What we can do for you
Our mission is to help and support our clients in doing the right thing. We want our clients to get as close to the market as possible.
We provide a full range of market research services. We implement a custom-tailored approach and use few standard products or research formats. We focus on delivering useful results in an efficient way.
Interim Project Management
Do you need temporary support in setting up, monitoring, coordinating market research projects, just contact me.
Based on many years of experience in the field and on management level, I am able to steer both qualitative and quantitative projects in the right direction, in a professional and pragmatic way. My role in this can be diverse: critical sparring partner, supervisor, facilitator, coordinator ...
Together we define the best possible approach, both in terms of content and organization. I can work both remotely and on-site. Together we look for the most practical and efficient approach.
Internal Inspiration Sessions
Very often there is a lot of knowledge inside the company. Employees can also be a rich source of inspiration and creativity. their experience with products, services and customers often turns out to be a source of enriching wisdom (which is too often forgotten or ignored).
Employing numerous creative and projective techniques (collages photo sort, VIP Galleries, Lego® Serious Play® ...) employees are challenged and stimulated to reflect critically, to discuss a very specific theme. that can be about customers, internal cooperation, own products and services ...
the intensive use of projective techniques is primarily intended to avoid the 'talking barracks'. Just using fancy & hollow words quite often leads to nothing.
Needs and expectations mapping
When your offer meets a demand everything falls into place. The key to success lies in the in-depth understanding of the real customer needs.
It is important to take the time to listen to what the market wants. Listening is learning and learning is understanding. The closer we truly are to our customers, the better we can connect. It’s as simple as that.
This type of research must be performed as individually as possible. The challenge is to dig as deep as possible and that means excluding a maximum number of factors that can cause pressure – e.g. other people.
There are two crucial factors in this type of research:
From a client point of view:
We challenge clients to map out their own market knowledge. Using a basic grid, they are asked to put into words what they think the end customer wants and expects.
Upon completion of the research, we determine how close to each other or far apart both ‘worlds’ are. This moment of reflection boosts client involvement in the project. Experience also shows that this exercise is useful in streamlining one’s position as a ‘company’ in relation to the market and in helping the client gain a better insight into their own prejudices or mental barriers so as to be better equipped to draw up a plan of action.
From a research point of view:
Context is everything. Understanding and grasping the everyday reality of consumers, customers, … is a prerequisite to correctly interpreting the needs and expectations that have been detected.
The research must be practical: with this type of research, it is key to delve into reality and map out what people actually ‘do’. We must take care not to use an approach that is too abstract or superficial. ‘Talking’ alone is not enough.
A brand is a dashboard, a ‘Gestalt’, a dynamic result of its attributes: name, colours, products, packaging, communication, origin…
Each attribute plays a specific role and flavours the brand in its own unique way. We help to understand the brand in its essence and we clarify the role of each attribute. That way you know which attributes really do affect your brand perception.
A lot of information is often available about a brand: market penetration, image, likes and dislikes, NPS … A host of data allowing people to understand the brand, manage it and align it with the market. However, there are also a number of blind spots: what are the specific brand carriers, what are the reasons behind success or failure within the brand universe... All too often, a brand (or a service or product) is regarded as a single entity without specific attributes.
This research is designed to decode the brand, we dissect it in order to identify and understand every possible ‘influencer’ of the overall picture. Once we understand these influencing factors, we also know which knobs to tweak to generate a brand impact.
This type of research benefits greatly from a combination of individual preparation and exploratory group sessions.
There are two crucial factors in this type of research:
From a client point of view:
Together we lay bare the inner workings of the brand by organising a workshop, we take the brand apart down to the smallest detail. We approach the brand like a puzzle. We challenge ourselves to dissect the brand in minute detail.
As far as content goes, this exercise also serves as the ideal preparation for the actual research because it helps us establish an initial frame of reference during the actual research sessions with customers/consumers, etc.
From a research point of view:
This type of research takes time; people need time and space to familiarise themselves with the brand.
This kind of research is also characterised by the use of ‘homework’ in preparation of the research sessions (visual, descriptive, reporting, testimonials) and various projective techniques during the sessions.
Massive above the line communication is expensive and not always possible.
The packaging is quite often the most important communicator a brand has. Therefore it is of crucial importance to understand the emotional, functional and rational meaning of the packaging you (wish to) place on the shelves.
