Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Is it Worth it? Key Considerations for Social Media Research

By: Terry Lawlor, EVP Product Management, Confirmit

The role of social media in delivering business insights is a tricky business. While most researchers consider it to offer real benefits, the big question is “how do we do it properly?” In our recent survey of Market Research professionals, we asked respondents about their feelings towards social media. Overwhelmingly, the most popular response from the five choices offered was “A useful addition to a Market Research project if we can bring the data together effectively”.

The word to look at there is “if”.

For many businesses, that “if” is surmountable, and for others it isn’t – at least not yet. There are a number of things to bear in mind.

Who is Your Audience?
The changing dynamic of the consumer has a significant impact on research. Millennials behave differently when it comes to researching, buying and complaining about products. The audience you’re targeting has a huge role to play when it comes to establishing the part that social media has to play in your business.

It Takes More Than Technology
There’s no silver bullet for social media. It takes a combination of people, process and technology to be successful. You need technology to sift through the vast quantities of information – to find and filter data sources, provide intelligent sampling of massive amounts of content, and perform categorization and sentiment analysis. However, you will still need people. In our recent study, Political Buzz, we used social media (as well as traditional surveys) to monitor topics for the UK election. One of our key findings was that the role of people was critical in researching the key social and online media channels, and in building the taxonomies on which your technology must function.

It’s More Than Just Social
When thinking about social media, most people immediately think of Twitter and Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr, perhaps YouTube and Pinterest. There are actually many more social media sites than you think, and there are many different feeds within each social media platform. And there is a huge array of online media, where people post comments and stories, and review sites that cover many different categories of products and services. So you need to think about online media as much as social media, and you need to think about data sources that amount to tens or hundreds of thousands of different media channels.

A Double-Edged Sword
As with every “next big thing”, social media research is a double-edged sword. On one hand, because it is largely unsolicited, you can uncover insights that you never anticipated. However, also because it is largely unsolicited, it might not address anything useful for your research program. You may want to research a particular topic but no one is discussing it, or your target audience just doesn’t use social media.

About the Author: Terry Lawlor has the responsibility of all aspects of product management, including strategy development, product definition, and product representation in client and marketing activities. Terry is a seasoned and highly professional enterprise software executive who possesses a wealth of expertise in the Market Research and customer experience markets.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Tech-Fueled Retail: In-Store and Online

Over the past few weeks, the Stylus Life team has been tracking the latest innovations in retail tech – the online tools making shopping seamless, and the in-store tech that will encourage customers to head back to the high street.

Retailers are always seeking new ways to entice customers and encourage loyalty, particularly looking to create convenient purchase journeys that fit around shopping habits. This strategy is seen through Mr Porter’s recent partnership with Apple TV. A first for luxury content-commerce mergers, the collaboration sees the e-tailer monetise its editorial video content, letting shoppers buy directly through their TV.

Similarly, Instagram recently announced it would soon start testing retail tools that enable users to buy items found in their image feed – a move that will help both brands and tastemakers to drive revenue through the platform. The new feature, kicking off in the US with twenty retailers, ties in with recent stats showing that consumers increasingly shop via their mobile devices.

The consumer desire for convenience and curation is also highlighted in recent research that discovered 43% of US consumers are likely to do their holiday shopping via online marketplaces such as eBay or Amazon, compared to just 15% purchasing via an individual retailer’s website. This dramatic difference is due to marketplaces’ ability to offer shoppers a simpler experience, with a wider variety of products at the best prices – all in one place.

So if shopping online is easier, what will send customers back to the store? Well, a recent survey has found that 63% of UK shoppers still prefer the high street, but are more likely to be enticed by tech-fuelled retail spaces. The convenience of contactless and mobile payments was described by some as “life-changing”. Meanwhile, shoppers are more likely to visit stores with technology such as virtual reality (57%) or smart fitting rooms (57%), which provide experiences that can’t be replicated at home or online.

Tesco is capitalising on this consumer desire for technology, trialling digital receipts that offer shoppers personalised offers, while also taking another step towards paperless transactions. The trial, running through November, aims to give customers more choice. Beauty brand Charlotte Tilbury has placed digital interaction at the centre of its new store, using virtual mirrors to help shoppers select their perfect look, and in-store screens to showcase social media inspiration.

