot more
homespun and less sophisticated than those on sale now.
In the process, it’s not just marijuana’s past that’s being
rejected. The future that stoners used to imagine for legal pot ‘ paranoid images
of Joe Camel with spliff in hand as Big Tobacco got its claws into weed ‘ has manifestly
not come to pass. Paxhia’s 420-degree overview of the category she passionately
loves showed that instead it’s a unique test bed for the new norms and assumptions of

Brand Tracking: How Coca-Cola Found Their Olympic Feeling

On TMRE Day 3, in the Macro Trends track, Coca-Cola Brazil detailed
how they’d drawn inspiration from behavioral science to meet the challenge of
the Rio Olympics. Coke’s Patricia Fonesca 
faced a problem any big brand will be familiar with ‘ how do you measure
marketing effectiveness when you have so many different sources of information
on your brand and your business that it’s almost impossible to piece them
The answer, according to Fonesc a and research agency
BrainJuicer, is not ever-larger datasets. ‘Your data is probably already big
enough,’ said BrainJuicer’s Gabriel Aleixo. Instead, you need to transform the
way you think about consumer behaviour. You must look at consumers for who they
are ‘ people making quick, emotional decisions at a ‘System 1′ level. 
By adopting a new model of human behaviour based on this
truth, Coca-Cola looked to improve their ability to predict performance.
Their new model had its roots in work starting in 2013,
designed to track the long-run up to the 2014 World Cup, held in Brazil.
Coca-Cola moved away from metrics like ad recall, purchase intent and brand
attributes ‘ ‘system 2′ measures that demanded too much consumer memory and
self-knowledge. Instead it tracked emotional response and simple recognition of
campaigns as the best way to establish how consumers were reacting to
touchpoints in real time.
For the Rio Olympics, Coca-Cola scaled up this marketing
effort and added a new dimension ‘ a simple way of tracking brands based on
Fame, Feeling and Fluency, the core heuristics that lie behind System 1
decision making. Fame is familiarity ‘ if a brand comes readily to mind, it’s a
good choice. Feeling is positive emotion ‘ if you feel good about a brand, it’s
a good choice. And Fluency is ease of recognition and distinctiveness ‘ if you
recognise a brand or its ‘distinctive assets’ (like red for Coca-Cola) quickly,
it’s a good choice.
These three core metrics, according to Coca-Cola, are all you need to know to understand brand performance: they predict
85% of market performance, and also forecast future share and the brand’s
ability to charge a price premium. 
Coca-Cola is a ’5-Star brand’ in Brazil, according to the
model, with sky-high Fame and Fluency. But it faces a constant battle to
maintain the level of Feeling its status demands ‘ fail to make people happy,
and a brand can quickly become a dinosaur. ‘Why are brand feelings so vital’?
asked Fonesca, ‘They are a lever of market share gains.’
Coca-Cola’s campaign was designed to boost Feeling.
To keep Feeling high, Coke needed great emotional marketing, and it needed reach. Despite the rise of social media, even for
younger Brazilians TV is an incredibly important medium and a guarantor of
reach. The brand came up with a winning emotional idea ‘ ‘what does gold feel
like’? which performed brilliantly in emotional testing: a true 5-Star ad. With
the real-time tracking, Coca-Cola could see that 20 million people were being
touched a day by the brand during the Rio Olympics, and that 3 out of 4
Brazilians had seen the ads. That kind of massive reach is what a large brand
has to aspire to in order to maintain its dominant position.
For Coca-Cola, the investment in emotional marketing paid
off. The brand saw its Feeling scores reach unprecedented levels during the
Olympics, and this showed up in two ways. First, of every brand in every category,
Coke was the brand with the highest Olympic association. And second, higher
Feeling led to brand growth, as the brand’s tracked share rose by 1.5 points.
Coca-Cola credited this success to two key factors. First, a
really powerful core creative idea (the ‘gold’ campaign). And second, the
real-time intelligence to guide them so they knew where and when to move their
efforts between channels. For instance, their real-time tracking helped them realise that packaging was the key to communicating that creative idea – an insight they might not otherwise have reached.
And how could other brands take advantage of behavioural
science to modernise or reinvent tracking? The presentation ended with three
key thoughts.
First, focus on the basics of decision making, and remember
it’s fast and frugal, not complex and reasoned.
Second, make sure brand tracker insights always lead to
action ‘ maximise impact with simple metrics delivered at speed.
Third, make brand trackers accountable. Simply tying them to
equity measures isn’t enough ‘ they must relate to real business results.
Get those things right, and the tracking gold medal could be

