Squeezing out the real poop on digestive health
All-Bran & Kellogg
Conversations about regularity and digestive health just don’t, shall we say, flow easily.
So this was the ingoing challenge when the All-Bran team at Kellogg wanted to better connect with consumers’ needs and positively differentiate its brand in the landscape.
We first got a feel for the landscape via a quantitative segmentation, leveraging the anonymity of the online format. We then helped consumers communicate with a very sensitive, in-depth ethnographic immersion that followed consumers hourly and daily to understand what and when they ate and why they made the choices they did.
We found that even among those most concerned about digestive health, taking care of it often ends up at the bottom of the “to-do” list (pun intended). Our work helped All-Bran identify its ideal target consumer, as well as key messages and principles for best communicating with them.
Soaring above the rest
American Eagle Outfitters
The call of the mall is powerful among today’s youth, and fashion options are plentiful once they get there. American Eagle Outfitters knows that you don’t get many second chances with this very discriminating audience, and luring them means winning from every angle, including brand image (Makes me feel cool!), style (So cute!), fit (My butt looks awesome!), and store experience (Easy and fun!).
Our ongoing work with AE hits every brand pillar, ensuring a unified and differentiating brand experience for its consumers – the right products, the right messaging, the right sub-brands, and the right targets, across the US and Canada. We help AE stay on top of trends, delight their current core consumers, attract new brand enthusiasts, and bring the brand in lucrative new directions (e.g., intimates, kids, plus-size).
Jolly good brand growthBBC
Long time client BBC America has a track record of providing ahead-of-the-curve content to ahead-of-the-curve viewers. As such, keeping up to date on the needs of its targets is critical to the network’s success. They asked Insight to help optimize a new brand positioning.
We started by understanding what needs the BBC America brand and programming fill for its viewers. Our next step was to define different BBC America viewers and understand their unique relationships with BBC America before and after seeing an evolved brand offering. We were curious—how would they react to BBC America’s new brand twist on the British Invasion?
Viewers spoke and we determined the new positioning works! And we provided BBC America with a tiered targeting strategy for growth.
Portfolio strategy, with arch support!
If you’ve got feet, chances are that at some point you’ve walked in a Brown Shoe. The family of brands includes Naturalizer, Dr. Scholl’s, Via Spiga, Franco Sarto, Zodiac, Sam & Libby, and Buster Brown, as well as retail sources like Famous Footwear and Shoes.com. That’s a lotta sole!
Our long-term partnership with Brown Shoe began with a portfolio analysis and consumer segmentation work. We helped them understand how to position each brand to a distinct audience and also provided “perfect fit” guidance for communications, retail strategy, product design, and acquisitions. Subsequently, we have informed specific brands and retail channels.
Most importantly, we helped to create a cohesive internal understanding of the consumer, so that the entire organization could walk in targets’ shoes, and effectively tailor strategies to their needs.
Making a splash… internationally!
Imagine you’re four, and someone takes you to a place you’ve never been, with strange creatures, a fantastical setting, and eight new friends. That was the exciting yet daunting prospect of The Octonauts, a preschool property that introduces kids to undersea life. The Chorion team suspected they had a hit on their hands, but were unsure
how to make this exotic world and large cast of characters developmentally appropriate for preschoolers. On top of that, they had to please parents in multiple countries.
Grounded in research with kids and parents, we consulted on concept refinement and launch strategy. We created a brand book, reviewed scripts, and illuminated how to foster the property’s natural play patterns via consumer products. Kids the world over are now chanting “Explore! Rescue! Protect!” And moms and mums are happy to let their kids dive in.
Getting smart about smart phones
Comedy Central & Spike
With smart phone and tablet usage moving faster than an Angry Bird in a slingshot, all the media world is in a scramble to figure out the best ways to use mobile technology to extend their brands. MTVN Entertainment Group saw particular potential for Comedy Central and Spike, and commissioned Insight to make them experts on smart phone users. That we did.
Through an innovative research design that included depriving self-described “tech-geeks”
of their beloved smart phones (gasp!), we uncovered not only behavior patterns but also the psychological needs that compel people to check their Facebook updates and forward the latest Colbert quip. We found that the joy and pain of “always on” connectivity had clear implications for all aspects of media consumption.