Brought to you by Stylus Life, creativity and innovation news from around the web.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Innovation Inside the Box: A Systematic Approach to Link Innovation and Marketing Strategy

Innovation Inside the Box: A Systematic Approach to Link Innovation and Marketing Strategy
By Drew Boyd, Executive Director of the Master of Science in Marketing, University of Cincinnati 

Back End of Innovation Conference Keynote: 2016
The thesis of this talk is that Creativity is a skill, not a gift. This practical advice starts with a promise from Boyd: “I’m going to teach you how to use your brain to innovate anyway you want.”
He then discussed the origin story of the “think outside of the box” mythology. When you send people outside of the box, the mind suffers anxiety. The mind works better inside the box, he says, with constraints.
He then quoted Beatle Paul about “templates” for songwriting. All artist use patterns, he claims. But the artists don’t want you to see the patterns. Patterns boost the creative output. “Innovators and inventors use patterns, too, and they are embedded in the products and services you see everyday.”
The method is Systematic Inventive Thinking—and there are only five patterns. “Innovation follow as set of patterns: Subtractions, task unification, multiplication, division, attribute dependency.” 

Using these patterns you can move from solution to problem, rather than problem to solution.
To use this method, start with an existing situation, and then apply one of the five patterns from above. This thinking tool will yield a virtual product, then vets if it is desired and feasible. At this stage, an idea is born.
Let’s we examine the Subtraction technique. Here’s the method: remove a component, then visualize the new prototype, identify user needs, and then adapt as needed based on the factors of “the closed world.” Taking each piece out and thinking about the possibilities opens up new paths of innovation.
This method forces you to create combinations that you wouldn’t create on your own.
Task Unification is the next method we explored. Here you assign an additional task to a component and walk through the remaining steps of can we and should we do it.
We used “How we can keep consumers in grocery stores longer?” as an exercise. We listed all components, chose one, and then create ideas quickly, with time constraints.
The exercise demonstrated the effectiveness of the technique. Many new ideas were generated. The constraints forced new thinking, new potential value.
Boyd then gave many examples of the five techniques. The book explaining these methods is called Inside the Box.
Many of the innovators were excited about this technique, which works backwards from the empathy-first methods so popular today. Boyd claims that these methods improve the efficacy of brainstorming exponentially.

Michael Graber is the managing partner of the Southern Growth Studio, an innovation and strategic growth firm based in Memphis, TN and the author of Going Electric, and also serves as VP Innovation at Hunter Fan. Visit to learn more.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Old Brains, New World: The 3 Fs Of Shopper Activation

At the OmniShopper International conference in London this week, the focus was on how we shop now. Technology has made shopping easier than ever. But it’s also given birth to a myriad of new technologies for tracking, targeting and sales activation – one speaker estimated that there were now more than 3,500 start-ups operating in the space between a brand and its end buyer.

In this forest of complexity, how do we see the wood for the trees? In a morning keynote, BrainJuicer’s Chief Juicer John Kearon suggested we were answering the wrong question. How we shop is changing at a breakneck pace. But how we decide – the cognitive tools we bring to bear on shopping – hasn’t shifted at all. 

This isn't to say shopper insight is business as usual. Insights from the behavioural sciences are often paid lip service to, but it’s harder to actually implement them at scale. The effort is worth it, though, as getting behavioural activation right is a powerful route to profitable brand growth.

As behavioural scientists tell us, we decide using our fast, intuitive System 1, and then our slow System 2 generally rubber stamps the decision. Only a tiny minority of choices involve System 2 at all. And yet an enormous amount of promotional and shopper insight activity is designed to excite it by creating cut-through and trying to stop people and get them to think. Instead, why not put System 1 at the centre and focus on making it easier to buy a brand?

Marketing analysts Les Binet and Peter Field invoke the 60/40 rule, which their analysis suggests holds true even in a digital era. 60% of your budget should be spent on brand building, 40% on activation. Shopper is clearly a huge part of that 40%, so getting at the System 1 heart of the buying experience should be a serious marketing priority. But how to do it?

