Looking for an Authentic Spark

As you know, perception is reality for shoppers. Relying on traditional concept evaluation tools presents a challenge; concepts are already fully explained before the consumer can share their thoughts even with more iterative, on-trend methodologies. Yet, concept understanding at-shelf is essentially a barometer of how much effort and cost will be required to gain traction.

Concepts are successful when they are seen, understood, valued, and deliver on expectations. As a company that specializes in in-context research, REAL Insight takes the lead in determining if packaging is noticeable on shelf, answering questions on consumer perceptions and gauging concept understanding.

unnamed (2)When learning about packaging impact, concepts are surrounded by likely shelf-mates. In this unique, in-context testing environment, we often gain significant understanding around category assumptions and concept performance. However, we are frequently brought in when innovation projects are nearing launch. At this last stage in the process, we frequently see concepts heavily challenged by ingrained assumptions or hard-to-rectify first moment of truth issues. Prioritizing at-shelf learning earlier can be beneficial for more nuanced concept testing and a successful launch.

With few product launches having significant marketing support out-of-aisle, these offerings need to be intuitive on-shelf to more easily gain traction. Understanding concept performance is helpful in prioritizing projects and determining what type of launch may be needed for success.

unnamed (1)To truly win in the category and gain insight to the degree of enthusiasm, the harsh reality of the typical CPG retail category needs to be accounted for: effective concepts need to change a behavior and prove they are a better solution than competing options. Seeing a shopper’s emotional reaction upon discovering a new product—bright smiles and eyes lighting up—is significant.

REAL Insight has the solutions to help gain early-on concept learning in-store without requiring significant prototype creation or sharing concept ideas with retail buyer partners until needed and keeps in mind already tight marketing budgets. Consider it a companion data point to the other quantitative concept work you are already doing or as an alternative to commonly used speed-dating approaches; a complement that will be highly valuable in setting expectations and appropriately prioritizing ideas.

Ready to learn more? Reach out to Luke for more details!

 

Spotlight On: The RENO Team

With the mission of renovating our current methodologies and internal practices to reach their fullest potential, our Renovation Team (affectionately termed the RENO911 team) is always on the lookout for additional tools that can complement our in-context focus.

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RENO Team (L-R): Emma Connolly, Quinten McGruder, Tyler McGruder, Adam Kneeland

One of these exciting new add-ons is eye tracking. Our moderators remain the best in the business with regard to eliciting honest and insightful feedback from respondents. However, for shopper insights in particular, subconscious thoughts and behaviors are harder to get at because shoppers rarely think about how they shop; consumers may say they have not seen certain signage, but their eyes may tell a different story. Now, with the eye tracking capabilities made possible through a partnership with Tobii, we are able to obtain a tangible read on exactly what respondents see and focus in on.

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While this technology is not new to the industry, the trade-offs presented by available devices have, thus far, not been a worthy additional to our methodology arsenal. Only now, with the right technology and right partner, has eye tracking shown to have the capability to be an appropriate add-on to our solutions. Paired with our in-store methodologies, eye tracking can be a great addition, especially to studies focusing on packaging and signage. This way of seeing through the eyes of the respondents gives definitive backing to insights and a measurable method of analysis. Like Project Director Quinten McGruder says, “It’s a natural extension of our existing methods.”

In addition to researching and developing our eye tracking offering, RENO911 has also looked into other new and innovative additions to the field, such as text analytics, and has been devoting time to building relationships with retailers across the country. REAL Insight was born when founder Jim Cahill walked into a Cub Foods and asked to conduct research there. “We’ve been building on Jim’s legacy of maintaining good store relationships,” says Emma Connolly, Associate Project Director. These ongoing connections are imperative to the in-context research in which we excel and, therefore, we prioritize their maintenance and growth. RENO911 keeps our skills, practices, and methods sharp and current. Where will they lead us next?

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Richard Simmons and the Power of Empathy

Historically, the name Richard Simmons did little more for me than conjure up Day-Glo tinted memories of spandex and pep. While familiar with him and his fitness empire, he was not a person on which I spent much time dwelling in the past decade.

That was until recently, when I joined thousands of others in being utterly captivated by “Missing Richard Simmons,” a podcast detailing the abrupt departure of Mr. Simmons from the public eye, and one man’s quest to find out why.

15simmons1-master768In the past, when Richard Simmons would come up in conversation or the news, my two most prominent thoughts were:

  1. His success must be tied to the fanfare surrounding him and his unique way of carrying himself.
  2. Who would choose him as a fitness guide when there are other, more credible-seeming guides out there and available?

What I failed to see is something that the podcast has illustrated for all those listening: his success (which is much larger than I was aware of) lies in his authentic empathy for people. He saw people through non-judgmental and caring eyes and wanted to hear their stories and help them.

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It actually reminded me a lot of my dad, the founder of our company, and what made him so effective at the 75,000+ intercept interviews he did over his career. He, like Richard, had a way of immediately instilling a feeling of worth and importance in anyone with whom he interacted. This authentic and believable foundation encouraged and inspired conversations, and continues to this day. Respect and empathy are rooted in the DNA of REAL Insight, and grow with us as we continue to expand and innovate.

Brands can be authentically empathetic too, but it requires brand teams to be open, vulnerable, and receptive to interactions in environments that may seem uncomfortable or places that may not be major cities. It’s not enough to just do research. Teams need to truly see and listen to people, which is harder to do when those people are different from themselves.  This is where true empathy needs to be formed, and this is where we can help.

We have developed a solution that makes this process much easier: a REAL Intuition Journey. This is a multi-touchpoint process that will help your team transition from hearing to listening and from looking to seeing. Empathy has power; let us help you harness it.

-Luke Cahill

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