I can hardly believe I’ve been an independent consultant for a year and a half. The new lifestyle comes with pros and cons.
Cons: If I wake up early, it doesn’t mean I finish my day early. If the printer runs out of paper, I can’t ‘accidentally’ leave it for the next person to fill. I will have to find the lost, squished grape on the floor myself.
Fortunately, there are pros.
Pros: This is the best commute I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. I work with clients whose standards and ethics match mine. My lunchtime walks are through treed neighbourhoods not industrial parks. My dress code has loosened up drastically to include a wide range of ultra casual, industry billboards.
I wear your shirt.
Over the years, I’ve received many marketing research t-shirts at conferences. When I don’t feel a kinship to those shirts, I always find a happy taker in a client or colleague. The t-shirts you see in this image, however, made the cut and landed in my closet. I love the bright colours, the witty remarks, the nonblack options. A few are women’s sizes and I like those the most.
What else do they have in common? Except for one, you don’t see logos or brand names. All of these shirts actually do have logos either on the back or the sleeve but none of them are simply logos or brand names or [your unoriginal and actually uninspiring] tag lines. In other words, don’t waste your money creating a t-shirt that is a blinkin’ billboard. [Side note… unless your company name is Irrational in which case you’d get bonus marks for having a brand name that is also a witty comment.]
You’ll also notice that none of these shirts incorporate odd brand colours. I’ve gotten many shirts that were exact on-brand cousins of puce and turquoise that looked weird even with blue or black jeans – out the door!
Basically, if you’re pondering new t-shirt designs, choose colours that fall within the range of human perception, and then go witty or go home.
In case you’re not sure, the companies that are finalists in this extremely tight t-shirt branding competition are…
You’ve seen the commercials on TV where the host or actor discussing the fantastic properties of the amazing product is wearing clothes and accessories that match the products packaging and branding perfectly. Sometimes it makes for creepy over-branding whereas other times it makes the commercial more calm and focused. In either case, the intent is to unconsciously teach you the brand colour so that when you are in the store, the familiar colour will draw you in, consciously or unconciously.
However, the world of research is different. Using brand colours as part of questionnaire design can significantly affect the outcome of research and whether that results in increased or decreased scores, the impact is negative. Results from surveys should reflect in-market experiences, not unconcious associations of brand colours. If you plan to measure brand recall, awareness, purchase, attitudes, or perceptions within the the general population or within category users, particularly if you want to compare with other brands, never brand your questionnaires with brand colours, text styles, or formats. Questionnaires formatting should be neutral in all ways such that unconconsious recollections won’t be created.
So when is it appropriate for questionnaires to use brand features in the design? When can you use your brand’s colours and fonts and styles to pretty up what can be generic, boring pages?
When you’re contacting existing clients or customers to ask about a specific purchase experience or brand experience. That’s about it.
In such cases, the bulk of the questionnaire will focus on the specific experience with the specific brand. There may be a couple of generic introductory questions, but 90% of the questionnaire will focus heavily on your brand, your employees, your shelves, your website, your selection, etc. There is no point in creating a sense of blind review or uncontaminated response because the brand must be revealed early and significantly.
If you’re not sure which way to go, there is a very simple solution. Never brand your questionnaires unless there is no way around it. Better safe than sorry.
Live note taking at #IMD16 in chicago. Any errors are my own.
Panel: Strategies of successful research agencies, Gillian Carter, Ross McLeanr, and Arusha Sthanunsathan moderated by Lukas Pospichal
- Clients don’t know what they’re buying until they are fully on board
- Use client’s excitement to book speaking engagements, win win for them to shine among peers and the research company can share their expertise through the lense of a client
- Overcommunication helps to avoid problems, overshare until you’re told not to
- Daniel Kahneman – experience is measured by most intense positive, negatives, and the end, and these are averaged for an event, measure these points well
- Use the advantages available to you, whether you are small or large, stand up for what you believe in, smaller companies can react more quickly
- Best clients will often let you talk about them in sales meetings even if they don’t want you doing so at conferences
- Leverage client pride in your projects, find all the spaces where their work deserves to be showcased and help them become more publicly recognized, and hey mind doing a case study for us?
- Work hard to make your clients look smart to their superiors
- She gets big respect for being able to say the alphabet backwards really fast
- Should my company be a pokestop? Is this for business, what is my strategy? What is the right question to ask?
- You should be asking how do i do this.
- 200 million numbers are on the do not call list and 44% of direct mail is never opened [me and me]
- People aren’t watching commercials either so should we move commercials over to where people are watching now?
