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What Consumers Want From Banks in 2019 and Beyond

Graphic of person thinking looking at a smartphone

It’s been said that people are more likely to change their spouse than they are to change their bank. But in a bespoke survey we carried out recently, we found many consumers are thinking about filing divorce papers to their main account provider.

45% of UK and U.S. millennials want to change banks in the next 12 months.

Chart titled, 'Millennials are keen to switch banks'.

But changing banks is just one part of a bigger picture of disruption in the financial industry.

With the new Payments Service Directive (PSD2) rolling out across the EU, financial providers will have to adapt and innovate. But this isn’t an EU-exclusive phenomenon; more U.S. internet users are thinking about changing bank than in the UK.

This new law forces banks to open their most prized data to third parties, who can use it to refine their core functions, or to initiate payments.

In this rapidly changing environment, consumer sentiment has to be looked at closely. Our research uncovers what consumers want to see from the finance industry in 2019 and beyond.

Mobile banking has yet to fully disrupt.

Mobile banking is well-established in Western markets, but mobile finance hasn’t proven to be truly disruptive just yet.

Our research finds checking account balances and paying for products on-the-go were the most common things to do on mobile. Only a minority  had used an online budgeting tool or split a bill through their phone.

So while the technology is new, the applications of mobile banking are still quite conventional.

If anything feels the effects of mobile banking at the moment, it’s the ATM.

Consumers use their phones to avoid having to track down a machine to check their balance or withdraw cash. Stats from LINK, the British cash machine network, show year-on-year decreases in ATM activity.

This state of affairs betrays the breadth of features consumers, particularly younger ones, want to see.

To analyze this in more detail, we’ll hone in on millennials, who have a strong desire to shop around for banks and possess an intriguing perspective on what finance should look like in the coming years.

Millennials want finance integrated with their lifestyles.

Perhaps true to form, millennials want a little bit of everything. For context, let’s look at them side-by-side with Gen Xers.

With the exception of more age-specific resources (like pensions and business tax returns), millennials want to see more from almost all areas of finance in the digital space, such as budgeting tools, investments, and loans.

But Gen X aren’t digital laggards when it comes to finance. They’re actually more likely than millennials to have checked their bank balance online in the past month. But with millennials, we get a sense of not just what the most in-demand features are, but what a redefined relationship between bank and customer might look like.

Millennials want financial services to be more integrated with their day-to-day lives. This includes their most common payments and more proactivity with budgeting, including warnings on unsustainable spending habits.

The relationship has to extend outside the walls of a bank branch.

So what does this move towards lifestyle patterns means in a post-PSD2 world?

Apps and companies that engage with users throughout the day have a new business stream available to them and won’t hesitate to move into it. They already have a vast amount of data on their users, and world-class expertise in AI, data science, and personalization – and they’re unlikely to wait for banks to catch up.

Big tech looks set to make a move.

If banks don’t seize the initiative in adhering to consumers’ lifestyles, other contenders may beat them to the punch.

In the UK, there’s been a lot of attention on challenger banks like Monzo and Revolut, but Google, Amazon, and even Facebook will not just sit and watch this trend pass by.

They will have the advantage of a bigger foothold in consumers’ day-to-day, and rich datasets to build out their financial offerings.

Amazon in particular would have a massive advantage. It could conceivably help people budget for items on their wish list, or give shoppers favorable credit rates.

It may seem far-fetched, but it’s already happening in some corners of the globe. Ant Financial has become one of the dominant financial service providers in China by leveraging billions of data points from Alipay users and using them as the basis for financial products.  

The company’s branding offers some hints for how these changes occur in the West. In its press releases, Ant Financial tends to refer to Alipay as a “lifestyle platform”. While China is a fundamentally different market, the idea of a “lifestyle platform” captures something of how millennials in the West think about financial providers.

And there are signs of new finance initiatives coming from Silicon Valley.

Amazon is the obvious contender to follow Ant Financial’s example, but it’s not the only one. Apple is reported to be building out banking services with Goldman Sachs, while Facebook could move into the area if their new payments strategy – identified as a priority by Mark Zuckerberg – takes off.

Education can be the most valuable tool.

One of the most interesting findings from our research was that millennials want to see something quite old-fashioned in future financial services – a good financial education.

Millennials aren’t just motivated by what financial tools can do for them, but also what they can teach them.

They’re 31% more likely than the average internet user to want financial advice delivered by chatbots, and 27% more likely to want educational resources, like videos. This is an area where the experience and expertise of a traditional bank may resonate more powerfully with a consumer than a fintech challenger.

But whether it’s a bank, a fintech challenger, or something else entirely, any future financial offerings are immaterial without solid security.

