Tag Archives: culture

Get inspired at #IIeX – culture and consumption #MRX #NewMR 

Live notetaking at the #IIeX conference in Atlanta. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.
Culture: Blue coean or black swan, by Grant McCracken, Culturematic

  • Organizations exist in a state of perpetual surprise – Peter Schwartz
  • Where does disruption come from? It’s hard to detect it went it beings and it’s hard to detect danger.
  • Should we factor culture into our considerations? Of course, yes.
  • Bitters remained out of fashion for a very long time until the mixology reevolution in California. Sales spiked.
  • But data spikes all the time so how do you distinguish noise from signal?
  • We’ve seen a spike in hard soda recently [yuck. Don’t mess with my root beer!] Does this mean the end of mixology?
  • Social data is great for politics but not so great for culture. Political supporters live in their own worlds on twitter, they are completely separated.
  • On the other hand, Google trends tracked the love of goats and goat cheese and the loss of the south beach diet. You can watch markets on Amazon, google, and etsy to learn how and where a trend is changing.
  • We need to factor culture into the mix, like a weather map, show the changes in motion, make predictions about where and how fast they’re changing.

Macro Matters; Looking forward to the future context of consumption, by J. Walker Smith

  • The third age of consumption, just coming out of an age of unlimited expectations and promises, everything could be overcome. But now we are bumping up against capacity.
  • Aspirations of lifestyles are now changing. Live large, carry little. We want to live as big a life as possible but without all the badge of the past – less stuff, less upkeep, less hassle, less debt, but no decrease in enjoyment. THis is because of constraints of capacity.
  • Cognitive capacity – absorbing and processing the entire marketplace is impossible.  Fragment nation (white paper). People are trying to keep up and marketing activities have skyrocketed. We are outstripping capacity of consumers to keep up. People feel like we are stalking them online. And we are. 
  • Economic capacity – defying gravity (white paper). 
  • Resource capacity – planet cannot support more growth happening the way we’ve done it before. Global warming is a capacity we’ve lost. There are 8 other capacities and we are risking those too.
  • Third age of consumption – growth, value, competitive edge are driven by relationships, experiences, and algorithms. People don’t want the product, they want the benefit. We need to decouple products and benefits. People don’t want to connect with brands and logos. They want to connect with people. People want algorithms from marketing to find the right fit. Now we need to advertise to algorithms. 
  • After the war, people had no stuff and they wanted stuff. A couple decades after that, we switched to wanting experiences. Now we are in a social market place. The locus of value has changed. 
  • Uprising of allegiances – pundits think America is falling apart but this is false. America has never been more connected and networked than today. It looks different and has sharper elbows but there is more focus on allegiances than ever before.
  • [He is really an impassioned speaker! And, he uses notes effectively. You CAN use notes as a speaker and do an awesome talk.]

DISH Network’s Research Culture Shift by Patti Fries, DISH Network#CRC2014 #MRX

CRC_brochure2013Live blogging from the Corporate Researchers Conference in Chicago. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.