Alligators in the Board Room

By: Christina Luppi, Manager, Sentient
Decision Science

This post was originally published on the Sentient Decision Science Blog.
‘Command the Board Room’ is the theme at TMRE 2016. A lofty
goal, perhaps. But maybe not so lofty if you’re equipped with the right
, TMRE 2016′s chairperson, immediately endeared himself to the audience
by dubbing himself the ‘biggest failure’ in the ballroom. He cited multiple
tanked businesses, several career restarts, and a credit score of 300
to support the claim. Why so eager to have his failures be known? To help
people better understand how they can succeed.
‘Insights teams need to play a critical role in the board
room,’ Yu stressed. When decision makers want to know why big
ideas fail, they find the answer is often human.
Even when the desirability is validated, when the
concepts are good and the budgets are excellent, ideas can
bomb because of people.
People run into walls of fear when approached with a
new idea, said Yu. Next, they run into walls of apathy because so
many things are competing for their interest. Lastly, they run into walls of
disbelief and are desperate for proof.
‘Ideas don’t sell themselves,’ Yu explained. ‘You can’t just
have the right content. It requires us becoming champions in the board room.
Those walls are human dynamics and exist even with the right content.’
The walls Yu mentioned aren’t about what is right and wrong,
they’re emotional barriers all marketers have to deal with at some
point. Insights help us break through.
TMRE keynote speaker Zoe Chance left
corporate marketing to get her PhD because she wanted to study the complexities
of decision making. Really, frustration in the field made her determined
to help people make research-based decisions that make sense, rather than see
them go with their gut.
What she found is that marketers actually need to suck
it up and learn to work better with the board members who make gut
decisions’that’s just who we are as a species. Humans are ruled by
‘alligator psychology,’ she noted.
Something we know as System
1 thinking
‘I refer to [System 1 and System 2] as the
‘alligator brain’ and the ‘court,” Chance explained. ‘System 1 is unconscious,
fast’ an automatic decision maker. We only imagine the court is making more
decisions than it is.’
Rather than trying to force feed data down the throats
of people who won’t swallow, Chance suggested researchers better understand
the emotional motivations of our System 1 brains
She outlined five key forces of influence:
Labeling: Giving a name to behavior you want to
encourage or discourage.
Ease: Ease of use is a more powerful
motivator than even pleasure. This is a principle practiced to perfection by
companies like Amazon and Uber.
Attention: Moments of truth, open loops,
and the Zeigarnik effect.
Scarcity: Operates through loss aversion.
‘Hot potato’: When faced with resistance,
instead of pushing, hand back a problem to solve.
Notice the acronym? ‘If you’re going to walk an alligator,
it helps to have a LEASH,’ Chance said with a smile.
Of course, alligators can be lazy. They sometimes need
persuading to bite.
, best-selling author of Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics talked
about the power of incentives in marketing.
‘Never underestimate the power of free. It doesn’t matter
how much of something somebody’s got, how much they’re worth; the alligator
part of our brain’ will just zap at it.’
To illustrate, Dubner told a story of how the world-renowned
Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles dealt with a particular problem, a big
problem. Doctors were not washing their hands.
Yes, really.
The issue wasn’t a matter of education’doctors know the
science and danger of bacteria’it was a matter of communication. How do
you tell medical professionals they must do something they already know they
must do?
The hospital tried incentivizing a hand washing program with
Starbucks gift cards. And the wealthy MDs snapped them up as though they
couldn’t afford their own coffee.
‘They turned a life and death problem into a game they
wanted to play,’ said Dubner. But the card didn’t raise the overall rate of hand washing.
‘Data can get you at the ‘what’ pretty easily, and the
‘what’ didn’t work. The ‘why’ is complicated.’
Why gets into psychology, sometimes even into
religion. It also delves into the subconscious. What doctors would admit
they don’t wash their hands in a hospital?
‘Self-reported data is close to worthless,’ said
Dubner. ‘This is why we need to know not what people are telling you they
will do; we need to get data about what they actually will do.’
Eventually, the board at Cedars-Sinai created graphic
images of the bacteria found on their own hands and placed the image
on every computer screen saver at Cedars-Sinai. By showing doctors the
danger and triggering an emotional response, the research team got the
hand-washing rate up to 100-percent almost overnight.
‘If that’s the way the human brain works, let’s find a way
to take advantage of that and exploit it for some good,’ Dubner concluded.