Consumers are fully aware of the security risks involved with digital financial tools. Fear of hacking was by far the biggest drawback of future finance given by respondents of our survey, regardless of age.

And the second most requested future feature in finance was biometric security, only beaten by the prospect of being given rewards for staying in budget.

We’ve kept a focus on millennials here, as older consumers tend to be more satisfied with their current bank and less willing to engage with digital finance tools. But security is one way to bring them onto digital platforms. Worries about security increase with age, but with the help of biometrics, digital tools could offer better security layers than current solutions.

PSD2 will make waves in the finance sector in the next few years, but the legislation is just a figurehead for long-standing digital trends.

Mobile-first browsing and the growth of personalized services through the worlds of entertainment and retail are helping to reshape expectations for financial providers just as much as the new law.

There’s serious interest among younger internet users in changing banks, but the future of finance is more than just moving accounts.

It’s financial services moving from a separate part of a consumer’s life into a more integrated ecosystem in their day-to-day. But any new developments in the post-PSD2 world have to be built on foundations of security above all.

Campaign of the Month: The Wonderful Company – JNSQ

People drinking wine

Taking a product from ideation to the shelves can take years, sometimes decades.

But for the The Wonderful Company, a brand best known Fiji Water and Wonderful Pistachios, it took a matter of months.

The new product is a striking-looking wine range called JNSQ which is causing a stir amongst millennial rosé and sauvignon blanc drinkers.

picture of JNSQ wine

“We wanted a bottle that stood out on the shelf in a way that said, ‘Nobody’s ever done a wine like this before”’.

-Darren Moran, Wonderful Agency CCO

To promote its release, The Wonderful Company adopted a multi-channel campaign born out of insights gathered from research into the preferences of millennial women.

The resulting campaign skillfully combines print and billboard advertising with digital amplification to project its message of luxuriousness, beauty, and female independence.

Here’s why The Wonderful Company’s JNSQ launch campaign is our February campaign of the month.

The Insight

JNSQ is a shining example of consumer insights in action.

The Wonderful Company built its brand and campaign on two fundamental truths it unearthed about female millennials:

1. They appreciate quality and beauty.

JNSQ projects an image of quality, beauty and timelessness through its messaging.

The brands co-owner, Lynda Resnick, said in a statement:

“millennial women and older Gen-Zers are bringing back an appreciation for quality, craftsmanship and functional beauty.

JNSQ was created specifically for these women and the milestones they are celebrating in their exhilarating lives”.

2. They prefer rosé and sauvignon blanc.

The changing tastes of millennial wine drinkers led the creators of JNSQ to hone its product range and include sweet, fruity notes over the drier tones preferred by older generations.

According to its product description, the sauvignon is “crisp and bright” and the dominant flavors are “apple, lemon and tropical fruit”.

The Message

JNSQ stands for ‘je ne sais quoi’, translating from French to mean a certain intangible attribute of a person or object that gives it its spark. Something it wanted to capture in its national launch campaign.

Lynda states, “it’s a wine made with that same shared quality of je ne sais quoi that makes each of these ladies unique, memorable and unstoppable.”

Traditional marketing channels such as billboards, print ads and event sponsorship played a central role in the campaign, enhancing the messaging. This is unusual for a startup company targeting a digitally-active demographic.

Here’s how it was done.

Billboard & Print Ads

The campaign imagery, centered on the theme of luxury travel, harks back to the popular banners of Paris in the 50s and 60s, aiming to stir feelings of nostalgia amongst its target market.

In particular, retro-looking images of glamourous women travelling in style will appear in Time Square in the coming months. The accompanying caption reading, ‘she’s got that… JNSQ’.  

JNSQ printed advertising campaign
Source: Adweek

Billboard and print advertising placement, in this case, aptly reflects the traditional and authentic look of both the product and imagery.

The images have also been adapted for digital promotion, providing continuity between traditional and digital channels, with the addition of with dynamic elements to provide an extra layer of intrigue.

Event Sponsorship

JNSQ featured ‘on pour’ at California designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte’s Autumn/Winter 2019 fashion show in Los Angeles.

An excellent way to build on its reputation as a desirable product, centered on the same values of high-end luxury held by the world of fashion.

By positioning its product at the heart of the show, The Wonderful Company demonstrated JNSQ belongs in that sphere.  

Why it Worked

By forming a campaign that speaks to millennial women’s desire for luxury, craftsmanship and authenticity, The Wonderful Company has seen remarkable success.

From a sales perspective, JNSQ are three times higher than forecasted, and three times higher than that of The Wonderful Company’s already established wine brands.

Being able to take a product from ideation to reality in a single year is remarkable, and if it continues in this vein it’ll be a dominant player in the U.S. wine market, occupying the space between lower tier brands and more expensive options.