DISH Network’s Research Culture Shift by Patti Fries, DISH Network

  • dish network actually has more revenue than Starbucks. but the brand value of Starbucks is twice as much
  • ask consumers – If dish was a car, what kind of car would it be – grey car with four wheels – perception is everything
  • describe yourself in five words – Charlie Ergen founder of dish was adventurous, competitive, risk taker, tenacious, optimistic – he put 100 million dollars to put a satellite into space, 40% success rate on rocket launches in china in 1995 [please don’t blow up, please don’t blow up, please don’t blow up]
  • First rocket in 1995
  • Consumer research and insights launched in 2012
  • why spend one more penny on research than you had to, they couldn’t keep up with sales
  • now, need to focus efforts on where going long term because its turning into a commodity
  • speakers five words: energetic, passionate, ambitious, trusting, optimistic
  • Research history – it had spartan beginnings, they did do roundtables, talk to people at the DMV, it wasn’t structured, they did DIY surveys, people weren’t sharing their research results, no one knew what else was happening in the company
  • department stores generate NPS of 62. Cable services generate NPS of 14.
  • where would you rather work? a place that gives you opportunity to improve perceptions of a brand.
  • “Our culture works hard to prevent change” ~Seth Godin
  • How do  you bring research in when nobody cared about it?
  • Culture shift: beginning, who, data, education, brand, future
  • Beginning – do what it takes, she did 72 projects by herself in the first 7 months, she coded open-end data herself, did the tabulation, analyses, reports, presented. She had to build awareness and get people to want what she was selling. she wanted a 1000% budget increase. Biggest increase they’ve ever given. Got permission to build a small and mighty team. Develop vision and mission – objective, simple, strategic, inspiring
  • Who – the target was 18+ with a pulse. we target everyone and we target them all the exact same way. Did a household level segmentation with financial information. Lower income doesn’t mean lower interest in TV. Needed to do needs based segmentation too. How do you marry lower income with their services. Worked on predictive models to make a better experience.
  • Data – Less is more. Reports are not based on $$ value per page. would rather two pages of actionable data than 400 pages of numbers we can’t understand. focus on things that will have the greatest impact. need to find a way to move fast. have 14 million subscribers, most have 2 set-top boxes, and they can monitor every click but don’t worry because they are doing zip all with it! zillions of data points not being used. But when you use this data, you need to get it down to one single page of actionable results. 35 suppliers bug her everyday to work with her but she only works with 6.  [how exhausting is that]
  • Education – have you ever been to a focus group? they had to teach people how to do it. they put hundreds of their marketers through focus groups in two days. these people had never heard the voice of the consumer. told consumers they could write a letter to the CEO but then they brought the CEO to the focus groups to talk to them. he talked to them for an hour. there was difficulty getting traction. people weren’t necessarily interested in learning more. chose to empower others by teaching them qualitative tools. had them go in the homes of consumers to see they could do some of their own work. Make it fun, interactive sessions.
  • Brand – make brave recommendations. price focus has made them a commodity. consumers were seeing message madness – 25 completely different commercials. Brand awkwardness – weird commercials that don’t make sense like the cowboy hat commercial. Brand wasn’t building while competitors were growing. Worked to build partners with apple, southwest – that’s better than a grey car. Now you can talk about value. Moved their NPS score up to 38 and the hopper NPS to to 43. Won lots of awards but consumers don’t care about features than won awards.
  • Future – ended up winning the hearts and minds of consumers. awareness is fine but brand advocacy takes your business to the next level. Create a brand feel and make it different than a grey car with four wheels. Build on consumer motivations. It’s more than price and features.  Elevate collaboration. Met with the C-suite to push their thinking, got everyone in the same room so that everyone would be on board. Came up with 972 ideas to change the trajectory of the company and only 4 had anything to do with price.
  • If you’re going to take a side, take the side of the consumer. an exciting category shouldn’t feel horrific to consumers.

Understanding the differences in consumer attitudes between the United States and Canada…and Quebec #Qual360 #QRCA

Live blogging from the Qual360 conference in Toronto, Canada. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.qual360

Understanding the differences in consumer attitudes between the United States and Canada…and Quebec 
Moderator:Diana Lucaci, Founder, True Impact
Panelists:Catherine Yuile, Senior Vice President, Ipsos, Neil Rennert, Director Qualitative Services Canada, GfK, Jeff Doucette, General Manager Canada, Fieldagent
  • Canadians are more skeptical than Americans and Quebecers are more skeptical than the average Canadian
  • Frame of reference from three areas differs – designs on packages have imagery, what worked in US for one product didn’t work in Quebec because frame of reference was different, the symbols represented death and funerals
  • Our industry is Toronto centric, it’s hard and expensive to fragment research beyond english/quebec even though there are very big differences among our big cities, need to go to the middle to develop a market that is profitable
  • How many markets are there? It’s easy to say quebec is one market but that’s not really how it works, quebec is changing, it’s more of a melting pot, more immigration, 10% of home language in question isn’t french or english
  • Quebec is a multi-market territory, quebecers distrust outsiders, need to understand implications
  • It’s not only will the brand work in another area but will the same research method work in another area
  • will elements of an ad be relevant across the boarder
  • successful big ideas transcend time and culture, speak to basic human emotions, e.g., Nike’s “just do it”
  • influence can be european as well, if creative is developed in Paris, it may not work her, how do you please 100 countries with one creative
  • Many large retailers have moved into Canada, eg Target hasn’t delivered the experience that Canadians expect, Canadians didn’t want the US Walmart to come, some were careful to use Canadian music in their ads
  • Just because we don’t like a retailer doesn’t mean we won’t shop there
  • Many Canadian companies have tried to make a go in the US but it didn’t work. TD bank has been successful but many americans don’t realize it’s a canadian bank
  • In some cases, we WANT the US experience in canada. we don’t want another place to buy tide. we want to be able to buy that thing we can buy only on our holidays.
  • Canadians grew up with Target as a destination that they could only go to rarely and so they spent a lot of time there when they were there
  • Do the people doing the market research understand the local markets? you can’t just take the “canadian data” back to your country and understand it properly
  • I know the US from my vacation in one city, i don’t know all the culture and politics and local markets
  • Much of Canada has a subtle distrust of Toronto
  • There are regional gaps important ones being Quebec and the west, need more emphasis on local relevance of brands
  • Sometimes budget dictates you have only money for Toronto and if you’re lucky, Montreal
  • We know we aren’t going to change the product launch in a big way but we can make it more relevant to various communities
  • Race and religion are a bigger issue in US, more culture
  • Canadians can be more open-minded, like to see different pics of families in advertising but this doesn’t work everywhere in the US,  US has stronger beliefs that women do the laundry (think of that in terms of making a commercial about laundry detergent)
  • More than half of US ads do not work in Canada
  • Manhattan is very different than Kansas just as Canada is different from the US, how/when do you change the ad
  • How do I define myself as Canadian? “I’m not american”  That’s not very clear
  • American women want to look as young as possible, Canadian women want to look good at the age they are so there is less radical surgery in Canada – now design US/Canadian ads around that, which celebrities do you choose to reflect that
  • Maybe advertising can stay the same but the model/celebrity changes by region and country

