We set up our research consultancy to work in collaboration with clients, helping them to deal with the challenges impacting their brands. The first few examples here cover some recent work in our key specialist areas of Brand Positioning, Trend Research, Ethnographic Activity, and Brand Positioning; followed by a wide selection of work that outlines a range of ‘quick hit or deep-dive’ case histories…
• Trend Research (Comptoir des Cotonniers)
With over twenty years experience in trend research for a very wide variety of brands, we always enjoy working on trend analysis and trend forecasting projects. An example being for Comptoir des Cotonniers. In liaison with their agency in San Francisco, we conducted desk and retail sector trend research in the UK and France alongside a range of ethnographic in-home interviews & accompanied shopping, alongside depth interviews with industry experts inc bloggers, authors and fashion journalists. (We also lecture at the London College of Fashion). That project ended with ideation workshops run in liaison with their US/Japanese/EU teams, and was recently followed up by additional insights work with the Paris and Tokyo teams.
• Ethnographic Activity (AXA PPP)
We’ve been lucky enough to have worked with loads of great brands and agencies over the years, where the need for actionable consumer insights has been absolutely vital. For the healthcare insurance giants AXA PPP, we ran a series of ethnographic interviews with a range of truly inspirational people across the UK; the brief being to understand and clarify key ‘human truths’ about health and wellbeing. We then used that insight to assist the creative agency in developing impactful and motivating communications. Producing a series of respondent videos and a creative approach to our debrief presentation really helped us do so. In addition to the ethnographic work, we conducted a mass of trend research into the wider heath and wellbeing space, including a deep-dive into international health-tech start-ups etc, alongside interviews with key members of the client’s team, and added-value activity
• Brand Positioning (Principal Hotels)
We’ve conducted some fascinating projects for Principal Hotels, an example being when we were briefed to conduct international trend research, UK consumer and trade insights plus brand development work relating to a total relaunch of hotels operating in the ‘upscale four star’ space. We therefore ran a wide range of expert and consumer depths, focus groups, competitive set research and detailed desk work, alongside creative agency liaison and marketing consultancy etc. The specific areas we researched included: Britishness, Business & Leisure Travel, Print & Digital Communications, CompSet, Core Messaging, Gym/Spas, Food & Beverage, Hospitality, Communities, Style, Promotions, Retailing, Service, Surprise & Delight, Technology. Further to that initial project, we’ve worked with the clients in Europe and the US, and on additional UK relaunch and positioning activity. They’re a fantastic brand and the hotels are truly stunning.
We like helping brands play an active community role via clarifying an actionable social mission that’s relevant to the heart of their business. An example of this was our recent work for Dishoom: a company that genuinely ‘does it like they say it’. In terms of specific work, we conducted consumer insights research, depth interviews with industry experts, internal interviews with client-staff, external sector trend research, competitive-set activity, accompanied dining, cultural / social research, and the filming of voxpop videos for use by the brand team. They’ve always got loads going on, so see you at their next event!
A client for many years, our latest project for Unilever was to look into their sponsorship of New York Fashion Week.
Heineken are another brand that we’ve conducted numerous tasks for over the years, from giving trend speeches, running workshops and conducting ethnographic research around consumer segmentation.
We’ve conducted numerous ad-testing and development projects for Vodafone, in liaison with their advertising agency(s).
• The National Lottery
We’ve conducted some fascinating projects for the National Lottery, from investigating deep social/cultural issues to strategic input on major events like the Olympics, to developing scenario planning around business forecasting.
• General Motors
GM briefed us to help them ‘reconnect with blue-collar America’. So we went to the most blue-collar state (Texas) and conducted ethnographic interviews alongside focus groups and cultural/social trend research.
We’ve worked with Costa conducting trend research in New York City, Stockholm, Berlin and Tokyo, alongside linking with the amazingly creative students at Central St Martins to develop ideas around the future cafe-space.
Having eaten more Alpen that anyone else over the years (go on…prove us wrong!) it was really interesting to work on an intensive project to reinvigorate the brand and it’s great to see that the brand is stronger than ever.
Alongside UK qualitative work, we’ve conducted trend research for them in Japan, the US and Europe; looking into areas inc sustainability, product and packaging futures.