This campaign expertly does what many new businesses struggle with; building a convincing brand story.

This is a challenge for any business – especially one that isn’t actually French, one that doesn’t sell at a ‘luxury’ price range, one that’s less than a year old, and one that’s created by a company renowned for water.

Using traditional (and modern) marketing channels to position its product in the right way, The Wonderful Company have proven JNSQ deserves its place in the luxury bracket.

The brand did this by getting to know its core audience better, speaking to modern millennial women in an aspirational way through a powerful female voice.

Click through to our independent agency toolkit guide.

Ad Waste: How Consumer Insight Can Help Media Owners Cut Down

Ad waste is created when a marketing campaign fails to reach its targets and objectives. And it’s a problem many media owners face.  

But with digital ad spend steadily increasing, predicted to surpass non-digital in 2019, key players are working hard to reduce wasted spend by placing more focus on their targeting.

Despite this, our research shows only 14% of internet users clicked an online ad last month.

So what are the elements that drive wasted ad spend? And how can media owners transform their ad strategy to improve their ROI?

What Causes Ad Waste?

Lack of data-driven insight.

As modern consumers become more fragmented across platforms, devices and channels, spending more and more time and money online, brands need to know what works, when, and why.

Without granular consumer insight that goes beyond actions to map out attitudes, behaviors and motivations, brands will struggle to know their audience well enough to offer the experience they’ve come to expect, and be in front of the right eyes at crucial times.

Uninformed media planning.

When budget and brand are on the line, everything from ad placement and messaging to campaign scheduling and targets needs to be taken into account ahead of time.

For example, today’s consumers do discover brands through ads – but it’s crucial to place them in the right location for them to have impact.

Our research shows 36% discover brands via ads seen on TV – only beaten by search engines at 37%.

Other advertising channels, particularly those in the cinema or on the radio, have much lower rates of brand discovery, showing that placement is crucial when trying to squeeze the most out of your campaign.

Poor targeting.

If you don’t know not only where your consumers spend their time but why, it’s impossible to have the kind of hyper-sharp targeting that will reach your audience.

And it doesn’t matter if you’ve created the greatest marketing campaign in history – if it’s not targeted at the right consumers, in the right place, it won’t have the desired impact or results.

Weak messaging.

Without a well-researched message based on absolute truth, marketers are simply guessing at what their target consumers want to hear.

A common advertising mistake is making the message all about the product or features, rather than how the consumer will benefit from purchasing it. In strategic communications, the brand has a clear picture of the needs and perceptions of its target audience, and has the message to match.

Increased ad-blocking.

Ad-blocking is a clear hurdle for marketers, and part of consumers’ new passion for taking their purchase journey into their own hands.

48% used an ad-blocker last month.

But there is a solution.

One of the main reasons why consumers block ads, at 22%, is because “too many ads are annoying or irrelevant.” It proves the importance of knowing your consumers well enough to be confident of what advertising will appeal to them, and where.

Steps to Reduce Waste in Advertising

1. Get a firm grasp of your target consumer.

Consumer profiling is the only way to gather the insights needed to define, segment, and profile today’s consumers.

It’s about creating value from this data to understand everything there is to know about your target consumers and the market that surrounds them. Leading marketers are using this to put consumers at the heart of their messaging, guiding everything from campaign planning to brand positioning.

2. Map their purchase journeys.

The traditional purchase journey is not what it once was – now, every consumer has their own, personal path to purchase.

This means media owners need to map the journeys of their target consumers in granular detail to ensure they’re placing their ads in the right place, at the right time.

Modern consumer journey maps provide a detailed overview of the touchpoints that matter along the path to purchase, based on data from the consumers themselves.

3. Personalize your ads.

Personalized marketing has become the gold standard in recent years – and for good reason.

Today’s consumers expect personalization, and media owners who use data-driven marketing campaigns to deliver this are seeing the results.

Research from Salesforce shows high-performing businesses use data-driven targeting and segmentation 51% more than underperforming businesses, proving this is a strategy that works.

4. Nail your retargeting.

Far too often, retargeting is based on poor data and unreliable user tracking. Modern tracking technology, such as GWIQ Analytics, is easy to implement and offers razor-sharp tracking, ensuring media owners are retargeting the right ads to the right users.

This way, marketers can validate their targeting and make sure no spend is wasted on advertising that won’t have any impact.  

Case study: Procter & Gamble

Internal research from CPG giant, Procter & Gamble, found that while they only needed to reach the average consumer three times per month, many people received 10-20 ads in the same timeframe. Additionally, the average dwell time for a P&G ad on a mobile news feed was only 1.7 seconds.