- The vehicle/channel is being discarded, consumer behavior is changing
- People watching changing behavior will win, if you uncover meaning in your own behavior you will win, create epic content and you will win
- Companies have changed from big media buys to social media buys but they haven’t changed what they’re offering
- People won’t tolerate impersonal messages anymore
- Consumers will no long tolerate companies that inconvenience you, “batteries not included” is no longer acceptable
- Make sure you can get to your own data, you need meaning of this data
- We don’t help our clients understand the outside world enough, we focus too much on inside data
- Your goal isn’t more facebook engagement, your goal is more clients. Potential clients need to find your facebook page, click on your fb CTA, and proceed down the sales funnel
- ABC – Always be closing, ABH – Always be helpful, is your service helping to make their day better
- You need to put your top people on content marketing, it’s not a job for interns [oh my, the worst blog posts come from people who are trying to fill word counts not create opinions]
- We let social media take us wherever it wants to go but you must have a strategy
Branding you: Sales tips for market researchers by Dan Rangel, Survox
- Join a few meetup groups, and maybe start your own, then you’re in a leadership role
- Consider putting your photo on your business cards
- Althways think about WHY should this person do business with me
- Show them the money, talk about ROI
- It’s not about you, always listen.
- Weekly project plans are important for the larger projects, let client see where the status is, what they will need to do, what you still need to do
- Nurture the human bond. Go to a baseball game, lots of fun, lots of talking time, and builds a good relationship
Live note taking from Viz-Fest Day 1. Any errors are my own.
The future’s bright, The future’s branded by Lucy Davison, Keen as Mustard
- Know what you are and what you do, follow through in every aspect of your organization
- What are the three most valuable marketing activities? Branding and strategy, website, content marketing
- Biggest marketing problems: Awareness, don’t get on pitch lists, don’t know who we are or what we do
- Need to get your brand right first, relevant messaging and strategy
- MRX companies underinvest in marketing – More than half spend less than 5% of revenue on marketing. Average for a B2B company is 10%
- Things are stormy but far in horizon there is possibility,
- Big data is freely available, why do MR anymore? It’s faster, cheaper. Don’t need methods controlled by agencies. Now we have robots and algorithms doing our jobs.
- Other businesses are encroaching on our space – Google, amazon. [oh, it’s not ‘our’ space!]
- What can we learn from other B2B industries? Advertising – Saatchi & Saatchi reinvented themselves. M&CSAATCHI – Brutal, simplicity of thought. Cut back to only essential concept. BarleBogleHegary changed to BBH with a black sheep – it’s about being very different, going against the grain
- How do clients pick agencies? Obviously, good people they trust, clients follow good people. Good technology to support what they say they can do. Want a new perspective, always be growing, better intellectual capabilities, end benefits to their stakeholders, make it easy to buy.
- Look at logos of top 30 MR companies – all the logos look the same – blue acronyms.
- If you aren’t buying legacy, what are you buying?
- Most MR organizations are grey or blue, dull, boring. Even though we are dynamic and colorful.
- It’s what they say about themselves – world, global, intelligence, insights, research, provider, strategy, growth, customer, unpredictable, precision, analytics
- Must live and breathe the brand, it’s different, it lets you charge more
- It’s time to change – we have so much content and intellectual property, we need to charge for business solutions not processors, we need to stand up to apple and google and be branded like they are
- It’s how you behave with clients not just what you look like
- MR is like a giant IKEA warehouse of flat pack companies, no idea how they’re different
- Find your secret sauce – what is it that you have that is distinctive? Find your philosophy, make it meaningful, what culture do you have to deliver that
- WHY do you do what you do, tell your company story
- How branding helps agencies – pique client interest to get that first conversation, makes repeat business easier, methodology is far easier to copy than philosophy, more latitude on cost when proposals aren’t directly comparable, provides basis for staff recruitment, loyalty, and retention
- How does this help clients? They know what final product they will get. Makes the final product predictable and reproducible. Reduces the need for pitching. More likely to partner on new techniques. More obvious which agencies are a good cultural fit. Makes my life easier.
