In the next 30 minutes, we will show you how consumer communities can engage your organization with the consumer world. First, we’ll explain what we mean when talking about research communities. Followed by the key success factor, how we first engage our community members and secondly, the internal stakeholders of the company. And, we’ll illustrate this with 3 cases we’re currently doing for Heineken, Unilever and Heinz. Fourth, we want share a challenge for this kind of projects Finally, what the results are.
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. 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.
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.
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.
This approach enables stakeholders to observe real stories, emotions, photos and videos from participants, which creates awareness within the organization about new themes & trends. Next, we will show you how you can create this mind shift and confront a whole organization with the consumer world.
And we want to illustrate this based on 3 cases, for which we did similar communities. First example will be Unilever: explain caseSecond example is Heineken: Third: Heinz foodcommunity
How to make these communities for these 3 cases a success story? Well, for starters, building a platform and hoping for activity from both sides (participants and stakeholders) won’t workNeed to make it an experience, like is done in the restaurant or festival, we need to keep surprising our guests. Because it’s not only about the report you deliver, it’s about the whole community experience before, during and after. First, let’s see how we create these experiences for our consumers
To start off, one of the most important ways to engage users is to show them they have impact. It’s a key reason to join a community. So, yes we share our feedback. But we want to make this much more explicit. For the foodcommunity of Heinz, we test a lot of products and campaigns. One way how we make this more explicit is by our Wall of Fame, like we did for Heinz. Wall with all products/campaigns that were evaluated or inspired by our members. Great way to make each other proud
Second way to engage members is by making them feel part of something exclusiveWe do this by posting special challenges on the community.For example, for Heineken, the moderator posted a new weekly challenge on the community, revealed in a video message.To give you a better idea; in one challenge, the moderator asked members to become a mystery clubber, go the new club in town and observe the people, atmosphere and report back to us. This is just one example of all the fun challenges you can do with a community
A third technique for engaging our members is the fun factor Instead of focusing on the monetary rewards that members get from the community, we want to play for their attention. One way how we do this is by giving topic related incentives. We send them goodiebags on regular basis instead of high monetary rewards. Next to this, we make use of various gamification elements, such as levels, badges and competitions.
Finally, connecting members with the people from the brand definitely boosts their engagementWe always ask our clients to introduce themselves and post feedback directly on the community. This way, the members can meet the people behind the brand, understand their choices, and learn how they helped them in their new marketing actions. This makes the brands also more human and accessible for them.
So, for members it’s key to give them impact, make it fun & connect them with people behind the brandFor our internal stakeholders, we use different techniques to keep them engaged & create consumer understanding
For a successful consumer understanding initiative, it’s very important to first introduce them to the participating consumers. At Unilever we linked all participating employees, 600 in total, to a specific consumer of the community. We invited them to visit their consumer page and meet their consumer. You can compare this page with a real profile page, like on facebook. Here you see the profile page of consumer David, 64 years old. Unilever executives could read about the preferences of David, and about his routines on doing laundry and cooking
Next to these profile pages, we can create offline awareness about new stories of the community. At Heinz, our contact person regularly hangs new killer quotes and stories in the coffee corner. It turns out to be a great spot to start conversations between colleagues. So, why not give them a hand with great consumer stories as a conversation starter?
The first two techniques are great to capture people’s attention, but it’s important to balance this with real learnings and eye-openers Now, normally we do this with our research reports. When the goal is to create consumer understanding for a bigger target audience, we need to think of more inspirational formats.And I think the infographic of Heineken is great example. Here, users can touch the screen and learn about new opportunities for clubs and going out. You can also check this one online, it’s freely accessible on www.nightlifejourney.com
A very important step that follows the inspiration and insights, is the activation.We consider it very important to to translate the insights into actions together with the core team, 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. In the Heineken project, the creative designers, needed to use the insights from the community to design the club of the future.After following the community and immersing with the clubbers, they went to the club for a night to become a real clubber. Like one of the community members, paying special attention to all the pains & gains of the community membersThis “exercise” enables you to relive the results what is crucial for succesful consumer understanding.
Next to the workshop and simple things such as reliving the results of the community, we want to extend the lifecycle of these insights, to make our research used. For Heinz, we made a special news website for blogging about all learnings and reports. The advantage of the news platform is that we use it also as a search engine of all information related to the community research. This way, previous discussions with members and reports are easily found, so research is re-used.
Now, when talking about creating these engaging experiences for our internal stakeholders, we also learned that consumer immersion in an organization can be challenging! And we want to share our one learning with you.
The beauty of an mroc is that it’s a great sensing experience; you observe consumer dialogue, read unsolicited feedback, the group dynamics and the bottom-up discussions.
However, it’s also a lot of data To give you a better idea; in 3 weeks time, we get over 2000 posts, comparable with more than 200 pagesSo, its quite difficult for all these stakeholders that want to have this sensing experience, know where to look, how to deal with these massive amount of dataAs a consequence, it can create an information overload. Next to the huge amount of data, the information is not always relevant for all those involved
So, filtering is key. And this is exactly what we did for the Unilever project, where specific content was shared with different teams, through the internal newswebsite.
Now…what’s the result of all these efforts? Tom will tell your all about it.
Werken met Team leaders: Aanwijzen van ambassadeurs van het project & hen de tools geven om het doel van dit project uit te leggen en leden te motiveren tot deelname. C-level involvement
Tips for growing the community:It’s an evolution, not a revolution. Remember it’s important to gradually grow the value of the community in order to be relevant for more stakeholders. Target the right information for the right stakeholders. Themes about dinner habits is not interesting for the brunch team. Especially with such a large group of stakeholders, this is part of your success. Balance the MROC results: Mix the stories with enough actionable insights to prove the added value of the community
Consumer Immersion Webinar
Tom De Ruyck Head of
Research Communities Anouk Willems Senior Research InnovatorCONSUMERUNDERSTANDINGWebinar 23.10.2012How consumer communities engage theorganization with the consumer world
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 Consumer@anoukw1 Understanding
# Number Profile Objectives DurationWe
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 Consumer @anoukw1 Understanding
This approach enables stakeholders to
observereal stories, emotions through photos and videosfrom participants, which creates awareness withinthe organization about new themes & trends. Webinar: @tomderuyck Consumer @anoukw1 Understanding
How to engage a crowd
of executives and connect them with their consumers? Our approach is illustrated with 3 cases Webinar:@tomderuyck Consumer@anoukw1 Understanding
“We printed out the profiles
of ourconsumer to generateconversations in the coffee [during the games]corner, people started to compare “Sometimes we were withtheir consumers”. 3 behind our pc’s!” “The way Consumer&U was organized makes you spent time and makes it sticky, you really had to dive into the world of your consumer to score in the game” Webinar: @tomderuyck Consumer @anoukw1 Understanding
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 email@example.com Webinar:@tomderuyck Consumer@anoukw1 Understanding