Case Study 1: One-stop-shop (Audio/Insight & Photo Essay)

     The Client   A leading global ad agency   T  he Challenge   Our client approached us to help them prepare for a pitch to a international discount grocery/FMCG retailer. They knew the angle for their pitch but needed evidence that their ideas would resonate. They also needed fresh visual content to energise their pitch.  Their concept hinged on the trust consumers have in retailers. To make their ads effective they needed to know:   When a discount supermarket offers us the same quality item at up to 40% less than we’re used to paying for it, is it confusing? Suspicious? Or do people understand how discounters supply quality at less cost?   Our task was to test their theory and gather compelling visual evidence, all on a tight timescale and budget.   Our Solution   The client suggested face-to-face discussions with people as they completed their shop in the given supermarket. But we went further; we were present during the preparation for the shop - making lists and the family dynamics around this, the journey to the shop, the shop itself including decision making processes, moments of disappointment when a product couldn't be found and delight at unexpected savings, impulse buys and finally the unpacking of the shop back home - capturing the nuances of the family dynamic throughout in telling photo essays.  Following the entire ritual allowed us to characterise the process visually at the same time as gathering qualitative data, underpinned to the themes of trust, loyalty, quality and cost. We attached microphones to our shopper families and captured the natural chat and interplay between shopping families as well as the more structured points on our discussion guide.   The Result   We uncovered a more sophisticated understanding amongst consumers than anticipated. Many actually understand why a budget supermarket can be up to 40% cheaper – they knew that having a smaller range helps keep costs down, and liked it. If more choice means more cost, then one quality option will do.  But people rarely looked at budget supermarkets as a one-stop-shop, often defaulting to other stores for certain items and doing a whole shop there for the sake of convenience.  The outcome was a change in emphasis in our clients message. Quality and trust were still key, but the range available also needed to come to the fore.

 

The Client

A leading global ad agency

The Challenge

Our client approached us to help them prepare for a pitch to a international discount grocery/FMCG retailer. They knew the angle for their pitch but needed evidence that their ideas would resonate. They also needed fresh visual content to energise their pitch.

Their concept hinged on the trust consumers have in retailers. To make their ads effective they needed to know:

When a discount supermarket offers us the same quality item at up to 40% less than we’re used to paying for it, is it confusing? Suspicious? Or do people understand how discounters supply quality at less cost?

Our task was to test their theory and gather compelling visual evidence, all on a tight timescale and budget.

Our Solution

The client suggested face-to-face discussions with people as they completed their shop in the given supermarket. But we went further; we were present during the preparation for the shop - making lists and the family dynamics around this, the journey to the shop, the shop itself including decision making processes, moments of disappointment when a product couldn't be found and delight at unexpected savings, impulse buys and finally the unpacking of the shop back home - capturing the nuances of the family dynamic throughout in telling photo essays.

Following the entire ritual allowed us to characterise the process visually at the same time as gathering qualitative data, underpinned to the themes of trust, loyalty, quality and cost. We attached microphones to our shopper families and captured the natural chat and interplay between shopping families as well as the more structured points on our discussion guide.

The Result

We uncovered a more sophisticated understanding amongst consumers than anticipated. Many actually understand why a budget supermarket can be up to 40% cheaper – they knew that having a smaller range helps keep costs down, and liked it. If more choice means more cost, then one quality option will do.

But people rarely looked at budget supermarkets as a one-stop-shop, often defaulting to other stores for certain items and doing a whole shop there for the sake of convenience.

The outcome was a change in emphasis in our clients message. Quality and trust were still key, but the range available also needed to come to the fore.


Case Study 2: A Close Shave (Film & Ethnography)

     The Client   One of the world's largest shaving brands   The Challenge   When our client wanted to understand more about what a ‘close shave’ meant in the 21st Century we knew this was an opportunity to re-examine commonly held beliefs about men’s shaving. With an open brief focused on innovation, research and development, this presented a chance for a true synergy between ethnography and commercial research – approaching the subject with as few preconceptions as possible and learning from the ground up.   Our Solution   The mix of participants was key to the success of this study. When you think of men’s shaving products and the associated marketing, typical images of masculinity come to mind. This isn’t a true representation of the market in the 21st century – so we recruited a broad spectrum of people with one thing in common – the need for a very close shave. We spoke to members of the armed services, people with very sensitive skin, drag artists and people on a male-to-female transgender journey.  We visited people at their homes and learned about their attitudes, their hobbies, their jobs, their relationships, their consumer behaviours and perceptions of value – before moving on to talking about shaving and observing a live shave. We distilled this wealth of data into three key narratives and produced a film to deliver each.   The Result   Our client was left knowing not only how people use the razors and products, but why shaving forms an integral part of identity - both as a consumer and as an individual – and the role shaving plays in their daily habits and rituals.  This research allowed us to guide the brand on potential product innovation, advise around perceptions of value and test accepted truths about marketing shaving products.  The visual, intuitive format of the films meant the results also travelled further than traditional research. Initially designed for the R&D team, the films were ultimately shared globally across the organisation helping to unlock new inspiration and connect different departments in a new way with the lived experiences of their customers.