Having identified this potentially harmful overexposure and lack of engagement, the brand carried out a marketing transformation.

1. Targeting smaller audiences.

This has led to P&G buying most of its media directly, saving 30% in digital waste and increasing its digital reach by 60%.

2. Introducing less “clutter.”

Instead of some of its brands introducing sometimes six new ads per year, they now only introduce one new national ad per year. This strategy is then supplemented with more one-to-one engagements with consumers.

3. Moving advertising in-house.

Much like audience research, it can be beneficial to move advertising in-house.

Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer at P&G, says the company “needs brand people closer to consumers.” This way, it removes a number of touchpoints between message and consumers, ensuring it always has a finger of the pulse of its target audience.

But it doesn’t spell the end of brand-agency relationships – P&G now “elects full-service agency partners, like Publicis, on large-scale campaigns, while teaming with specialty agencies on a per-project basis.”

4. Being a force for good.

Interestingly, the company has a drive to be a force for good and growth, with Prichard saying, “We need to be good citizens.”

It shows that no matter the size, any brand can benefit from an authentic approach that will resonate with its target consumers.

With this strategy transformation, P&G was able to slash an incredible $200 million from its marketing budget in 2017.

Turning to research, the CPG giant was able to identify its weak points and come to data-driven conclusions on where its advertising strategy needed an overhaul.

But they’re taking it even further.

In a bid to keep reducing its advertising waste, the company anticipates a total of $2 billion in savings across its marketing efforts through 2021.

Cutting Down on Wasted Ad Spend in 2019

P&G’s ongoing battle against advertising waste shows not only can companies of any size experience wasted ad spend – they can do something about it to ensure every last advertising dollar is used to its fullest potential.

And with the consumer journey constantly evolving, it’s crucial for media owners to look to solid insight to know exactly where and how to target their audience.

Knowing how your consumers expect to be marketed to, and how to work around trends like ad-blocking, allows you to cut down on advertising that goes nowhere. So what’s stopping you?

4 Ways the Gaming Industry is Heating Up

two playstation controllers

Gaming is big business, with the global software market expected to grow to $180bn in 2021.

These predictions are more optimistic than in the past, and reflect the constant growth on platforms, particularly on smartphones.

66% of our global respondents say they game on their smartphones, and this market will continue to grow as phones become more adept at playing console-quality games.

As mobile hardware continues to become more powerful, with handsets like the iPhone XS Max leading the charge, developers will have more to work with and thus will be able to rival console games.

Streaming software from Microsoft (Project xCloud), Google (Project Stream) and EA are all being worked on or currently even being tested, which would allow anyone, anywhere to access console-quality titles on any device, even if it doesn’t have the specs to run them natively using its built-in hardware.

Gaming Appeals to Every Demographic

Gaming is now among the most truly cross-demographic activities we track.

In fact, thanks to mobile gaming in particular, it’s difficult to find a region or demographic where the majority of individuals aren’t gaming in some form or another.

Just looking at to the oldest age group we track – 55-64s – we found that 65% use at least one device for gaming.

With so many fans playing a number of games across different devices, we wanted to find out which franchises have been most successful at engaging these consumers, which have the greatest cross-genre appeal, and which demographics are the most lucrative.

1. Franchise Fracas: Who’s sharing fans?

Graphic detailing percentage of gaming franchise overlap

Out of the five franchises above, it’s Fortnite fans that share the most overlap with others; on average, 38% are also fans of the other four.

When we look on a much larger scale – at the top 16 most popular franchises we survey – Assassin’s Creed and Fortnite have the highest fan overlap at 40%.

And in terms of which franchise is most popular, Plants vs. Zombies and Grand Theft Auto have the greatest cross-genre appeal. On average, these two games are liked by 42% of fans from other franchises.

2019 may be the year cross-platform play becomes a lot more mainstream.

Having a cross-genre appeal could massively boost a game’s chances of being successful across devices.

Microsoft has some ambitious cross-platform plans for Xbox Live this year, and the result could expand the service from its current base of 400 million gaming devices to a potential 2+ billion Nintendo Switch, Android and iOS screens.

In September 2018, Sony also announced the PlayStation 4 cross-play beta programme, which allowed Fortnite users on Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Mac, PC and mobile devices to all play together.

Games like Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) have massively benefited from console-quality games emerging on high-end mobile devices. The iOS version of Fortnite, realized in April last year, made an estimate of $2 million per day.

Electronic Arts (EA) are also getting in on the act; Apex Legends, a free-to-play battle royale game released for Microsoft Windows, PS4 and Xbox One, amassed 25 million players and over two million concurrent users in 7 days.

Currently, Apex Legends is attracting more than triple Fortnite’s Twitch viewership, and Fortnite has sunk to its lowest viewership figures of the year so far.

