24/7 Diginography

Keeping in line with the vibrant tone of the morning, Dangjaithawin Anantachai of INTAGE, Thailand gave a wonderfully visual presentation featuring a study exploring colour, culture and generations.

As many of us know, colour is a very important aspect of branding and communications – as it can strengthen and/or weaken your brand and it’s perception. Colour gives visibility and helps a brand to make its mark. For example, in 1845 Tiffany blue came around – symbolising elegance and exclusivity that has lasted for over 170 years.  Look at the luxury market and you see that colour everywhere. The association aligned with it is long lasting and defining.

Colour evokes emotion and experience, but when looked at through a national or a generational scope, the beliefs surrounding colours can vary significantly. Colour is not just static energy – it has polar sides that must also be taken into account.  Blue in China means new and modern – elite brands are now using it (Dior, Levi’s sub brand). However, in Japan it is seen as conservative and is associated more with harmony. In Thailand blue stands for free of troubles and free spirit, while in Vietnam it has a neutral feeling to it and is connected with hope, peace and faith.

Using an MROC, INTAGE explored colour amongst Baby Boomers, Gen Y and X and the results showed that generation indeed view colours differently. Black for Gen X and boomers is equated with sorrow and loneliness, while for Gen Y it brings about visions of sports cars, sexiness and  James Bond. White falls along the same lines with Gen Y linking it to all things i (iPad, iPhone, etc…) and Gen X abd Boomers seeing it as representing quiet, stillness and peacefulness.

INTAGE proved that one must talk to the consumers of the region to determine what colours impact them in what way. One view does not fit all and as researchers we must search for the best combination of various techniques and each country’s unique perspectives and beliefs when aiding our clients. Colour matters, colour differs, colour  creates different dynamics and most importantly, colour sells and it tells

Fun, Fast and Easy

Han Zantingh of BrainJuicer China took on through the trenches in research’s war on rationality. Using the principles of behavioural economics -to show that we process much less than we think, his presentation did a great job of showing how the average consumer has 2 to 3 hours  of rational thought per day, with intuition and emotions getting them (and us as well) through the day more than the logic our industry tends to rely on from respondents.

The problem in research is that respondent’s make decisions guided by emotion,  and that are taken quickly and unconsciously and avoiding complexity.  If marketing is indeed targeted at changing people’s habits, then this poses a problem indeed. Most research tasks are very rational – tedious, slow and difficult ( de-contexualised MR). Spending 20 minutes analysing how one buys pet food is not realistic, because it is a rare case that someone actually does that in real life. We must start thinking of the environment that we do our research in and begin to ensure that it reflects a more realistic situation to get  a truer answer – for our clients, for consumers and for our industry.

We must start asking people about themselves – moving from me to we…crowd sourcing, ethnography and such are great starts. BY making research more oriented to how people feel versus thinking, we may get brighter and more realistic results.

Game on 

Following on last year’s best presentation win, Raspberry Innovation brought back the concept of serious play for defining and solving business problems. After engaging the delegates with interactive strategic lego building and drawings, they instilled in many delegates the importance of introducing the concepts of play to increase creativity, communications, to break down internal office barriers and for true ideation.

Play can be used for strategy planning – to determine threats and create scenarios of responses and can in the process can trust which leads to meeting the specific goals set.

Plato once said that you can learn more about a person in a hour of play than in a year of conversation, and Evette Corby and Penny Darbyshire proved that point quickly in the just 20 minutes. Play enables 100% participation and allows for new perspectives and outcomes. As Jung said creation of new is not from intellect but play instinct, and now is time for us to declare game on…

Data Privacy Dialogue

Experts from MasterCard, Kantar, GfK and Asian Strategies Research + Planning addressed some of the unique challenges facing the Asian research market in terms of data privacy. Moderated by Pravin Shaker, the panellists noted that a huge regional challenge for Asia is that in terms of data privacy protections, and as Greg Coops, ESOMAR Representative for Singapore and from Asian Strategies Research + Planning noted, only New Zealand is really up to par with the larger international standards.