Out with the old: Internal branding and you by Virginia Monk, Network Research
- Move from being information providers to knowledge providers to providers of wisdom, a three or four-year journey, need to do this internally and externally
- Rebranding isn’t easy, must be all consuming, across all media, all interactions, staff, stakeholders, partners, clients; should impact everything you do not just cosmetic changes, must be sold to the business so they feel comfortable with it
- New visual identity need to align to new positioning, which signal change internally, and positioned the company appropriate externally
- Needed to work out SWOT, find their philosophy
- Competitors are technology providers, data providers, analytics providers not just other MR companies
- Old logo looked exactly like the generic logo Mustard had built, fifteen years ago it was cool and new but now clients and new employees didn’t know what the logo was
- Now the logo is a bright blue supported with orange for slight differentiation and a strapline, something to fit their identify around, tells customers who they are and what the benefit it
- Needed to change colours/branding on more than just the logo
- Asked a long-time client and a new client what they thought of the new logo with no prompting. They understood what was being said. Liked the three dots as a ‘watch this space’ more to follow
- Invested money so people connected emotionally with the branding and how it impacted them personally, had to work with all employees not just client facing employees
- Had a launch party for staff, not just a few drinks after work. Used an external location that related to the branding. Chose St. Paul’s in London. Strong, beautiful design, internal and external strength, and has a great view just like the strapline.
- Needed a sensory impact too. See, hear, taste, and smell the branding. Redecorated the office over the weekend, new paint, new decorations, new kitchen appliances and dishes, new furniture.
- Gave every employee branded gifts – cups, paper, water bottles, orange chocolate, oyster card holders, stress balls, new business cards and collateral
- Felt cheesy but it made a different. People love the oyster card holder, non-employees want them too
- Changed some job titles, changed email signatures, people were excited when this happened
- Circulated a brand book to everyone, new set of key works and terms for report and proposals, new iconography as well, lots of training on how to talk about it in this new way, training on new story-telling, operationalized the values for non-client facing staff – have an opinion on everything they do
- Use it in their appraisal forms and scorecards
- Branding is flexible and permits brand extension
- Must start with the business strategy, what are you and what do you want to be; staff engagement must come at the beginning; executing the brand is more important than the branding itself; more effective to have multiple strands to an internal rebranding strategy with constant repeats
- Recognize different learning styles, some people want a book, some want to be told, some want to play with it
- Bedding in the brand takes time and is a cumulative process
- Senior employees must live the brand and believe it, act it, not just lip service
- Business must be prepared to adapt for maximum impact – redecorating the office must have seemed excessive but it wasn’t
- Consider how it affects proposals early
- Create a handbook of terms and meaning for all staff
- Training never ends
Branding your insights by Mathew Sell and Daniel Tralman at Northstar
- Advertisers and public relations know how to sell themselves, hard for researchers to do the same
- Research has become too commoditized, need to make it more interesting, actionable, easier to access, it has a PR problem, we forget basic branding for ourselves
- Our research needs to stimulate creativity and inspire action, need to value individuality and creativity
- Insight doesn’t cut through the noise, so much is jostling for attention
- Insight Campaign Strategies – we need to practice what we preach, concepts not projects, interpretative visualization, disruption and dissonance
- Concepts not projects – we create concepts and clubs that people want to be a part of
- #20ExtraordinaryStories was the name of a new project, promoted storytelling not just research findings, gave it life, told clients that they were one of only 20 in the study
- Needed people to want to be part of the club, put the logo on every piece of content
- Font echoed a sports team, hashtag showed digital, color indicated luxury, club word was for unity and participation
- Created an online portal and membership packs, keep respondents engaged in the project and part of the community, required the skill of a journalist to give real time information
- Community allowed two-way communication, everyone had the same information at the same time, strengthened emotion engagement
- Interpretive visualization
- Design isn’t just logos and fonts, it’s symbolic representation not just design and not just direct, need to capture qualities of things
- Client wanted to center around a single word in multiple EU markets “good”
- Created a character around the word good, needed as few words as possible backed up with visuals
- Same with the word sustainability – use colors and images to support the word, even use those things as the font
- How light hearted does the style need to be to bring people along the journey, particularly when the image needs to be dark or negative
- Don’t worry about communicating directly with life like imaging, avatars indicate characters without specific details, removing facial expressions means you concentrate on other attributes of an image
- Disruption and dissonance
- Insight is easy to file, it’s linear with a start and finish
- Hand out booklets as people leave a presentation
- Use teaser campaigns to highlight studies, hand out popcorn, make posters and mugs, use physical assets along with digital [people love free stuff!]
- Performance is the next level of engagement
I never planned to “create a personal brand.” It just sort of happened. But let me share what I learned along the way.
I started out tweeting and writing a blog because I had just left a major research company to work on my own and I wanted to make sure I maintained a personal connection in the industry. A blog was my way of having a public presence even though I wasn’t in the field, so to speak. The blog let me figure out my thoughts AND share my thoughts at the same time. If someone cared to read them, they were welcome to do so.
I didn’t have a blogging and tweeting plan. I loved research and as such posted a lot of things about research, all topics within research but obviously those that i had more experience with or love for. That meant that my content had a focus – survey design, data quality, and a bit of social media.
