Webinar 43: Finding Holiday Magic – COVID-19 Consumer Tracking

Anticipating changed holiday celebrations

Presentation Date:   Thursday, Oct.  15     2 pm ET, (11 am PT)

: Kayte Hamilton, Client Partner Director, and Jenny O'Connor, Community Manager

With the holiday season quickly approaching, how will people pivot and enjoy the magic of holiday traditions that usually include gatherings of family and friends? What are opportunities to help brighten the season through special products, services, or messaging? How can we maintain a festive spirit despite living in a pandemic world?

Join us as we explore how our Clean Label Enthusiasts are anticipating a COVID-19 holiday season with regards to potential disruptions on travel plans, gatherings, gifting, and their emotions.

Webinar 42: Beauty & the COVID Beast

New priorities for beauty routines and products

Presentation Date:   Thursday, Sept.  17     2 pm ET, (11 am PT)

: Jaclyn LaPoma and Kimberley Greenwood, Sr. Research Directors

COVID-19 has affected all parts of our lives, including beauty routines.  Recently, we looked at how consumers’ beauty routines have changed due to the pandemic.

We talked to consumers and learned how they have changed practices in some of these areas:

  • Why and how have beauty routines changed during the pandemic?
  • How do consumers feel about their beauty routines Pre-Pandemic vs. During Pandemic?
  •  How are consumers preparing for a potential 2nd wave?

What are opportunities for brands to communicate empathy and assistance?

Disrupting Marketing through Hybrid Research Design

By Kayte Hamilton & Chuck Rodriguez

In most research settings there’s been an on-going battle between which methodology is best suited for the job; do we need something statistically valid in a quantitative environment or are we looking for deep context through a qualitative session?

Many researchers often feel they must choose one route over the other. On top of that; in the last few years there’s been an explosion of new tools that blur the line between what traditional methods mean—things like eye-tracking and neuroscience tools, automated interviews and data tracking. At InsightsNow, we find the highest value to our insight mining comes from our ability to recognize the benefits of certain resources and cherry-pick a custom solution. An agile approach to research design also allows exploration of the data collected in a best use case scenario.

Banner 40 graphic on gray

Disruptive Innovation and Hybrid Research

Disruptive innovation is an interesting concept. To many; innovation means something technology or tech-driven (simply run a search for “innovation” in Google imagesand you’ll see what we mean). However, disruptive innovation is a more basic idea of introducing something new to your processes and that’s exactly what we’re doing here with our hybrid research designs. The tools and resources aren’t new (so to speak), but when they are combined it makes for a unique research solution—solutions driven by the need to deeply uncover consumer behaviors and motivations without adding time to the fieldwork.

In August, we presented a webinar (you can find the recording here) that explored this hybrid quantitative and qualitative research design through the lens of two case studies. While about 70% of the webinar audience admitted to already using hybrid designs, 100% of the audience felt they learned something new from our presentation.

Case Study #1: Message Testing in the Consumer Technology Space:

The first of the case studies we referenced in our webinar focused on a study based entirely on messaging communication. In order to optimize the time our qualitative moderator had with participants across sessions, we uniquely leveraged our initial engagement with these folks—by activating something more powerful than the often used high-level homework primer. After mulling over a bunch of approaches, we decided to go with InsightsNow’s Implicit Test to capture reactions toward the messaging.

The benefit of going this route was obtaining those System 1 and System 2  reactions before participants even stepped into a room with us. These responses were provided in a vacuum, so to speak, which not only afforded us insight related to the messaging but also into our participants’ minds. Learnings could be used for more effective probing to identify key presumptions and gray areas that contributed to those initial reactions toward the messaging.

Leveraging a quantitative resource before our sessions allowed us to:

  • Interpret the measured response times to dig for disruptive components in each message, “What slowed you down?”
  • Create a hierarchy of performance rooted in behavior and the deep dive discussion in the room.