For brand building, we know that the key decision-making heuristics are the 3 Fs: Fame (how easily something comes to mind), Feeling (how good it makes people feel) and Fluency (how easily recognisable its unique assets are). The 3 Fs explain how brands grow. They also let Kearon predict how close the US election would be – Hillary Clinton had a small advantage on Feeling, but ultimately Donald Trump beat her on Fluency.

But activation – the heart of shopper – requires a different set of factors. Kearon introduced the activation 3Fs – more direct levers of consumer behaviour at the point of decision. These are Framing (the world around us), Following (the world between us), and Feeling (the world within us). Feeling – the need for an experience to create positive emotion – is what Activation and Brand Building have in common. Kearon described a study of online shopping where analysis of emotion showed that people who felt happy when shopping spent almost twice as much on average as those who claimed to feel nothing. Positive emotion is vital at every stage of the brand building and activation process.

But Following and Framing are unique to the purchase moment. Framing is all about managing the choice architecture around a purchase to make certain choices feel more obvious or easy. This can be done through pricing – Kearon showed how a charity setting its default contributions higher raised its average contribution dramatically, even though givers could still give as little as they wanted. It can also be done through promotion – making an offer limited, for instance, is a reliable way of boosting take-up. And it can be done through subtle changes in the environment – as in the famous experiment where German and French music played in an off-license boosted sales of wines from those respective countries.

Following, meanwhile, is all about what other people are doing: we are social animals and make System 1 choices based on information about other humans and their choices. Kearon described an experiment designed to make pub drinkers drink more water to reduce or dilute their alcohol consumption. The most effective intervention, he said, turned out to be a poster simply showing somebody drinking a glass of water. Mirror neurons in the brain meant people seeing the poster wanted to drink themselves – and take-up of the free water in the bar shot up.

These examples of Framing, Following and Feeling were entertaining, but is there a way to apply these ideas at scale without taking a gamble on real-world profits? This is where new technology does start to help, said Kearon. The upsurge of interest in virtual reality, and the rapid improvement of virtual store technology, creates the possibility of a gigantic laboratory where A/B testing of in-store behavioural activations can happen. Wild theories – like Kearon’s notion that pet treats would sell better in the human sweets aisle! – can be tested at vastly less expense and risk. The culture of optimisation that already exists in online commerce can come to physical retail, and the lessons of Framing, Following, Feeling and System 1 decision making can be truly absorbed.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The polls got it wrong (again) but don’t lose faith in quantitative research

By: Jim Mann

Like many, I woke unusually early on Wednesday and reached nervously for my mobile phone. It was US election night and I was eager to see if, from my perspective, crisis had been averted or the world really had gone mad. Before I had a chance to tap my favourite news app I noticed a message from my brother: ‘Another resounding victory for the polls bruv!’ Detecting sarcasm (I’m smart like that) I knew this could only mean one thing. Sure enough, Trump was well on course to a victory that nobody, least of all the pollsters, was anticipating. For the third time in eighteen months (following the UK general election and EU referendum) the pollsters had got it wrong!

In the period since May 2015, I’ve had countless debates with polling sceptics like my brother. His, fiercely articulated, view is that polling is not simply inaccurate, it also has the potential to sabotage itself. He’s not alone in this belief. Behavioural economics shows that people generally wish to follow the herd. Therefore, a poll showing that the majority think in a particular way is likely to influence, albeit subtly, what they themselves believe. Furthermore, there are those that cite the possibility that polls could impact rates of voter turnout. After all, why bother to turn out to vote if the polls have created a strong belief that your favoured candidate is either assured of victory or has no chance of winning?

Polling, when first popularised by George Gallup in the 1930s, was hailed for the positive contribution it made to the democratic process. Gallup himself was, understandably, steadfast in this belief. Elmo Roper, another pioneer of the public opinion poll, described it rather hyperbolically as “the greatest contribution to democracy since the introduction of the secret ballot”. 

But there have always been critics, and the anti-polling arguments inevitably gain traction when the pollsters get it wrong. Failure is not a modern phenomenon either. Immediately prior to the 1948 election George Gallup predicted that Dewey would beat Truman in the election and stated, unwisely as it turns out, “We have never claimed infallibility, but next Tuesday the whole world will be able to see down to the last percentage point how good we are”. Dewey lost. The anti-polling lobby had a field day.

