Looking back at the early stages of lockdown one client conversation really sticks in my mind. The client told us they were stopping “all non-essential” research. And they did stop for about a month. Fast forward 3 months and the same client is launching more studies with us than ever before. This is a pattern we’re seeing across our CPG client base. Since the start of April, we’ve seen a 74% growth in agile work through the Toluna QuickSurveys platform.
So, does that mean that all research is now being classified as essential? No, but it does show that the consumer – and by extension the insight function – has an amplified voice in the boardroom. The core consumer, who brands thought they knew so well, has changed almost overnight and a race has started to truly understand the new customer.
What happens next as we move out of lockdown and into the shadow of an uncertain economic outlook? In recent weeks we’ve been helping increasing numbers of clients tackle a return to ‘business as usual’ activities. Specifically, we’ve seen 3 key areas of focus for CPG brand owners:
1. New products to meet new demand moments
Behaviours have shifted so quickly through the pandemic that brands are looking to accelerate their NPD cycle to tap into the new usage occasions that have emerged. In some cases, this means updating claims on existing products by establishing what resonates with consumers today, such as claims around holistic health & wellbeing. In many cases though, we’re seeing brands go back to the drawing board to put dozens of new ideas through early concept testing. Interestingly, we’ve seen clients testing concepts for ‘premium’ brand variants as we come out of lockdown. In both cases, the one change we have noticed is that the speed of decision making has changed expectations and the need to execute these projects faster is greater than ever before.
Our ability to provide high-quality insights incredibly quickly has enabled businesses to make better informed decisions, faster, as they start to move back to more normal operating activities. Since the 1st March, we’ve delivered 85% of studies on our agile platform for clients in less than 24 hours.
2. Brand tracking redefined
The need to redefine future brand relevance for a post-COVID world, coupled with reduced marcomms spending power, has led many leading global brands to rethink the role of legacy brand health models.
It’s been fantastic to work with a leading global beverage brand to help them transition away from their legacy ‘black-box’ brand health tracker. We have enabled them to increase the number of markets with brand tracking to 14 while reducing their costs by over 60%. We have also helped them identify the future relevance of their challenger brands by incorporating our unique agile hi brands™ model. The combination of these streams and the correspondence maps allow them to rapidly assess how their equity statements are driving brand awareness and the consideration funnel in each market. Future brand relevance through news also measures around brand excitement, community and future needs.
3. Real-time usage and attitudes
One of the joyous things about working with clients right now is their unequivocal demand to get things done quicker (including the sign-off process!). Four weeks ago, we weren’t allowed in pubs, we weren’t able to visit hairdressers and or eat out. Clients won’t wait four weeks for data and results when they are trying to make consumer-driven business decisions today. We’ve just helped inform the lockdown exit strategy for one of the world’s largest CPG brands by gathering insights across eleven markets in five days. That is the reality of client expectation today and it is only going one way.
Find out how we can help speed up your time to insights. Schedule a demo with our team today.