Tag Archives: April Bell Research

TMRE: Shifting to an Emotional Lens in the Drive-Thru

The majority of our thoughts take place in the subconscious mind. Usually, we don’t know WHY we are doing something if we are asked directly, but there is usually an emotional reason for it hidden in our subconscious. 

The folks at Coca-Cola were curious to learn about people’s experiences in the drive-thru. Instead of conducting this research ethnographically, which would involve being right there with consumers in the drive-thru to observe their actions and emotional reactions, Coca-Cola decided to take a different approach and do 30 one-on-one IDIs (in-depth interviews). 

The way they did this successfully was by asking respondents to go through the visualization process, to mentally bring them back to their drive-thru experience. “If you ask them to tell you about one of their memories or experiences, they tell you something you might not have heard otherwise,” says Kristian Aloma from Brandtrust. His team even asked respondents close their eyes while answering some of the questions for better recall of the event. “The key is NOT asking them why. There are ways a trained researcher can get past the surface to uncover their actual experience,” Aloma states.

To Coca-Cola’s surprise, many respondents revealed very emotional experiences at the drive-thru. For some it was a place where they could go in the morning to brighten their day; for others it was a get-away from their hectic routine where they could have someone else take care of them. It was a part of their ritual, and it made them feel good.

The presentation was definitely intriguing, and it was also very educational. I learned a lot about the different techniques that can be used to get respondents to open up about their experiences, especially if an ethnographic study is not possible. I’m eager to tell my team members about the interesting findings of this research!


Mayuri Joshi is Research Magician at April Bell Research Group, a boutique, full-service marketing research firm, committed to delivering fresh insights you can act on! Learn more at aprilbellresearch.com.

Live from #TMRE13 Where Have All The Good Ideas Gone?

Steve Landis and Andy Smith spoke about opportunities to help grow your business in Where Have All The Good Ideas Gone?. In this rapidly changing world of consumers, there are more products and options available than ever before. So, how does a company make it in this cut-throat market?
Change your ways. The changing marketplace is forcing companies to change their way of measuring success. It’s not longer acceptable for survival to be the main goal. Your main focus MUST be growth – growth = success. 
Traditional measures don’t link to growth. Old ideas that may have worked before, are no longer relevant in this day and age. What makes a good idea? Those that will grow your business, not those that will just boost sales. Ones that may seem crazy at first, but will benefit your company in the long run. 


Talia Short is Chief Wrangler at April Bell Research Group, a boutique, full-service marketing research firm, committed to delivering fresh insights you can act on! Learn more at aprilbellresearch.com.

Live from #TMRE13: The Pragmatic Brain

Jeremy Sack, Director of Pragmatic Brain Science Institute at LRW, provided a fresh perspective on the word “stereotype.” We hear that word all the time, but it almost always carries a negative connotation. But Sack says that stereotypes are ever-present, and are essential, especially when it comes to dealing with brands.

“Brands are stereotypes within themselves,” he states. When you hear the word Disney, you might immediately start thinking of Mickey Mouse or your favorite Disney movies and feel some kind of emotion. What you may not realize, is all of those thoughts and feelings that the word Disney brings about is the stereotype that you have of the brand. And in this scenario, the word “stereotype” is not necessarily a bad thing. 

A great example Sack provided is of a prank that Jimmy Kimmel pulled back when the iPhone 5 was about to be released. The phone had not actually come out yet, but Kimmel surveyed people on the streets by showing them the iPhone 4S and telling them it was the new iPhone 5. He asked them, “How do you think this is different than the previous iPhone?” And to my surprise, these people were convinced that they were actually holding a new iPhone 5 and described it as “lighter” and “sleeker” than the iPhone 4S. It just had to do with the perception or stereotype they already had in their minds about the new and improved iPhone 5, and it was affecting their reality. 

All of us have ideas and images that come to mind when we think of certain brand names. So, when thinking about your brand as a whole, it is important to understand the stereotype that it holds in the marketplace. 


Mayuri Joshi is Research Magician at April Bell Research Group, a boutique, full-service marketing research firm, committed to delivering fresh insights you can act on! Learn more at aprilbellresearch.com.

Live from #TMRE13: Trend Spotting: Trends that Define a More Discerning Consumerism

How awesome would it be to work in the liquor industry and have the word “Vodka” in your job title? Well Janu Lakshmanan, Head of Global Vodka Consumer Insights for Beam, does exactly that. 

Based on her presentation, it was easy to see how passionate she is about her job (and who wouldn’t be?) and how hard her team has worked on figuring out the 5 current trends in the vodka industry. 

1) Think Global, Get Local – People have started to care about where their food/drink comes from. Chipotle is a company that does a great job with emphasizing that it only uses local ingredients.

2) Maximized Moments – This is all about taking things to the next level and enhancing the overall experience. Heineken put a chip in their beer bottles that would light up based on the energy in the room (for example, it would light up to the beat of the music).

