Luke participated in the Insights Association’s Y Conference with his presentation, “General Mills’ Quest for the First Moment of Truth: Novel qual methods to fuel effective innovation frameworks,” shared how our partnership with General Mills’ In-Context Experimentation team generated quick method pivots that allowed for research to continue through the pandemic.
Read a bit about his presentation below!
We have all been changed because of the historic experience of the past year and have lists of things we are eager to get back to (e.g. travel) and new habits we hope to retain (e.g. more intentionality). A return to normalcy isn’t going to happen, per se, but a return to fewer sacrifices and a re-embracing of ideal routines seems to be on the horizon. What are the implications of this from an insight and strategy standpoint?
Research and methodology looked quite different this past year. What are clients (and supplier partners) eager to get back to and what changes will stick? Will focus groups continue to be the default qualitative choice?
For us, in-person intercepts have been an important method for innovation, packaging, and shopper work. The purity of the behavior and authenticity of the shopper and mindset still have us eager to return to stores, but there are challenges depending on the project. Our mobile and virtual in-store methods are now available in situations when in-store intercepts aren’t ideal or possible.
Emerging qualitative methodologies have long threatened focus groups, but many struggled to break through the primary obstacle of habit. However, this past year interrupted our habits. Consequently, REAL Insight crafted a variety of multi-method solutions that deliver a lot of additional benefits in situations that would have defaulted to focus groups in the past.
The hunger to return to the old ways will be highly influenced by how they were replaced last year. My guess is that client partners will be less attached to focus groups in the future but will desire to get back to in-person research. It is up to us research supplier partners to craft solutions that deliver not just the insights but the environment of convenience and collaboration that have made the focus group a go-to for decades.
A big implication is that all brands will need to refresh their foundational consumer and behavioral work. Human behaviors, values, expectations, priorities have realigned, so what brands have known to be true in the past, may not be true in the future. This provides both the need to get back up to speed with insights specific to your brand or category as well as provide opportunities to capture share and enter new arenas where competitors have been slow to adapt. The timing on when this should happen will be interesting and could vary across sectors. My recommendation is to plan ahead and get in the queue early. Supplier capacity will be limited compared to the interest, so lock these projects in before the rush to ensure the work leaves you with a competitive advantage instead of playing catch-up.