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Talking to people during Covid were a neat reminder of these 4 consumer truths

Talking to people during Covid were a neat reminder of these 4 consumer truths

Spring/Summer 2020….a period of unexpected and unprecedented change. We’re going to be reflecting back on how our lives changed and the world shifted during that period for a long time.

Consumer insight agencies across the globe were busy staying in touch with people, trying to understand their experiences of our rapidly changing world….and I was no different. Hence, the overflow of information which many of you have told me you are now ‘drowning’ in… so, for now at least, let’s take a step away from the Covid lens.

Instead here are 4 take outs about human behaviour with direct relevance to research and marketing, which were true before Covid and which will remain true post-Covid, as and when we get there…

1. We are all hugely unreliable narrators to our own experiences, especially when heightened emotions are involved

Why should I care about this?

2. Building narratives around emotions is key to their longevity…..

Why should I care about this?

3. We look out for things to back up our belief system and we filter out things that don’t support it

Why should I care about this?

4. Routines and habits are more consistent and stable than simple consumer preferences

Why should I care about this?

If you’d like to talk more about the consistencies and inconsistencies of consumer behaviour in our dramatically changing world, do get in touch

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1. We are all hugely unreliable narrators to our own experiences, especially when heightened emotions are involved

Why should I care about this?

Speaking to people week on week was a very loud and clear reminder of how quickly emotions and preferences change, or indeed, can be forgotten altogether. Thus, the importance of the importance of finding qualitative methodologies which don’t rely on recall alone.

It may not always be cost or time effective to track attitudes and behaviours but there are short cuts we can employ – for example asking people to look back at messages and social media posts is great ‘access point’ to how they were feeling a few weeks or months ago.

2. Building narratives around emotions is key to their longevity…..

Why should I care about this?

You may have heard of the 90 second rule …. in a nutshell it states that no emotion lasts more than 90 seconds when allowed to run its course. What makes emotions more persistent are the thoughts, and in particular the narratives, that we build around them. This ‘rule’ is typically referred to in the sphere of behaviour change and controlling negative emotions, but I’ve always thought it has a lot of relevance for brands, marketing and advertising – after all, isn’t the aim of all branding and marketing to create a specific and persistent emotional reaction within a target market?

Speaking to consumers during Covid I noted time and time again of how the thoughts and narratives we build around fleeting emotions is what makes them persistent and grow.

The takeout for branding is obvious – essentially, it’s your brand story that will always be the driver of emotional connection with consumers, and clearly any decent brand research needs to come from this perspective too: we need to be exploring – is your brand narrative coming through, is it ‘sticking’, is it in line with the stories that your audience are telling themselves….and on that note…on to takeout #3

3. We look out for things to back up our belief system and we filter out things that don’t support it

Why should I care about this?

This is known as ‘confirmation bias’ – that we tend to undervalue evidence that contradicts our beliefs and over value evidence that confirms them. As with all of these take outs, this isn’t a ‘new’ insight but the context of Covid threw up so many examples of it.

In the world of marketing, we always need to remember that ‘facts’ however clearly presented, often won’t be enough to convert people to your way of thinking – a point I’ve often made to naturally frustrated comms teams during research debriefs. That said ‘facts’ from brands which people see as aligned with their own identity and values, are much more likely to be persuasive.

We need to remember and be on the look out for this in research too – for example noting what ‘filter’ are consumers are placing on comms, and exploring why some ‘facts’ are sticking whilst others are being dismissed.

4. Routines and habits are more consistent and stable than simple consumer preferences

Why should I care about this?

Research which simply asks consumers about likes and dislikes often comes under criticism….our preferences can be incredibly fickle and situational, hence the age old problem of endorsement not always neatly translating to sales.

Routines and habits however, once established, are significantly more consistent and stable. During the spring/summer of 2020, I saw so many examples of consumers trying to stay rooted to their old habits and routines, even as the world around them dramatically shifted.

The headline take-out for marketeers – aligning your product to rituals and routines is a reliable route to longevity. If it creates, enhances or fits with rituals and routines, it’s less likely to fall foul of consumer whims.

And the take-out for researchers: we always need to be thinking beyond whether NPD is simply liked or disliked, and focus more on whether it fits with rituals/routines and needstates.

If you’d like to talk more about the consistencies and inconsistencies of consumer behaviour in our dramatically changing world, do get in touch

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2020….March to August…..6 months of unexpected and unprecedented change

2020….March to August…..6 months of unexpected and unprecedented change

The summer has been what any of us were expecting – personally or professionally. Business-wise, like many others I’ve spoken to, commissioned projects or soon to be commissioned projects disappeared, and whilst I feel very fortunate that work came into to fill some of the gaps, projects weren’t to the same scale or nature of the initial work.