In that light, understanding alligator brain actually
sounds pretty rational.

Behavioral Science: Meeting In The Ladies Room

Why, asked Stephanie Magnan of Kimberly-Clark in her
enthralling TMRE Day 2 presentation, does behavioral science stop at the
restroom door?
From moving candy out of employees’ way to incorporating
play and stress reduction, modern workplaces use behavioral science in all
sorts of ways. The concept is simple: discreetly ‘nudge’ people into behavior that
does them good and makes them happy. Small changes in the environment can make
a huge difference in this, because they shift people’s emotional response. As
Magnan put it, ‘we think much less than we think we think’. Emotions are the
But very few behavioral science studies look at workplace
restrooms. And that’s a bizarre omission, given how critical they are to employee
wellbeing and the fact that, well, everybody uses them. At Kimberly-Clark,
Magnan’s team made a few small changes ‘ adding lotions and boxes of Kleenex to
the restrooms ‘ and were wowed by the results. Restroom satisfaction jumped
from 17% to 77%. People reported lower stress and greater wellbeing. And there
was a knock-on effect on perceptions of workplace cleanliness as a whole. The
real insight? All these changes were most pronounced (by orders of magnitude)
among women.

Behavioral makeover required.

Something about restrooms was critical to women’s experience
of the workplace. But what?
With the agency Brandtrust ‘ specialists in behavioral
science based projects, who use psychoanalytical techniques to probe emotions
in far-ranging 1-on-1 interviews ‘ Magnan and her team vowed to find out. 
Standard satisfaction surveys are of very limited use when
you’re looking at emotional response, because they tend to play back
post-rationalised reasons instead of getting to the guts of an experience.
Magnan described how Brandtrust and Kimberly-Clark instead wanted to ‘ask the
bigger question’ ‘ getting to the difficult, perhaps uncomfortable truths
lurking behind such dramatic shifts in opinion. Empathy, she pointed out,
precedes innovation ‘ to respond to someone’s needs to have to walk in their
shoes, not just listen to their voice.
So in this case the bigger question turned out to be ‘ what does it feel like to be a woman at
By answering that question Magnan was able to get a fuller idea of
the unique role the restroom plays in women’s working lives.
The women she talked to described a ‘cycle of vulnerability
and confidence’ ‘ working lives made up of small victories and disappointments,
including dealing with levels of workplace discrimination. In an open office
environment, women feel all eyes are on them ‘ meaning they are always somewhat
alienated from their authentic self.
In this context the bathroom is a vital space ‘ a place you
have permission to be alone in, where you can sigh, relax, and refocus
yourself. While American restroom stalls are perhaps too bijou for it, in other countries women talked about praying or
practising yoga in the restroom. It is a sanctuary ‘ a safe space of utmost
privacy. No wonder small changes made such a huge difference. The restroom is a
space where women ‘prepare and repair identities’ in the gendered panopticon of
the modern office. But it’s also a space where they can connect ‘ hierarchy relaxing
side-by-side in front of the mirror.
Magnan used her insights to refashion a Staples restroom,
adding Kleenex boxes, flowers, full length mirrors (to check outfits properly)
and slates with inspirational quotes. The results were a huge success. As one
woman put it, ‘it reminds me so much of my restroom at home’. Exactly.
Magnan’s presentation is an example of the power of
behavioral science. Not just to transform experiences and emotions, but as a
way in to asking far bigger questions which can lead to deeper human truths
emerging. She left the audience with four take outs. First, empathy precedes
emotion ‘ only by empathising can we find insights. Second, risk asking the
better question ‘ go wider, deeper, less straightforward. Third, know your
mission ‘ remember the ultimate goal of your behavioral project. And finally,
find your passion within the mission ‘ Magnan’s obvious love of and belief in
her work shone through this presentation.

