Up Close & Personal

05 Oct 2012|Rebecca Harrison

It is the third day that Andrea has gone without her favourite morning pick-me-up in a week-long ‘deprivation exercise’, equipped with a video camera to record how she feels about the experience. It’s 08.04am on Wednesday and Andrea is literally yelling into the camera, as she is now coming down with a cold and is as moody as hell, due to being deprived of her morning ‘fix’. We are watching real-time evidence of this consumer’s true connection to the product. A raw, uncensored connection that we’d never see in a viewing facility, but one which is perfectly suited to capturing on our online platform, AV-id™.

This is up close, personal, and in situ immersive insight. In fact, it’s the Holy Grail for brands wanting to make genuine and impactful connections based on what consumers think and feel, that will have a significant impact on the brand and the business as a whole. Of course this doesn’t just happen by smart use of new digital tools, but also how, where and when we approach consumers in the first place. In this instance, less really is more. The less we intervene, the more space and time given to people to talk to us, when they want to, the more ‘real’ the interaction is.

This kind of visceral insight approach is the philosophy behind our Qualitative insight. Because insights aren’t just about information, they’re about changing the way we understand things and what brand custodians do as a result. An insight should help us transform how people, feel, connect, engage, interact with our brands. It starts from assessing the value of the people we need to talk to, to where and when could we talk to them, to how we talk to them. We’re always looking for ways to get to those gut-felt, deeply exposed, uncensored responses. We used this approach recently to help a client chart the innovation pipeline for their brand.

Our client, a leading pharmaceutical company, used AV-id™ to capture raw footage of people’s experiences using the brand (some for the first time) in a documentary style, whilst asking them to think of ideas for new products and communications. Our intervention was minimal. We simply orchestrated people telling their own stories via blogs or films which pinpointed the brand’s key assets. It caused a lively debate with ‘brand believers’ trying to convert the sceptics. Meanwhile it was ‘lived’ remotely by the client, so they felt totally engaged with both the consumers and findings.

As you can imagine, the output was extremely powerful. It went on to influence where the strategic magic of the brand lay, which new product development areas to focus on and how to optimise communication and media channel strategies.

We used a different covert approach to help our second client, a global telecoms company, to develop a set of values to engage young people in their marketing initiatives across Europe. Not the easiest task… But what better way to get a handle on the ever-changing needs and desires of this reputedly ‘evasive’ audience than by leveraging the expertise of youth specialists, like TV programmers and website developers, with the skills of our Cultural Insight team who have explored how other brands have successfully won over the youth sector? Combine this with insights from a group of young people we called ‘Target Detectives’, who acted as our undercover researchers to get the real story. They talked to their peer group, reporting back with photo and video-footage on how their age group think brands should be talking and interacting with them. It was a far more compelling way to voice the views of young people, in their language, with very little influence or filtering via a 3rd party. The rawness of the insight has given our client the inspiration and confidence to create highly impactful marketing programmes for the youth sector.

It’s not human nature to think that less is more, but we’ve proven that sometimes it is. By mixing up the way we find insights, giving people the space and time to talk in a way that suits them or that sparks a different view, whilst also involving our clients in the conversation, we can paint a vivid picture for a brand’s future… literally from consumers’ mouths.

Written by: Rebecca Harrison, Director of Qualitative Research, Added Value UK.


“The AV-id tool has been an invaluable start point in the enhancement of our consumer understanding and our brand planning process for 2013. It has also helped us to understand the strength of the relationship that our advocates have with the brand”
Bayer Plc

“The IKEA True Brand work was a huge deal for us. The picture of IKEA generated from the work is driving a genuine sense of urgency within the business, we now have a much stronger understanding of the weak spots in our business model and it allows us to direct the content of the strategic business plan”

“It gave us the opportunity to collect feedback from consumers all around the world. The platform created such a rich exchange environment feeding us with ideas that we used as springboards for innovation”

If you want to understand your consumers in a way that’ll genuinely transform how you think about your brand, we’d love to help. Get in touch enquiries@added-value.com.

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