So criticisms of polling aren’t new and, let’s be honest, they would remain niche concerns if the polls were accurately predicting results. But they’re not and on the back of a series of high profile failures it’s increasingly common to deride polling as a “devalued pseudo-science conducted by charlatans”. Yep, my brother again. I hate to give him the last word so, in order to provide a flavour of wider opinion, I’ll quote the Guardian’s post-election editorial instead. “The opinion polls and the vaunted probability calculus rarely trended in his (Trump’s) direction; both are discredited today.”

The purpose of this blogpost is not to defend political polling; I have my own concerns in that direction and it’s undeniable that the work of pollsters is becoming harder, due to a combination of methodological issues and a more fluid, less predictable, political landscape. However, for the sake of fairness I’d like to mention two things, neither of which is intended to exonerate the practice.

First, most polls reflect public sentiment within a nationally representative sample. In the main, but not exclusively, the polls conducted immediately prior to the election found that, by a relatively small margin, more Americans intended to vote for Clinton than Trump. In this they were correct. At the time of writing, the figures show that 59,814,018 Americans voted for Clinton whilst 200,000 fewer (59,611,678) voted for Trump. However, due to the distribution of votes and the vagaries of the US political system, this translated into 279 Electoral College votes for Trump and 228 for Clinton.
Second, most polls conducted by reputable polling organisations produced results that placed the result well within the margin of error. “What’s that?” I hear you ask. Well, tucked away at the end of most reports based on a public opinion poll will be a small note about margin of error. This margin will differ depending on the number of people interviewed for the poll but, for a standard sample size of 1,000, the margin of error is +/- 3.5%. This essentially means that if the poll results show that Clinton is projected to win 47% of votes, the reality is likely to be somewhere between 50.5% and 43.5%. Within this context, the result of the election was well within the margin of error of most polls. It wasn’t so much the polls that got it wrong, it was the reporting of the polls that failed to sufficiently stress that the result really was too close to call. But people don’t like uncertainty so these boring, statistical caveats tend to get overlooked.

OK, but I said this blog wasn’t designed to defend polling. So what is it about? Well, I don’t feel the need to defend polling because I’m not a pollster. However, I am a market researcher working with quantitative surveys and, what concerns me, is the fear that growing scepticism around polling will negatively impact trust in all forms of numbers-based research into public attitudes. Maybe I’m just a worrier and people are perfectly able to distinguish between different forms of survey based research. However, my own experience suggests that isn’t always the case.

In May 2015 I was working at the Guardian. The Guardian has invested significantly in data journalism over recent years and coverage and analysis of polls was given a high degree of prominence in the run up to the UK general election. At the Editorial conference, held the day after the election, the mood was subdued. When the conversation turned to the failure of the polls some journalists questioned the prominence given to polling numbers, especially as those numbers didn’t chime with their instincts and the evidence of their own, on the ground, experiences. The upshot was a policy decision, only recently reversed, that editorial coverage of polling should be suspended. The coverage of polls in the run-up to the US election was reported under the banner ‘Sceptical polling’, which gives a pretty good indication of the mood around the organisation.  

As Head of Consumer Insight at The Guardian, a key element of my role was to advocate for use of consumer research and promote evidence-based strategic decision-making. My internal clients were ranged on a spectrum that ran from research enthusiasts to rejecters. This latter group, a minority it should be said, believed there was little to gain from engaging with research. The great polling disaster of 2015 provided a tailor-made reason to disengage. After all, research had been shown, in the most public way imaginable, to be unreliable and wrong! Hadn’t it?

I’m sure the Guardian is like most organisations in having research stakeholders ranging from enthusiasts to sceptics. To the latter group I would make this plea; don’t conflate political polling and other forms of quantitative market research and do not deny yourself and your business an incredibly powerful, consistently proven aid to decision making simply because political polling has been shown to not be a perfectly accurate crystal ball. As mentioned, polling isn’t quite as inaccurate as some would have you believe. Furthermore, the stakes are simply much higher for polling: A couple of percentage points either way (generally within the margin of error, remember) is the difference between two diametrically-opposed outcomes and the profound repercussions associated with that. In contrast, if a representative survey of consumers in a particular sector suggests that awareness of your brand currently stands at 34% whilst that of a competitor is 64%, does it really make a huge difference to the decisions your company will take if the reality is a couple of percentage points either side?  

