The Best Day of The Week to Work Out Is…

Do you know about Monday Campaigns?

Research by John Hopkins found that Monday’s are the best day of the week for positive health behaviors like working out. Why? People tend to look at the first day of the work week as a fresh start. So, John Hopkins, Columbia and Syracuse universities have teamed up to make Monday’s the healthiest day of the week, or as they call it, “The day all health breaks loose.”

Since people seem to be more concerned with getting in shape for the summer months, we decided to find out how consumers plan to slay those extra calories. Our latest study focuses on how and why people work out, their favorite apparel, where they shop, what they spend and the food & beverages they choose to keep them energized. Check out our latest infographic below and let us know, are you getting your workout in today?

BuzzBack Workout Infographic

Are You A Pioneer?

My alma mater, Dartmouth College, just celebrated the 50th anniversary of John Kemeny’s BASIC computer language. I was lucky enough to have Prof Kemeny my freshman year right before he retired. He was a pioneer in computing and computer time-sharing. For example, when he assigned homework, he would tell us where the hangups would be BEFORE we even started!

Shortly after, Apple made Dartmouth a beta site for the first Macintosh, and as students we used Macs before most had personal computers. I have an original Mac 128K that still works! That’s when I fell for WYSIWYG and the visual desktop – the interface that enthralled Steve Jobs at Xerox PARC became the foundation for how we interact with technology today.

That was a formative experience for me that most definitely shaped my view of how visuals transform interactions. And perhaps that’s when the BuzzBack seed was planted deep in my brain somewhere.  Today, the welcoming, engaging visual interface is part and parcel to our online research applications – desktop, mobile, and more to come.

Being a pioneer isn’t easy.  Like other companies evolving long-held traditions, we had our share of critics or those that didn’t understand what we were trying to achieve.  But as pioneers, we stay true to our vision and keep cutting the trail toward our goal. We look to continuously push the envelope with applications that incorporate visual technology. In 2005, that started with our award-winning eCollage, and today we are rolling out new mobile tools for tablets, ipads, and more (watch this space for news soon).  In the meantime, here’s a look at how eCollage helps consumers express with visuals what may be hard to verbalize with words. It’s our own version of “Pin-ing” – but with specific market research purpose.




click on the video to view our eCollage demo



‘Infobesity’, The Power of Imagery and Temptation

I am an avid reader of the impact of technology on consumer’s lives. I read, listen and watch blogs, newsfeeds, Twitter, TV, podcasts and even ‘old style’ books and magazines (Imagine that?!). The issue for me is that with all of this input I am finding that there are times when I find the information overwhelming. I think I am suffering from the symptoms of ‘infobesity’. (I am not a fan of these concatenated words but I think this expression captures the ‘illness’ precisely.)

There is an increasing amount of evidence for ‘infobesity’. Its origins are according to some biologists derived from our evolutionary development.  Humans haven’t (yet?) evolved to cope with the amount of sensory input that we are now exposed to. Robin Dunbar – a British anthropologist – has found a “correlation between primate brain size and average social group size. By using the average human brain size and extrapolating from the results of primates, he proposed that humans can only comfortably maintain 150 stable relationships”. No wonder I am struggling: I probably interact with that many people in a day!

An article in Fast Company helped me to connect ‘digital eating’ with real diets in a fascinating way. The article describes that restaurants found customers using touchscreens when ordering food typically order more food and spend more money. This holds true for at home customers ordering takeaway from their tablets as well as customers ordering from an in-store touchscreen menu.

The reason for this increase in spending is apparently due to having a visual image of all the food possibilities in front of them. This encouraged customers to try new items or add to their order as an impulse buy. Eat24 is an online food ordering service, and their CMO puts it, “When you’re going over the menu, you are exposed to all the options. You’ll try stuff you never thought about ordering over the phone.” So instead of picking up the phone and going with just their typical order, customers see all the different options available to them and add on to their lunch, whether it be extra toppings on their sandwich or impulsively deciding to try a couple side dishes.

This brings me back to the idea that our primate subconscious can be easily triggered and visual imagery is really powerful. When we see images of food, or a list of all food options available to us, we are appealing to our atavistic and inquisitive selves.  The ease of adding on an order is clearly too great an impulse to ignore. The ‘rules’ of the subconscious mind states that when there is a conflict between the conscious and subconscious minds, the subconscious mind typically always wins out. This is a good explanation of why Oscar Wilde said ‘I can resist everything but temptation.’

Overall, my take away (Excuse the pun) from this is that it is a good reminder of why images and pictures are so powerful. They are deep seated in our evolution and that’s why we use them in our work.


Cloudscreen or Sunscreen?

With the official start of summer just around the corner, it seems like the importance of wearing sunscreen is being mentioned more and more. We previously talked about the new June bracelet that measures your sun exposure a few months ago, but now Neutrogena is introducing a “new” product, or as some have pointed out, a product they’ve been selling for years but with a new name – Cloudscreen, complete with a picture of a cloud on the bottle. Steve Hall of Ad Rants claims that this is just the “repackaging of sunscreen for idiots”, but I think it’s actually an ingenious marketing idea. Everyone knows that clouds don’t block UV rays, but most won’t bother to put on sunscreen, let alone even on sunny days. I learned my lesson this past week…I went to the beach on a partly cloudy day, didn’t put on any sunscreen and ended up with the worst sunburn I’ve ever had.

