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    Research is as Adaptable as your Business – Learn how to Pivot and Ensure Success

    Susan Vidler, Managing Director UK for Harris Interactive

    We’ve entered an unprecedented age. People have abruptly changed their spending and consuming habits, disrupting the revenue streams of many businesses and even entire industries.  We have been tracking consumer trends both globally and regionally through our ongoing research study, “GLOBAL BAROMETER: Consumer Reactions to COVID-19” to get an assessment of how consumer behavior has changed on a global level due to the COVID-19 virus. 

    Businesses need to understand their consumers, their sentiment and their behaviours during “normal” conditions, but it is essential during this pandemic because of how quickly perceptions and habits are changing.  If you are not tracking consumer behaviour and the trends, your business is going to miss a huge opportunity at best or suffer consequences.

    Pivot Quick, Pivot Smart

    Businesses need to pivot in a smart, efficient manner.  If they hadn’t already, traditional media and entertainment studios are engaging with streaming services.  Restaurants are moving to home delivery only and in certain cases meal prep services are starting to offer grocery delivery. Opportunities abound, and with the proper insight and data, you can make smart decisions. And make them quickly.

    Because during volatile periods, it is more important than ever to gauge the views of your audience. The faster the pace, the more frequently you should consider listening to your audience, testing messages (and not just once – frequently), understating behavior changes, and possibly learning which competitors they’re using. 

    Here are just a few examples of the different approaches we’ve taken for clients in various sectors given the information from our Barometer on consumer habits:

    • CPG
      Since self-quarantining began, we’ve helped clients understand:
      • How people are consuming, using and purchasing differently
      • How brand loyalty is evolving
      • How our clients’ brands are perceived
    • Health & Wellness
      These days staying healthy means more than just not getting sick. Staying home means making mental and physical adjustments to daily routines. That’s why we’ve looked into:
      • How OTC products (consumer healthcare products and supplements) are being consumed, used and purchased differently
      • What hygiene products are in high demand (Did you know that the latest consumer goods to fly off the shelves are hair color products?)
      • What people are shopping for online vs. in-person
      • The adoption of new consumer habits as it relates to keeping healthy
    • Media & Entertainment

      Knowing that consumers are spending more time (and money) at home, we’re able to help our clients determine:

      • Potential increases in usage and demand for the gaming sector
      • Changes in habits in terms of need for streaming services/content/media consumption
      • Needs for eBooks & self-learning tools online
      • How people are using IT appliances in their home office – printers, scanners, print cartridges, etc.
      • What new technology needs consumers have, now that they are stuck inside (ie. Creating a new home office for their child’s online learning)
    • Financial Services
      Given the financial impact of the current situation, it is imperative for financial service businesses to adapt their products, services and even marketing to ensure success. We’ve offered strategic research and assistance with regard to:
      • Communications testing for support services – loans, mortgage holidays, insurance premiums
      • Consumer sentiment on how financial institutions are supporting them during this time
      • Determining new consumer needs over insurance to cover health, income and more for the future, and how this applies to attitudes around savings
      • Increase levels of use and functionality around online financial services/apps

    How to Move Forward

    Now is the time to reevaluate your research strategy.   While it is not the time to extrapolate and project for all of 2020 how people will spend their time, shop for or consider new products, or consume media, there are certain projects that should be started or continued.  And anything that projects normalcy now needs to be treated with caution.  But the ability to stay connected to customers and take faster, more impactful decisions that make a positive difference in daily lives has never been more important. 

    Our team of researchers and strategists can work with you to figure out what’s working, what needs to change and where new opportunities arise. Here is what you should continue.

    • Tracking (brand or other forms) –Determine relevant updates to current tracking programs to ensure consistency, as well ensuring topical questions are leveraged in current programs. You need to understand how opinions are changing regarding your brand.   Now is not the time to wait a year to see impacts on your brand.   Test sentiment and perception now— and keep testing.
    • Communications & Advertising testing –Pre-test, Pre-test, Pre-test. Customer opinion is changing by the minute.  You must test all messages before launch to ensure that they resonate and have the right tone, sensitivity and reflect well on the brand.
    • Consumer sentiment research – Either through one-off pieces or tracking, look to understand current needs and opinions as they evolve.
    • Opportunities in new markets/territories – Develop projects to understand new market opportunities as needs and markets continue to change. Communities can help here. 
    • Changing/transition programs –Update your research abilities through the use of online qualitative or quantitative research, rather than telephone or face-to-face

    We can help with all of the above whether it is self-service, full service or in-between.  And now is the time to act. Contact us today to see how we can help you pivot your business towards success.

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