Of course, some decisions do require a higher degree of accuracy. In these instances, market researchers have two huge advantages over pollsters. We can increase the number of people interviewed in the study, thus reducing the margin of error and increasing confidence levels. We can also utilise robust sampling techniques such as random probability sampling. Generally speaking, neither of these options is available to pollsters because they are simply too time consuming. Pollsters are required to provide an almost instantaneous reading of public sentiment, before new events have a chance to change it, and anything that slows that process is, by necessity, discarded. If pollsters were given the freedom to use these tools, it’s likely they would provide far more accurate predictions. How do we know? Well, following the 2015 general election most polling companies conducted re-contact surveys with pre-election poll respondents to try and understand what went wrong. What they discovered was that, even when conducting post-event research, they were unable to accurately replicate the result. The inquiry conducted by the Polling Council of Great Britain concluded that the reason was their use of (attitudinally) unrepresentative samples drawn from panels and that a random probability sampling approach (that gives every member of a target population an equal chance of participating in the study) would counteract the problem. Tellingly, the survey that best replicated the election result was the British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey conducted by NatCen Social Research. Need I say that BSA is based on a large sample (3,000) and utilises random probability sampling?

I’ve rambled on too long and exceeded my word count limit by a distance so I’ll finish by saying this: The great jazz musician, Duke Ellington (or possibly Richard Strauss, it’s disputed) is quoted as saying “there are only two types of music: good and bad”. Market research is much the same. When done properly it is an incredibly powerful diagnostic and forecasting tool that can provide a highly accurate picture of consumer sentiment as it currently exists. Pollsters, through no fault of their own, are sometimes unable to do it.

Researchers, however, can and do. 

Jim Mann is a senior quantitative director at the numbers lab @ Firefish

Thursday, November 10, 2016

It Takes a Village to Help Brands Through their Omnichannel Journey

By: Owen McCabe, Group Solutions Director, Kantar Retail

There’s a well-known African saying that it takes a village to raise a child – i.e., that a child has the best chance to grow and become a healthy productive adult if the parents allow their extended family, neighbours and broader community to contribute to its rearing. I always liked this saying.  Growing up in small town Ireland, with lots of relatives living nearby, and local sports clubs playing such a big part in the community, it rang true to my own experience.

It’s also a saying that rings true when I reflect on Kantar Retail’s experience over the past 4 years of helping brand owners take the next step on their Omnichannel/ecommerce journey. Put simply, the winners tend to be those who have understood that in order to grow and integrate their infant ecommerce channels, they need to not only upgrade their parenting skills but also actively allow others to help.  The corollary is also true, all too often, we find the go-it-alone companies among the strung-out “parents” at the back, overwhelmed with responsibility for a whole new set of competencies that their companies do not understand or appreciate (Digital Asset Management, On-Site Media, Search Optimisation, etc).

In next week’s Omnishopper International Conference, I will go into more detail on this as well as share some examples. However, in the meantime here are some of our key observations.
Firstly, the brand owners who are doing the best job of upgrading their in-house parenting skills are the companies that aren’t afraid to totally reinvent their marketing and channel management models to do a better job of engaging with the next generation of connected shoppers.  The common feature across these new models is the centricity of their focus on the connected shopper journey.

Secondly, the brand owners who are making the largest omnishopper impact are those who are purposefully forming their own Virtual Village to raise their eCommerce Child.  These companies are augmenting or replacing their singular supplier-buyer relationships with cooperative ecosystems of specialist partners to better influence conversion across the connected shopper journey.  These specialist partners include the retailers’ own media groups but also include 3rd parties covering disciplines such as Content Management and Distribution, Data Analytics, Search Marketing, Programmatic Advertising, and Digital Shelf intelligence.  At the same time, we see that those who stick with the status quo are starting to realise that the deck is stacked against them – that trade relationships without reciprocity are not really relationships at all. 

