Do Consumers Want Green Coca-Cola?

Earlier this month, Coca Cola unveiled its latest innovation. No, not a new beverage formulation. But a novel vessel for its products – a fully recyclable plastic bottle made entirely from renewable plant materials. Chalk one up for Planet Earth, as the “PlantBottle™” is a move away from petroleum based materials. Using a patented method that turns natural plant sugars into plastic bottle ingredients, Coca-Cola launched an earlier version in 2009 that was 30% plant-based – this 2015 edition is 100% bioplastic. According to a profile in Plastics Today, Coca Cola believes PlantBottle™ packaging is “estimated to have helped save the equivalent annual emissions of more than 315,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide.”

Coca Cola’s move is just the latest by an iconic brand looking to embrace more sustainable packaging. Other recent “green” newsmakers have included Method, Hershey and Clorox. But are these just good, practical business tactics or are companies making changes in response to a growing consumer trend? Is sustainability becoming a concern among everyday consumers? Is it increasingly something that companies should consider when exploring brand extensions, new product development, and packaging design?

According to our study on the subject, the answer is yes. While U.S. & U.K. consumers conveyed a basic understanding of sustainability, there were strong associations around the idea of preserving the environment for future generations. Our insights suggest that products with a sustainability label have a higher likelihood of success, as 80% of consumers said they would be more likely to purchase clearly-marked environmentally-responsible products.

In our study, we asked consumers to both verbalize and visualize their personal associations with sustainability. Brands looking to capture the hearts and minds of eco-aware consumers may want to take note. Positive words that came to mind include renewable, green and recycle. Negative ones included pollution, waste and greed. Visualization of sustainability resulted in imagery around preserving the environment and health (interestingly, in another study we recently led to learn what Healthy means to consumers, participants mentioned that taking care of the environment was a dimension of Healthy). While consumers may not have a full grasp of specific corporate sustainability initiatives, they did have definite ideas about what values they associate with sustainable brands: integrity, trust and authenticity.

As companies seek to help consumers navigate an ever overcrowded sea of choices toward their product line, sustainability can be an important competitive differentiator on shelf – as long as it can be communicated in a meaningful manner. Consumers expressed willingness to buy products from companies that align with their personal values. This creates an opportunity for brands to become a functionally and emotionally relevant solution at purchase

For more information on BuzzBack’s Sustainability study (or the one on Healthy), click here.

 

 

shutterstock_170257583

Are Avatars What’s Next for Your Brand?

What does online dress game, Stardoll and virtual world game, Second Life have in common with consumer insights? You might not think much, but actually there’s a key link when it comes to personal expression. Today more than 2 billion consumers participate in virtual gaming communities using avatars to represent and express themselves. Participants create fantasy characters using menu options of physical traits and wardrobe. But, as it turns out, these avatars are not all about gaming and play (well maybe just a little). Recent research shows that an avatar’s virtual appearance subconsciously signals important clues into the individual’s own and very real personality.

So what’s the link to consumer insights?  Creative visualization and expression tools have proven to be an effective means of getting at richer insights. At BuzzBack, we use these daily to get consumers to holistically express themselves – both obviously and latently – to better understand their behaviors, choices and motivations. It’s why we’re proud to be part of the GRIT Top 50 as one of the most innovative companies in our sector. These conceptual ideas behind avatars are the foundation for what’s next in innovating our tools and techniques for consumer self expression.

One of the many new directions we’re going in at BuzzBack – stay tuned to see what’s next as we illustrate why we deserve to be on the GRIT…

 

 

BuzzBack Avatars

Humanizing the Patient-to-Medicine Connection

One of the challenges facing the healthcare sector at large is patient adherence. It’s a topic of continuing importance and increasing interest.With on average 50% of patients not taking their medication as prescribed (and 33% never even filling their prescription in the first place), there’s much work to be done in understanding how to drive compliance.

We recently explored the impact of emotions when it comes to adherence, co-presenting our new study with Merck at the Pharma MR conference. We found that diving deep into patient feelings about their experience provides clues to how to positively influence their behavior and affect better outcomes. For example, in this study, we explored how they feel about managing their condition and their feelings about their physician relationship.

But what about the roles other individuals play in the complex puzzle? For example, what is the role of the pharmacist? Recent industry data shows the pharmacist holds an influential position. For example, a 2013 study by the National Community Pharmacist Association identified patient connectedness with their pharmacist as the leading predictor of adherence.