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Building a customer-centric company culture by Kevin Thompson #CMACX #MRX

Live blogging from the MRIA/CMA #CMACX customer experience conference in Toronto. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.

Building A Customer-Centric Company Culture Within The Organization

Kevin Thompson,Vice President, Customer Experience and Development, Barneys New York

  • The customer is in control, so now what?CMA
  • Struggles from the great depression impacted people their entire life, 80 years. You can’t shift back and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Makes us more responsible about the products we sell.
  • Sales dropped 40% in two years during the recent recession. Got a new CEO and COO, both from Gucci.
  • “Why” has a lot to do feeling, they buy the “why” before the “what.”
  • Apple is the perfect example. They communicate the “why.” They rarely show the whole ipad. It’s the voiceover that matters, it’s a part of your life, it’s the experience of living. Tapped into a feeling of owning apple products.
  • We need to understand the feeling of shopping at Barneys. Needed to reboot the entire company. It had not been customer focused. Barneys tried to dictate cool instead of seeing what cool was. We weren’t being “nice” to our customers – we’re barneys, we tell people what’s cool. That fit the style of luxury retail.
  • This snob appeal worked for a long time and they become famous for it. It bit them in the end. Customers changed how they spent their money and the store didn’t.
  • The client IS the business.
  • 2400 customers spent 80 million at barneys last year. we cannot lose these people. need to maintain these relationships. But really needed new customers. 5% of customers spent 50% of the money.
  • spoke to 4000 employees and customers in the first 6 months via surveys, interviews, mystery shop, phone monitoring, and focus groups from C level to stock room employees
  • Heard from customers that had been treated rudely.  One focus group was so negative that every person refused the thank you gift of a $500 gift card. That needed to be shown to the executives.
  • Some people want a present sales associate but not someone who holds their hand. Other people do want the hand holding. You need to understand both. [I want someone who catches my eye and then leaves me alone until i’m ready]
  • Southwest and Harley Davidson are great at customer segmentation
  • Have you ever bought a pair of Nike’s and then just slotted it on top of all your other Nike boxes?
  • Why do we like farmer’s markets? We have few choices but it’s a family event, in the country, the fresh air. Buy an apple at Whole Foods? Sure, why not. More choices, but it’s not a family event, it’s a bit intimidating if they all fall off the shelf. Whole Foods knows this so they train their associates on it. Anywhere you buy an apple feels different.

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Best of #Esomar Canada: Robin Brown and the Global Asian Youth Culture #MRX

esomar logoThis is one of several (almost) live blogs from the ESOMAR Best of Canada event on May 9, 2012. Any errors, omissions, and ridiculous side comments are my own.


