Brand Planning Reveals the Truth about Relevance
When the board of a high profile membership organization requested a “brand update” to be more relevant with its members, they likely didn’t think that meant a reconstruction of the organization’s facility.
But that kind of result can happen when effective brand planning is employed. When brand rejuvenation is approached exclusively as a creative exercise (e.g. new logo), it often misses the point. Understanding the underlying issues that are causing the brand to think it needs an update often helps the organization to uncover hidden truths that are deeply affecting the brand’s relevance. In our client’s case, we peeled back the layers on the brand and defined a strategy for building future membership for the organization. A series of stakeholder interviews, member focus groups, a broad quantitative survey along with an in-depth contextual understanding of the organization and its category revealed the needs of the membership to engage differently with their main facility. Physical changes to the facility in conjunction with an update of the brand created an authentic message to communicate to the membership.
New CEOs Assess Brand Equity
Often, when a new CEO or CMO joins an organization, one of the first things they do is assess the status and value of their new brands.
This was the case when a specialized public healthcare organization changed leadership and was looking to assess their brand equity. Campos is frequently called in to these situations to provide an independent evaluation of the internal and external meaning and equity of the brand portfolio. This process generally begins with a series of internal stakeholder meetings and a Context360° evaluation of the brand category, including a competitor analysis. These are followed by benchmark customer quantitative and qualitative research that generally either validates the known information about the brands, or provides the new CEO/CMO with the foundational information they need in order to initiate a new brand planning process. During this process we were able to build off the brand equity research attacking the three critical areas of brand development: market opportunity, audience needs, and organizational capability, and ultimately develop immediate action steps/practices to fix its problem areas and capitalize on what was working for its current brand identity.
Modeling Data for Merged Enterprises
Mergers and acquisitions often present data challenges to organizations, and sometimes it seems the larger the enterprise, the greater the challenge.
This is particularly complicated when the merged organizations produce different types of products and have, therefore, accumulated different types of data. In these situations, Campos Inc has been called upon to model the data in advance of actual integration. Our data scientists are able to connect representative data from both sides of the organization and conduct deep analysis on it well in advance of data actually being connected across the enterprise. In this way, our clients have been able to identify important insights that both support the marketing team’s need before the data integration has caught up, and helps the internal data folks anticipate the necessary integration points.
Surprise Revealed Legacy Brand Equity
When the steel industry was upended in the U.S., a large number of related manufacturing industries were strongly affected, and a wave of mergers occurred.
In a declining market, the resulting new organizations failed to properly invest in the development of their new brand identities and subsequently lost significant brand equity. Campos worked with one such organization that had essentially maintained three legacy brand identities that had initially formed the merger. While there was an umbrella brand, zero investment in the brand had caused market confusion and a lack of equity in the existing corporate name. Anticipating the likely need to re-name and re-brand the entire organization, we initiated a substantial brand planning effort, including deep data analysis, qualitative stakeholder research and quantitative brand equity research. This effort uncovered two important truths that ultimately drove the brand forward. First, one of the three legacy brands now generated over 50% of the organizational revenue; however, 80% of the customers identified far more closely and positively with one of the other brands that actually held the majority of the brand equity. The organization ultimately re-branded, placing contemporary and competitive structure around this legacy brand. The financial impact of building off the brand with the largest equity, rather than investing in building an entirely new umbrella brand, was significant for the organization.
The Subway Generation
A food services company for large institutions wanted to best service their college campus populations.
We conducted a series of qualitative focus groups and one-on-one interviews with college students in the Mid-Atlantic region and the results were consistent with what is known as the “Subway Generation.” Today’s freshmen and sophomores in college were born in 1997, and most of them do not remember a time when a) their mom wasn’t working, and b) Subway or Chipotle were not major players in their food repertoire. Subway restaurants tripled their size between 1998 and 2011 and became one of the fastest growing franchises in history. They have also been the #2 advertiser, behind McDonalds, for much of that time. Chipotle, with investment from McDonalds, between 1998 and 2006 went from 16 restaurants—all in Colorado—to over 500 restaurants. There are now 1700. This story is compounded by the fact that the labor force participation of women with children reached its now fairly steady peak (at 75%) in 1998.
The idea that, rather than being served a meal that was conceived by someone else, “you create your food” has had a dramatic impact on all restaurants, but specifically in the college dining hall. Our client implemented changes based on the idea that “nothing I haven’t authorized should ever be placed on my plate” —a resounding theme for students today!
Designing the Perfect Product by Co-creating with Customers
A large sporting goods retail brand wanted to develop a next generation prototype for active enthusiasts that reflected changing technology and outdoor lifestyles.
The CamposINNOVATE process engaged consumers in product development using primary qualitative research to generate insight and creative ideas. Through the process of co-creation, we were able to provide the client with useful ideas that ultimately modified their prototype to best reflect the consumers’ desires.