Our segmentation and consumer profiles gave the MTVN team clear direction for media development, as well as ways to monetize mobile content in partnership with advertisers.
Contributing to the cultural zeitgeist
Common Sense Media and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center
When Common Sense Media and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop collectively sought our expertise, we behaved a bit like Cookie Monster in the presence of a snickerdoodle, and jumped at the chance. Common Sense exists to provide trustworthy information about media and technology to kids and families. And the Cooney Center aims to support digital learning tools for kids. Needless to say, we feel quite aligned with their work.
Together we embarked on a study to understand parents’ and teachers’ digital media knowledge and attitudes, providing concrete recommendations to policy makers, digital technology creators, and educators. Our study rocked the conference circuit and helped shape conversations moving forward. Updates have helped to keep current in terms of the technology landscape. So kids can live appily ever after.
The new elephant in the room
Corus Entertainment came to us for help with reinventing everyone’s favorite elephant. They were creating a new Babar animated series, Babar and the Adventures of Badou, and had specific goals and aspirations for international property distribution. Corus sought to understand how to build on Babar’s heritage and position this exciting new world to kids and families in the US and Europe.
To understand how kids and moms were connecting with the property, we did qualitative research that was very hands-on, evaluating all pillars of the brand from branding to broadcast and toy directions.
Watching kids “play” Babar was a trunkful of fun!
At study’s end, we provided the Corus team with clear brand positioning as well as the product directions that will resonate most with moms and kids.
The Job of TV
Discovery Networks engaged us in an authority study to uncover answers to a big question: Why do people watch TV?
To draw the connection between people’s deep psychological needs and the TV they watch, we first spoke with media experts and psychologists, then conducted deeply personal in-home interviews with consumers across the country about their lives and their needs, and why they watch what they watch. What’s the hook of Snooki? Why lose yourself in Lost?
Our findings provided not only a conceptual understanding of the American TV viewer, but also concrete strategic implications for Discovery Networks programming.
Moving from drab to fab
A recent promotional initiative on the Dots website offers Lady Gaga CDs as well as a chance to win tickets to her concert. The campaign is edgy, current, and aspirational. But, as Gaga might say, Dots wasn’t born this way.
A specialty retailer that offers affordable fashion, Dots came to us looking for a refresh. They lacked a target consumer that they could get excited about, and a differentiated positioning to meet her needs.
In came our segmentation study. And based on our recommendations, Dots created a high-energy Fashion Party vibe for its targets, with the latest fashions, runway lighting, “girlfriend” store associates, and spacious dressing rooms, all for an affordable price.
Recent updated brand work showed them how affordable fashion can rock it even more now that people’s wallets are thinner.
Extending a spotless reputation
Despite its retro-sounding name, Electrolux has always been an innovator in the vacuum cleaner category. They sought our guidance as they created a portfolio of products to align with their target segment in France.
French consumers told us they don’t think about vacuum cleaners at all, but we managed to extract a lot of dirt out of them anyway! We looked at their relationship to the category and related brands, as well as the decision process. To help Electrolux set priorities, we used conjoint analysis to pinpoint the exact impact each feature has on purchases.
Our strategic and tactical implications informed positioning as well as messaging and product development, all of which will help Electrolux really clean up in France!
The meaning of music, with measurable results
Yeah, yeah, video killed the radio star. But will the digital cloud murder the MP3 maestro?
eMusic, the membership-based digital music service, needed to know. In a landscape that’s changing faster than Lady Gaga’s wardrobe, eMusic wanted to predict the cultural progression and ensure they were targeting the right consumers with the right offerings.
Our research tracked the core aspects of consumers’ music experience, from their first listen to after they downloaded it or shared it with friends. We uncovered the essence of why people listen to music, and the benefits of owning vs. streaming.
Our findings gave eMusic a deep understanding of the crowded and clouded space they play in, a motivating consumer target, and a powerful brand position to help win them over.
Proof points for a valuable customer base
Many marketers know they should reach out to African-American women but often do not know why or how. For Essence, closing this knowledge gap is crucial to bringing in advertising and boosting other business opportunities. Thus, over the years we have worked with the Essence team to fuel their knowledge and authority on African-American women overall – their relationship to shopping, family, technology, etc.