Innovation: When It Pays To Take Things Slow

On Day 2 of TMRE, in the Innovation Track, a case study presentation
by Sargento Foods inadvertently illuminated one of the big issues in
innovation: the gulf between how we talk about it, and how it actually happens.
The track chairs, Michael Laux and Thania Farrar of Burke,
kicked the session off with the former, a chart showing the ever accelerating
pace of technological innovation. It was the kind of chart that shows the
electric lightbulb and the steam engine as less dramatic advances than the iPad
‘ but it made its point. This is how people in our industry talk innovation ‘
as an ever-accelerating hamster wheel of change on which brands must spin or
fall off.
But is that really how innovation works? Michelle Monkoski
and Barbara Kilcoyne of cheese giant Sargento implied a rather different view ‘
where patience and timing, not frantic acceleration, are the keys to innovating
against consumer trends.
Their case study focused on Sargento’s Cheese Medleys
product, a proposed 2004 launch which mixed cheese, nuts and fruit in packs.
Cheese Medleys boasted an array of benefits ‘ a high-protein snack with healthy
ingredients, perfect for on-the-go consumers. It was a ‘balance snack’, where
buyers didn’t have to choose between great taste and nutrition.  But if you’re struggling to picture it,
though, don’t worry: in testing, Cheese Medleys was a failure. The benefits
simply didn’t connect with consumers.
Sargento cares about consumer trends, though. It has an
annual trend day ‘ called Trendscape ‘ whose results feed into R&D, Sales,
Category Management, Marketing and Business Development. Through its consumer
trend work ‘ based on research and on thinking outside the category box ‘ it could
see trends coming down the pipe like a new interest in the health benefits of
protein, like ‘snackification’ and greater demand for one-the-go food, and like
a rethinking of what ‘healthy’ food is.
This last trend was particularly crucial ‘ it represented a
shift in the consumer mindset from reactive health to proactive health. With
reactive health, you try to cut out the bad stuff. With proactive health, you
try and embrace the good stuff. Ideas of balance, of real and wholesome
ingredients, and of freshness came back into play.

An idea whose time had come.

These were exactly the kind of trends that Cheese Medleys
had been designed to appeal to. And now they were heading into the mainstream.
So, eight years on from the poor performance of Cheese Medleys, Sargento
designed and launched Balanced Breaks. The same basic concept, but now the
trends it addressed were more familiar and recognisable to consumers.
Sargento left little to chance. Everything from the flavours
to the semiotics of the package ‘ designed to remind consumers of a yin-yang
sign and suggest balance ‘ was carefully considered before launch. And Balanced
Breaks proved to be an idea whose time had come ‘ it’s been a success,
outperforming expectations for Sargento.
The philosophy Sargento applied for this successful
innovation is a simple but powerful one. You need three things. You need a
strong brand. You need on-point trend identification. And you need the right
timing and meaningful activation
for consumers.
In other words, successful innovation for a mass market
brand isn’t always about the headlong rush towards novelty. It’s also a waiting
game. You sometimes need to patiently wait until the trends your idea speaks to
are sufficiently mainstream and recognisable among consumers for your launch to
succeed. As the presenters said, ‘Don’t be afraid to take a new look at an old
That’s not the glamorous route to innovation at the bleeding
edge. But it works.

