Success Stories

Failing Campaign Turned Around for One of the World's Largest Banks


Issue:

Campaign for a financial service targeting college students was failing. In order to find the best way to frame communications we sought to understand the barriers to adoption.

Approach:

Focus groups with College Students

Insight:

Uncovered surprising unconscious psychological barriers preventing acquisition and identified how the product could resonate emotionally with students.

Impact:

Marketing communications were re-designed. The failed campaign was saved and achieved results beyond initial projections.


Mystery Solved for a Global Food Company

Issue:

Management was perplexed by the low performance of a new product introduction that had scored high on consumer usage tests. What went wrong?

Approach:

Incubation and Drawing in Focus Groups with Meal Preparers

Insight:

While consumers liked the product performance, it was effectively mislabeled—and mispositioned. We unearthed the psychological benefits of product usage in addition to the functional ones.

Impact:

Successful re-launch attributed to new positioning informed by research findings.


What Makes Insurance Agents Tick?

Issue:

A major auto insurance player considering entrance into the secondary auto insurance market lacked knowledge of the mindset of independent agents in this field. Would their tried and true relationship building strategies work?

Approach:

On-site In-depth Interviews with Secondary Auto Insurance Agency principles in key geographic markets.

Insight:

Motivation and drive among agents targeting the secondary market stem from sources unlike standard market agents. The functional and psychological benefits they value do not match traditional carrier relations.

Impact:

Opened eyes of management to the unique aspects of a new target market warranting development of alternative relationship strategies.


Being Sensitive Brings Success to Health Insurance Carrier

Issue:

A prominent health insurance company sought to maximize sales of their Gap coverage by targeting causalities of the recession — newly unemployed white-collar workers. How to best to communicate to this growing market?

Approach:

Focus group with newly unemployed white-collar workers 25 – 38 & 38- 52 years of age

Insight:

Losing a middle management job catapults workers into an unfamiliar world. The dynamics at play during this highly charged emotional state demand sensitivity. We identified how best to communicate to these wounded workers and created an avatar for employee edification.

Impact:

Increased market share overtime given revised marketing and communications strategies that incorporated a new tone and feel.


Functional & Emotional Drivers Unearthed

Issue:

A major packaged goods manufacturer in test market for a frozen meal outside of its traditional line of frozen entrées sought immediate, dependable feedback to determine next steps.

Approach:

In-depth Interviews with One-Time and Repeat Purchasers

Insight:

The functional reasons for product usage did not correspond with past new product successes and the implicit drive behind purchase lacked wide appeal.

Impact:

Market trial was aborted at an early stage, saving significant monies.


Implications of Package Re-Design

Issue:

A specialty snack and dessert manufacturer concerned about the implication of potential new package designs requested a pre-launch disaster check.

Approach:

Mini-Groups with Target Users with Store Shelf Simulation

Insight:

The new design enhanced appeal without negative impact on brand recognition. New packaging communicated “freshness”; an unexpected benefit.

Impact:

The package re-design effort proceeded on schedule. Advertising profited from communicating a connection between the brand and “freshness”


Healthy Foods & Kids

Issue:

A food manufacturer wanted to better understand children 5 to 12 years old and how they perceive food choices?, what appeals to their senses?, how they decide what to eat?, how they negotiate food choices with their parents?, etc.

Approach:

Groups with Children; Mother – Child Dyads

Insight:

Healthy foods require unique positioning strategies to appeal to youth. Viable avenues to heighten overall desirability were identified

Impact:

This research was exploratory; affording a window into the mindset of younger consumers and how a food manufacturer can help parents achieve their goal of healthier eating.


Nurses Impact Re-design of Medical Equipment

Issue:

A medical equipment manufacturer sought input of the end user of prototype intravenous tubing for hospital use.

Approach:

Focus groups with hospital nurses attending a national convention.

Insight:

Needs and preferences of hospital nurses had changed due to the impact of time constraints brought on by managed care necessitating increased flexibility.

Impact:

Prototype was re-designed to address the nurses point of view. Awareness of the challenges hospital nurses face and of their new work environment enabled product designers to envision unique modifications which led to a successful product introduction.


Long Term Care Introduced in Stages

Issue:

Direct mail materials for long term care were being revised to increase consumer response levels.

Approach:

Immersive In-depth Interviews with Older Americans

Insight:

Identified the assumptions underlying the overall campaign strategy did not match the needs of the targeted decision makers.

Impact:

The entire marketing strategy was re-written to reflect the deep insights generated from the depth interviews. Senior managements eyes were opened to how their campaign was truly being perceived. The study had wide ranging impact on the overall business and helped to strengthen the overall timing and positioning of the product sales cycle.


Just Another Bar Soap?

Issue:

A major packaged goods manufacturer wished to examine how to invigorate the bar soap category?

Approach:

Ethnographic In-Home Interviews with Daily Shower Users

Insight:

Brought to light the unconscious routines of daily shower users. Uncovered emotional barriers to using body washes.

Impact:

Heightened understanding of consumer shower habits and provided product designers insight into the lives of their ultimate users. Several new product concepts were generated for further exploration.


Creditworthy Consumers Voices Heard

Issue:

A national credit card issuer wished to assess the current customer franchise’s affinity with a proposed extension.

Approach:

Engaged Focus Groups with Current franchise members

Insight:

Preferences of target clientele characterized in detail.

Impact:

Brand extension revised to match the core values and needs of its current customer base.


Bankruptcy, an Unmentionable Word.

Issue:

A major bank wanted to figure out how to identify consumers likely to file bankruptcy and to ensure they do not.

Approach:

Focus groups and in-depth immersive Interviews with consumers who had filed for bankruptcy.

Insight:

Elements of treatment during telephone conversation with collection agencies can trigger bankruptcy filings.

Impact:

Collection processes and agent training materials were revised to increase sensitivity to consumers viewpoints and needs during bill collection conversations to decrease the number of bankruptcies filed.


Breaking the Inertia Barrier

Issue:

A major property and casualty insurer requested deep insights into consumers treatment of the decision to change providers.

Approach:

In-depth immersive interviews with Laddering.

Insight:

Inertia offers functional and emotional benefits.

Impact:

Better understanding of what motivates loyalty and brand switching served as a launching pad for the generation of ideas to drive brand preference.


Painting a Picture of the Affluent Purchaser

Issue:

Looking to cross sell insurance coverage, a luxury automobile maker wanted insight into their target consumers’ attitudes and perceptions of the potential tie-in.

Approach:

Focus groups with luxury automobile owners earning over $200,000 annually.

Insight:

The cross selling has potential if it is framed in a manner in line with the views and vocabulary of the Affluent market.

Impact:

Concrete ideas for positioning development obtained and strategic communication objectives were established.


Health Related Web Site Gets Face Lift

Issue:

A health-oriented website had lost its luster and lacked a clear identity.

Approach:

Triads among various lifestyle based segments.

Insight:

Overlap of key drivers of site usage were identified across the lifestyle segments.

Impact:

Insights informed new positioning development which ultimately clarified the site’s point of difference.