Nowadays it is practically impossible to successfully position and communicate brands, products and services that are not based on strong insights. Insights are surprising discoveries about customer needs, longings and exigencies. According to our definition, an insight is particularly relevant to behavior when it is characterized by a field of tension between 'want’ and ‘should’. This becomes clear when, for example, a consumer articulates one kind of argument but acts in a way that is inconsistent with that argument.
To research these insights, we stay on the pulse of the consumer and analyze his or her behavior in a situational context. We use research methods from psychology, anthropology and semiotics and our proprietary, smart software. This powerful arsenal is the basis for the intelligent management of consumer, cultural, shopper and service insights.
"There is nothing so terrible as activity without insight.“Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
What is the optimal approach to identifying strong insights?
Our search is targeted towards that inner moment of tension when the consumer makes a decision. We investigate the key drivers and barriers for individual product categories and brands to generate a driver-barrier matrix. If we cannot observe behavior directly, then we employ indirect methods in group discussions, including roleplay and thinking games. Psychoanalytical and dramatic exploration are combined in a consumption psychodrama with play figures (“Please group these figures according to their relationship to one another”) in an effective method for reenacting consumer situations. So too narrative methods (“Relate an anecdote on a certain topic”) are ideally suited for recognizing broad motivational strokes in consumer stories. Various visualization techniques likewise aid in grasping the unconscious consumer mind.
What are the relevant and nascent consumption situations of my target group? How can I avoid cannibalization between the brands of my portfolio?
“Needstates” describe the driving motives behind consumption-related events within a specific category from the consumer’s perspective. The data collection process includes intensive, ethnographic field trips into consumer reality using techniques like field journals and video and ethnographic observations.
Alternatively we use our in-house Mindmarker software to map motives and events even with large numbers of participants.
The recognized need states are distilled and visualized in a need state matrix. The matrix can then be used to easily depict and intuitively and strategically manage growing demands, competitive positionings and your own brand portfolio.
How can I ensure that my brand message is transmitted across all channels as efficiently as possible without any breaks in communication?
How can I avoid cannibalization between the brands of my portfolio?
Our semiotic assessments analyze the symbolic language of a brand in terms of its expressiveness and consistency across consumer interfaces. The brand identity is thoroughly analyzed in an expert panel session over several hours. Above all the session checks the consistency of the messages communicated across all channels: from the logo to the appearance of the brand all the way to the consumer experience at the point of sale. Taste, smell, sounds and consistencies are tested and communication breaks, possible cannibalization effects and channels for expansion are identified. Such an analysis is a powerfully effective complement to the need state matrix for portfolio structuring.
How can I translate insights into a vital part of my business?
Successful companies open up to consumers and gain market proximity and market intelligence. Involving market participants in the research process is based on paradigms from network economics: networking and collaboration. In this sense we establish specific and continuous online communities for our customers, which they can investigate on an ad-hoc basis. Examples of these are our lead user community NEONauts (in cooperation with Gruner+Jahr) and various B2B communities. The company gets an open “window to the market”, thereby making it better able to listen to end consumers and business partners, to continuously monitor their behavior, to ask better questions and to gain deeper insights.
How can I manage a multitude of insights and derive the greatest benefit from them?
Good insight management is based on the continuous, collaborative discovery and evaluation of market-specific consumer, shopper and cultural insights. At Sturm und Drang, we have engineered for our customers a collaborative insight database in the form of a market-specific insight wiki. This database makes it possible to deal in a structured manner with insights from very disparate sources, to discuss and evaluate them and to use them at any time for your own development processes.