We’ve conducted some really interesting research for Beiersdorf, inc everything from strategic scenario-planning projects to annual-reviews, to giving trend speeches to creating trend films relating to cultural/social issues.
The original challenger-brand that’s a staple of every MBA course, we conducted a brand-audit for Swatch that included interviewing product-design experts, fashion-forward consumers and a mass of compset trend research.
For this beautiful English sparkling wine we’ve conducted focus groups, interviewed industry experts, conducted trend research into the luxury sector alongside numerous vineyard tours.
We’ve conducted a variety of projects for the IDB, working in several countries on projects ranging from brand positioning, to concept development, comms testing, and ethnographic activity that’s inc in-home research everywhere from Moscow to L.A. to Jeddah.
We’ve conducted fascinating research for GSK in Asia, the US and Europe, looking into the energy, nutrition and sleep sectors via a mixture of focus groups, expert interviews and trend research.
We’ve conducted a wide range of consumer and expert work in New York, Copenhagen, Tokyo, Stockholm and Berlin.
A genuinely great brand, with an equally impressive social history. We’ve conducted detailed ‘Future of Retail’ research for the Co-op board based on our detailed knowledge of the retail sector.
• Estrella Damm
Our most recent =task for the drinks industry was to put together a trends report for Estrella Damm, which was presented at a major gastronomy event alongside one of the world’s finest chefs.
We’ve given talks all over the world during the past twenty years, but the one that still stands out involved first class flights to Australia, a couple of speeches to over a thousand people, attendance throughout the Melbourne Fashion Week, a limo and driver for the entire stay. Nice.
• Kiss 100
What began as a pirate radio station way back in the 80’s went on to become a cult, and then an absolute mainstay of the UK dance scene. We worked on the repositioning of the brand after it had slightly lost its way, and it was good to see it power back to where it belonged.
This global financial brand approached us when they were launching into a Middle Eastern market, and our work inc visiting the senior management of a range of banks to present their comms approach.
• UK Police
An unusual project for us, but a really intriguing one. We were approached by the police to ask our assistance in running a mixture of orthodox & unorthodox research, in order to clarify a key behavioural insight.
This global drinks powerhouse asked us to give regular cultural / social presentations about a range of trend issues impacting their consumers and therefore their brands.
Our first client all those years ago! How pleased we were when, on the first day that we set up the consultancy, what was then the UK’s leading alternative radio station phoned up, asked us to conduct a brand audit.
• Visit Britain
We’ve worked on numerous national branding and ‘Britishness’ related projects over the years, and one of the most interesting involved us conducting social / cultural / brand research for the ‘Visit Britain’ strategy.
Producing a white paper based on the premise of ‘The Future is Plant-Based’ was a really interesting project to work on earlier this year, as the sector is so dynamic and the amount of innovation in this area is off the scale.
Based on our work with brands and agencies targeting the youth market, and our experience in retail, the National Union of Students Entertainment division approached us to help them fine-tune their experiential offer.
• Domino’s Pizza
Everyone loves pizza (that’s a fact) and for Domino’s we conducted consumer insights and concept research for their comms strategy.
• Golden Wonder
We’ve worked on advertising development activity with Golden Wonder alongside their creative agency, and therefore spent quality time hanging around various estates in Northern England and Scotland with the locals.
• Kerry Foods
We’ve worked on a variety of projects with the team at Kerry on NPD, comms development, brand positioning and strategy projects.
A client that we’ve worked on from the client and agency sides. A great brand, our work for them has involved us in interviewing psychologists and ‘play’ experts alongside working with agency planners.
• PZ Cussons
Innovation projects are always super-involved and highly intensive and our concept testing of new product and packaging ideas for the insights team at PZ Cussons was no different.
A project that we ran earlier this year for Muller was focused around Food Futures. Our work inc trend research into brand/product/packaging activity inc a wide range of compset offerings, and interviews with industry experts.
We’ve had great fun working with Granarolo, who are based in one of the most beautiful cities in Italy, Bologna. We looked into several areas for them re: future planning for international expansion.
Being part of an illustrious panel of independent consultants, cultural experts and industry journalists in order to talk through the underlying trends impacting the O2 business was a fascinating task for all of us involved.
Being asked to run creative ideation sessions for the global Coca-Cola product research, packaging innovation and consumer insights team was great fun, even more so as we were asked to do so in Prague.