3) Collaborative Lifestyles – There is something special about sharing and making the world a better place. Lyft is a car service program where people offer rides in their personal cars to create an interactive experience of helping out others, while getting the chance to meet new people. 


4) Synthesthesia – Engaging all of your senses to make the overall experience better. Salta is a beer company that wanted to tie together Rugby and beer by having vending machines that men have to tackle, and based on the strength, the machine gives out bottles of Salta beer. 





5) Made for One - Customized just for you. CustomMade is a company that can make anything (from tables to toothbrushes) custom made.

I loved the presentation! Her passion and energy, as well as her use of creative examples, made this one of my favorites! 

Mayuri Joshi is Research Magician at April Bell Research Group, a boutique, full-service marketing research firm, committed to delivering fresh insights you can act on! Learn more at aprilbellresearch.com.

Live from #TMRE13 5 Game Changing Trends That Will Drive Growth Today & In the Future

My first session today was about the 5 Game Changing Trends That Will Drive Growth Today & In the Future by Charles Vila from Campbell Soup Company. He highlighted 5 consumer trends that we are already playing out globally and will continue to drive growth far into the future. Here they are:
My ROI
We are living in a fast paced, digital age where consumers are taking charge of their finances, their health, their time, and their happiness. Our return on investment is probably the #1 trend to take advantage of. We are always looking for the “best bang for our buck”. Not necessarily targeting the cheapest product, but for the most value for what we are willing to spend. And the value of service is making a comeback.
iHealth 3.0
People are finally beginning to take control of their health and change their habits. Roughly 50% of Americans are overweight, which is causing rises in insurance premiums and a need for healthier options. The realization now is that it’s much easier to prevent health problems, rather than fix them, but how?
Energy Management
We are constantly on the go – working, exercising, juggling different tasks, taking care of the kids. Everyone is exhausted, nobody gets enough sleep and energy has become the most valued commodity in consumers’ lives. There is more and more need for innovations to speed up processes and save time – to make people’s lives easier.

Desire To Feel Alive
There is a yearning inside all of us to rebound emotionally and physically from pressures and problems in our lives. We all need to find ways to release tension and have some fun during the day. The desire for new experiences, outlets for creativity and spontaneity are an ever-growing need.
Digital is Re-Setting Expectations
Humans naturally want to be part of a community, create deep relationships with people and find ways to express themselves. Enter Social Media – facilitating connections and socialization. MySpace is now a thing of the past, Facebook and Twitter have become the hot spots – what’s next?
There are plenty of opportunities for growth within these 5 categories. The question is, what will we do about it?

Talia Short is Chief Wrangler at April Bell Research Group, a boutique, full-service marketing research firm, committed to delivering fresh insights you can act on! Learn more at aprilbellresearch.com.

Live from #TMRE13 – Billion Member Focus Group: Using Social Media Analysis to Understand Today’s Real-Time Customer

Social media has become a part of daily life, and in today’s world, it’s hard to find someone who does not have either a Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account. Consumers are constantly on their computers, tablets, and mobile devices, posting and tweeting their thoughts and opinions. 

When you think of the number of people on these social media sites, it’s difficult to even comprehend the magnitude of data that is generated on a daily basis. In fact, according to Wayne St. Amand, Vice President of Marketing at Crimson Hexagon, there are 1 billion posts that go up every 48 hours! 

Social media is the single largest source of unsolicited consumer opinions, and very few companies are doing a good job capturing and analyzing this data. All of this data is already readily available at your fingertips, and there is much opportunity to utilize it to uncover meaningful insights.

St. Amand provided an example of a large automotive brand that sought to decode this social media data by initially categorizing the comments and posts into positive, negative, and neutral segments. But simply looking at the data in these segments did not provide the level of insight desired because the WHY piece was missing. It is not as powerful to know WHAT consumers are saying if you don’t know the reasoning behind it. Once the brand dug deeper into this data to figure out WHY the customer comments were positive, negative or neutral, the company was able to uncover the detailed insights necessary to successfully complete their rebranding efforts.

The large amount of information being created on social media still might be hard to wrap your head around, but what is clear is that this data is already being captured, and it’s up to you how you want to use it!


Mayuri Joshi is Research Magician at April Bell Research Group, a boutique, full-service marketing research firm, committed to delivering fresh insights you can act on! Learn more at aprilbellresearch.com.

Live from #TMRE13 – Experience Design: Key Steps to Delivering Customer Delight and Business Results

Lesley Mottia, Executive Vice President of Product & Experience at Zipcar, gave an extremely interesting presentation on the key steps companies should take to improve overall customer experience. Companies can follow these steps in order to find out what makes their customers happy and drive business results.

1) Be with your Customers – You get a completely different experience by actually being in person with your customers and observing their actions. Ethnographic experiences are much more valuable because you can see consumers’ actions first-hand. CustomMade spent time with its customers in order to better connect with them. 