On top of that, Tencent Holdings – the world’s biggest video games business by revenue – is in talks with EA to bring Apex Legends to China.

Cross-platform progression, which allows you to keep your mobile, PC and console stats and unlocks under one account, became much more mainstream in 2018 and will likely continue to grow as a trend in 2019.

2. Demographic Differences: Who’s more engaged?

Graphic detailing regional gaming preferences

Males lead females for having an interest in gaming by 17 percentage-points, so it’s unsurprising that out of the franchises we track, the majority are heavily skewed towards male fans.

FIFA, Fortnite, Grand Theft Auto and Need for Speed, for example, all have at least a 70:30 split in favor of males.

That said, there are other franchises that have a far more equal split.

Often the games with less explicit violence, and more visual or exploratory aspects have a greater chance of attracting female attention.

Games such as Mario, Super Smash Bros, Minecraft, The Sims and Plants vs. Zombies all have a much more balanced ratio of male and female fans.

16-24s have the highest engagement with Grand Theft Auto and Plants vs. Zombies, with over a quarter of this demographic saying they’ve played these two games in the last year.

But it’s Fortnite engagement that’s most distinct from the average internet user; our youngest respondents are 1.87x more likely to have played Fortnite in the last 12 months.

Compare this to 55-64s, where less than 1% have played Fortnite in this timeframe: the most popular game for this demographic is Mario, at only 5%.

53% of Fortnite fans have watched a live gaming stream in the past month, 2.4x the average

graphic detailing gaming preferences by device

3. The Netflix of Gaming: How will it evolve?

“We compete with, and lose to, Fortnite more than HBO” – Netflix’s 2019 Shareholder’s report.

Previously, discussions of Netflix competitors have centered around rival streaming services; Amazon, Apple iTunes, YouTube Red, VUDU and HBO.

But the competition for the biggest entertainment platforms is no longer just about subscriber numbers or content rosters, it’s about how much available screen time a particular platform can command from any one individual.

From our data, respondents with an interest in gaming not only spend more than 30 minutes per day on their mobiles on average, they also spend slightly longer watching/streaming online TV.

At a more granular level, fans of some of the biggest franchises in the world, including cross-platform games like Fortnite and PUBG, also spend more time on both mediums than users of Netflix.

Fortnite fans spend the most time watching online TV, a whole 14 minutes more per day than Netflix users. Meanwhile, Plants vs. Zombies fans spend the most time online on their mobiles, averaging over 4 hours per day.

As multiplayer streaming games continue to become more accessible, especially with the introduction of 5G around the world, it’s surely only a matter of time before we see the ‘Netflix of gaming’ come about.

Microsoft is making a big push to develop a streaming service for gaming. The service, which is planned for public trial this year, aims to deliver high-end, blockbuster gaming experiences on whatever device you’re using.

With ‘Project xCloud’, Microsoft aims to establish itself as the de facto standard in video game streaming services.

But they face stern competition; several tech companies, including Amazon, Google, Sony and Verizon, either already have game streaming services or are hard at work developing one.

4. A Changing Business Model: Where’s the money?

In February 2019, chief operating officer of Activision-Blizzard, Coddy Johnson, revealed that despite ‘record revenues’ in the fourth quarter of 2018, the company would lay off approximately 8% of its workforce, totaling around 800 people.

It isn’t that people aren’t playing Activision-Blizzard’s games per se – as Black Ops 4 continued Call of Duty’s 10-year streak as the best-selling console franchise in 2018 – but rather they’re not spending as much money inside the games.

The rise of free-to-play games have, at least in the short term, translated to less time and money being spent by some gamers on other titles.

But the broader impact of the free-to-play game rests in its business model; Fortnite has managed to attract new gamers who tend to be younger and more diverse, paving the way for future free-to-play titles that don’t rely on the traditional retail purchases of new games.

Games such as Fortnite, PUBG, and Apex Legends are focusing on money making add-ons like character outfits, customized weapons, and additional unlockable items to compensate for the lack of initial purchase.

TechCrunch have reported that Fortnite pulled in $3 billion in such purchases in 2018.

graphic detailing franchise purchasing power

Indeed, Fortnite fans are 84% more likely than people with an interest in gaming to have purchased a game add-on in the past month, and more than 2x as likely to have used a gaming subscription service.

And the rise of digital content in video games leaves brick-and-mortar games stores on a knife edge.

With major consoles having their own distribution platforms it does eliminate the need to leave the house to buy a new game, just as Netflix made going into video stores like Blockbusters almost redundant.

Game stores will need to make the same transition that all high street retailers are going through, to reshape what the shopping experience means for consumers, and give them a reason to come in store. Game on.

