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Data-Based Pivots for Brands During Times of Change

Data-Based Pivots for Brands During Times of Change

Paul Neto

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Consumers feel most comfortable with proactive brands that communicate clearly—how nimble data collection can help your organization do so

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with changing consumer sentiment. 2020 has been nothing if not a year filled with utter chaos, much like a bad Hollywood film. If it isn’t a global virus, it’s murder hornets; if it isn’t economic collapse, it’s massive natural disasters wiping out entire species. Most recently, the #BlackLivesMatter movement has taken on new energy and significance for populations around the world. All of these events affect the way we think, feel, act and purchase goods. Brands can be hard-pressed to keep up.

Several new studies have been tracking consumers’ feelings about specific brands. Key metrics that were unveiled included that consumers felt most positive about brands and companies that were caring for their employees and maintained good communication. In fact, according to a study by consumer research company AMC Global, 93% of respondents said that they were open to hearing from brands right now. Another report by Living Brands Insight and Strategy said that consumers felt best about brands that were proactive, with clear communication and increased flexibility.

All of these subtle—and not so subtle—demands by consumers can help to shape short-term strategy and advise future plans as well. But we have to be able to uncover insights quickly and in a manner that gives us a multi-faceted window into specific audiences.

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Fast Answers to Questions

The traditional approach to uncovering consumer insights isn’t nimble enough to advise fast brand pivots when each day brings a whole new set of issues. Sourcing respondents, fielding a survey for several days, collecting and analyzing the data and finally producing a report is being done faster than ever with automation and other solutions. However, it still can take several weeks to share results with stakeholders in a consumable fashion. Sometimes brands need answers to one or two pressing questions with immediate results.

While there are many ways to do this, with Facebook polls being one well-known example, where can you access a highly engaged, “real” audience? At data marketplace Measure Protocol, having an established mobile community focused on privacy, rewards and user experience can help. In one of our studies we conducted with this approach, and found extremely high engagement from respondents, with 44% responding to data job offers within 15 minutes of invite. We believe that fast response time was due in part to the immediacy of the mobile environment and the end-to-end experience inside the MSR mobile app.

When you have fast access to consumers that are already participating in data jobs, you can gain the insights needed to find fast answers to questions that will “make your case” in reports, briefs, articles, presentations and other communications—and help you make vital decisions quickly.

The Holistic Consumer

Other systemic issues prevail with the market research landscape. Quantitative data collected via static surveys that rely on consumer recall, or are ridden with fraud, can have a negative impact on quality. Qualitative research is in a strange spot right now as well, as companies scramble to connect with consumers digitally to get the depth of feedback necessary. While there is no magic wand for fixing all these problems, new technology shows some promise for helping us gain the “complete picture” that will help guide decisions right now.

Where are people spending their time? On their mobile devices, of course. People pick up their phones an average of 58 times per day. They are doing everything from checking social media, shopping, banking and tracking their workouts. Accessing this information can be essential to gaining a deeper understanding of consumers. It’s private, right? Yes. But consumers are willing to share—in the right environment.

In a study we conducted, one of our most surprising results was that 78% of respondents said they’d be willing to share passive data in our MSR app. We believe that this number was high because we’ve made transparency and privacy a priority in a blockchain-powered environment. Eighty-three percent of the same respondents felt that their privacy was protected while using the app.

Brands, marketers and insight professionals increasingly need to know not simply what consumers think (the “why”) but also what they do (the “what”), and to be able to achieve these in a quick and agile manner. Passive data collection can help brands understand how audiences are spending their time on their mobile devices, what they are interested in and what’s important to them. This can be done in a simple and privacy-first way that protects the consumer but provides you access to their daily consumption habits. When combined with the why (surveys), brands and marketers now have a holistic view of their consumer.

Change is the word of the day and it has been all year long. Brands and companies need to know what their audiences are thinking. There’s no time for long market research cycles or incomplete data pictures. New approaches to consumer research can help bring light to a murky situation that is in constant flux.

Photo by Max Di Capua on Unsplash.

Paul Neto is co-founder and chief marketing officer at Measure Protocol.