Robin Brown SVP, Environics
Global Asian Youth Culture

  • Jeremy Lin, massively successful basketball player inspired the word “Linsanity”
  • 3 factors behind the enthusiasm for him included 1) He is asian/chinese, 2) the enthusiasm occurred globally, not just in asian countries, at exactly the same time, and 3) it occurred cross-culturally. The mainstream excitement made it even more exciting.
  • Currently, 250 million people live in a country they were not born in. That’s the same as the 6th largest country in the world and that is a 50% increase since 1990.
  • Two of largest groups are south Asians (Indians) and east Asians (Chinese): 20% of them live in the Americas and Canada is sizable in this regard.
  • International students shows rapid growth, with much from China and India, and this contributes to the growth of living away from country of birth.
  • Do you recall a controversial article “Are Canadian universities too Asian?” Some are 40% Asian. This creates an environment where they can be exposed to new cultures and feed those ideas back to their home country.
  • Stats Canada projects an extremely heavy Asian demographic in 20 years. As a marketer, perhaps of clothes or beer, you will be selling to an Asian demographic. You must check your sample profile when you’re doing youth research and make sure it’s balanced for Asian youth.
  • Research showed that overseas born youth living in Canada have close friends family overseas, and vice versa. But what has changed is that people are leaving highly developed and growing economies, not poor economies. Youth are ensuring they are employable and relevant to both cultures, countries. They now have ways to maintain communications with their home population.
  • The Jeremy Lin phenomenon spread through this immigrant people with overseas connections.
    Jeremy Lin at the 2010 Golden State Warriors o...
  • Instead of white culture influencing Asian culture, the sharing of culture is starting to go both ways. The balance has shifted from North American youth culture to a global conversation.
  • The Chinese youth culture has not been developed and that’s only starting to happen now. It needs one more generation. Right now, North American East Asian culture is being developed.
  • Jeremy Lin provided this connection. “I don’t know why but he makes me feel more Chinese”
  • Manny Pacquio does this as well for Philiphinos. he brings people together in the absence of other cultural connections.
  • Marketers need to 1) adapt their strategy to these changes, to more Asian youth, 2) extend Asian brands globally, 3) brand their communication across the diaspora
  • For Unilever, they need to understand the level of acculturation. We assume ethnicity is important but how acculturated are people? Who exactly are they reaching? What is interaction between home and immigrant population and will a product work the same in both?
  • Unilever launched LUX in North American to reach Chinese immigrants. They were buying grey market products anyways. The created an ad that was more appealing to new immigrants not those who have been here a long time. Acculturation is also reflected in deodorant use. Incidence of use differs by acculturation and segments must be targeted differently.

New culture for Comedy Central by Chanon Cook #TMRE #MRX

Live blogs by @LoveStats! This is a session summary from The Market Research Event by IIR in Orlando, Florida, November 2011. It was posted mere minutes after completion of the talk. Any inaccuracies are my own. Any humorous side remarks are also my own. Feel free to leave comments and critiques. ***                                                                                                          ***

Research Unveils New Comedy Culture For Comedy Central
Chanon Cook, VP, Strategic Insights and Research, Comedy Central, MTV Networks

  • Comedy Native – Used to be a content focus research program, now the audience is the marketing, curator, critic, creator, programmer,
    Comedy Central Germany

    Image via Wikipedia

    distributor. Sharing a video on YouTube covers all of these components.

  • Two thirds of audience now is millennial generation
  • Moving to consumer lifestyle research
  • Young guys have always been the biggest consumers
  • Did buddy groups, self-reported video ethnographies, “Jokus Groups”, online surveys, digital ideation, audience measurement
  • Comedy is at the heart of who comedy natives are – social currency, connector, pathway to cool, agent for change, self expression, “unique brand of awesomeness”
  • They post on youtube because it says something about who they are, if you get their sense of humour, you will get who they are
  • Funny is the top train for an ideal man, funny and smart is what people want to be, everyone wants to be funny now
  • Who would you wanted to be stranded in an elevator with? fave comedian was top answer. That’s a big shift. It used to be a sports person. Comedians remind us of ourselves or our best friends. They look and act just like me.
  • It’s no longer chocolates and roses, it’s funny clips. Guys to it to impress a crush. Many do it to get noticed by someone they want to date.
  • Posting on facebook is just as good as face to face. It’s still an inside joke between me and my thousand friends.
  • This generation will be less successful than past generations so comedy is one path to fame and fortune. 60% of millennial guys think they are just as funny as comedians and are waiting for their shot.
  • 40% say comedy can shed light on social injustice
  • 25% say comedy helps shape their political views
  • 53% say comedy makes you think and gives you perspective on what’s really important in life
  • 72% look for humour in any situation. Absurdity is their new irony. Fearless generation.  Too far is when it comes from hate.
  • Guys prefer brands that match their sense of humour, not sports.
  • Comedy is the number one passion point for this generation.

Art, History, and Culture in Chicago

Day three is almost over. It pretended to rain for a few hours but Chicago was just as lovely even without yesterday’s sunny skies. I started the day checking out a lego skeleton at the lego store, stopped by the bean again and got some solo shots, then off to the prairie historic district to see 4 or 5 original houses, through chinatown where i bought some very cheap and very pretty desserts, took the el back to the downtown, saw the lovely tiffany domes at the cultural center, visited the oldest church in chicago, and then picked up my esomar package. Pretty slim package compared to other conferences but that’s okay. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s presentations!

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