Still, the freedom of more flexible time has been a luxury for me, someone who is typically head down in project work. Books, ideas, platforms, blogs, podcasts…things that, despite the best will in the world, typically make it no further than a post it note, became read, explored and reflected on.

And I decide to stay in touch with some consumers too – after I heard from so many clients that you were drowning in COVID related insight, I made the freeing decision to purely do it for my benefit and curiosity, without a real agenda, apart from trying to give me some food for thought about all the wonderful quirks of human behaviour – and it certainly did that.

I’ll be posting some snippets of insights on here soon…

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For our respondents…

For our respondents…

As you may well be aware, new rules and regulations are being introduced from 25 May 2018 with regard to your personal data and how companies can store and use it.

This extends to us as we collect personal data from you during the course of research projects.

If you would like to read our privacy statement you can find it here http://www.vine-research.co.uk/about/privacy-statement/

You will also have been asked to freely give consent to how we will store and use personal data at the start of the research project.

Further questions or requests can be be emailed to consent@vine-research.co.uk

Thanks for taking part in our research projects.

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Ok, so there are people who are better at this blogging thing than me…

Ok, so there are people who are better at this blogging thing than me…

My plans of sharing updates on trends, thinking and news on Vine via this blog haven’t fully materialised….it’s always the thing that can fall off the ‘to do’ list when a new project hits.

So, let me point you in the direction of two sites / newsletters which always deliver quality reading (on a regular basis) and which throw up stacks of ideas around human behaviour…..they are really worth signing up to:

https://www.brainpickings.org/

http://bigthink.com/

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Wow – three years already!

Wow – three years already!

…and whilst website updates have unfortunately fallen off the top of the ‘to do’ list one to many times, our focus on helping brands grow through closer consumer connection hasn’t. Watch this space for a more detailed three year update soon!

Thanks to all clients for your support over the past three years, and feel free to get in touch if you want to hear more about what we do.

PS Still happy to hear from talented qual and quant researchers :)

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On the look out for talented associates – qual and quant!

On the look out for talented associates – qual and quant!

We’re getting busy here at Vine, and we’re keen to expand our network of talented freelance associates, qual and quant. We’re looking for people who will add real value to our projects, so if you’re an experienced researcher and a strong thinker, please drop us a line!

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Don’t wait till it’s too late….have a ‘pre mortem’

Don’t wait till it’s too late….have a ‘pre mortem’

I came across this idea a while ago, and think it would be great to adapt it for inclusion at a briefing meeting. The ‘pre mortem’ involves all stakeholders, managers and researchers spending time thinking about and answering the question ‘what could go wrong?’ – this can be based on previous experience, intuition, knowledge of the business etc.

It’s not about squashing positivity, but more about creating a space for a healthy dose of realism, and addressing concerns that people may not otherwise voice. A good agency should be able to adapt their approach, either in content or style, based on what they’ve heard.

As someone who always gets swept up in the excitement of a freshly commissioned job, this technique jumped out to me as a simple way to push the pause button and consider potential issues, at a time when I usually have very little ‘headspace’ for negative thoughts!

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“Apologies for the wait but we look after the people sitting down…”

“Apologies for the wait but we look after the people sitting down…”

This is what I was told by a restaurant recently whilst gnawing my hand off waiting for a table. It made me like them (…maybe the nibbles and free drinks helped too) but ultimately I agreed – the people sitting down should always be the most important – there’s no point getting everyone seated, only for them to have a mediocre experience. That’s the Vine approach too – 100% focus on current clients and live projects, which means things like this blog may fall by the wayside from time to time…..as has happened since launch.

Most of the things I want to share with you have only made it as far as a post it note on the office wall….but that will change – today! At least one post it note will lose the ‘it’ and become a ‘post’ – check back soon!

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Coverage of Vine on Research Live

Coverage of Vine on Research Live

http://www.research-live.com/news/people/smalley-starts-up-vine/4009780.article

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hello and welcome!

  • welcome

Welcome to Vine. Today marks day one of the site, and day one of the business. We’re really excited to tell you all about it, and to share our ideas for helping you achieve better and closer connection to your consumers.

We’re looking forward to rekindling old relationships and discovering new ones, so expect to hear from us soon…..and if we don’t know you yet (and even if we do), don’t be shy, drop us a line and say hello

By the way, you’re currently in Vineyard, our blog, which will be focused on being genuinely helpful to clients, with updates on new thinking, methodologies, trends and anything else which we think will be make your lives easier and more interesting.

We hope you enjoy it.

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