But I’m more than a researcher. I have a life with family and hobbies and interests outside of research. Those things aren’t separate from me. They ARE me. So as I blogged and tweeted, all of me came out. I love dessert so always write about dessert. (FYI, at IIeX alone, someone has brought me a dessert mousse – Thank you Susan, someone else brought me a cake pop – Thank you Kristin, and someone else brought me sweets from Japan – Thank you Dave.) If you read any of my content, you’ll also find out that I play the ukulele. I didn’t say I play well though!
Why do I talk about myself? Well first of all, I’m more than a researcher. I can’t turn my interests and thoughts on and off just because it’s “off brand.” My brand is “Annie” not “Sell research.” And to counter that, have you made friends with your butter? Why would you want to chat with a researcher who is always business all the time? How boring is that!
What are the benefits of finding out that you have a fairly well-known personal brand? Here goes:
- You will make friends with people you would NEVER otherwise meet from all around the world. I have friends in Australia, Japan, South America, Africa, Europe. I find this absolutely amazing!
- You may be invited to speak at conferences and thus not have to submit proposals. Hello conferences in Venzuela, Bulgaria, Colombia and more.
- You may get to to travel the world speaking at conferences
- When at conferences, introverts will appreciate the fact that people will seek YOU out. Forget mingling and searching for someone you recognize. Your friends will seek you out.
- You may be asked to write papers for many magazines. I like writing so this works for me!
- You may be asked to share your opinions on topical issues for magazines.
- It gives you some level of a career safety net. It won’t necessarily last forever though so don’t bet all your money here.
- Your friends will bring dessert to you when you miss it because you’re speaking 🙂
Here is my advice to you:
- You don’t need to make a formal decision on what your brand is. It doesn’t have to be “Mobile research” or “Survey design.” I’ve switched from surveys, to social media, and back over the years. What matters is that you are continually excited about the things you talk about and that you strive to do a great job.
- Find an outlet that works for you. I’m a quiet person (honestly) so social media is a haven for me. I work mostly with facebook and twitter, and dabble in linkedin. The purpose of my content determines where it goes. Formal business goes in linkedin, silly and funny goes to facebook, and snarky wit goes on twitter.
- ALWAYS mix business with pleasure. No one wants to listen to a 24 hour sales pitch. Be human and people will want to listen to you. Then, if you are cornered into a sales pitch, your listeners will listen.
- Don’t expect people to love you. Everyone likes different things and finds different things funny. Some people won’t like your style and that’s ok. Don’t change for them. Be you. Lots of people will like you for you.
I’m happy to answer any questions you might have. Good luck!
Influencing the Corporate Strategy Agenda with Research Insights by Claire Brooks, ModelPeople & Dina Lawson, McNeil #CRC2014 #MRX
- Help your senior execs to play, and learn, and act upon consumer insights by involving them in the journey
- Empathy needs to be at the heart of the strategic agenda
- help executives become strategic learning conductors – embed insights, involve stakeholders, help others uncover insights on their own
- this is a strategic learning journey
- important to immerse in strategic context
- put people in the middle of consumers, cultural/semiotic, social/family, channel/retail, technology/media
- you only have 15 seconds with executives, need to curate an immersive experience
- use virtual ethnography; use mobile ethnography to make sure you have articulate consumers
- need to activate learning by identifying insights and scope
- don’t leave executives with impressions, create time in the field for them to express what they’ve heard and learned, keep it simple focused on AHAs
- need to inspire
- story telling using video and other graphic media
- Case study – nutrition in India – the desk is dangerous place from which to view the world ~John LeCarre
- many client assumptions turned out to be very wrong in india
- need a local research partner experienced in the techniques
- Case study – korea – there may be language difficulties so be as visual as possible
- Take your business partners on the journey with you, from objective to key business issues so everyone knows exactly what to do
- turn all of your materials into a really good actionable page
- don’t just deliver on a functional benefit – “faster, longer, pinker”
- Mylicon example – for infant gas, very functional. existing product positioning was not inspirational at all. People saw the product as a life saving product not a fussy baby product. Role of product wasn’t enabling a mother child bond, it was as a magical, god-made product. Completely different positioning for brand. Video played an essential role in proving to the board the positioning was wrong.
- Product may not change but consumers are always changing.
- The Oscars of Marketing Research: Peanut Labs’ Chief Research Officer wins ESOMAR’s Excellence Award for the Best Paper
- 22 things we care about more than privacy
- Why do people like marketing research surveys?