Most recently, Essence came to us to dispel common myths about African-American women’s relationship to beauty. Through qualitative work and a quantitative segmentation study, we delivered a compelling narrative with detailed consumer profiles – their unique beauty needs, what drives their value equation, their most trusted brands, and what shapes their relationship to Essence. Furthermore, we provided Essence with a powerful tool to go out and bust some myths!
Wooing them with caviar and champagne
With a new designer at the helm of a legendary brand, Gucci wanted to know how to stay true to its roots while heralding in a new generation.
Explorations required talking to designer fashion consumers, who are not an easy lot to reach. To lure participants and get them excited about the research process,
we pampered them with a VIP party, conducting international research salons in high-end
luxury hotels, complete with gourmet food, cocktails, and chic décor.
Our implications included principles for evaluating communications campaigns based on timeless and timely fashion attributes their targets seek, allowing Gucci to deepen loyalty with core customers and increase relevance with new ones.
Rock star experiences, without the hangover
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas came to us embarking on an ambitious endeavor to revamp, reinvent, and reenergize its brand among the stylish set.
To uncover their often subconscious needs, we created an innovative qualitative and quantitative research approach that connected with Vegas visitors “in the moment,” engaging them in quintessential Vegas experiences, including Cocktail Salons, Pimped-up Ultralounges, and Poolside Pickups. (Yes, this was also fun for the research team!)
Our findings informed a brand filter for Hard Rock to use as a lens for every decision, from hiring staff to choosing what’s in the mini bar.
Playing well abroad
Ah, Baby Alive, adorable expert at peeing and pooping, among other talents. She is the top baby doll in the US, and Hasbro came to us to help translate that success abroad, starting with Europe and Latin America.
Passports in hand, we designed what is perhaps our most adorable study to date. Through qualitative focus groups, in-home play dates, online doll diaries, and shop-alongs, we uncovered what drives girls’ and moms’ allegiance to baby doll brands in each market, and also garnered detailed perceptions of Baby Alive.
We delivered Hasbro a unique brand hook for each market, a clear understanding of which dolls would work best, and insights for retail. In sum, we provided an international strategy to go goo-goo ga-ga over!
A personal touch for virtual education
Armchair education has provided betterment opportunities to hundreds of thousands of students around the globe, and Kaplan has been the industry’s pioneer. Still, the university has faced issues educating the public about its offerings, advantages, and value.
Our ongoing qualitative, quantitative, and consulting work the Kaplan helps the online school attract and retain students via on-the-nose courses and curricula, personal-touch services, highly credentialed professors, and targeted marketing campaigns. Since implementing our recommendations, their Business School programs, for example, have achieved record enrollment, surpassing goals.
In addition, our work has helped improve Kaplan’s B2B relationships by uncovering the skills employers most need and the best ways for Kaplan to partner with businesses to provide employee training.
The most important thing Kaplan has learned from us: knowledge is bliss.
New era, new journeys
A beat-up old car, a few dollars in the pocket, and a sense of adventure.
While this may have been the mantra of Lonely Planet thirty years ago, the brand has evolved a great deal since then. Although it maintains its independent spirit, the brand now covers much more than travel on the cheap, and extends its reach beyond books to TV, mobile, and the Web.
With the goal of pleasing global loyalists as well as winning share among US travelers, our ongoing research for Lonely Planet has delved into travelers’ perceptions of the brand and their travel information needs. Varied methods included focus groups, map-a-longs, mid-trip interviews, and international tourist tag-a-longs.
Our getting lost with travelers has really helped Lonely Planet find its way. The work has informed the brand portfolio across media platforms, including product lines, content development, marketing, and merchandising.
Wanting to maintain its status as an emblem for youth culture, MTV came to us to demystify the new Millennial generation – who they are, what they like, and why they end all their wordz with z’s.
We embarked on an enormous and ongoing partnership with MTV that has helped them understand Millennials holistically and keep up with their rapidly evolving tastes and behaviors. An initial authority study has since led to immersive “Millennial Days,” quarterly pilot testing of their entire programming slate, and intermittent deep dives into topics like gaming, relationship to marketing, and programming needs.