Now, one of the questions that was posed during this project creation included the strategy behind the idea:

  • If Only Quant = We would have known WHAT metrics, without the why or context in each message.
  • If Only Qual = It would have been difficult to establish a definitive winning proposition; which was one of the project objectives.
  • If Multi-Phase = This would have been costly and time to actionable results would have been considerably longer. We utilized the focus group participants rather than two distinct sets of recruited consumers.
Implicit Test Q
implicit message results

Case Study #2: Market Understanding & Consumer Needs in the Health Care Industry:

For the second case study example, we pulled from another industry entirely, designed to shed some light on consumers within the health care space. Our client was interested in understanding perceptions of health care in their region, both more broadly and among a handful of giants that occupied the space. One of the underlying objectives was to also obtain direction for use in their messaging. As it turns out, the still very current health crisis we’re all so familiar with was having a considerable impact on preferentiality and our client’s brand was seeing a decidedly negative impact. They needed insight to clearly define new messaging, regain lost loyalty and reinforce their mission.

In this research design, we again used quantitative to guide our qualitative discussions…in more ways than one:

  • Helped determine key indicators used to operationalize TWO segments of health care consumers (those who favored our client and those who were apathetic).
  • Provided detail used to determine the ‘short-list’ of services and amenities for exploration among well-curated, target segments.
  • Provided a market-level baseline read on messaging reception for comparison to both segments to tease out key differences and similarities.

While this study began as quantitative first; the bulk of the execution was a five-day online board/short-term community. Throughout the week we rotated quantitative tasks within the qualitative discussion allowing us to deep dive into the aggregate results rather than trying to discern individual results all week. This helped ground the discussion and got the consumers thinking in more detail as they caught on to the design.

To focus the qualitative discussion, we used surveys to quantify large “bucket-sorting” tasks for preferred brands, brand attributes, and InsightsNow Implicit Test again for brand messaging. Those results were tied into group and individual assignments in the discussion by highlighting keep themes in the aggregate. By moving any short-response type questions in the surveys, we could tie back their larger discussions to their customized survey responses (if needed).

Other Hybrid Research Design Ideas:

While we’ve been using our Implicit Test on a wide range of research applications; our executions aren’t limiting to just this resource.

  • Integrate Social Intelligence analysis before you develop any discussion guides or assignments. “What do you already know” >> “What do you want to know MORE of?”
  • Utilize Passive Metering to find out what consumers do, not what they say they do.
  • Complex rankings? Use a Tournament or MaxDiff survey design before or after sessions to better organize the data. Can also use surveys in real-time with digital respondent packets.

When deciding if a hybrid research design is best for your business objectives; we challenge you to consider these types of questions. We’re also available to help you brainstorm your next successful execution!

  • What are you running sequentially that you can combine for more agility?
  • What more information do you find yourself asking after an execution?
  • What do you wish you could learn, yet haven’t been able to decipher?
  • In what situations are your answers too generic?
  • How often do you find it tough to make decisions after a research project?
  • Are you missing a behavior or subconscious cue you need to understand?

In-Person Consumer Research During COVID-19

By Greg Stucky, Chief Research Officer, InsightsNow 

As we continue to recover and work through pandemic-related changes to consumer research, we have seen a steady increase in the number of research requestsboth quantitative and qualitativewhere in-person executions are preferred or necessary due to stimulus/product handling requirements.  Finding ways to balance consumer safety while maintaining high quality in-person research has been a priority for InsightsNow and our clientsBy continually monitoring news, local and national guidelines, we are able to advise ways to make in-person research safer during the pandemic. Here are some ways we have managed to continue onsite testingand some options which can be considered to continue providing high levels of safety while conducting in-person and face-to-face research.    

agile gymnastics

Creating Flexible Plans

First and foremost, create flexible back-up plans. Things are changing day-by-day and sometimes we need to pivot to an alternate plan, like a change to serving schedules, moving to a different market or adjusting timelines. Agreeing on a back-up plan early allows you to flex quickly when changes arise. 