In the future, it probably won’t take a village to raise a child - either in society at large (we already see parents using iPads as a surrogate babysitter) - or in Omnichannel terms.  We already see companies investing in becoming more centred and self-sufficient in their focus on the connected shopper journey.  However,  in the short term, life on the Omnishopper savannah is a race for Brand Owners to form their own purpose-built eVillage with the right partners to allow them survive and thrive in the post-digital world without becoming someone else’s meal.

See you next week!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Facts Don’t Have to Die

This post was originally published on the Sentient Decision Science Blog

“Stories last and facts die,” Kelsey Saulsbury stated on day four of TMRE.

The Schwan Company’s manager of consumer insights and analytics held a fun workshop called “Your Voice—the Power to Slay the Two Dragons of Storytelling.” By leading participants in two creative writing exercises, she encouraged market researchers to ditch the corporate speak that plagues our presentations and find our own human voice.

If it sounds like Saulsbury didn’t know her audience, be assured she did. She addressed the certain skepticism held by any data analysts or behavioral scientists in the room by conceding that the type of presentation should depend on the client.

“A client once told me before a presentation that if I showed him one number, he’d walk out,” an audience member offered.

Saulsbury nodded, asking audience members to cut down on the slide decks and get to the point faster.

“When putting together reports we’re often afflicted by the No Data Left Behind Syndrome,” she said with a laugh. “Less is not lazy.”

Big Data Dominance

Are executives so exhausted by tables and charts that they’re letting data die? According to Alec Ross, there’s no way. As data becomes more abundant, industries become more efficient.
And data is incredibly abundant.

“Ninety percent of the world’s data in the totality of human history has been produced in the last two years,” said the former senior advisor for technology and innovation at the State Department.
“The sum of all the data from paintings on cave walls to 2003, we now produce that amount of data every two days… over 16 billion networked devices.”

So how do we leverage that?

In “We Are Not in Kansas Anymore—Consumer Insights in the Age of Big Data”Walmart’s Senior Director of Consumer Insights and Analytics, Heiko Schafer, admitted it can be overwhelming.
“Big CPGs are under tremendous pressure,” he said.

Schafer quoted Ross’s note about how 70,000 data points are available about all of us. The pressure comes in reconciling these new data streams and business models.

Companies like Walmart use the newly available data sets to integrate things like geolocationing, sensors, and digital media into their skill set. The result can be incredibly informed, targeted marketing.

Data as a Storyteller
We urge our analysts at Sentient to also highlight conflicts between data and its context. Those conflicts might reveal important insights the client wasn’t even looking for.

Saulsbury suggested that researchers begin presentations with the most compelling findings. “’Don’t bury the lede,’” she quoted.

Schafer illustrated with a study about the sales of colored pencils.

Data in graph form showed peaks in colored pencil sales where you might expect them—Christmas, Easter, and at the start of the school year—as well as a general increase in year-over-year sales.
Researchers could have accepted the numbers as they stood, but they knew something was off. Birth rates in the United States had dropped off in the Great Recession of 2007-2009 and so there are actually fewer school-age children enrolled in the areas they were looking at.

“What is going on [with the data]? What’s driving this? Why is it happening?” Schafer posed.
As it turns out, the reason colored pencil sales are going up is because the sales of adult coloring books are going up. Why was that happening? Researchers then looked at social media conversations and Google Trends and saw that a lot of adults are stressed out. They’re looking for creative escapes.
Where the data says sales of colored pencils are up, the true story is that sales of colored pencils are up because burned out adults are looking for catharsis in coloring books.

Imagine how much money could have been wasted on marketing to the wrong demographic.

Truth Is Important; So Is How You Share It

If data equals truth, truth should trump all in market research, right? Not if no one is listening to it.
That’s why storytelling is part of Sentient’s DNA.

Yes, we are a company that’s expert in advanced implicit research technology, the consumer subconscious, and quantifying the impact of emotion on choice. Our technologies are coupled with deep knowledge of behavioral economics, emotional branding, and quantitative models of the drivers of human behavior.

But the value of our insights comes from the stories we tell about data.

People support and share ideas they have an emotional connection to. By crafting our insights in a way that inspires emotion, we give data a better chance to resonate with our audience. We don’t just reel off numbers, we help clients understand why they should care about those numbers.