Our findings have become part of MTV’s DNA and have helped the MTV team intuitively understand its audience members and super-serve them with media that hits home, creates buzz, and pushes the edge of cool.
Rocking online ad sales
MTVN Digital came to us with a mammoth challenge – to understand what triggers its audience to interact with online advertising across its diverse portfolio of sites.
With 360°ethnographies and an intricate web of a survey (pun intended!), we explored how relationships to MTVN brands, content, and online behavior (e.g., social networking, gaming, researching) shape users’ preferences for advertising formats and content. Because consumers don’t readily admit their ad-related behaviors, we came up with a creative way to uncover the truth, sourcing the information from several angles and weighing what consumers say against their ultimate behaviors. And follow up Activation Labs allowed us to see, in real-time, what advertising was most compelling.
Our work fueled Ad Sales pitches by proving the value of the MTVN audience, and also enabled MTVN to recommend the best MTVN brands for clients to advertise with and the best types of ads for each site.
Keeping close company with the consumer
New York & Company
New York & Company was looking to become a more consumer-focused business. In our first study, stripping her down to her core retail and lifestyle needs, and informing how to tailor strategies to her.
Later studies have ranged from the detailed (testing particular lines of clothing in our Style Labs) to big-picture (defining the new meaning of “Wear-to-Work” for the modern woman).
Our partnership has informed a fresh, consumer-relevant, and better defined direction for the brand. In addition, we’ve provided them with a target segment who can be the muse for all brand touch point decisions, from merchandising to design and communications.
Painting the world orange
Nickelodeon and Insight kind of grew up together. We started working with Nick when they were just a little splat, testing pilots for favorites like The Rugrats, Blue's Clues, Dora the Explorer, The Fairly OddParents, iCarly, Drake & Josh, and the ever-porous SpongeBob SquarePants.
As Nick grew from a beloved TV network to a family entertainment behemoth, our projects together became increasingly strategic, tackling topics like gaming, consumer product needs, sibling relationships, social media, and the gigundo, ongoing task of building their united, multi-platform brand, ensuring that each sub-brand has its place in the family, and is headed in the best direction.
We’re very proud of this collaboration, and look forward to an animated future together.
Helping a breakthrough idea click
Sometimes consumers don’t know what they really want. This was the case in the early 2000s, when Nokia came to us to assess consumer appetite for putting a digital camera into a mobile phone. Respondents were decidedly against the idea. “I already have a camera, and I already have a phone,” they said.” I don’t need them both together. That’s silly.” Silly!
After digging deeper into consumer needs and behaviors, we recommended the exact opposite to Nokia. Full steam ahead for camera phones! Unbeknownst to consumers, their camera use had changed since the proliferation of digital. Unlike film shots, digital photos were fulfilling the same instant communication needs as texting and calling.
The combo made perfect sense. And the rest is techno-history.
Riding the recession in style
A few years back, we helped Payless re-strategize its business from the ground up. Via extensive qualitative research and a quantitative segmentation, we identified target consumers and uncovered perceptions of the brand vs. competitors. Our work influenced branding, marketing, store environment, product assortment, and even the logo, moving the brand from a non-descript discount shoe retailer into a fun house of brands with limitless possibilities.
But as the marketplace changed, so did the shoe shopper… and we helped Payless stay connected to recession-hit consumers by providing an understanding of how shoes could help people ride the rough patches in style.
We shared the emotional benefits gleaned from loafers and stilettos, and how Payless could be the bridge between affordable and fashionable.
Wooing the suburban sophisticate
PF Chang’s, the wildly successful chain of upscale casual restaurants, came to Insight to help strategize its next phase of growth.
We created a series of innovative foodie roundtables to define diners’ relationships to dining. Once we’d digested that learning, our next course of action was a series of eat-along ethnographies where we shared a lettuce wrap and a chat with their suburban sophisticate consumers who revealed just what they crave for a night on the town.
By understanding their practical, social, and experiential needs, we were able to evaluate current perceptions of PF Chang’s and create a no-miss recipe for success to guide its brand positioning evolution.