People group

Limiting In-Person Group Size

Reduce the number of consumers per timeslot or session to adhere to the national and local COVID-19 safety guidelines. This ensures consumers experience less contact in the waiting room, while participating in a CLT or even within a focus group. Ideas for implementation include more sessions in a day or considering spreading sessions across multiple days. Pay special attention to overlap time periods where people are arriving and leaving and plan for the least number of people overlapping as possible. By having fewer consumers come in at once, facilities can provide more personalized attention for quantitative studies, and moderators can probe deeper during qualitative studies. 

Person at cafe table

Adjusting Facility Room Set-Up

With smaller sessions, you can consider changing the room setup. Pulling inspiration from restaurants, we have been spreading consumers throughout the room for in-person sessions. The room, tablets, and any supplies are sanitized thoroughly between consumers. Bleveraging news and following safety guidelines your participants may have heard about regarding how restaurants keep people safe, you make everyone more comfortable with the study and the in-person parameters.


Conveying the Right Mask Message

Any consumer completing onsite testing is required to wear a mask at all times, except when they are seated and actively tasting or drinking samples. The mask requirement can bring both comfort and fear, so researchers must carefully consider what subconscious cue to conveyespecially if the research is branded in any way. Making everyone wear a blue medical mask gives a different room vibe than allowing people to bring their own mask and use it to share a bit about their personality—perhaps as part of an ice-breaker session. There are tools/tricks that moderators can utilize to overcome communication challenges that arise from wearing masks. 


Finding Options to Traveling

Requiring research team members to travel to facilities can also be difficult, with many states imposing quarantine guidelines for travel across state lines. For those able to attend, facilities are recommending reduced numbers for kitchen prep or back room viewing. In our experience, there are many ways to have a “hybrid” experience that allows consumers to come in person for control of products, yet virtually interact with other consumers, researchers and client teams. This eliminates the need for team members and moderators to travel yet allows for an in-person experience from a product perspective. Just because you need consumers to come to a controlled location doesn’t mean the interviewers or moderators also need to be in that location – you can run a video interview with each consumer at their own separate station with the moderator and viewers all remote.  

Thought bubble dark

Are you struggling with how to execute an in-person protocol during COVID? Give us a call and we can discuss options to keep everyone as safe as possible and help you think through designs which require the least amount of face –to-face interaction for the safety of all involved.  

Webinar 41: What’s for lunch? Innovation ideas for at home or at school meals

Priorities and behavior adaptations with return to school

Presentation Date:   Thursday, Sept.  10     2 pm ET, (11 am PT)

:  Sarah Kirkmeyer, Sr. Director Client Partnerships and Ann Bracken, Sr. Director Business Development
, InsightsNow Inc.

Going back to school this year is dramatically different for so many families in the US.  With all of the changes related to COVID-19, lunch meal planning is adding another layer of stress and concern for families.   The need for safewholesome and convenient lunches is paramount whether consuming at school via brown bag or cafeteria or at home with virtual/remote learning.   

Mom+child computer pexels-august-de-richelieu-4260475 small

By leveraging behavioral research, we will learn about parental needs and wants for back to school lunches considering each of these schooling options.  Together with an implicit/explicit approach for these 3 different moments (lunch at home, brown bag and cafeteria), we can capture important characteristics and ones where parents are willing to make tradeoffs.  Then, by engaging with InsightsNow’s Clean Label Enthusiasts Community, we are able to uncover product ideas and consumer-driven innovation opportunities in each of these moments, relevant for today’s environment.   

Engage with us during this webinar to see ways to provide nutritious yet relevant lunch options for kids across all types of learning environments.  

Consumer Trust and the Future of The Restaurant Industry

By Greg Stucky, Chief Research Officer, InsightsNow 

While many industries have been hit hard by the fallout from COVID-19, the restaurant industry reached an estimated $145 billion in losses during the first four months of the pandemic. While recent months have seen a slight uptick in restaurant business as stay-at-home orders relax and restrictions are lifted across the nation, the long-term negative impact of this business interruption will continue for quite some time.