This research is based on the 50 different gaming franchises tracked by GlobalWebIndex, surveying 16-64 year-olds on a global scale.

Creating Consumer Insights: A Researcher’s Guide

Man looking for consumer insights in a wall chart

What are Consumer Insights?

Consumer insights are real truths about customers.

These fundamental truths reveal something about consumer behaviors and perceptions.

They underpin successful marketing campaigns; helping brands to create the right message for the right audience for mutual benefit, placing it where it will cut through.

“Nothing is more terrible than activity without insight.” ~ Thomas Carlyle

Finding this truth lies in knowing how to gather, analyze and understand the right data, turning it into actionable consumer insight – one of the most important skills for marketers today.

For this reason, teams of research and insights professionals are now forming a more pivotal part of any agency or brand taking a consumer-centric approach.

What makes Consumer Insights so Powerful?

Making better business decisions depends on the level of insight you can gather from your customers.

Brands strive to gather consumer data from their own channels (such as marketing and CRM), but the challenge comes from ensuring it’s truly representative, as well as extracting the most valuable pieces of the puzzle that can shape the best narrative.

So why are consumer insights so important? They provide a holistic construct of the types of consumers interested in buying from your brand, enabling you to deliver impactful messages, at the right time, for the best return.

But what does it really take to create a consumer insight that drives meaningful creativity?

1. Focus on the real problems.

Finding the right answers starts with asking the right questions. Defining the key strategic business questions you need to answer ensures you know what to look for.

And according to research by Think with Google, 95% of leading marketers agree that “to truly matter, marketing analytics’ KPIs must be tied to broader business goals”, such as helping to increase sales or to focus on customer retention, so finding the answers to these questions is key…

  • Are sales down for a particular consumer segment?
  • Is there a need to shift brand perceptions?
  • Are you hoping to focus on a new target group?
  • Are you simply hoping to develop more of an understanding of your audiences?

This will help to inform your research process from the outset – giving you clear direction on what to look for and why.

“The biggest [factor to consider] is what the business is trying to achieve”, says Tom Primrose, Strategic Planner at Southpaw. “It’s about understanding where they’re at and where they want to go.”

2. Gather the right data.

Consumers today use a myriad of devices and platforms along their path to purchase, and every step holds a vital clue as to what drives their behavior.

By collecting the right data from every possible source – from display advertising to website cookies, loyalty programmes, mobile engagement, social media and location check-ins – you can ensure your data gives you the consumer insights you need.

Relying on GlobalWebIndex for this, leading marketers are coupling global panel data with powerful analytics to get reliable truths that reflect real people.

Staying on top of the latest consumer, industry and market trends are also hugely important to help you plan ahead and to know where to focus your attention.

For the Insights team at WeAreSocial, when embarking on a social insight project, they try to answer specific questions around four key areas: the consumer, the brand, the category and the wider culture, using the right mix of qualitative and quantitative data.

“We might answer those questions through social listening, audience analysis, buying a report from Intel, or by running a few focus groups”, says Jamie Robinson, Global Research and Insight Director.

Ensuring you stay informed and continue to look for the right answers with reliable data is what guides you to the truths you need.

“Those fundamental truths aren’t actually about platforms, they’re about humans”, he says.

“So that’s always what we’re looking for because essentially if a campaign can tap into that consumer insight, we believe it will work anywhere.”

3. Keep it simple.

When it comes to authentic marketing strategies, it’s the simple ideas that have the most impact. By focusing on the simple, yet defining aspects of your consumer insight, you can hone in on the ideas that stick.

While for every agency and marketing department an insight takes a different form, for Jamie, this makes up no more than a couple of sentences – something for creatives and marketers alike to continually refer back to.

This keeps their efforts on track to creating an impactful campaign, bred from a simple idea:

“The insight is typically no more than two sentences that you can stick on the wall. This helps to describe the interpersonal truth that we want our idea to hook onto.”

By keeping the focus on the consumer and the perceptions within, this will help the creative to tap into the mindset of your target audience, leveraging the fundamental truth that’s been uncovered.

4. Create detailed personas and customer journey maps.

Sifting through this data and looking for the things that stick is the next key step for any market researcher to get to that truth.

Using in-depth consumer data to understand who they are, what motivates them, what their priorities are in life and what daily challenges they face will prove invaluable in unearthing the consumer insights sure to hit home.

“If you don’t have that initial ‘this is your audience’, you wind up making too many assumptions”, says Ben Sharma, PR Executive at Engage at Bell Pottinger.

Start by drafting real-life buyer personas; pen portraits of your consumers that serve to bring your demographics to life, and to give your data some context.