- In which I rant about showing data in presentations #MRX #CRC2014
- How marketing researchers can start being more ethical right now #MRX
- How Funny and Clever Earns Budget and Respect by Adam Cook, Pilot Media, Inc. #CRC2014 #MRX
- Immersive Ethnography and Other Unconventional Research on a Budget by Clinton Jenkin, Barna Group #CRC2014 #MRX
- Discover the Science of Fascination by Sally Hogshead, Fascinate, Inc. #CRC2014 #MRX
I’m on Twitter a lot. I tweet a lot, I read it a lot. But I seem to be gravitating more and more to Facebook even though the powers that be tell me Facebook is about to implode. But I’ll tell you why I’m dating Twitter less than I used to.
- It’s getting harder and harder to talk to a person. As people realize the value of branding, more and more Twitter accounts are being named after companies and brands. They tweet endlessly all day long and attempt to engage in conversation. But I really can’t remember the last time I picked up a box of Cheerios and had a fun and interesting conversation with it. I talk to people, not brands. Even though I deliberately follow people over brands, my Twitterstream is an endless list of brands and companies, as if every human has stopped tweeting. Why not sign each tweet with -Annie, or put -Annie in your user bio. Yup, change your user bio every day depending on who’s tweeting.
- More and more people are begging to be followed. Outright asking for people to follow up them. No, they aren’t buying followers and I do appreciate that. But I don’t appreciate tweets along the lines of “Hey LoveStats, I love your tweets. Please follow us.” You see, if you tweeted with me even a couple of times, I would have reviewed your tweets and determined for myself whether your tweets were of interest to me. In other words, if you’ve tweeted with me and I’m not following you, it’s likely because I don’t want to follow you.
- Fewer and fewer tweets are personal. As I already said, I prefer to talk to people. And have lunch and play with their kids and do embarrassing things. It’s fun to read these things because first of all, well, they’re fun. And second of all, it helps me get to know you as a person, you as someone I’d like to talk to. I firmly believe there is a healthy balance between professional and serious, and fun and friendly. As a market research community, we are losing the right balance.
In conclusion, please treat me like a person wearing pink socks and eating chocolate, not a robot that might open a wallet for you.
… Live blogging from Bogoto, Colombia, any errors are my own…
- There are too many brands in the store to consider them all so they preselect a few and work from there
- Motivations are not stable, they depend on experiences with things and people, resources including money, lifestage
- what is the impact of recession of these choices
- 9/11 drastically changed the fundamental needs and motivations of US people and Latin Americans
- there is no such thing as beer market or a smartphone market – there is a need for social relaxation, for connoisseurship; You buy something because you NEED to do something, this helps you step over boundaries
- Brand resonance is achieved when people become familiar with unique brand associations and relevant to their individual journey; one aspect only is insufficient
- even this framework is unstable, it is constantly hit by disruptions that require brands to evolve, adapt, and recreate
- Disruption of context: e.g., mcdonalds responded to the recession by lowering the price of their combo “it won’t change your life but at least you will enjoy a good time”
- Disruption of people: population is aging, Nintendo needs to deal with the fact that 1 in 5 Americans will be 65 or older in 2030; they are targeting more games to older people
- Disruption of market: Samsung quickly jumped on the smart phone trend with the galaxy, but what happened to the blackberry? brands that effectively resonate over time build loyalty with their consumers
- we need to work faster to deal with all of these disruptions
- how to deal with these changes? innovation, communication, strengthening the core through PPPP
- Brand resonance alone is not enough to grow your brand [you need to put a chart if there are researchers in the crowd 🙂 ]
- if you want to touch the heart, go through the wallet
- Path to Purchase including retailer choice, purchasing, informing/planning, path to purchase trigger – now put a spider web among them
- this path is not the same for every brand in the category, you need to know YOUR path to purchase which is unique to each brand
- Purchases can be planned or unplanned – do you decide at home or in front of the shelf [everything fits in a 2 by 2 grid 🙂 ]
- Planned finder (water, beer, detergent),
- Unplanned decider (didn’t plan to buy it and don’t know what brand to buy) – people don’t know where to find it in the store, you need to make sure they recognize the benefits of your brand [interesting concept, never thought of things in this way]
- Unplanned finder
- Planned decider
- brand growth requires brand resonance and owning the path to purchase
- Research by any other name… #MRX (lovestats.wordpress.com)
- Do you really need a case study? #MRX (lovestats.wordpress.com)
- SoLoMo in the Colombian Shopper Experience by Pablo Sanchez Kohnt #ACEI_CO #InvestigAction2013 #MRX (lovestats.wordpress.com)