AnoukHi everyone, thanks for joining our webinar about ongoing communitiesMy name is Anouk and I work at the R&D department of InSites Consulting. Every day is about communities and how we can innovate our current approach.And I will present this webinar together with my colleague Tom De Ruyck. Tom:Introduction :-)
Anouk: In the next 30 minutes, we will show you how you can start with structural collaboration with consumersFirst, we’ll explain what we mean when talking about research communities & structural collaboration. And, we’ll illustrate this with 3 cases we’re currently doing for Heinz, SBS and Sara Lee. Second, we’ll show you how to start with collaborating with consumersAnd thirdly, how to go from a pilot project to structural collaboration.
Tom: Before we explain what a research community is and what we mean with structural collaboration, let’s first explain a bit why it’s so valuable to collaborate with your customers. It is simple; we think that your customers are probably the most effective consultants you can hire. Why? 3 reasons; Your customers have a lot of knowledge about your brand. They have known your brand for their whole lives. And if you compare that to the brand managers; they are likely to switch jobs every 2 years. So, consumers are more loyal. Secondly, it’s about passion. To illustrate this, I’ll give you an example with a community we did for Ben & Jerry’s from Unilever. The members of this community were brand fans and very engaged with the brand. XXXXXXXX And thirdly, your customers are always right; they are the ones that always buy your brand and are responsible for generating sales. They don’t have an internal agenda or are involved in organizational politics. So, that’s why your customer is a key influencer in your processes which you need to involve in everything you do.
Tom: We involve these customers with the brand by means of setting up online research communities. What is such a community? The first definition of an MROC (in full: marketing research online community) was formulated by Forrester Research. It’s basically an online, closed platform, where you invite a larger group of participants for a longer period of time for qualitative research purposes. If you compare this to classic qual research, the 3 biggest differences are: - 1. that it’s closed; the platform is only accessible to the specific profiles you’ve recruited, so your secrets are safe- 2. second, a research community is setup with a larger group compared to a focus group; this results in idea clashes and richer discussions over time. - 3. third, in a research community you’re connected over a longer period. This leads to consecutive learning over time because you can built upon previous learnings and have a real connection with consumers. In addition, this flexible way of working also offers the opportunity to engage more internal stakeholders and colleagues with the community.
Anouk: So, now we know what a research community means….what makes a great research community? We identify 4 key ingredients;1. The profile of the participants: we work with people that are interested and interesting. This means that we only invite people that are engaged with either the brand of the community or the topic of the community. This makes them interesting for us and our clients because they have something to say. 2. We usually invite between 50 and 150 people for a community. This is based on research we did for the ‘optimal threads’ or discussions. We found out that when a thread generates 30 posts or reactions from members, we see a saturation occurring of on topic arguments. After that, all arguments are likely to already have been said, and we see an increase in off topic posts. We calculated that we need between 50-150 people to generate this 30 posts per thread. And, not by accident, this is the same amount as researcher Robert Dunbar has found when he was doing research on the maximum amount of social connections people can maintain. They also call this: the number of Dunbar. 3. In terms of objectives, we can setup a community for different purposes, ranging from an early stage of funnel ‘insighting’ to concept development, brand development, to the actual launch of the product or campaign and final phase ‘optimizing’ of the product, brand or campaign. 4. Based on the objectives, and type of questions you want to ask the community, we can setup a community for 3 weeks/months/ or even ongoing. Let’s take a closer look at these ongoing communities.
Aiming for structural collaboration does not mean that we immediately or always need a community that is always on.Structural collaboration is about working together with your customers almost every single day, for every important business decisions, across all departments of the company. And in our vision, structural collaboration is the end goal. But we will need a step by step approach to get there. And communities will be a tool that we will need along the way; it’s a means to an end.
Anouk: Ok, tom, how do we start with struc. Coll.?Tom: There are various ways to setup structural collaborations with customers. Usually, we always advice to think big (with an end goal in mind) but start small, so you can grow the value of your community over time. This is not something for the happy few. You can already start the collaboration with a low entry cost (co-moderated with clients & lower intensity and frequency). We’ve selected 3 examples of communities we are currently running that show different ways how you can collaborate with customers in a structural way.
Tom: First example is about the communities we run for media group SBS in the netherlands. Each community is centered around a TV channel; Net5, SBS6 and VeronicaAs a pilot, we setup communities for each channel, that we ran for 3 weeks. After that, the community was inactive, meaning that our moderators did not actively post new topics anymore. As a follow-up, we had different workshops with all the insights from the 3 communities. Then, we decided to re-active each community every 6 weeks. Then, the brand teams of the channels can collect new questions about an internal project and use the community as a deep dive to constantly feel their viewers’ heartbeat
Tom:In the second example, we did a slightly different setup. For Sara Lee, which has many coffee brands in their portfolio, we setup a community centered around the coffee theme (not a specific brand)They had a lot of strategic questions, so we setup a community for 3 months as a pilot for structural collaboration. The community was recently ‘closed’ for active discussions, so the brand teams have time to act upon the learnings and put them into practise. And, the move from the pilot towards structural collaboration is to roll out the community to the Tea-category and other countries.
