December is a good time to reflect on the year that has passed and to look ahead to the coming year.  Research projects tend to slow down over the holidays as our focus shifts to family (with a hint of accounting).  However, our December has been pretty packed this year and with a busy January on the horizon, we must take a step back to examine what we have learned and how we have grown throughout the past year.

2015 has been an interesting year.  Big brands are being challenged, and companies began reorganizing, merging, and trimming as a result.  As these companies adjusted to their leaner and meaner selves, we found ourselves dealing with some larger and longer lulls than normal. However, as these companies emerged in their new forms, they’ve shown themselves committed to evolving and rethinking their processes and allowing themselves to react and develop new ideas. Our initial calm start grew into a strong year as our directional, in-store and online/mobile solutions have provided these teams with actionable, rapid, and rich insights that have enabled them to more quickly determine their priorities and optimizations, adding to the increasing value of these methods.

Last year, building empathy and intuition was an ongoing theme.  The small brands that are taking the CPG world by storm are successful because they are deeply in-tune with their target consumer. They naturally ARE their target consumer, which usually isn’t the case with larger brands. As a result, significant efforts to immerse more fully and frequently with consumers are increasingly important. Both getting to know them and co-creating with them allows teams to more adequately make decisions that channel the correct consumer lens as opposed to their personal lenses. We have developed a multi-method, multi-phase solution we call REAL Intuition Journeys to best kick-start this intuition building necessity. With its ability to probe more fully into the consumer psyche, it has proven to be a powerful and unifying tool for these teams seeking greater empathy and intuition to guide their decisions.

Due to company reorganizations, we’ve found ourselves with friends who have landed at companies in new-to-us industries, and as a result, we have used our free time to apply our core strengths and abilities to new areas, such as Healthcare. With the launch of Patient Voice, we are able to offer a solution to these industries that are much less familiar with in-context approaches. As we continue to grow this area of research, the benefit we will bring will be significant and will continue to be rewarding as it is further developed.

As we look ahead to this upcoming year, we predict that it will be a good one.  You can count on us to apply our core values of excellence, dependability, strategic, fun, team oriented, and life balance to each and every project.  We are grateful to have a suite of tried-and-true methods that are highly valued while still being focused on the next big thing to continue to stay relevant and valued partners to you, our clients.

Now, as the year comes to an end, enjoy this time with your family and friends. Reflect on 2015 fondly, and look forward to what the coming year has to offer.

Happy Holidays from REAL Insight!

-Luke Cahill, Managing Principal

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