Möchten Sie zur deutschen Seite wechseln?JaNeina
Close
Brand and Customer Experience image
X
Share this page

Brand and Customer Experience

Brands are under pressure to develop emotional connections and relationships with consumers and business decision makers.

Success relies on delivering experiences that resonate with our clients’ target audience(s), across every experience point that consumers have with a brand, products or services.

We help our clients enhance their brand and customer relationships by analyzing and optimizing the emotional imprint – the customer experiences that drive immediate purchase decisions, as well as long-term connections. And we provide this at local, regional, or global level.

Our brand and customer experience (BaCE for short) research addresses the many touchpoints across the customer journey, creating lasting emotional connections.

Rob Highett-Smith
Rob Highett-Smith
Australia and New Zealand
+61 2 9900 2888
Success Stories
  • Improving market impact by testing brand strength

    Improving market impact by testing brand strength

    28.06.2016

    We helped our client understand ways of improving its brand relationships with its target audience.

    Situation

    This client is a significant player in the market for compact, stylish and fuel-efficient city cars. It wished to learn more about how consumers relate to its brand and how to create a deeper emotional bond between customers and its brand. The manufacturer also wanted to assess the customer-brand relationship and the performance of a new model.

    Approach

    We employed our customer-brand relationship (CBR) framework in Germany to investigate how strong and positive consumers’ connections were with our client’s compact car. We also benchmarked the manufacturer’s brand relationships with its customers against those of its category competitors.

    Outcome

    Our research found that the auto company enjoyed strong relationships with 38% of consumers, while its top two competitors had strong connections with 46% and 47% of customers respectively. Additionally, its brand had the highest share of negative relationships with consumers at 11%. Taking these findings into consideration, we were able to propose ways our client could improve its brand impact in the market, such as leveraging its joy of life attributes to increase brand equity and catch up with its competitors.

    Click here to download our success story (short version)

    Click here to download our success story (long version)

  • Validating and rebuilding retail assumptions for a pharma leader

    Validating and rebuilding retail assumptions for a pharma leader

    24.06.2016

    Our research gives our client insight into the “moment of truth” in antidiarrheal drug purchases.

    Situation

    The company was facing major competition from cheaper alternatives, especially generic versions of the drug. It suspected that its marketing campaigns were also benefitting its rivals by creating shopper interest in over-the-counter antidiarrheal medicines. The organization asked us to investigate.

    Approach

    The pharma manufacturer wanted to understand the “moment of truth” in the shopping experience – when a customer decides which brand to buy. Our methodology explored the behaviors of both protagonists in this event: the store sales representative and the shopper.

    We went on shop-along expeditions with consumers and interviewed them face to face to get a qualitative understanding of their behavior. We also did a quantitative, web-based study to measure the drivers of their actions. Then, we initiated mystery shopping to understand the actions of the pharmacy attendants.

    Outcome

    Our findings showed the client that many of its assumptions about the behavior of the shop clerks and shoppers were not accurate. This gave it insights that it could use to optimize marketing to consumers and merchandizing through the trade.

    The company had quantifiable data to drive its decisions and could use it to invest in brand communications and point of sales activation.

    Click here to download our success story (short version)

    Click here to download our success story (long version)

  • Understanding consumer perceptions of DIY pricing

    Understanding consumer perceptions of DIY pricing

    24.06.2016

    We investigated why Brazilians believed a hardware chain’s products were expensive compared to those of competitors.

    Situation

    A building materials and hardware company enjoyed a strong image in Brazil as a supplier of high-quality products at a premium. Facing the prospect of losing market share to its lower priced rivals, our client wanted to find out why customers believed its prices to be high.

    Approach

    We redesigned our tracking study to get a deeper quantitative and qualitative understanding of consumers’ perceptions around its pricing. We conducted around 2,500 face-to-face interviews each year across 14 cities and regions. In addition, we collected retail price data for our client’s stores and those of the competition. Qualitative interviews with store owners provided further insight into emerging retail trends.

    Outcome

    We found that customers thought our client’s offerings to be more expensive than they actually were because of its historic positioning and communication style. Stores reinforced the perception of high pricing by prominently displaying the most expensive goods and full price tags for items on sale. Based on this knowledge, the building material company took steps to address customers’ views of its pricing and to strengthen its image among Brazilian consumers.