Derek Ho of MasterCard noted that the cost of an information breach can be as much as a 40% drop in market capitalisation.  While the European concept of privacy as a human right is slowly making its way across to Asia, in the meantime, with private data so easy to access, many in Asia are asking, as Andy Zhao of GfK noted,” with so much delicious food around us, can we refuse it?”. The more hybrid our designs become the more complex the privacy definition will be, and thus if market research is to protect itself from being clumped together with other areas like direct marketing or the do not call registers, we are better being the architects of our own fate and promoting strong self-regulation and active enforcement of data breaches.

Clients are asking more and more about this, which means we must be prepared. In Asia, as in other areas of the world,  there are countries with different frameworks. When working cross border, it is best to go with the highest common denominator as there is no real central data protection authority as in Europe. Stephen Jenke of Kantar Operations noted that with more fly by night companies coming into our space, we need to have solid policy to protect data and to protect consumers. It’s about what we can do protect the individual when we can – we may not know everything, but we can at least prepare to do the best we can.

Lost in Translation

Asia is important to market research with 17% of Global MR spend and 5.75 billion annual turnover coming from the region. It’s an obvious choice for researchers to focus on, with 16% of the global GDP coming from emerging Asian nations alone. However, before setting up an office in the region, KJT’s David Bakken offered some sage advice to help you avoid building on some common misconceptions for Asia Pacific.

First and foremost, when working in Asia Pacific do not design a  one-size fits all study for your research – single definition of target customer, one sample plan for the region, etc… Asia Pacific is a world in and of itself, with rich diversity.

Just because a market is emerging in the region does not mean it is becoming more like  a western country. It is a mistake to assume that because the consumers in these countries want the same products, that they are becoming more like Westerners. In reality, many Asian countries retain their fundamental cultural and value differences – even with western influences creeping in.

It is also a mistake to assume that best practices are best practices universally. In reality only one best practice truly matters – research must be designed and implemented so that we can account for,and to the extent possible, reduce uncertainty. What works in China may not work in India or Vietnam. Different cultures offer different ways of doing research, so remember that you may have to adjust your sampling and take into account logistical challenges. Translating concepts in more important than translating words. Work with locals to ensure you are asking what you mean to ask and that locals are answering what they think you are asking. It is not copy paste from west to east.

What the eyes don’t see, the heart can’t feel

Belief determines offerings and often marketers see opportunities but lack belief in them.  Kartikeya Kompella’s presentation –  What the eyes don’t see, the heart can’t feel – gave a compelling case for the MR industry to believe more in the potential of things to make brands that change the way a customer looks at a potential company.

We are limited by what we can see and it seems that everyone, unless you are a Steve Jobs,  wants to see an opportunity and how it can pan out before they can believe in it.  Kartikeya then outlines some unseen opportunities that may exist but are not seen or that there is not enough belief in them.

Grey is gold – With 7.2 million seniors in India, there are few offerings directed at them. There is huge potential in travel, taxis, hospitals, restaurants, etc.  As long as we keep picturing seniors as stereotypes (did you know that there were over 700K on Facebook alone in India), we will continue to miss out on opportunities to engage and market to the consumer. Mid-life Crises  are abound. It has been 20 years since INdia’s liberalisation. There is a generation in the midpoint between college and retirement with more money, greater awareness and that have the opportunity to focus on themselves – How do I become younger, fitter, sexier, richer, more meaningfully employed? HOw can we as researchers help clients identify opportunities here?

Researchers are in a better position than regular consultants because we can give data-oriented opinions with knowledge gathered from across categories and can provide an unemotional look at data with no professional biases. Kartikey urged delegates to start mining for belief, to develop advisory services for entrepreneurs and venture capitalists and to create consulting on opportunity creation.  We could change the face of research by doing so and flip the dynamics of business strategy on its head.