Media Brands Navigate The Multicultural Future

Two great presentations at Monday’s Entertainment and Media track
took on the multicultural consumer. It’s a popular topic: the undeniable fact
of a diversifying US population forces brands to rethink their approaches.
Especially so, when you consider that the demographic prizes marketers most
covet ‘ Millennials and Gen Z ‘ are at the front of this change.
Thomas Grayman from Spike TV applied the latest neuroscience
techniques to this thorny problem, and came away with a valuable insight about
how representation impacts viewers of color at a subconscious level. Yatisha
Forde of NBC Universal took the ‘reaching the multicultural consumer’ rulebook
and tore it right up, asking us to turn our assumptions upside down: as
multiculturalism becomes the ‘New Mainstream’, start with the Hispanic consumer and reach the rest of the market
from them.
Spike TV had a typical media brand problem. It had built its
brand on appealing to young white men, and now it needed to reach a broader
audience. It had a roster of strong reality and celebrity shows ‘ like tattoo
throwdown Ink Master and personal finance boot camp Life Or Debt.  But how could the brand market its line-up to
viewers outside its former core audience?
Grayman described how Spike TV crafted ads for its shows and
tested them with cells of white and non-white consumers, using NeuroInsight.
NeuroInsight’s techniques monitored brain response to the ads ‘ in particular,
the extent to which long-term memory is activated by a piece of content.
Initial results made tough reading for a brand looking to expand
its audience for a more diverse era. Despite diverse casts with people of color
prominently featured, the ads scored lower among the non-white participants on
engagement and on long-term memory activation. Emotional response was starkly
negative. What was going on?
Lip Sync Battle – what did it get right?
By exploring response on a second-by-second basis, Spike TV
could find out exactly what the problem was. On average the ads were a turn off
for non-white viewers, but with a stark in response before and after the first
prominent appearance of a person of color. As soon as one appeared, memory
encoding jumped. And the ad in which people of color appeared prominently
throughout ‘ for celebrity miming challenge Lip Sync Battle ‘ saw no difference
between white and non-white response.
Grayman called this moment of truth for non-white viewers ‘the
invitation’ ‘ the point at which they unconsciously register that yes, this
show welcomes them. With this insight, Spike TV has been able to retool its marketing
as it looks to build and diversify its audience. The moment of invitation needn’t
involve visual representation ‘ one ordinary Persil ad found its ‘invitation’
in the closing seconds, with a snatch of Montell Jordan’s ‘This Is How We Do it’.
Multicultural representation is a hot topic ‘ it’s generally
framed as both a social and commercial good, based on the overall positive
effects of under-represented groups seeing themselves in the media. Spike TV’s
study offered proof of its impact at an individual level ‘ representation is
the key to unlocking engagement, attention and long-term impact.
Yatisha Forde of NBCUniversal took that insight a step
further. The brand’s CultureFirst’ approach flipped the traditional
multicultural script. Instead of taking a Total Market insight and ‘translating’
it for different minority groups, the CultureFirst approach takes insights
designed for a particular consumer ‘ a young Hispanic woman ‘ and then
transfers them to the total market. By not using whiteness as an assumed
baseline, CultureFirst is able to get ahead of cultural trends, not play
catch-up. As Forde put it, ‘Total market strategies driven by Latino human
truths will drive stronger consumer resonance among Hispanics and
Non-Hispanics, due to the profound, pervasive and permanent nature of Latino
culture in the US.’
In practical terms, this meant ads that started
Spanish-language and tested just as well among Hispanic and non-Hispanic groups
when transferred to English-language. It also meant feeding into NBC Universal’s CurveReport ‘ the company’s large-scale trend tracker. CultureFirst helped
NBC Universal locate a group it called ‘the New Mainstream’, made up of Hispanic
consumers but also Hispanic-inspired consumers: again, moving the assumptions
of what ‘mainstream’ culture is to better reveal the future shape of the
The trends uncovered were the most fascinating part of Forde’s
report. Some were pragmatic ‘ putting the spotlight on La Jefa (‘the boss’),
figurehead of a trend towards female-owned small Latina businesses, a segment
that’s grown 87% over the last decade. Others had profound implications for
cultural identity ‘ ‘Otherland’, shorthand for the way in which Hispanic and ‘New
Mainstream’ consumers are comfortable with multiple cultural identities from
the broad to the niche: Hispanic and witch, Blaxican and skater. But rather
than dividing consumers into segments of one, these intersectional identities
become hubs by which like-minded people can find each other.
The CultureFirst approach has led NBC Universal to re-think
the way it treats culture. Younger generations, it realises, want to see
themselves as the owners and tellers of their own story, not simply as an
audience. So honouring existing culture is only an important first step. After
it comes sharing culture without appropriation, by giving its owners the agency
to tell stories. Then finally helping people inspired by these stories to
Both these presentations were inspiring beginnings to TMRE
2016. Grayman’s showed how new technology can crack the trickiest of marketing
problems. Forde’s was an inspirational vision of a genuinely future-focused
marketing, which puts demographic change at its centre.