Creative solutions to impact bottom line

Even though restaurants have largely been allowed to reopen and limited in-restaurant dining is now permitted in most areas, there are strict capacity limitations and distancing requirements in place. When capacity to serve goes down, it is extremely impactful on the already narrow profit margins under which restaurants operate. Restaurants and cities have been coming up with creative solutions to support these businesses, like blocking off sidewalks and parts of city streets to expand the dining footprint (and allow outdoor seating).

Consumer behavior regarding restaurant visits

In a recent wave of our InsightsNow ongoing study, “COVID-19 Tracker on Clean Living Behavior,” we uncovered insights into consumer behavior regarding restaurant visits. The research delves into insights from our proprietary, trend-identifying Clean Label Enthusiasts® (CLE) consumer research community.

Our results show that the majority of people are still quite unwilling to go INTO a restaurant to eat. As time goes on and the weather stays mostly pleasant in many areas of the country, more and more CLE are willing to sit outside at a dining establishment—and even more willing to go through the drive-through of a fast food restaurant. However, sitting inside is not changing.

Trust in Foodservice safety

Consumer Trust in Restaurants

This avoidance of indoor seating is primarily driven by a lack of trust in the restaurants' ability to keep everything clean enough to prevent the spread of the virus. Some consumer quotes from our study illustrate the tension.

Personally, I don’t think self-serve drink stations, touch screen kiosks and silverware wrapped in napkins are fully safe nor clean. How do we know that the person asked to wrap the silverware has washed his/her hands, wore gloves or even a mask? So many questions, so few answers. 

I went to a restaurant recently and sat outside. Waitress was very cheerful, no wait and had a wonderful breakfast on real plates and used real utensils. Everything was very clean, and I really enjoyed it.  I do think that you should be careful when going to restaurants though. 

“Individual packages seem to be safer than containers left on the table in which everyone at the table touched or breathes on. I am more concerned with the people who handle my food. Did they wash their hands?  Do they live in a home with 10 or more people? I don’t trust others' hygiene routines compared to mine.’” 

Combine this with the continual fear of being in less control of your own safety when inside closed rooms, and it is clear it will be quite some time before dining patrons are willing to risk sitting indoors to enjoy a meal at their favorite restaurants again, and we will see continued impact on the bottom line for restaurants across the country.

To learn more about consumer behavior regarding dining choices, view the recording of our recent webinar on Restaurant and Fast Food Behaviors: Sustainability Trade-offs during COVID. 

Webinar 40: Borrowing Playbooks; Developing New Methods for Disruptive Marketing

Learn how blending quantitative techniques into qualitative research helps identify opportunities to disrupt consumers through messaging and positioning.

Presentation Date:   Thursday, August 20       2 pm ET, (11 am PT)

Kayte Hamilton, Client Partner Director and Charles Rodriguez, Sr. Research Director, InsightsNow Inc. 

Disrupting consumers is the hallmark of innovation. We discuss new ways to disrupt on an almost daily basis, both internally and with our clients. In this session, join Chuck and Kayte as they share:

  • How adding implicit quantification improves traditional qualitative message testing
  • How integrating social intelligence and social listening with qualitative probes improves your ability to find opportunities to disrupt consumers.
  • Examples for how InsightsNow effectively leverages mixed-method research execution styles and see first-hand case studies from a variety of industries

Hybrid research leaves a big impact on your insight generation. It’s more than just working smarter (not harder)... it’s working better!

Join us as we show how you to get started right away.

Webinar 39: Restaurant & Fast Food Behaviors – CLE make Sustainability Trade-offs during COVID.

Presentation Date:   Thursday, August 13,  2 pm ET, (11 am PT)

Greg Stucky,  Chief Research Officer, and Julie Quante, Research Director

Most Clean Label Enthusiasts have strong values regarding sustainability and earth friendly practices. Yet they are facing a difficult dilemma when they want to eat out.
"Do I prioritize my passion for sustainability or my concerns about the safety and cleanliness of the dishes and equipment?"
Join Greg Stucky and Julie Quante as we talk about
  • how people are making choices,
  • what motivates those choices and
  • what type of impact that will have on the food service industry.

Please register and join us!