Sometimes the packaging is a manufacturer’s only way of connecting with the consumer. Unfortunately, the offer is huge and setting yourself apart is not self-evident. Nowadays the major challenge for a brand consists in projecting ‘differentiation’ and ‘value’ at the same time. After all, only a small minority of brands still present their products in anonymous, bland packagings. Everyone puts their best foot forward so you need to outshine the competition.
Pre-packaging design research requires a totally different approach from packaging design research.
Packaging design research: Online chat sessions without webcams are most appropriate. (see also Methods: Online Focus Group)
Pre-packaging design research: It is best to opt for a combination of behavioral research (individual shopping sessions = accompanied shopping) and creative group discussions.
With this type of research there are several research options:
Pre-packaging design research:
“There is no design yet and inspiration is needed to draw up the design briefing”
With this type of research, the first order of business is to properly identify the category codes. These codes refer to the signals, points of recognition... that consumers use to organise and make sense of the category for themselves. Some signals have been taught, others are established by consumers themselves. Within this context, physically going shopping with the consumer is a crucial and clarifying part of the research.
Secondly, a combination of critically questioning the current offer and providing creative inspiration (foreign, cross-category examples) is necessary. Both are indispensable because an approach that only analyses the strengths and weaknesses of the current offer often leads to conservative results.
Packaging design research:
“One or more alternatives have already been developed”
Generally we are very flexible and we continually question the research approach based on the briefing. However, when it comes to testing actual packaging designs we advocate a very specific online approach. For this type of research we have developed a highly specialized protocol. It is the result of a comparative study carried out in conjunction with Heinz International (read more).
Communication & advertising
Impactful communication is about touching the soul of the consumer and triggering action.
The current market communicates non-stop. Consumers have developed a selective blindness as a protective shield to deal with this information deluge.
Being a cut above the rest presents an enormous challenge but that must be the norm if our communication is to make the difference. Ideas need to be more creative and out-of-the box, and this is the dilemma that market research often faces: do consumers have the capacity to value new ideas? Communication research often shipwrecks on overly functional, superficial research data. The reality is that sometimes, in research, communication ideas are nipped in the bud. Our research does not kill new ideas.
The research method depends to a large extent on the research objective and the stimuli. The more concrete and well-defined the stimuli, the more individual the approach. The coarser the material and the higher the need for creativity and inspiration, the more a group approach becomes the preferred option.
Based on our experience, we firmly believe in these two principles:
Take your time to explain the goal of the communication (without creating bias). Provide some context so people can grasp the bigger picture.
Learn and practice
Start by practicing with other forms of communication. The more unpolished the research material, the more we need to practice on other material first. This way we can be sure the interviewee is truly ready to process and evaluate the communication stimuli that really matter in a relevant way.
Every company dreams of happy clients, being 100% customer-centric is the holy grail.
We must acknowledge that employee satisfaction is one of the key drivers of customer satisfaction. We provide assistance in exploring that satisfaction and the drivers behind it. And we do this both for customers and employees.
Generally it is no secret to what extent customers, staff... are satisfied. For a brand or company, however, it is frequently less evident to understand why people are satisfied or dissatisfied. In light of specific (corrective) actions, it is important to determine the reasons behind feelings of (dis)satisfaction. Identifying these reasons increases the relevance and impact of every individual action.
This is where a combination of one-on-one interviews and group sessions delivers optimum results. We must distinguish between individual and group satisfaction. With satisfaction surveys in general – and staff surveys in particular – the obtained data are a combination of these two types of satisfaction. Individuals tend to be more critical but they are also better at putting things into perspective, and they make more subtle distinctions. A group magnifies things and is more prone to communicating in extremes. The combination of both sources ensures that ultimately the data are better and more accurately understood (in depth and in breadth).
With qualitative research to assess customer satisfaction we feel it is best to use quantitative data as a starting point – if available; qualitative research should be based on the measured reality. Too often, a qualitative study represents a parallel trajectory that is not or insufficiently cross-referenced against concrete data.
You’ve screened our services and you feel none of them will properly address the issue you or your company are struggling with?
Customer centricity is key to us too! Let us know what research question you are struggling with and we will come up with a research plan to help you. And remember, trying to capture the problem in a small briefing is often already part of the solution.