So why do we ignore these warnings? Do we really need a literal symbol on a bottle of sunscreen to convince us that we need to put it on every day, including the cloudy ones? Clearly, we do.

Being the visually-driven consumer that I am, I know that seeing a bottle of Cloudscreen would definitely pique my interest. The cloud acts as a great visual reminder that yes, sunscreen is necessary even on those cloudy beach days, especially for those like me who have a bad habit of forgetting to put it on.

Last year, we conducted a global Healthy Skin Exploratory in which we found that US and UK respondents seemingly understood the importance of protecting their skin from the sun, but many also stated that they had age spots which are blemishes on parts of the body that are commonly exposed to the sun. This goes to show that even though we know that the sun’s rays are harmful, we may not be fully aware of how much damage they are capable of on a day-to-day basis. We have a long way to go before regular sun protection becomes a daily habit for the majority of the population, but hopefully more products like the June bracelet and Neutrogena’s Cloudscreen will help us get there.

New Venues for Customer Engagement?

I am just returning from the UK, and I had a super high-tech plane – believe it or not, we had power outlets in every seat, plus every seat back had ‘online’ navigation of all the airline services, such as food, movies, etc. There was even an online survey! I couldn’t resist of course, so I started to answer a few questions. After about 3 minutes, and still 37 screens of ‘grid’ questions to go, I thought to myself, “Wow, there is opportunity for better customer engagement here.”

How many opportunities pass by because of poorly considered methodology? How often do companies miss the boat with surveys that risk being boring and more like tests – rather than engaging dialogues. With tech innovation disrupting life as we know it, market research is also a candidate for disruption. Innovation drives us here at BuzzBack. That’s why we’ve developed a portfolio of online techniques designed with visual cues, to foster engagement, make surveys more enjoyable, AND yield richer and more emotional insights as a result. This is critical as today’s consumer communicates more with pictures – for example the top social communities include FaceBook, Instagram and Pinterest – all with visual foundations. And perhaps this is the biggest change facing us as researchers – taking the cue from consumers on how to engage and communicate, rather than us dictating the rules.

Minimalism is the New Luxury

There’s a new saying sweeping the nation, “Not Owning Stuff is the New Owning Stuff”. Sounds ironic, doesn’t it? But yes, apparently it’s true; minimalism is now considered the new luxury. Minimalism has always been an idea touted by anti-consumerists, but more recently your average person has joined in as well. From people selling most of their belongings and moving into tiny homes to people not buying homes at all, the idea of ownership is becoming something less and less desirable. In particular, among Millennials, the pay-as-you-live lifestyle is gaining a lot of traction which is seen by the popping up of companies like Netflix, Zipcar and Rent the Runway which allow you to rent movies, cars and even dresses whenever the need arises. People are realizing that we really don’t need all the stuff we want, and it’s actually more enjoyable to live a lighter lifestyle. Especially after the Great Recession when many people had to give up their homes, cars, and some, their entire lifestyles, the advantage of having “less to lose” is obvious.

It’s still funny though to hear minimalism being referred to as a type of luxury. But it immediately brought to mind a study we did in which we explored the different dimensions of “Luxury”. When we first prompted respondents with the word, the first thing that came to mind was the idea of money. On the surface, luxury is defined as richness, opulence, and owning plenty of material things. However, after using eCollage, it became clear that there was another, deeper dimension of the word. One strong emergent theme was that of opportunity, showing that luxury can also be defined as the freedom to do what you want, when you want. In reality, something that is considered luxurious does not have to be insanely expensive, rather it can be something free. What does matter though is that it is not something that can be easily obtained.

With this new understanding of the word, it suddenly becomes clear how minimalism can be considered a luxury. Most would admit that it was very hard to give up their material possessions at first. However, once they dove into the lifestyle, many experienced a freeing feeling of not being tied down to “stuff” which goes hand-in-hand with the deeper definition of luxury we found. So, how about you? Are you ready to try out this new lifestyle trend of minimalism?

For more information on our Exploring Luxury study, click here.

Sneak Peek: World Cup BuzzPoll

Will you be watching the World Cup? Or do you even know what the World Cup is? It may be the biggest sporting event on Earth, and while it’s definitely gaining interest here in the U.S., it’s still not quite there yet. However, you would have never known that on Friday because right outside of our NYC headquarters in Times Square, ESPN hosted a Fan Appreciation Day for the U.S. Men’s National Team. ESPN even broadcasted a one hour special live from Times Square.

Well, we are absolutely aware of the World Cup here at BuzzBack. In fact, we even live streamed some of the matches 4 years ago in our NYC office. Our avid soccer fans here in the U.S. and our football fans in our London office couldn’t resist conducting our latest BuzzPoll around this competitive world event. We found only about 4 in 10 U.S. residents say they are familiar with the FIFA World Cup and of those who are familiar, approximately half say they will ‘probably/definitely’ watch at least some matches.

Stay tuned because in a few weeks we’ll be rolling out U.S. and U.K. infographics featuring our World Cup findings. We’ll be taking a look at how and where World Cup fans will be tuning into the matches, which matches they plan on watching, brand associations and how they would change the World Cup if they could. In the mean time, check out some of the pictures from Friday afternoon.

  Fan Appreciation Day in Times Square.      BuzzBack employee, Andrew with his                                                                 Clint Dempsey head.