Thinking
Ahead

Your Leading-Edge Insights Podcast

This is a podcast about research, innovation, and discovery. Each episode will give you new insights into today’s consumer, and prepare you for tomorrow’s marketplace.

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Recent Episodes
1
Emerging shopping trends: What to watch

From click-and-collect to cross-channel buying, eCommerce shopping has hit new levels while traditional methods have evolved. In this episode, Joe Beier takes us through emerging purchase journey trends and the long-term implications of pandemic brand trial and switching. Tune in to understand the wants and needs of shoppers both this holiday season and as we enter the new year.

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2
The future of work and a digital lifestyle

The digital lifestyle has made leaps and bounds this year. In this episode, subject-matter experts Jola Burnett and Stacy Bereck cover the attitudes and behaviors of consumers when it comes to living a life dependent on technology. Understand how consumers feel about recent digital developments, the way it changes their daily lives, and what you -as a company- should be prioritizing in this tech-evolved world

 
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3
"Driving" consumer expectations in 2021

Air travel has hit record lows due to COVID-19, but did the pandemic bring back the classic road trip? In this episode, Julie Kenar explains how the auto industry has been affected in 2020 – for better and worse. From pricing to sustainability, this episode will help you understand consumer priorities and expectations – and how you can encourage them to take the risk of buying a new car.

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4
The world according to Biden and Trump supporters

They are calling it one of the most historic and important elections the country has ever had. In this episode, MRI-Simmons’ Kelly Augustine takes us through 5 polarizing election issues between Biden and Trump supporters in the US presidential elections- and the issues they surprisingly align on. She also sheds some light on the undecided voters and what is keeping non-voters from the polls. Tune in to understand why these groups collide on some of the biggest topics on the political stage.

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5
A timeline of COVID and its impact on consumers and brands

As we head towards the end of the year, COVID remains the biggest buzzword of 2020. In past episodes, we’ve discussed specific topics about the virus, from behavior and lifestyle changes to the back to school season. In this episode, we bring it all together for a full look at this year's pandemic-driven timeline. How has COVID-19 shaped our “new normal” as both consumers and brands? Tune in to find out.

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6
The future of the smart home today

Technology surrounds our lives. From security systems and lighting to refrigerators and window shades, the futuristic smart home is here today. In this episode, we sit down with Consumer Trends Expert, Veronica Chen, to learn about the current state of smart home products and how the COVID-19 pandemic has propelled it. Who are the real consumers? And how do marketers reach them? Tune in to find out.

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7
The future of sustainability: What brands & marketers need to know

From a presentation to your headphones. In this episode of Thinking Ahead, we give you an audio version of GfK’s recent webinar, where thought leaders from Hanesbrands, Colgate, and Hyundai came together to discuss the prospects for sustainability – as a movement, a message, and a way of doing business. Drawing on decades of insights from the Green Gauge® study, they explore questions such as how COVID-19 has affected attitudes towards sustainability and what consumers want brands to say and do about the environment and climate change.

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8
Going back to school in the time of COVID-19

In another milestone of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools are in the midst of 'opening' their doors. In this episode, Frank Guagenti takes us through how parents are feeling as their kids start a new year- in-person, online, or both. Tune in to understand the varying opinions on how education systems are handling the pandemic, how it has affected brands that rely on back-to-school sales, and what it means for everyone listening.

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9
The changes and challenges of advertising

No matter who you are, you can’t escape ads. As a business, how can your ad speak louder and become more memorable than the rest? In this episode, we sit down with Jon Brand who takes us through best practices in creating an effective digital ad campaign. Tune in to learn how COVID-19 has changed the game, why you need to utilize screen sizes, and most importantly, how your ad can reach its full potential.

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10
How does Gen Z feel about COVID-19 and the future?

As the youngest generation in the workforce, Generation Z is facing unprecedented challenges as young professionals. In this episode, we sit down with NextGen Competition winners Sabrina, Emily, and Ibrokhim as they take us through the moment their college shut down. Tune in to hear first-hand how this generation is already being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, their attitudes towards the "new normal", and the surprising optimism on what it offers them for the future.

 

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11
The Rise of eSports and its Fans

Esports describes the world of competitive, organized video gaming. But who is its audience? And why should brands and marketers pay attention? In this episode, we sit down with Ben Paro, Category Director of Sports and Gaming at MRI-Simmons, as he explains the rise of this unique and faithful segmentation. Tune in to understand the innovative entertainment that eSports is serving up- and the opportunities it gives brands and advertisers.

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12
Finding purpose in crisis: Brands, COVID-19, and social responsibility

COVID-19 and the racial equality movement have raised the stakes when it comes to social responsibility, and brands cannot sit still. In today’s world, issuing predictable press releases followed up with little action simply won’t cut it. In this episode, brand experts Eric Villain and Amy Wills explore the opportunities and pitfalls for brands in this fraught landscape. How can brands make a difference while staying true to their identities and consumer expectations? How can they discover a renewed sense of purpose in the middle of crisis?