Facts and data don’t have to die. We can use stories to help keep them alive.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Enter to Win 2 Free Passes OmniShopper International in London

Are you a retailer? Do you like free things? Well, submit your information to win 2 passes to OmniShopper International taking place 15-17 November at the London Marriott West India Quay in London:

You will join a roster of leading retailers, FMCG manufacturers and industry experts from all throughout the European market including:

• John Lewis
• Samsung
• Tesco
• Harrods
• Mothercare
• Dreams UK
• Shell Retail
• Coca Cola
• Kimberly-Clark
• Barilla France
• Beiersdorf
• Ferrero
• Fjordland
• Johnson & Johnson
• Mondelez
• Nestle
• Ontex
• PepsiCo
• Perfetti van Melle
• Strauss Group
• Swedish Match
• Unilever
• Heineken
• Philips
• And many more!

Visit the website for more information about the full program:

Enter to win here: for a chance for you and a colleague to join 250 like-minded retailers and FMCG manufacturers and suppliers. Good luck!

We hope to see you in London!

The OmniShopper Team

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Successful Retailers Drive Emotional Connections with Consumers

We recently sat down with Bridget Brennan, Author, Why She Buys and CEO, Female Factor. In our conversation, she shed some light on how omnichannel is impacting retail, how shoppers are shaping the future of retail, where retail is going in the next five years, and more.

Here’s what Brennan had to say:

What can retailers do better to embrace the omnichannel customer journey and experience?

Brennan: Staying centered on the very human reasons of why people buy (and why they don’t) is the best compass for anyone. No matter what channel or technology is being used, retailers that drive an emotional connection with consumers do it through elements like great service, inspiring experiences, excellent products, good value and a brand that people want to be a part of. The opportunity is to play to the strengths of each channel to deliver these elements. One of the most effective ways to stay in tune with the modern consumer journey is to conduct qualitative consumer research on a regular basis.

How are shoppers shaping the future of retail?

Brennan: One of the big shifts we see across age groups is the desire for services and experiences. For brick-and-mortar locations, there is an enormous opportunity to deliver the kind of experiences that people can’t get through a screen. My local Nordstrom now has a beautiful bar on the second floor, right in the middle of the men’s section. Every time I go, it’s full of people who are clearly enjoying themselves. I predict we're going to see more and more retailers add both experiential elements and helpful services to their brick-and-mortar locations.

How is digital reinventing retail?

Brennan: In too many ways to count.  Here’s just one: e-commerce has changed the very definition of ease and convenience.  Which means it won’t be long before brick-and-mortar retailers change the very definition of what it means to be a store.

What are some key points attendees can expect to take away from your session at the event?

Brennan: People will walk away understanding the most important trends driving women consumers, and how they can leverage these as a blueprint for meeting women’s wants and needs.  Women drive 70-80% of consumer spending with their combined buying power and influence. My goal is to provide actionable insights that help retailers stay relevant with the world’s most powerful consumers in 2016 and beyond.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Implicit Bias and How Smirnoff is Transforming Global Attitudes Towards Others

This post was originally published on the Sentient Decision Science Blog.

The phrase “implicit bias” often carries a nasty connotation. Here’s just one headline from the last four months: “How Racism Persists: Unconscious Bias May Play a Role.”

Partiality. Prejudice. Racism. And this bias is thought to be all the more insidious because it’s locked away in our subconscious where we can’t do anything about it.

But as Dr. Aaron Reid explained in his TMRE 2016 presentation Wednesday, implicit bias is not necessarily negative or positive—it’s both.

“Implicit bias is simply a systematic tendency toward something,” Dr. Reid explained. “It’s the automatic associations you have in your mind, and those associations can be positive and they can be negative.”

Understanding Implicit Bias and Behavior

While System 1 certainly influences behavior, it’s not the only thing that determines how people act. If we have the motivation and the opportunity, we can influence whether our System 1 mind impacts our behavior or not.

“When you have either low motivation or lack the opportunity to reflect and reason, your implicit attitude has a much stronger impact on your judgment or behavior,” said Dr. Reid. “But when you’re motivated and have the opportunity, your System 2 thinking can intervene if you don’t want an implicit attitude to influence behavior.”