    Click here to download our success story (short version)

    Click here to download our success story (long version)

  • Shaping consumer segmentation for the digital age

    Shaping consumer segmentation for the digital age

    20.04.2016

    We partnered with Orange to help drive its strong customer experience strategy by enhancing its consumer segmentation model for the digital age.

    The client

    Orange is one of the largest operators of mobile and internet services in Europe and Africa and a global leader in corporate telecommunication services.

    Situation

    Richard Clarkson, Head of Segmentation Research, Orange: “Our vision of Orange is to provide the best customer experience and connecting customers to what's essential in their lives. Our customer segmentation was simply too old; it was five years old. It needed a change. It needed to be updated, particularly in the light of what's happened over the last five years with smartphones and the changing competitive environment with over-the-top providers and also online low-cost providers. We asked GfK to help because of their industry understanding of technology, but also their expertise in segmentation and their understanding of advanced analytics and modelling.”

    Approach

    Richard Clarkson: “Our segmentation brief to GfK had some challenging parameters. Firstly, we needed a model that would work across our marketing activities and loyalty activities with customers, but at the same time helping inform our innovation department, our technocenter, on what customers might need in the next two to three years’ time. Another key parameter was that we needed a model that would work on a country level in places like Romania and Poland, which are very different to Spain and France. We wanted to try to keep consistent with one model so we had one voice and one segmentation that everyone within the group could be talking about.”

    Outcome

    Raniv Dale, Head of UK Technology, GfK: “One of the really delightful aspects of the segmentation was how successfully it was embraced by the local markets. A key part of that was having our GfK expertise on the ground to support the delivery and make sure it was meaningful for the local businesses.” Richard Clarkson: “Working with GfK has helped us embed the segmentation within the business, both at the group level, but also at a country level. And now we're working with GfK to develop another segmentation for our EMEA region.”

    Click here to download the success story

Related Products for Brand and Customer Experience

Latest insights

Here you can find the latest insights for Brand and customer experience. View all insights

    • 03/10/16
    • Technology
    • Consumer Goods
    • Brand and Customer Experience
    • Digital Market Intelligence
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Australia
    • English

    Perception of virtual interactions with people and places

    Internationally, 23 percent of online consumers agree virtual interactions can be as good as being there in person.
    • 09/03/18
    • Financial Services
    • Brand and Customer Experience
    • Global
    • English

    Will the CMA league table of banks’ quality of service drive people to switch?

    Banks and building societies in the UK now have to display material in their branches and websites that shows a national ‘league table’ of banks’ quality of service. This is part of a Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) drive to create competition in the banking sector by encouraging switching.

    The question is, what affect will it have?

    We know from change behaviour models, such as Fogg, that, for behavioural change to happen, a person must have sufficient motivation, sufficient ability, and an effective trigger. All three factors must be present at the same instant for the behaviour to occur. Right now, people have the ‘ability’ to switch, provided by the Current Account Switch Service (CASS), which the CMA introduced to make switching much easier and therefore help overcome apathy.  The ‘trigger’ may well be provided by this new CMA ‘quality league table’, as people can easily see whether their account provider is better or worse than others. But that still leaves ‘motivation’. Will consumers be motivated to switch simply by believing that they will get higher quality of service elsewhere? Or will they need something more concrete, to give them sufficient motivation to switch?

    What motivates people to switch current accounts?

    At present, 5%1 of current account holders state that they are considering switching current accounts in the next 12 months, rising to 20%1 amongst those who are actively dissatisfied with their existing provider. Dissatisfaction with one’s existing account provider is clearly a strong negative motivator for switching. However, in the last 12 months, only 3.5%1 of current accounts actually did switch. This imbalance is no doubt partially due to the perceived hassle of switching accounts, despite services such as CASS. However, an additional barrier may be that people did not have a clear view of which bank could give them a better service – so they lacked a positive motivator. The CMA’s new league table of service quality will certainly go some way to bridging that gap – given that all banks and building societies providing personal current accounts now have to display the “top five” brands for four categories: Overall service quality; Online and mobile banking services; Overdraft services; and Services in branch. Other motivators that we know are already driving switching include product incentives. A good example of this is Santander’s 1|2|3 account, which offers cashback on household bills and a good interest rate on the account balance. Since its launch in 2012, Santander’s market share has risen by 2.6 percentage points1. Although very gradual, our FRS data also shows signs of customers moving away from the “Big 5” banking groups to embrace a wider range of challengers – driven by brand innovation, as well as product incentives.