To further its authority on men, Spike came to us with a unique challenge – to find a way to quantify fatherhood. We leveraged our expertise in media and parenting to develop custom and proprietary methods to explore the many ways that fathers today build close relationships with their kids, and measure which had the strongest impact.
Busting myths, we found that, rather than guidance, dads need a pat on the back for a job well done. Implications helped Spike connect emotionally with its viewers, informing strategies for programming, ad sales, marketing, and communications (including a public service campaign aimed at fostering healthy dad/kid relationships). The study garnered significant attention for Spike, including first prize at the 2008 CTAM Research Conference.
Simple multiplatform is not an oxymoron!
Becoming a multimedia go-to source for women is anything but simple. Yet that is the task the Real Simple team undertook, fueled by our research.
Step one was understanding women’s needs throughout the day, and the platforms and information sources they currently use and trust. Our not-so-simple process involved qualitative and quantitative explorations on multiple platforms, to catch the various aspects of women’s complicated daily lives and distill them into a compelling and differentiated strategy for Real Simple. Our work helped map different types of content on different platforms to archetypes of women who were craving them.
This new authority on women’s needs proved to be quite a boon for the Ad Sales team, and also provided inspiration to writers, editors, and designers.
Cooking up a balanced portfolio strategy
We have a long history with Scripps Networks, including HGTV, DIY Network, and Food Network. Projects have ranged from strategic portfolio brand work and brand tracking to tactical studies informing on-air and web properties.
We are especially proud of our exploration of on-air diversity across the portfolio, uncovering the perspectives of minority audiences. As a direct outcome of focusing on this issue, in five years HGTV:
A promising shot for Cyber-shot
Synonymous for state-of-the-art, quality electronics, Sony came to us to help them innovate in the digital camera category.
Through in-home Power Forums with forward-thinking digital camera enthusiasts, as well as a quantitative survey, we helped Sony develop a new way of thinking about the digital imaging category. We delved into not only how people were currently using digital technology, but also why, and any frustrations along the way, leading to fresh ideas to meet consumers’ needs.
Our work informed the ideal product offering for Sony’s digital cameras and services. Most importantly, our research helped Sony anticipate major shifts in digital imaging trends, giving them the vision to help shape today’s snap-happy culture.
Lip smacking digital strategies
Sony BMG Music Entertainment & Napster
When Sony BMG Music Entertainment purchased Napster, they were purchasing more than a file-sharing service – they were aligning themselves with a renegade brand known for its daring innovation. They wanted to capitalize on this opportunity with new products, but lacked direction for which direction to move.
In Innovation Labs with tech-savvy consumers, we took a bunch of “wouldn’t it be cool?” ideas and super-coolified them. And then group discussions and a survey among regular ole consumers helped us understand which ideas held the best potential in the general marketplace.
Sony BMG was left not only with a clear direction for moving forward, but also the features and functions necessary to make those products a hit, and the inspiration for future product invention.
Delivering a hardcore “casual” strategy
Warner Brothers came to us with a task that was anything but nonchalant. They sought a deep understanding of the casual online gaming space and its gamers. They needed a clear picture of casual gaming’s present and future that would inform their strategic business decisions.
We started by defining casual gamers—not only by their ideal game genres, but by the key emotional benefits they sought from playing games, their media consumption patterns, properties that appealed to them, and their engagement patterns with advertising and competitors.
Our next stage of analysis pinpointed the key gamer segments who represented the most opportunity for Warner Brothers in the casual online gaming space. We determined that casual online gaming had a bright, solid, and serious future. We left Warner Brothers with a strategic direction to follow for a high score.
Lip smacking digital strategies
For years, city dwellers around the world have relied on Zagat guides to point them in the direction of terrific eateries. At a time when info seeking was becoming more and more digital, Zagat came to us to help translate their print success to the online arena.
Through Focus Groups and Usability Labs, we not only delved into consumer behavior, perceptions, and the competitive set, but also consumers’ decision processes for where to eat. As such, were able to not only help Zagat create a usable and appealing website, but also make it a uniquely valuable go-to resource.
Implications provided key dos and don’ts for Zagat.com, with broad and specific recommendations for future development, including guidelines for content, features, functions, and layouts that would make Zagat.com a site to salivate over.