This kind of data also enables you to map the many consumer journeys you want to track and every touchpoint involved, understanding how your audience interacts with your brand at every turn.

For Joe Portman and Sharmin Rashed, Junior Strategists at Analog Folk, these journey maps play a central role in their efforts to get the level of audience understanding they need.

“There is the consumer journey that maps the purchase journey, but there’s also the day to day of that consumer’s life which influences every part of that journey”, says Joe. “Not only do the clients love to see them, it helps everyone from the creatives to ourselves to better understand our audiences”, says Sharmin.

5. Decide what perceptions you’re trying to shift.

The next step is figuring out what perceptions you want to shift, taking you all the way from the consumer insight to the creative message.

This again comes back to the real business problems you’re trying to solve, but your idea can take on a new lease of life depending on the data you discover.

Lidl first embarked on their ‘Lidl Surprises’ campaign in a bid to shift perceptions across the UK of the brand’s produce as low-quality.

This powerful rebranding effort was born out of consumer research that revealed many Brits still think of Lidl’s supply chain in a ‘derogatory way’.

This insight urged the UK marketing team to work on shifting perceptions in a way that would appeal to their target audience: real working mums and weekly shoppers.

The campaign proved hugely successful in turning the brand’s negative image into a positive one.

“We’re not just recycling the same message about price”, UK Marketing Director Claire Farrant told Marketing Week. “You see real people in our TV ads and we’re changing their perceptions of our brand.

I don’t see other supermarkets doing that on the same level. We use real people, they don’t. We’re not afraid to voice the feeling of the nation at the time even if that’s about addressing negativity.”

Putting this data-driven approach into practice, brands like Lidl are proving the power of marketing that reflects real people.

By maintaining this focus on the perceptions you want to shift, tying this back to the audience personas and consumer journeys you’ve just created, you can put your consumer insight to the test with a creative message that truly resonates.

6. Arrange your customers into smaller groups.

Some data is more actionable when connected to specific segments or individuals. Choose which segments to study based on your original business goals; are you trying to appeal to a new audience, for example, or to drive loyalty among the existing customer base?

Grouping together personas and demographics with common attributes – ranging from age and gender to interests, perceptions, lifestyles and attitudes – enables a deeper understanding of their motivations and helps to build the level of empathy that’s needed to drive meaningful engagement and marketing effectiveness.

This can also help you to identify lookalike audiences that might broaden your reach, while also pointing you in the direction of the right influencers, platforms and content types to focus on.

7. Tell the story behind the data.

Consumer insights are not just for researchers. These fundamental truths behind your audience help you to understand what really defines them.

This can play a hugely important role in driving more targeted business decisions and helping your organization to keep consumers and the customer experience at the forefront of everything you do.

But data can be overwhelming, especially to those who don’t work with it daily.

For this reason, presenting your most relevant findings in an easily accessible way to clients and colleagues is key.

Using visual aids like graphs and charts help to bring the stats to life, while honing in on the consumer insights they have led you to will help you tell the story behind your data points and spark the most innovative ideas that work.

8. Put your consumer insights into context.

An insight without context is essentially useless.

The key to unlocking its value lies in aligning audience perceptions with your goals, coupling this with behavioral data to communicate the right message, at the right time, in the right place.

Having a diverse team at your disposal is invaluable when it comes to unlocking this value.

By working with other consumer-facing colleagues across teams and departments, combining what they know with in-depth consumer data, you can paint a more holistic picture and trigger the ideas that make a difference.

Drawing inspiration from the most powerful examples of brands putting consumer insights into practice is one way to spark these ideas.

Insight in Practice: Lessons on Success

Kopparberg does this masterfully in their advert released last year.

They formed a deep understanding of how consumers perceive their brand to help accentuate certain aspects of their story and reinforce any positive feelings.

From their market research carried out into the perceptions of their cider amongst consumers, they found that most considered the drink as something enjoyed outside in the sunshine, with friends.

Using this positive perception as the foundation of their campaign they aimed to, according to Campaign Creative, Toby Roberts, “bring that truth to the forefront.”

The resulting ad sets a festival-like scene that beautifully depicts a selection of elegant kites being flown in the sunshine, evoking feelings of summer, freedom and outdoor space.

The campaign, titled, ‘Outside is Ours’, vibrantly depicts how people come alive when they enjoy time with their friends outdoors.

Through their ad, Kopparberg sought to reinforce pre-existing positive perceptions amongst their audience, and proved their product belongs in this familiar and positive space.

“A generation has adopted Kopparberg as their drink of the summer and we set out to encapsulate that with the new brand positioning, ‘Outside is Ours’”, said Will Thacker, Executive Creative Director at 18 Feet & Rising.