Julie Quante, Research Director

Julie is a Research Director at InsightsNow with experience in the FMCG industry (most recently Tyson Foods).  She is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati (B.S. Industrial Management) as well as UC Davis with a certification in Sensory and Consumer Research.  As a Research Director at InsightsNow, Julie coordinates and facilitates studies for a multitude of CPG companies and leverages her sensory and consumer insights background for these clients as well.  She is heavily immersed in InsightsNow's pioneering Clean Label Enthusiast community.

Press: Study shows shoppers seeking products to lift mood and satisfy cravings

InsightsNow research indicates changing consumer behavior, and predicts impact on consumer product companies during COVID-19

2020 /EINPresswire.com/ --

InsightsNow, a behavioral research firm, has announced new research focusing on consumer motivations and shopping behavior during the current pandemic. This wave of the ongoing study, "COVID-19 Tracker on Clean
Living Behavior," delves into insights regarding consumer lifestyle disruption and the impact on interaction with
brands. Study participants are from their trend-identifying Clean Label Enthusiasts® (CLE) consumer research community, with research techniques using proprietary behavioral research frameworks.

"Just like the stages of grief, we are now finding consumer behavior to follow predictable stages in

InsightsNow Chief Research
Officer, Greg Stucky

"Just like the stages of grief, we are now finding consumer behavior to follow predictable stages in motivations," says InsightsNow Chief Research Officer, Greg Stucky. "Our COVID-19 tracker has discovered a range of new opportunities for CPG companies to launch line extensions and to reposition existing products to align with what consumers are seeking."

The current tracker data shows consumer purchase motivators are shifting to satisfy psychological mood lifters and sensorial cravings as the coronavirus pandemic continues. While functional health and safety were found to be important during early stages of the pandemic, those motivators have decreased in importance as consumers report seeking out experiences to change their mood.

Key findings from the study:

  • At the end of June 2020, the study showed 61% of increased consumer product purchases were driven by a desire to lift mood or to satisfy craving for specific sensory experiences, up from 6% in March 2020.
  • Functional health and safety motivators have dropped to 54% of increased purchases in late June, down from 84% in March 2020.
  • Social motivators associated with providing healthy alternatives for family members or to respond to recommendations from friends also increased to 44% at the end of June from 24% in March 2020.
InsightsNow Clean Label Enthusiasts™ Behavioral Research Communities
7-12 Period Motivations predictions

Now might be the best time to launch new product innovations for your consumers.

"This growing consumer desire for mood lifters and to satisfy cravings offers new opportunities for consumer product companies," says InsightsNow Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Dave Lundahl. "Now is the time for brands to differentiate through product positioning and launching of line extensions to meet the quickly changing consumer landscape."

Each week InsightsNow's Clean Label Enthusiast® community of primary shoppers reveals motivations for purchasing behaviors, tracking behavior pre-pandemic, current short-term shifts, and potential permanent changes. You can see the ongoing study here:

To learn more about the COVID-19 tracker study and enquire about upcoming research topics, reach out to InsightsNow at michelle.andre@insightsnow.com.

Food Business News “IFT20: COVID-19 impacting consumer perceptions of health and wellness”

Monday, July 13, 2020

SHIFT20 Virtual

Food Business News spotlighted InsightsNow's virtual webinar at SHIFT20 on how the pandemic is affecting Global Consumer Perceptions of Health & Wellness.  Results from research conducted in fall of 2019 and April 2020 across 10 countries revealed regional and cultural differences in attitudes and behaviors regarding health which have sharpened due to the pandemic threat.

Because of COVID-19 consumers have heightened interest in ingredients in foods that provide health benefits, eg. boost immunity, decrease inflammation, boost cardiac and GI function, reduce stress, and improve general well-being.   As the article quoted presenter Greg Stucky, “Now, nearly half the population on a global basis are looking for good sources of vitamins and minerals.”

This virtual webinar is available on-demand at Institute of Food Technologists first totally virtual Annual Meeting and Expo.  It is one of two presentations from InsightsNow at ShIFT20.  InsightsNow is also a sponsor of a symposium on Global Design of Clean Label Foods.