Tom; In the last example, we do have an ongoing community running for the Heinz group in the Netherlands. This community is always on, because all marketers, from all 9 brands are involved in this community. The community is centered around food and cooking, so not for a specific brand. About 200 members are active on this community. The goals of this community is on the one hand to shape marketers ‘consumer feeling’ and create a real immersion experience with their consumers. We report on overarching food trends that are relevant for multiple brands. On the other hand, it’s also a direct consumer line, where they can post their urgent adhoc questions.This community started very slow, used less frequent. And in 3 years time, the community is grown with 100% in terms of people involved and investment. We also trained the client in moderating this community together with us, so this community is really co-owned. We just shared 3 totally different community cases; SBS with reactivations of a week, Sara lee with XXX and Heinz with an ongoing, always on community.
Tom;Now you already have a better idea how you can collaborate with customers in a structural way. Next, let’s see what you’ll need to get started. AnoukWe identified 5 factors that influence a great start with structural collaboration and that will make your first community project a success. These factors are based upon our experiences andcollagues tom and steven van belleghem also recently done 15 interviews with C-level executives on how to make communities succesful internally.
If you start your first community, you need to pick a pilot project that is linked to the right & relevant objectives of the project team. One of the things we learned over the past years is that the community needs to fit the org culture.For example, at Heinz, they work with quarterly marketing plans, so the marketers need to reach their quarterly objectives. As a conseauence, they use the community for more short term decision making. Then, the community is successful if it generates immediate inspiration for on the job decision making. So, the community needs to have direct impact.
Second, it’s very important to involve key influencers in the pilot project. And, involve does not mean support, but real involvement. For example, the CEO of Belgian advertising agency Famous is so dedicated with the consumer community that he now starts every internal meeting asking what the community has said about this issue/or question. This makes that all employees at famous understand the value and importance of using the community. You can already create more involvement internally by starting every meeting with a relevant story from the community.
Thirdly, to make your pilot a successful one, it’s key to know what your KPIs are upfront to be able to conclude at the end whether it really was successful or not. If the project was a success, you really need to celebrate this success and promote the value of collaboration with consumers internally.
Anouk; Now, tom is going to explain how we can create impact with these customer collaborationsTom;Yes, impactful communication is key, both internally and externally!Don’t keep it within your projectteam.Why not tell to the world what you are doing in the collaboration with the consumers? This will make your company a more proud one, but also more conversational. We’ve selected a few examples to show you how you can communicate about this; Let’s first take a look at the internal communications.
Tom:Based on a big project we did together with Unilever R&D Vlaardingen, we’ve identified 3 phases to make the results come to life within the company. First phase is all about engaging employees with the consumer world. For example we invite them to play an online quiz about the consumer, so they can test their knowledge. After, they find out how well they scored and know what their knowledge gaps are. We call this ‘positive disruption’ to confront the manager with that what he does not know yet and creates more curiosity for the findings from the community to fill the gaps.
In the second phase, we inspire the employees with learnings and eye-openers in an engaging way Normally we do this with our research reports. But for example if the crowd is too big or fragmented cross country or cross department, we can setup an closed online news website. On which we report weekly insights, formated in short, crispy news articles.
Another example is what we did for Heineken. Here, our crowd was a bit different; they were all creatives and we already realized that we could not inspire them that much with a slide deck. So, we decided to develop an interactive app to report about the consumer journey of clubbing. This way, we knew that the format was tailored to the needs of our target group. You can even visit this apps yourselves via nightlifejourney.com
Finally, in the third phase the goal is to translate these insights into actions, both for the short term and long term.We do this by organizing offline workshops in which we use engaging brainstorm techniques to co-create actions based on all the learnings. And even after that workshop, we can activate the employees with the results from the community. For example with creating these kind of postcards you see here. These are postcards with all the hotspots on there according to the gen y’ers that live in these big cities. By going to all these hotspots and doing all the things that are described on these cards, you can really get under the skin of Gen Y. This is just an example of activating stakeholders with all the insights gathered in the community, even when the project has ended.
Tom These 3 phases create a real consumer immersion experience for all those stakeholders involved with the community. And most of all, it makes our research used. By creating multiple immersions, this will ultimately lead to a great consumer feeling. And this is the ultimate goal for every stakeholder involved; knowing the consumer that well, that you don’t need to do research for every little question that you have, but just trust your consumer feeling.