This pharmacy/pharmacist connection was the focus of a Wall Street Journal article that caught our eye here at BuzzBack earlier this month. It featured CVS CEO, Larry Merlo, who focuses on this exact issue: the need to humanize the patient-to-medicine connection with a clearer understanding of emotions. He sees the role of CVS as one to “help people on their path to better health.” Mr. Merlo believes that one of the ways CVS can truly make a difference is in making sure people take the medications they are prescribed.

CVS has made improving adherence a central goal, looking to improve it as much as 15% over the next two years by working on the pharmacy-patient relationship, and not just the administration of the drug. Mr. Merlo sees the pharmacist as integral to the equation: “CVS figures a one-on-one conversation with a pharmacist is two to three times more effective than any other method to change patient behavior – in a way, the human element that often goes missing in the U.S. health-care debate.”

At BuzzBack, we are excited to be part of the debate. Through innovative tools and creative expression techniques, we help consumers find the language to articulate the obstacles that need to be removed on their road to better health. And we uncover more effective ways that pharma companies can prepare physicians and pharmacists to communicate and lead patients on their adherence journey. In fact, we’ll be conducting an upcoming webinar presenting the results of our study around this important topic. Click to attend the webinar on Wednesday, March 4th or Thursday, March 5th.

patient taking medicine

Love App-tually

Are you ready for the most romantic holiday of the year?  If you’re still looking for love or the perfect way to express how you feel, consider yourself lucky! This season, Love Hearts®, a popular Valentine’s Day staple, will have a few new phrases added to the mix. Fourteen phrases were chosen as part of a contest this year to celebrate the candy’s 60th anniversary and to help them stay up-to-date with how people choose to communicate. Winning phrases – including ‘YOLO,’ ‘Take a Selfie,’ and ‘Swipe Right’ – will definitely help the confection stay current with today’s lingo.

And if you’re just not sure what ‘Swipe Right’ means, allow us to explain. Tinder is a mobile matchmaking app that uses location tracking to show you profile pictures of people in your area. You swipe right if you like what you see, left if you don’t. Among Millennials, Tinder is currently very popular. In fact, our recent Valentine’s Day BuzzPoll found that for one-third of Millennials, Tinder is their most favorite or most used app. They express appreciation for Tinder’s casual approach: it’s easy to meet local match-ups and there is a large variety of men/women to browse through – unsurprising, given the app’s current popularity.

OKCupid, eHarmony, Plenty of Fish, and Coffee Meets Bagel are also deemed Millennial favorites in our study. You might be asking, how do Millennials choose which matchmaking service is right for them?  We found that unique reasons for preference started to surface for each app. For example, OKCupid is preferred for its user-friendly interface and for being easy to use and understand. Long-term relationship seekers appear to gravitate towards eHarmony, with a handful saying their system is realistic – asking detailed questions before matching you up – and users feel it has the most potential for success.

We also found that the majority of apps mentioned are favored for being free. Then it got us wondering, how are these online dating sites making money? A little digging helped us discover that while most of these matchmaking apps and websites provide free options, they currently generate revenue through a combination of brand advertising and paid upgrades or memberships. Like most websites and apps, Tinder is completely free – except for a new, less popular option called Tinder Plus. Both options have  yet to allow brands to openly use their app for advertising purposes; and, with its widely popular status among Millennials, this is making some brands a bit anxious.

Earlier last year, Tinder employed experimental advertising through profiles for Domino’s Pizza and the U.S. TV show, “The Mindy Project.” Most recently, Gillette teamed up with Tinder to test out the theory that ladies prefer men with well-maintained facial hair (as opposed to unkempt beards). However, this approach was not considered traditional advertising and was not purchased through ad inventory on the Tinder platform.

While Tinder keeps toying with the idea of raking in advertising revenue, it has yet to settle on a strategy. So for all those brands out there that may want to strike up a relationship with Tinder in hopes of getting in front of the Millennial audience, you’ll just have to wait. Tinder’s just not that into you… yet.

For more info, click here or scroll below to see how Millennials these days are using online dating apps to find ‘Love App-tually.’

 

Photo credit: Love Hearts®

 

BuzzBack BuzzPoll Millennials Valentines Day FINAL

Swipe-Right

Sneak Peek: What’s in Your Backpack for Back-to-School?