 

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13
Activism, anxiety, and the new consumer marketplace

With devastated economies and the calls for social justice around the world, how to brands move forward? In this episode, we give you an audio version of GfK's recent webinar, "Taking brands to the next level: Activism, anxiety, and the new consumer marketplace," with a panel of experts discussing where brands go from here. What messages and offers do consumers want from brands? What role should activism play in their identity?

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14
Bringing new precision to programmatic targeting

At a time when consumer behavior – and data – is wildly unpredictable, agencies and brands need to bring extra diligence to the process of creating ad audiences. In this podcast episode, GfK’s Natasha Stevens explores the promises and pitfalls of combining data from different sources. She defines the many unknowns that surround target creation in today’s marketplace, and tells how a multi-set approach can improve target accuracy exponentially – or dilute the value of high-quality data.

 

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15
Life Under Crisis: How consumers feel about COVID-19 and protests

Months after lockdowns began, the pandemic landscape continues to evolve. In this episode, we check in with Sarena Gerard, who helps us understand how consumers feel. Tune in for the latest Consumer Pulse data, dissecting everything from consumers' future travel plans to how they think brands should address social issues.

 

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16
Understand the Forces Shaping the Future of Shopping

We know COVID-19 crisis has transformed shopping – but many of those effects may be short term. To plan for tomorrow’s shopping experience, we need to look closely at the forces that were already in play when the pandemic hit. In a new Thinking Ahead webinar, GfK’s Joe Beier and Sarena Gerard delve into new insights from our FutureBuy® research to explore the future of click-and-collect, social media buying, and more.

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17
Creating a Successful Brand Through In-Market Testing

In the midst of today’s disruptions, FMCG brands, marketers, and retailers need to Think Ahead. In this episode, we sit down with GfK's Susan Stacey and Neal Heffernan who help us understand how to optimize brand innovations for long-term success. Tune in for an in-depth look at the dos and don'ts of effective testing.

 

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18
The Art of Digital Ad Targeting

In this episode, we sit down for a panel discussion with GfK's Natasha Stevens, MRI-Simmons' Josh Pisano, and Dstillery's Chris Boon about digital ad targeting. How consumer “segments” are developed? What can be done to make them more accurate? And why is data so important for accurate targetings?

 

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19
How Trends Drive Decisions: Leveraging the Strategic Value of Consumer Trend Insights

While “trending” may have become a buzzword on social media, distinguishing the deeper trends and forces that drive consumer purchase demands rigor and insight. In this podcast, the leader of GfK Consumer Life in North America tells us how to tell a trend from a fad, why trends are essential for smart marketing decisions, and which consumer movements he is watching for the future.

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20
Changes in lifestyles and behaviors following COVID-19

Consumers, brands, and retailers are finding themselves in uncharted territory during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this episode, Luis Molina gives us an overview of GfK's new Consumer Pulse study. Understand consumers' lifestyles and behavior changes, what consumers think and how their behavior changes week on week, how consumer purchase behavior is evolving, and how consumers anticipate their situation and behavior to be after the crisis.

 

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21
Is Sustainability still important in an uncertain time?

This year, Earth Day is celebrating its 50th anniversary. In this episode, GfK Consumer Life’s Tim Kenyon breaks down how far we’ve come since then, and most importantly, where we are going. From hybrid cars and recycled clothing to zero-waste homes- how important is the environment to consumers? And how will COVID-19 affect their attitudes and efforts towards a “greener” world?

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22
How American Consumers are Handling the COVID-19 Outbreak

COVID-19 is changing current and future consumer behaviors. In this episode, Karen Ramspacher from MRI-Simmons sits down with us to discuss recent results from their new (and free) COVID-19 report. What purchases and plans have consumers postponed? What media are they consuming? And what new attitudes will influence their behavior with brands in the future?

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23
Today's Cannabis Consumers: Understanding their needs, concerns, and purchases

As cannabis increasingly enters the mainstream, many are embracing the possibilities -- while others continue to push back. In this episode, we explore the marijuana consumer -- recreational, medical, and everything in between. Who are they? Why do they consume cannabis? What types of entertainment do they choose, and what products are they purchasing while consuming? We also look at the profiles of those who are opting out of the cannabis phenomenon.

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24
Understand CBD Consumers

CBD – which offers stress and pain relief without a THC “high” – is upending dozens of product categories, from cosmetics to pet food. Experts from MRI-Simmons and GfK Consumer Life define CBD’s remarkable growth, profile its consumers, and reveal the forces and trends behind its rise.

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25
Coronavirus: Tracking its impact on brands & consumers

The world is a different place than it was one month ago, even two weeks ago. COVID-19, or Coronavirus, has consumers staying home and is taking a toll on the economy. In this episode, we sit down with Stacy Bereck as she shares some insightful results from GfK Consumer Insight's Coronavirus Consumer Pulse study.

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26
The "dark" side of marketing

It's unknown and untrackable... or is it? 90% of ads are targeted to only select consumers and impossible to measure, until now. In this episode, we sit down with Natasha Stevens, EVP at GfK as she helps shed some "light" on all the marketing you can't see.

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28
Why are we still talking about Millennials?

You‘ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again. After so much debate and discussion about what Millennials want, they remain a hot topic with marketers -- but why? In this episode, we look into their minds, as the first Millennials turn 40. Learn what truly makes this generation different from the rest!

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