TMRE 2014: Day 2 Recap

By Christina Luppi
October 22, 2014

Market researchers, with access to more data than ever, are looking for ways to tell a story in presenting their findings so they can deliver meaningful insights that lead to action.

This theme, common in the industry the past few years, was central to our experience during day two of TMRE 2014. We saw several sessions focused on helping #MRX professionals provide deeper, actionable information to their stakeholders and we saw a great turnout and response in the session we hosted that stressed the importance of actionable insights in brand extensions.

Before we get too far into a day 2 recap, congratulations to both TMRE 2014 award winners! The RIWI Corporation was announced as the winner of the NGMR Disruptive Innovation Award for its patented random-intercept technology. The product connects random Internet users with market research surveys by intercepting respondents who type in an incorrect Web address. Through its random domain intercept technology (RDIT™), RIWI can recognize a user’s country and device in order to serve appropriate survey content.

Quester was announced as the winner of the EXPLOR Award, an annual case study competition honoring innovation in marketing research for its use of “artificial intelligence (AI) probing during qualitative assessments,” according to a press release from Quester.

Two inspiring keynote talks kicked off TMRE 2014 on Tuesday morning, beginning with TrendHunter.com’s innovation expert Jeremy Gutsche. In his high-energy session “Unlock Your Hunter Instincts,” the author and  featured several case studies in innovation, including Tough Mudder, Dave’s Killer Bread, Red Bull, and Ugly Doll.

Gutsche shared six methods of innovation to take advantage of marketplace opportunities including convergence, reduction, redirection, circularity, acceleration, and divergence. Here are rough definition’s for each of Gutsche’s hunter innovation paths:

Convergence: Taking advantage of multiple trends at once.

Reduction: Focusing your brand on a specific group.

Redirection: Making your weaknesses strengths.

Circularity: Identifying repeating trends.

Acceleration: Recognizing a trend and taking it to the next step.

Divergence: Taking the path less traveled.

He pointed to Tough Mudder as an example of acceleration. The endurance race organization has built a $70 million company on the Facebook humble brag in just four years.

In the second keynote session, New York Times journalist and author Charles Duhigg delivered an engaging presentation on the idea that habits drive much more of our daily lives than we know and that we have the power to change those habits, both as individuals and as business organizations.

Habits take over lives,” Duhigg said. “When we’re in the grip of that habit, your brain activity is almost going off, almost going to sleep.”

Duhigg, who was part of a team that won the Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting in 2013, authored the book “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” which was published this year.

“This is happening in ways we had no idea were possible 10 years ago,” he said during the keynote.

To demonstrate how strangely our habits can impact our lives, Duhigg talked about “keystone habits,”–those habits that start a sort-of chain reaction. For example, people who exercise habitually are much less likely to use their credit cards on the days they exercise, and are likely to procrastinate less.

Duhigg pointed to the product marketing of air freshener Febreze as a way marketers can tap into people’s habits in order to have success. In the Febreze example, the product was originally marketed as a scentless spray that eliminated odor.

The product did not perform well when it was launched in the early ‘90s so Proctor & Gamble’s market research team delved into hours of video of people cleaning their houses. What they uncovered is that many people give themselves a reward for completing their cleaning. That reward may be a big smile at themselves after they finish cleaning a mirror.

In Febreze’s case, P&G altered the product so it included a scent and then used advertising to sell the idea that the fresh, delightful smell of Febreze was a reward associated with cleaning. The ads highlighted the reward of the scent and helped Febreze go from $200 million in sales in its first year to $1 billion in sales per a year today.

In another example of the power of habit, Duhigg shared Walter Mischel’s marshmallow study in which he drew connections between a child’s level of willpower to control urges and success later in life. Duhigg said that children can learn habits for delaying their cravings and that this skill appears to serve them later in life.

Duhigg urged attendees to understand their keystone habits and stressed that the understanding of how habits work and impact our daily lives and organizational operations has only come to light in the past 10 years.

“We have these tools,” Duhigg said. “To be the people we want to be as effortlessly as we can.”

The need for the right kind of insight seemed evident in our afternoon session “How to Extend Your Brand With Implicit Consumer Insights,” which drew a standing-room-only audience in one of the breakout rooms. Presented by Sentient founder Dr. Aaron Reid, Ph.D. and Sentient VP of Brand & Innovation Insight Stephen Springfield (formerly of PepsiCo), our session walked through the Dorito’s brand extension case study that used Sentient’s implicit research technology product Sentient Prime™.

Implicit research measures system 1 processing–the neurological response to stimuli that a subject is not aware of. It includes uncontrollable and unintentional responses to stimuli. (System 2 processing is thinking with the conscious mind.)

In Dorito’s case, Sentient’s implicit research helped uncover what implicit associations consumers had with the existing brand, and how that brand could best be extended to other food service and food product categories while maintaining the positive associations without muddying the brand’s identity.

When you do the diagnostics, you want to know not just what the brand fit is, but why it is fitting,” said Springfield.  “You want to know what’s important to mitigate, dispel, or maintain.”

The results of Sentient’s implicit research for Dorito’s brand extension identified the Dorito’s Loaded brand as a winner. The Dorito’s Loaded snack was 7-Eleven’s most successful brand launch ever when it hit stores this summer and quickly became the second-most popular SKU to cross the convenience stores’ scanners (bananas were first), according to Springfield.

Dr. Reid stressed that using implicit research technology had allowed Dorito’s to avoid a common problem for market researchers.

“Implicit research allows marketing researchers to get around the can’t-say, won’t say issue,” Reid said.

Dr. Reid demonstrated the use of our mobile-friendly Sentient Prime™ product on his iPhone during the session and invited attendees to set up their own test surveys at try.sentientprime.com.

Throughout TMRE 2014, we have enjoyed a tremendous response to our product demos at booth #220 (located toward the back, right of the expo area near the genius bar). We invite you to continue to visit us and try Sentient Prime™. You can also go online and try our implicit research technology at try.sentientprime.com.

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