Back-to-school sales are everywhere and it’s got me reminiscing for the days when I was a student. Back in 1994, I was just starting to maneuver my way through high school as a Freshman. Now, 20 years later I have a daughter who’s starting Pre-K at a new elementary school. In just 3 weeks time! We haven’t received any supplies checklists as of yet, but I know I should pick a few things up. But, what to get? After performing a quick search for ‘back-to-school’, I came across an appropriate article that highlights the differences in prices from 20 years ago to today. Backpacks, lunch boxes, notebooks. Some of the price differences are staggering. So far I’ve only purchased a lunch box and it cost $32, which is a few price points above the average listed in the article. Here’s a few highlights:

With all the back-to-school hoopla happening all over the country, we decided to take a look at how consumers were spending during retail’s second largest spending event of the year. We found that consumers on average will spend $336.17 and that consumers in the Northeast and Southern parts of the U.S. spend more than their counterparts in the West and Midwest. Stay tuned for our full infographic in which we’ll look at where consumers shop, what brands they look for and how they prefer to hear about Back-to-School promotions. For more information on our Back-to-School study and infographic, email us.

backtoschoolspending

 

Have an idea for a BuzzPoll? Tell us about it!

school

Home Improvement Sneak Peek – What Inspires You To Renovate or Redecorate?

I think it’s safe to say that the home improvement category has received a huge boost in part thanks to the internet, but especially Pinterest these days. According to Unmetric, a company that analyzes data for the content marketing efforts of brands via social channels, the ‘Home’ category raked in 2 million repins and topped the list of Categories With The Most Repins. The 2013 report looked at 5,000 branded Pinterest pages from the beginning of Pinterest until March 14, 2013.

So yes, it is safe to say that the internet has inspired many home improvement fans, but is it the top dog when it comes to inspirational content? We recently conducted a Home Improvement BuzzPoll because we were curious to find out how people renovate, redecorate and remodel their homes and we actually found that television is still the king of home improvement content according to 200 U.S. home owners, ages 18 and up. In fact, a recent press release by Scripps Networks Interactive, parent company to HGTVDIY NetworkFood NetworkCooking ChannelTravel Channel and Great American Country, complemented our findings. For the second time in a row, “HGTV was the #1 cable network on weekends among all women, including upscale W25-54. As it did in first quarter 2014, HGTV attracted an average of 14 million viewers every Saturday and Sunday between 7A-8P. Top rated weekend programs among W25-54 during second quarter were Property Brothers with a .77, Flip or Flop with a .71 and Fixer Upper with a .70. HGTV also posted its best ever June primetime rating with a .52 among P25-54 and continued to perform strongly with female audiences in primetime, garnering a .70 rating among W25-54.”  In a separate press release they also found that their DIY Network beat their previous top performance records and continue to attract audiences for a second consecutive quarter.

Other items of interest in our study include when consumers plan projects and how far in advance they begin planning. See below for a sneak peek as to what else you will find in our upcoming home improvement infographic and stay tuned for more results.

home improvement sneak peek

 

home improvement

Let The Consumer In

I recently read an article that resonated with me.  It covered the idea of including the consumer in the brand storytelling process so that the resulting brand message is not only compelling, but also meaningfully aligned with the consumer’s values.  I felt that the article actually sets the bar for anyone involved in the business of engaging consumers, including those of us in Market Research.

In our increasingly connected, digitally-disrupted world, authenticity is the order of the day.  Consumers are seeking transparent and more meaningful relationships with brands.  One way of achieving that relationship is through insight development.   The techniques brands use to dialogue with consumers,should be engaging, approachable and easy to understand, ones that welcome consumers into an authentic co-creation process.   Traditional marketing approaches that position marketers as all-knowing are out of step in an open environment where empowered consumers, who given the right tools and inspiring techniques, will thoughtfully and profoundly express both their obvious and latent thoughts, feelings, behaviors and attitudes.  Get out of the way, and allow them to tell you about the product or brand that they will loyally support.

This article reminded me of a recent study we conducted in which we utilized our online social forum, Hive. By allowing respondents access to our unique and engaging tools like eCollage within the confines of Hive, we were able to get twice as much verbal playback as standard open-ends alone. Our Exploring Pet Ownership study revealed non-verbal thoughts and emotions by completing ‘a day in the life’ exercise through their online collages. Respondents also participated in photo sharing, blogs, product name ideation and generating ideas for the next development in pet products. The insights collected provided marketers with directions for product positioning and potential white space for new products or line extensions.