    What does this all mean for banks?

    For the “Big 5” banks, the focus is likely to be on retention – ensuring they innovate to inspire and hold onto their customers. Key areas for retention include winning the mobile banking battle (a major area, as ‘convenience’ continues to grow in importance in people’s daily requirements), making branches relevant, so that they become attractors and combat challenger online and offline offerings, and ensuring their CMA ‘quality league table’ scores are strong, relative to others. For Challengers, such as Metro Bank, looking to acquire customers from the Big 5, the focus is likely to be on driving communications that emphasise “it’s easy to switch to us, we offer stellar customer experience and our proposition delivers the benefits you are seeking”.

    Conclusion on switching

    While the CMA service quality league table is unlikely to prompt a flood of switching on its own, it certainly adds an extra stepping-stone for those people considering switching. Brands who are in the top five on the CMA league table will be making the most of this independent ranking, to advertise their performance to both existing and potential customers – and working hard to ensure they retain their place. This means that brands not in the ‘top five’ on the CMA league table may be more vulnerable to customers considering switching to other brands who are flagged for their service excellence. The way to combat this is to ensure they have timely and accurate information on their full customer harmonics and experiences and understand where to innovate to improve this, to ensure their customers are not motivated to switch. Contact us: We can help you understand your customers’ current experiences, and identify areas of innovation to both retain and acquire customers <h5>Footnote:</h5> 1GfK Financial Research Survey (FRS) data to March 2018. GfK’s industry-leading Financial Research Survey (FRS) is the definitive study for UK retail financial services. Established in 1977, our research builds a complete picture of the UK financial consumer. Annually we interview 60,000 respondents, understanding consumer’s financial holdings, acquisitions, usage, and behaviour. It is a key single source of data, providing insight into consumer financial behaviour.
    • 07/27/18
    • Brand and Customer Experience
    • Global
    • English

    The winning formula for advertising around big sports events

    We ran different ad tests during the World Cup, including using biometric testing on 21 ads. The ad that ‘won’, in terms of greatest subconscious and conscious audience response, was the Ladbrokes’s advertisement, which is driven by verbal and visual humour. But what was it that resonated so well with the audience?

    Engage both sides of the brain with humour

    According to a recent study published in the journal ‘Cerebral Cortex’, visual humour engages parts of the brain responsible for vision, and verbal humour activates the language-processing areas. These big brain areas tend to be in different hemispheres of the brain (with some exceptions) – so an ad that is working both on a visual and linguistic level is engaging both hemispheres. Engaging both sides to the brain in a positive way (we confirmed positivity via the subjective accounts viewer gave to the Ladbrokes ad) improves the ad’s efficiency in grabbing and holding viewers’ attention, and creating a lasting impression of the brand.

    Match the audience’s mood

    Advertising needs to resonate with the audience’s current mood. While it is very hard to predict this in general, it is much easier with audiences focused on a major event. For ads aired before and during a major sporting event, for example, the audience’s mood is likely to be social, enthusiastic, emotional, and so forth. In our test, the ads that were projecting a relaxed state of mind with representations of peaceful lifestyle elements performed very poorly. They were not in line with the audience’s prevailing mood at that particular time and therefore triggered very little subconscious engagement and subjective liking. Similarly, such events are not the right context for ads that need the viewer to try hard in order to ‘get’ the joke or decipher the puzzle. People geed up for a big social event, and very focused on that, don’t want to be distracted by complex advertising. They respond better to the more obvious, or ‘slapstick’ type humour that doesn’t take their attention off their main purpose for watching.

    Beware of humour that pokes fun at the audience’s self-esteem

    Any threat to our self-esteem triggers withdrawal or prompts us to push back in defense of who we are. Therefore, advertising needs to be careful with any type of humour that is directed at people’s daily habits. This is especially so for audiences who are in a social, festive mood in anticipation of a big sports event; they are not in the mood to see humour in the mundane, awkward moments in their lives. In our test, the ad that portrayed that type of humour triggered relatively high emotional engagement, but the conscious responses showed it to be mainly negative. In fact, it scored 15.77 points below the average ‘performance score’ of all the ads tested before and at half time – which is a significant underperformance. In addition, it had only around half the amount of peak moments of strong emotional reaction compared to the average seen during this test. The ad was out of kilter with that audience’s present mindset and mood.