 

The Client

One of the world's largest shaving brands

The Challenge

When our client wanted to understand more about what a ‘close shave’ meant in the 21st Century we knew this was an opportunity to re-examine commonly held beliefs about men’s shaving. With an open brief focused on innovation, research and development, this presented a chance for a true synergy between ethnography and commercial research – approaching the subject with as few preconceptions as possible and learning from the ground up.

Our Solution

The mix of participants was key to the success of this study. When you think of men’s shaving products and the associated marketing, typical images of masculinity come to mind. This isn’t a true representation of the market in the 21st century – so we recruited a broad spectrum of people with one thing in common – the need for a very close shave. We spoke to members of the armed services, people with very sensitive skin, drag artists and people on a male-to-female transgender journey.

We visited people at their homes and learned about their attitudes, their hobbies, their jobs, their relationships, their consumer behaviours and perceptions of value – before moving on to talking about shaving and observing a live shave. We distilled this wealth of data into three key narratives and produced a film to deliver each.

The Result

Our client was left knowing not only how people use the razors and products, but why shaving forms an integral part of identity - both as a consumer and as an individual – and the role shaving plays in their daily habits and rituals.

This research allowed us to guide the brand on potential product innovation, advise around perceptions of value and test accepted truths about marketing shaving products.

The visual, intuitive format of the films meant the results also travelled further than traditional research. Initially designed for the R&D team, the films were ultimately shared globally across the organisation helping to unlock new inspiration and connect different departments in a new way with the lived experiences of their customers.


Case Study 3: Hair Fragrance (Multidisciplinary & Visual Ethnography)

  The Client   Shanghai based insight agency   The Challenge   The brief was 'Hair Fragrance: The Emotional Experience', designed to analyse and gather qualitative insights about the emotional experiences hair fragrance evokes in the customers of a leading hair-care brand.  The study was carried out in Shanghai and London with habitus responsible for the London market. We focused on probing for functional-emotional links associated with hair scent and looked at the overall role hair scent plays during a 24-hour hair care journey.   Our Solution   The client suggested the initial research design. They wanted a blend of a product test, filmed ethnography and in-depth-interview. The IDI included applying the ZMET technique - using visual stimulus, interviews and analysis to uncover the fundamental structures that guide people's thinking about a topic.  We recruited 12 London-based women to take part in the study. Whilst the client had a clear interview structure they had not yet considered the intricacies of observing and capturing the act of using the new product, nor how to compare the new attitudes towards the products the respondent normally uses and trusts.  After two weeks of consultation and planning we devised a structure that wove the interviews into a more in depth filmed ethnography piece. We filmed the participants using the test product, from opening the bottle and smelling the scent through to washing their hair. This involved mounted GoPro’s as well as non-intrusive hand-held camera work to capture the experience in full.   The Result   The ZMET technique revealed a host of valuable insights and helped the client visualise how people make sense of the world around them, how taking care of yourself is a clear starting point for a positive state of mind and how hair-care and fragrance within this affect consumer decision making.  We uncovered insights around notions of calmness, stress & confidence and how taking time for your self is the perfect way to reset/refresh. Scent played a role in increasing the longevity of feelings of calmness & confidence.  The 12-minute film produced as a result of the study clearly showed the manipulative effect a scent can play on the mind, conjuring up feelings and imagery of freshness and cleanliness throughout the day and creating a positive memory in the respondents mind’s.

The Client

Shanghai based insight agency

The Challenge

The brief was 'Hair Fragrance: The Emotional Experience', designed to analyse and gather qualitative insights about the emotional experiences hair fragrance evokes in the customers of a leading hair-care brand.

The study was carried out in Shanghai and London with habitus responsible for the London market. We focused on probing for functional-emotional links associated with hair scent and looked at the overall role hair scent plays during a 24-hour hair care journey.

Our Solution

The client suggested the initial research design. They wanted a blend of a product test, filmed ethnography and in-depth-interview. The IDI included applying the ZMET technique - using visual stimulus, interviews and analysis to uncover the fundamental structures that guide people's thinking about a topic.

We recruited 12 London-based women to take part in the study. Whilst the client had a clear interview structure they had not yet considered the intricacies of observing and capturing the act of using the new product, nor how to compare the new attitudes towards the products the respondent normally uses and trusts.

After two weeks of consultation and planning we devised a structure that wove the interviews into a more in depth filmed ethnography piece. We filmed the participants using the test product, from opening the bottle and smelling the scent through to washing their hair. This involved mounted GoPro’s as well as non-intrusive hand-held camera work to capture the experience in full.

The Result

The ZMET technique revealed a host of valuable insights and helped the client visualise how people make sense of the world around them, how taking care of yourself is a clear starting point for a positive state of mind and how hair-care and fragrance within this affect consumer decision making.

We uncovered insights around notions of calmness, stress & confidence and how taking time for your self is the perfect way to reset/refresh. Scent played a role in increasing the longevity of feelings of calmness & confidence.

The 12-minute film produced as a result of the study clearly showed the manipulative effect a scent can play on the mind, conjuring up feelings and imagery of freshness and cleanliness throughout the day and creating a positive memory in the respondents mind’s.