Getting 45,000 People to Complete a Diabetes Risk Assessment (Without Using the Word “Diabetes”)
A large university that was collaborating with the CDC wanted to understand the motivations and behaviors of diabetes patients to best implement an intervention program.
Campos researchers worked to combine the seemingly disconnected worlds of public health and behavioral economics to align in interesting ways. There are decades of research on “learning theories” that will motivate people with health problems to be more proactive or compliant. But no single piece of research has been as influential in this area than the recent work in behavioral economics and decision science. It turns out that what will motivate someone to take care of their health is largely the same as what will motivate them to either avoid, or engage in, a wide variety of other behaviors.
The findings were valuable in two specific ways, as Campos a) made the connection between the then most relevant areas of learning theory and behavioral economics, and b) successfully applied those theories to help motivate the first-ever campaign designed not just to educate people about diabetes, but to get them to complete an online risk assessment.
The CDC/university expected 15,000 completed surveys in the first 4 – 8 weeks. The result was 45,000 completed surveys within the first four weeks.
Customers are Driving-Thru for Healthier Food
A local restaurant chain wanted to determine the reasons why their customers were increasingly driving through their restaurants’ take-out windows to get their meals.
Primary research in the form of over 800 surveys with customers and potential customers, in addition to follow- up in-depth interviews, revealed that two major reasons impacted customers’ decisions to use the take-out window more often. The convenience the drive-thru take-out window offers provided great value in people’s busy and hectic lives, particularly as they are trying to balance family, work, and social activities. The restaurant’s ability to get customers through the take-out line with accurate and friendly service motivated customers to continually come back. And, importantly, the healthy options the restaurant chain offered became an important driver as individual and families have become more conscious of the types of foods they are purchasing. As a result, the client is moving forward with implementing more take-out windows at their restaurants, and promoting the variety of healthy options they offer.
Diving into Existing Data Uncovers Previously Hidden Opportunities
An historic leader in the manufacturing space plans to rapidly grow not only where they currently have a strong presence (U.S. and Canada), but to become a dominant player internationally as well.
Preliminary research conducted by Campos demonstrated that their network of distribution centers may be more critical to their success than previously considered. A customer research study documented that distribution locations provided both product availability and timely delivery—two very important criteria when choosing a provider. The questions then became these: how can they leverage the distribution centers that already exist in the U.S. and Canada to gain more customers, and where can they strategically place distribution centers to take advantage of opportunities for growth internationally?
We dove into the data and, first, created visual geographic representations of the locations of their distribution centers. Then we layered their customers’ locations in relationship to those centers. And finally, we identified the list of prospective customers that matched the profiles of the best existing customers and layered them over the existing customer locations. This study revealed not only a significant amount of opportunity to leverage the existing distribution center locations—areas of the country that they were underserving—to substantially grow their business, but it demonstrated pockets in the U.S. and Canada where there was opportunity to consider adding more locations. The same story was true internationally: specific countries were identified where there was a great deal of opportunity to compete in many of the industries they serve.
You Can Own the Market IF You Act NOW.
A natural gas drilling company better known in other parts of the country entered the Marcellus Shale play quietly.
They were the kind of organization that preferred that “their name be small on the back of the hospital” than large on an outdoor board. However, times, they were a changin’. Deep brand planning revealed that the market, which was in early stages and rather unsettled, needed a brand name player in order to be more supportive of the industry as a whole. Our client had the opportunity to be THE brand player, but they had to act in a significant way before a competitor grabbed the position. They did. And within 12 weeks of entering the media market, they owned more top of mind awareness than all of the other competitors combined.
Legacy Industries: Learning to Innovate
A legacy leader in custom glass manufacturing was looking for an answer to the question, “Should we enter into a new marketplace, and if so, how do we proceed?”
With capabilities to provide a wide range of industries high-quality, technical glass, this manufacturer was interested in expanding into a new and even more technical industry, related to glass. Having access to an expert R&D department, they wanted to assess continuing development of their niche glass product and determine which of the potential industries it touched would be the place to start. This could be anywhere from automobile paints to disinfecting hospitals.
To identify the key opportunities for our client, we conducted a comprehensive, secondary research project using our CamposCONTEXT360° methodology. This process uncovered industry trends, targeted industry applications, competitors, and potential end-users through a variety of secondary sources and trade publications. After identifying the specific niche industry as the one with continued potential for advancement in the future, our client was ready to talk directly to prospective customers and find out what it would take to excel in this category. We conducted primary research in the form of in-depth interviews with key stakeholders from similar companies and verified the findings identified in the CONTEXT360°. This process provided our client with the confidence that this innovation space would ultimately prove successful.
Qualitative Research Reveals Need for Mothers’ Group
A local non-profit wanted to explore mothers’ experiences with their services and how they could better meet their needs.