As I reflect on my first year with BuzzBack, I think about what an exciting time it is to be in Consumer Insights.  It’s rewarding to see the breakthroughs we make by providing creative, image-based and engaging tools to consumers who are increasingly willing to return the authenticity favor, by openly sharing and collaborating.

For more information on our Exploring Pet Ownership study or our other Hive studies, click here.

shutterstock_138623117

What Do You Do With Your Unwanted or Expired Medications?

Did you know that April 26 is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day?  The DEA is working with local law enforcement agencies to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications. They previously held this event on October 26th and collected 647,211 pounds (324 tons) of unwanted or expired medications.

BuzzBack recently sponsored a type 2 diabetes study last year with both patients and physicians.  Physicians indicated that they must focus on patient compliance with patients.  Other studies we have done for clients also indicate a patient compliance problem, mainly around “if I feel better and no longer have symptoms, I don’t have to finish my medicine.”  This poor patient compliance results in many expired medicine sitting in people’s medicine cabinets and drawers.

Flushing your pills down the toilet can affect the environment and throwing pills away may end up in the wrong hands, so disposing of these meds this way is a win/win situation.

Local law enforcement agencies are sponsoring drop offs throughout the country.  Follow this link to enter your zip code and find sites in your area where you can drop off your old medications. Turn in your unused or expired medications at a safe disposal site and save the environment and help avoid abuse of these expired medications.

 

national-drug-take-back

A New Spokesperson for COPD?

In case you missed it, the man most notably recognized for his tag line, “Live Long and Prosper” came out as being diagnosed with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) just a week and a half ago. Leonard Nimoy who played Spock in the original Star Trek series is one of only a few celebrities to announce they’ve fallen ill with COPD. With his upfront approach and recent interview, the beloved actor is fast becoming the newest spokesperson to shed light on the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S. (and the 5th leading cause of death in the U.K.).

A few days later, a U.K. study was released that found doctors are missing opportunities to diagnose COPD earlier. The retrospective study of almost 39,000 patients showed that “5 years before diagnosis, 85% of patients had visited their GP or a secondary care clinic at least once with lower respiratory symptoms.”

The World Health Organization predicts “that COPD will become the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2030.” With COPD on the rise, it’s quite obvious that the world needs to not only shine a light on this under-diagnosed disease for patients but for physicians as well. The timing of Leonard Nimoy’s recent admission along with the findings from this new study might help do just that.

At BuzzBack, we too were interested in understanding COPD better from a physician and patient perspective, so we decided to take a different approach that was highly effective in eliciting honest responses from both doctors and patients in a pre-established ‘safe-space’. Respondents participated in two BuzzBack Hive sessions over a one week period; they posted comments based on tasks and were encouraged to interact with other participants in the group. Interestingly, we learned that although current recommended and reported treatments involve few lifestyle modifications, patients’ advice to other COPD sufferers is almost strictly related to daily routine. Patients strongly suggest sufferers stop smoking, exercise, eat healthily, take medications, and establish consistency in doctor visits; this appears to be aspirational as many admit they struggle to follow their own advice.

For his part, Mr. Nimoy appears to be taking an upfront, positive approach to dealing with his diagnosis and much like the patients from our study is dishing out his own advice, albeit via twitter. Since his spotlight is a lot brighter than most suffering with COPD, maybe, just maybe the world will take notice.

To learn more about our COPD Study, like what doctors and patients said about new treatments,  send us an email.

 

shutterstock_117654541

Chicken As The New Snack

In case you missed it, there was an article in the WSJ that talks about ‘why chicken wants to be a snack’ – I found this really relevant as we know Snacking is a major pastime of US consumers. In fact, the global snacking industry represents $300 billion and spans a variety of occasions from breakfast (think granola, cereal, energy bars) to evening (chips, popcorn, ice cream) – as well as in-car, at desk, at school and at home. It’s prime for innovation.

As you can imagine, we are working on snacking studies for all kinds of clients – with opportunities ranging from different foods/ingredients, to form and pack options. The kinds of snacks consumers choose may be driven by the time of day, how hungry they are, or just something they crave at the moment. And of course, kids’ snacks and the choices Moms make for their kids may not compare to what they choose for themselves. You can get a glimpse of some of the work we covered on Healthy snacking in our recent global Health study. Click here to see our latest infographic on Healthy US Snacking.

chicken-snack