Besidescommunicating the resultswithin the organization, we saidearlierit’s a greatopporunitytoalsocommunicateaboutyourconsumercollaborationsto the outsideworld. Often, this is stillforgotten, but there is greatunusedpotentialhere. We distinguishbetween 3 levels youcancommunicate on andcreatethseexternalleverageeffects. 1. Talk about the process, about the collaborationyou have setupFor example: We did a community for Telenet about the launch of a new digital service that was abouttobelaunched. In a press release, Telenet announcedtheyweresearchingfor 100 peoplethatwantedto finish this new apptogetherwiththem. 2. Talk about the outcome of the collaboration; whatyouandyourcustomersjointly have co-created. For example, in the heineken case, in which we made the app, the end results was a co-created club of the future. This club was openedduring the design fair in milan april thisyearand was a perfect opportunity tocommunicatethatit was co-createdtogetherwith 100 trendy clubbers (becausethey REALLY knowwhat a clubberneeds). 3. Talk the results & learningsyou’vereceivedby collaborating withconsumers. For example: one of ourclients, chiquita, researched the mentalandphysical benefits of eatingfruits. Theyused these insights in theircommunicationcampaignwhentheylaunched a new smoothy product, justto show theyknew a lot aboutthisandknewwhat the consumerswere feeling andneeded.
Tom:Anouk, how do we go from here?Anouk:After the pilot project has run and you’ve celebrated your success internally and externally, how do you move towards structural collaboration with consumers?And how do you collect enough questions, keep people engaged and make sure your community has great added value on the long term? Well, we saw in the 3 case examples we have different options varying from very intensive usage (Heinz community) to smaller reactivations of one week (SBS)
One of the key things to keep in mind when moving towards structural collaboration is to take it step by stepGrowing the value of your community is an evolution, you can’t push it. You must make sure more people experience the benefits of collaborating with consumers and for this to happen. Its about convicing more people every single day
Once they have experienced this, you can take it to the next level and go cross department. Ultimately, a community is not a tool that is only relevant for the research department or the marketing department. No, it’s something that is valuable for other departments as well, like IT, HR and Sales. A community isaboutbreaking the silo-thinking and put the consumer at the centre of the organization.
And in the end, we will need a new board member; the chief consumer officer; This person represents the customer in the Boardroom.
Havingthatsaid,there are actually 3 thingsthat we wouldlikeyoutorememberfromthiswebinar. Your customers are the best consultants: good news;they are for hire! Structural collaboration is the end goal. Getting there requires a step by step approachA pilot project is the first step towards structural collaboration. Choose it wisely
Thank you for your attention.Are there any questions? Please type your questions in the chat window.
Tom De Ruyck Head of Research Communities Anouk Willems Senior Research InnovatorWebinar 06.26.2012On-going Research Communities:towards structural collaborationwith consumers
1. What is it?Outline: 2. How we do it? 3. Towards structural collaboration Questions? Webinar: @tomderuyck @anoukw1 Structural collaboration
Your customers are probably the most effective consultants you can hire Webinar:@tomderuyck@anoukw1 Structural collaboration
What is an MROC? An MROC defined by Forrester Research (2008): [Captive interactive groups of people online joined together by a common interest, which are systematically harvested for qualitative market research purposes.] Webinar:@tomderuyck@anoukw1 Structural collaboration
Profile # Number Objectives Duration4 key ingredientsWe work with 50-150 people that are interested& interesting. The duration of the community isflexible from 3 weeks to months &ongoing, depending on the objectives. Webinar: @tomderuyck @anoukw1 Structural collaboration
Ongoing ≠ always on Structural collaboration is not an ongoing community that is always on per se. Depending on the objectives and number of questions you have, communities can be reactivated in waves as well. Webinar:@tomderuyck@anoukw1 Structural collaboration
How to start? Webinar: @tomderuyck @anoukw1 Structural collaboration
3 key takeaways 1/ Your customers are the best consultants: they are for hire! 2/ Structural collaboration is an end goal, and requires a step by step approach 3/ A pilot project is the first step towards structural collaboration Webinar: @tomderuyck @anoukw1 Structural collaboration
Tom De Ruyck Head of Research Communities Anouk Willems Senior Research InnovatorOutline: 1. What is it? 2. How we do it? 3. Towards structural collaboration Questions? Webinar: @tomderuyck @anoukw1 Structural collaboration
Tom De Ruyck Head of Research Communities Tom@insites-consulting.com linkedin.com/in/tomderuyck Anouk Willems @tomderuyck Innovator Senior Research Anouk@insites-consulting.com firstname.lastname@example.org www.insites-consulting.comNew York – London – Ghent – Rotterdam – Timisoara