Through primary research in the form of qualitative focus groups, we expected to hear a lot of issues and concerns about children and families. However, what was expressed by the women that engaged in the group together was something the non-profit organization never expected to find: the supportive nature and comradery shared in the focus group was the kind of support these moms needed most. After a deeply emotional session that involved many tears and difficult stories, a key outcome emerged that changed the types of services the non-profit organization offered. Our insights revealed that these women would benefit most by having an opportunity to share the trials and joys of their surprisingly shared situations with one another regularly, and our client was happy to implement these services to better meet their needs.
Keeping Customers Awake in Big-Box Stores
A large supplier of sleep-related products wanted to better understand customers’ sleep habits, purchasing influencers, and perception of products overall.
Qualitative in-depth interviews and online immersive research with users and non-users of a sleep-related product revealed that when walking through big-box stores, the packaging stands out the most for buyers when making in-store decisions. Through primary research, we found that differentiating the packaging from competitors and adding point-of-purchase stimuli motivated customer decisions to decide in favor of a particular product. The product and positioning on the shelves were critical factors for customer purchasing decisions. As a result of this study, our client initiated an additional program to inform customers about the brand and their product line prior to the customers entering the store to influence future purchasing decisions.
Non-profits Win Big by Using Business Planning Tools
More and more non-profits are embracing the value of business planning tools and market research techniques.
Historically used by for-profit business, these non-profit leaders are learning how strategy and marketing-related tools and techniques can contribute to the success of the organization. Campos Inc has been actively involved in working with a variety of national and regional non-profits to develop research-driven strategic and marketing plans that have been constructed using deep data analysis, a variety of market segmentation strategies, benchmark qualitative and quantitative research and then applied the insights to a variety of strategic planning models.
Parents and Educators Agree that STEM Education Must Be “Hands-On”
The Carnegie Science Center, supported by Chevron and Nova Chemicals, was interested in exploring the awareness, attitudes, and perceptions of parents and children in grades K-12 about STEM (Science•Technology•Engineering•Math) education in a 17-county area of Southwestern Pennsylvania and two adjoining states.
Primary quantitative research was designed to answer the following question: What is the role of STEM education in improving the Tristate region’s workforce? Feedback from parents and students would be instrumental in designing STEM-related curriculum that would meet the workforce development needs of area employers and provide young people with needed training for meaningful careers.
To assess awareness and attitudes about STEM education, Campos conducted a rigorous, demographically balanced quantitative research project consisting of online and telephone surveys with 978 parents and 100 middle- and high-school students in the region. Results from the “Work to Do: The Role of STEM Education in Improving the Tri-State Region’s Workforce” study demonstrated that parental attitudes about education and careers align with STEM fundamentals, but awareness of and understanding of STEM was low, especially in rural areas. Campos also conducted in-depth interviews with 47 educators and business leaders, as well as “Family Dialogues”—dinner home visits with parents and their children across the region—to supplement information obtained from parents and students. Though many parents and students are uninformed and are intimidated by advanced math and science, they embrace education that is engaging to students: collaborative, hands-on, problem-solving and project based—the foundational elements of STEM.
The problem identified was that the current language around STEM education was not resonating with parents and students; STEM is a method of teaching for ALL students, not just the gifted ones. These key insights helped inform communications about STEM programs and design curriculum that address workforce development needs. This publicly released study, “Work to Do: The Role of STEM Education in Improving the Tri-State Region’s Workforce,” served as the roadmap for the Carnegie Science Center’s STEM program.
Deep Divide Between Employers and Recent Hires on Preparedness in Business Soft Skills
The Allegheny Conference on Community Development (ACCD) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation wanted an answer to a very important question that would inform the development of a pilot program that would be offered at colleges and universities in the greater Pittsburgh area: Which soft skills are most important for workplace success, and how prepared are recent college graduates in these soft skills (e.g. effective communications, teamwork, critical thinking, awareness of how the modern workplace operates, etc.)?
To answer this question, we conducted a comprehensive quantitative online survey with 159 employers who had managed or had direct contact with employees who recently graduated from college, as well as 113 recent college graduate employees. The sampling frame for the study covered all major industries in the region.
Results are instructive. A “soft skills gap” exists between employers and employees who are recent college graduates. Although recent college graduates and employers agree that soft skills are important, how they prioritize their importance is strikingly different, and their perceptions about level of preparedness differ widely. Simply stated, employers believe that recent college graduates aren’t nearly as prepared as they think they are in the critical soft skills need for workplace success: commitment, written communications, critical thinking, and problem solving, to name a few.
The most important finding from the study is that both employers and employees who are recent college graduates agree that a remedy is needed to close this soft skills gap. Employers would welcome a workforce prepared to contribute right away, and recent college graduates said they would have been willing to devote time to soft skills training while still in school. This area of agreement will be the basis for work going forward by our clients to pilot a program to add soft skills to the preparation of students for entering the world of work. Read the publicly-released study, “Bridging the Soft Skills Gap.”