    Use ‘lack of connectedness’ sparingly

    Humans love to join the dots. We are intrigued by the lack of connectedness, because we are driven to make the connection – and this holds true in advertising. While we are intrigued by disjointed scenes, or unexpected pauses in the music or visual frames, we have a certain threshold of tolerating this. This threshold is even lower during times of emotional turbulence when the audience’s minds are focused almost wholly on anticipating a major event, such as a big sports game. Again, our test showed that ads that include high levels of these elements (70% of the total copy) can prompt frustration and disengagement in viewers. In particular, the ads that showed partial body parts – i.e. legs or arms shown only partially – or where the music or visual element was interrupted for more than a second during the ad, scored up to 20 points less than the average performance score for all the ads tested. In addition, these ads triggered hardly any peak moments of strong emotional reaction, performing up to 40 points below the average for this metric, in this test.

    What would we have missed had we not used a combination stated response and biometric response?

    By layering stated responses with biometric testing, we can deliver strategic and tactical recommendations that are much more future-proofed. We find out not just what people say, but how they instinctively react – giving us the ‘what’ and also the ‘why’ on both conscious and subconscious levels. By analysing these layered findings, we get a holistic, as opposed to a one-angled, understanding of human behavior and human receptiveness in different situations. And that means you can do more successful planning, based on this better understanding.

    Conclusion

    For advertisers, the key message is that an ad that performs well during a ‘normal viewing’ situation could fail to resonate if screened around a specific type of event, where the audience is in an elevated frame of mind. To make the most of prime-time advertising, such as around a major event, we need to project the audience’s most likely mood and ensure the proposed ad dovetails with all the connotations of that mood.

    For more about ad and concept testing using biometrics, please contact Eszter.Boczan@gfk.com

    About the study

    GfK and Shimmer, a leading provider of wearable wireless sensor products, monitored the physiological responses of around 50 participants as they watched the live France-Peru World Cup game – including watching 21 advertisements from a variety of product categories that were shown before the game or at half time. The physiological response was recorded via a biometric device, which sits on a participant’s wrist and picks up the signals via two non-intrusive electrodes. As well as tracking the audience’s second-by-second skin response and heart rate as each advertisement played, GfK also recorded their stated response to each advertisement at the end of the session.
    • 07/23/18
    • Brand and Customer Experience
    • Global
    • English

    Why are big advertisers still getting this wrong?

    We ran a test recently on some ads that were airing in the UK during the World Cup, all from the same product category (consumer electronics). Some of the advertisers were official World Cup sponsors; others had an alternative football sponsorship association – and we evaluated them using a new pre-test methodology that was co-created with major advertisers. All the ads employed a football theme and the results from our unforced exposure method proved this to be a strong hook that attracted – and held – viewer notice equally well across all the ads. Strong and consistent brand name presence in each ad also led to the viewers correctly recalling which brand each ad was promoting.

    What was missing?

    However, one key thing was not quite right in the majority of these executions. While the product was always clearly shown, it was not always the hero of the ad. The football theme was the dominant attraction, which meant that viewers too often lost sight of the product’s actual features and benefits. Ultimately, the connection between the product and the sport was not always clear to the viewers. Even more crucially, most of the ads were not driving a direct or indirect call to action – be that an interest to learn more about the product or brand, or a desire to go out and buy one.

    The key learning

    In this test we only focused on a small proportion of each brands’ advertising activity around the World Cup – however, it’s always worth remembering that, while a brand may be relevant to the event it sponsors, that relevance needs to be clearly communicated to the viewers, in order for the brand to benefit. Our Ad FIT method identified that the strongest performer for an ad that fascinates (grabs and holds viewers’ attention), imprints (leaves a positive, branded lasting impression) and triggers (generates a direct or indirect response from viewers) was not in this case the most ‘exciting’ execution. It was the one that clearly communicated the product’s benefits in a way that was relevant to the ‘big sports event’ theme – thereby driving a timely desire for the product. Read our linked press release: Humorous ads trigger greater response than sporty ads screened around a World Cup game For more information on how you can increase your ad performance with AdFIT pre-launch testing, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Contact us
Rob Highett-Smith
Australia and New Zealand
General