Science provides methods for quantifying implicit biases, both positive and negative. Sentient Prime implicit research technology, for example, can give you a read on your degree of biases both toward and away from people, from brands, products, and advertising.

It’s called implicit association testing and it’s a powerful tool that helps measure the impact of the non-conscious.

Can We Change Implicit Associations to Be More Inclusive?

In the Spring of 2016, Sentient examined implicit biases in a study with Smirnoff. The project objective, born from the mind of Smirnoff’s Luke Atkinson, was to make a real contribution to the world with the idea of a brand that “welcomes everyone” and stands for “good times together.”
Atkinson wanted to focus on inclusivity.

Opposite the concept of implicit bias, inclusivity moves people from thinking, ‘How do we prevent or reduce prejudice,’ to ‘How do we promote inclusivity?’ And that positive, welcoming feeling is what Smirnoff wanted its brand to inspire.

Implicit Association Testing in Action

We captured baseline data in two studies about inclusivity from 1,400 United Kingdom respondents and 1,300 from the United States. From there, we could see if the creative content produced by the Smirnoff brand could actually make people feel more inclusive toward others.
We utilized implicit and explicit measures from the behavioral sciences in five comprehensive areas of inclusivity:

·         Feeling included
·         Sharing identity
·         Motivation to act inclusively
·         Inclusive lifestyle choices
·         Inclusive socializing
Three segments emerged from the data in both the U.S. and the U.K:
·         The Isolated: those who feel excluded and act exclusively
·         Excluded Strivers: those who make inclusive lifestyle choices but feel excluded

·         Inclusive Included: those who feel included and also act more inclusively
We were then able to analyze implicit attitudes toward groups of people—based on race, gender, sexuality, and more—and split the results by segment. Some of the results were sobering.

“If you ask people an explicit question like this, you’re not going to get the real answer,” Dr. Reid said.

“But if you measure it implicitly you get really keen insight: a significant portion of the population has a negative implicit bias toward ‘old people’, toward ‘poor people’, and toward ‘disabled people’.”
Smirnoff Opens Up to Promote Inclusivity

Based on our baseline data, Smirnoff created an ad targeted at changing attitudes toward disabled people.

Smirnoff was proud of the creative. But would it have a real impact?

Sentient performed a Subtext™ ad test to see whether exposure to the ad was changing the implicit memory structures within Smirnoff’s target audience’s mind. Using consumer neuroscience tools, we measured the four key components of advertising effectiveness:
·         Attention
·         Affect
·         Memory
·         Desirability (a combination of System 1 and System 2)

Emotional preference following exposure to the ad showed a complete reversal following a single exposure to that 40-second clip.

“From a brand preference perspective,” Dr. Reid noted, “this is a very successful ad.”

Digging Deeper Into the Data

Emotional memory analysis carried the study a step further by analyzing which elements of the ad are responsible for the change in implicit attitude.

“The implicit memory connections are changing in the minds of consumers when you show them your ad,” Dr. Reid explained. “We can cut the data to see the moments of the ad that are related to those memory changes that you’re trying to affect.”

Among female viewers, there were clear positive emotional deviations at the moments that the primary female student was telling her story and began to feel the joy of dancing.

So impact on the brand is clear. What about inclusivity? Did we strike an impact? Did we change people’s attitudes to feel more inclusive?

Only among women.

“The storytelling at the beginning of the ad isn’t resonating in a positive way with men on average, it appears to reinforce a negative bias toward disabled people among the ‘Isolated’ segment” noted Dr. Reid. “It provided insight into how to optimize the creative with cuts that tell the story of the male focal character, Chris Fonseca, in a clear and compelling way to men.”

For the Isolate segment, what may be missing is motivation. Opportunity to change their judgment is there, but without motivation, there’s no override for that System 1 bias.

Next Steps for Smirnoff (and the Rest of Us?)

For its part, Smirnoff is planning a global rollout of the “We’re Open campaign.” The next ad being tested:

Regardless of the results, Smirnoff’s efforts show how it’s possible for us to address implicit bias in this country and globally. First we need to understand that System 1 mind—where it comes from—then we can focus on how to influence change.

As Dr. Reid said: “We need to understand how reason and emotion work together to drive behavior.”