“The platform is a big step up for the brand; the ideas are founded in its Swedish roots and love of the outdoors, but also embrace the festival generation.”

Putting your research into context in this way transforms a basic consumer insight into meaningful creativity, sparking the brilliant ideas that work.

Click to access our Consumer Insights Guide

Can the Oscars Keep up with Changing Audience Behaviors?

Man and woman on the red carpet at the Oscars 2019

The way we watch films has changed dramatically since the advent of streaming providers such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.

This has initiated a shift in attitudes towards the movie industry as a whole, with the added disruption of streaming services now producing their own features.

The 2019 Oscars are fast approaching and, despite the controversy surrounding it in recent years, many are looking forward to tuning in on 24th February.

But how will the changing face of film affect this prestigious ceremony?

In a recent survey of 2,417 U.S. and UK internet users, we explored their attitudes towards the Oscars 2019 and their movie-watching behaviors.

Oscars 2019 Impact in the U.S. Vs UK

Despite the Oscars’ public struggles, around 52% of internet users in the U.S. and 36% in the UK say they look forward to watching.

Internet users in the U.S. are also more influenced by movies that have won awards like an Oscar or a Golden Globe compared to their UK counterparts (55% vs. 39%).

And around 1 in 4 internet users in the U.S. and UK said they have not seen any of the oscar-nominated films from last year.

This lack of interest in the Oscars might partly be because the awards are often perceived as overly tedious and out-of-date with consumers’ interests and cultural conversations.

So what do audiences value? What features do they expect to see in an Oscar-winning film?

Putting Diversity First

Films that celebrate diversity, and do so in a visually stunning and compelling way, are stealing the hearts and minds of audiences. Coco, winner of best animated film at the Oscars 2018, is one example.

Set in rural Mexico and rooted in Mexican popular culture, Coco captured the most viewership of last year’s Oscar nominated movies in the U.S (41%) – beating last year’s best picture winner, The Shape of Water.

The film is immensely popular, particularly in China, where it’s the highest grossing Pixar movie of all time.

This year, the most watched film is Black Panther in both the U.S. and UK (44%). Black Panther is the first blockbuster superhero movie with a predominantly black cast. The film also became the third film ever to break $700 million at the North American box office.

Breaking down clichés and stereotypes, Black Panther epitomizes both artistic and political achievement.

In the U.S. and UK, Black Panther and Bohemian Rhapsody are the top two favorite movies to win Best Picture at the upcoming Oscars.

Around 1 in 4 internet users in the UK don’t think any of the nominated movies should win Best Picture.

Black Panther and Bohemian Rhapsody are favored more than niche movies like Netflix’s Roma and The Favourite, showing that blockbuster-style movies tend to attract more audiences and achieve greater scale.

The Oscars are making progress with inclusion. In 2015, the lead and supporting actor categories were dominated by white people, and so the #OscarsSoWhite was born.

The fact that Black Panther made it into this year’s Best Picture category shows how far the Oscars have come in terms of racial and gender representation.

We’re also seeing greater diversity in the directing categories too. So hopefully the hashtag will take a much needed vacation this year.

Around 60% of internet users believe the Oscars 2019 reflects greater diversity in films compared to previous years.

Among those who agree that diversity has improved, around 2 in 5 feel racial representation has improved the most.

Racial improvement is more prominent in the UK (54%), whereas the U.S. is more evenly split between racial (39%) and gender improvement (35%). But, for many respondents, diversity in the Oscars is far from perfect.

It’s essential for the Oscars’ industry chiefs to ensure inclusion and diversity are top priorities moving forward. That’s the main way the Oscars 2019 will engage viewers and remain relevant.

The Netflix Effect

We’re also seeing a radical shift in audience’s movie watching behaviors.

Over 50% of internet users in the U.S. say they turn to Netflix to watch movies for the first time, beating cinema, DVD and Amazon Prime Video to the post.

For respondents who aren’t fans of the Oscars, they’re almost twice as likely to watch a movie on Netflix than go to the cinema.

It’s also a similar case in the UK with cinema (48%) only marginally ahead of Netflix (46%).

Not only is Netflix disrupting the TV industry, it’s also making waves in the movie business too. The streaming powerhouse scored its first ever Best Picture nomination for Roma.

The movie received 10 Academy Award nominations, tying with The Favourite for the most Oscar nods this year.

It remains to be seen whether one of Hollywood’s top movie establishments will be ready to hand over the most prestigious award of the night to a streaming provider. But either way, Netflix isn’t going anywhere.

We can expect to see a further avalanche of original, critically acclaimed content streamed into the household’s of millions worldwide.

The traditional movie industry will continue to face an uphill battle to compete with streaming services and will need to work harder to give audience’s a compelling reason to make a trip to the cinema.