2) Imagine the Ideal – Instead of focusing on solving today’s problems, imagine the overall picture of where you want to be years from now. Moo disrupted the business card segment by creating customized business cards to better suit the needs of small businesses. They came out with Printinfinity, which allows companies to print different images on the back of each card.

3) Design the Whole Experience – It is important to look at the overall user experience, instead of focusing on just one aspect of it. Zipcar had a problem with consumers being unable to locate their cars, so they added guides and location photos to make the overall process easier. 

4) Humanize the Details – Find a meaningful way to connect with consumers to make it a great personal interaction, whether it is online or offline. Warby Parker personalizes the experience of buying glasses online by sending you multiple frames to try on and giving you the opportunity to consult with their “social team” to receive input.

5) Recovery as Opportunity – When something goes wrong, make sure you act, and use it as an opportunity for a spotlight moment. Customers like when companies are able to bounce back quickly and treat it as a way to improve their business. 

6) Measure, Rinse, Repeat – Need to quantify how well the process is doing and decide what areas need improvement. This is the most important step of the process, in my mind, because companies should continuously be looking to improve their programs.

Mayuri Joshi is Research Magician at April Bell Research Group, a boutique, full-service marketing research firm, committed to delivering fresh insights you can act on! Learn more at aprilbellresearch.com.

Live from #TMRE13: Improv Improves Innovation

For the 2nd workshop today, I was glad I stayed in the Professional Development track.  As an information hound and being in this business for many years, it’s always fun when I feel like I learned a new way to approach innovation.  And that was what this was all about.

Michelle James, Chief Emergence Officer of The Center for Creative Emergence, took us through several exercises designed to break us away from the common fears we all have:  worry about not looking good, fear of saying something stupid, etc.

The Improv Principles and Improv Mindsets

she discussed (and we experienced) are all about acting “as if” what others are giving you is a gift…and then “adding to it.”  And from that, there is freedom.  Feeling free, and that you will be accepted allows teams to STOP worrying about fears and in that moment, begin to create.  I love that:)

She also mentioned how natural it is to come to the edge of your comfort zone with resistance but that forcing through it (i.e. ‘playing’ by these principles), a new environment is created with those around you…and those who feel like they helped create, also feel as if they own the outcome!

April Bell is Principal and Founder of April Bell Research Group, a boutique, full-service marketing research firm, committed to delivering fresh insights you can act on! Learn more at aprilbellresearch.com.

Live from #TMRE13: You Are The Presentation

A presentation about presentations provided a good kickstart for TheMarketResearchEvent today!

Gene Zelazny of McKinsey & Co. gave a compelling talk about making the most of your business presentation.

He spent an appropriate amount of time discussing how Defining the Situation First was the single MOST important aspect of a good presentation.  By first defining what you want impact you want the audience to have as a result of the presentation in 1 sentence, everything else flows easily from there.

This framework for thinking about presentations reminded me of a 1-day Duarte Design workshop I attended last summer – I still remember how impactful the workshop was. The instructor claimed that once you first get clarity on WHAT the audience should DO as as a result of what you’re presenting, the more clarity you will have in creating the story…and slide deck.

Zelazny also went on to show how important it is to “turn the story upside down” when structuring the presentation.  In other words, giving the recommendations first instead of trying to detail the process of getting there.

A few resources he provided were www.powerframeworks.com as well as his 2 books, Say it With Charts and Say it With Presentations.  All of these give simple design visuals to help when you’re developing graphics for presentations.

April Bell is Principal and Founder of April Bell Research Group, a boutique, full-service marketing research firm, committed to delivering fresh insights you can act on! Learn more at aprilbellresearch.com.  

Live from #TMRE13: It’s Just Not That Hard – Using Consumer Insight for Competitive Advantage

How does a market researcher come into a large organization as a one-man army, where there is no marketing research team and very little budget allocated for research, and come out successful? Susan Topel, Director of Strategic Insights at Centene Corporation, shared her inspiring story.

When she joined the company, there was not much knowledge regarding Centene’s customer base, and decisions were made based on what the company “thought” the customers wanted. Topel’s job was to dive in to uncover the reality of the situation and present compelling insights back to the company. 

How did she do this all on her own? “It’s all about the right tools,” she said. For her, that tool was Qualtrics, an online survey software which helps her save time on analysis so she can spend more time in the up-front process. By using Qualtrics, last year she fielded 453 surveys, all on her own! 

“You can do it all, and that is what I am here to tell you,” she encourages the audience. Though it may seem overwhelming at first, all it takes is the right tools to get you on the path to quickly and easily discovering powerful insights.

Mayuri Joshi is Research Magician at April Bell Research Group, a boutique, full-service marketing research firm, committed to delivering fresh insights you can act on! Learn more at aprilbellresearch.com.