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Changing Strategies for Changing Times: Agile Brand and Communications Research

Published Oct 16, 2020

Susan Vidler, Managing Director, Harris Interactive UK

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To coincide with the launch of Toluna Start — the industry’s first and only end-to-end real-time consumer insights platform — we assembled leading consumer insights professionals from major brands like Facebook, CVS, Visa, and more, to share their critical business needs in the areas of New Product Development, Collaboration, and Brand and Communications Research.  We’re delivering our findings with you both in video and this blog posts series.

Common business problems haven’t changed, but the way research must be conducted to better support those businesses in their environments and markets definitely has. That means delivering brand and communications research differently as a response to evolving times and rapidly changing consumer behaviour.

This is something we baked into the Toluna Start platform to empower customers to adapt ahead of consumer needs. Here’s what they’re saying:

  • Asahi: “Quick, agile solutions are absolutely what we need…we are getting to a point where we get the results on a Friday and are briefing management on Monday.”
  • eBay: “…dichotomy of incomes, concern, and time…very different markets on new lines. We realised people were flexing even more in multiple and different categories. We had to be prepared to adapt quickly, and use agile insights to make informed decisions more quickly.”

New methods are non-negotiable.

Outdated methods often mean an outdated idea of what your target audience wants and needs. Many companies have challenged existing brand tracking and communications programs as they look for a greater ROI, more flexibility, and pushing beyond traditional brand measures to provide more relevant insights for the new changing environment.

But reconsidering methods isn’t the only pressure on organisations. They’re expected to do more with less, and find efficiencies at every stage to drive quality insights at pace. Expectations have also risen on all elements of speed, quality, and what technology can support and enable, so outdated ways of working are no longer working.

Accelerated changes means added pressure.

There’s always a push to keep up with your target audience. But the speed at which their behaviours, opinions, and demands have changed amidst the global pandemic is brand new. And since they keep changing, it’s on organisations to keep up, asking questions like:

  • How is my brand perceived?
  • Is our tone appropriate, and does it resonate with consumers and reflect well on the brand?
  • Are we staying relevant and meeting consumers’ needs?
  • Are existing or past brand and communications testing and monitoring measures adequate going forward?

Across segments and target audiences, we’re seeing research conducted for a continued understanding of behaviours, attitudes, and preferences. And in many cases, customers find they need to pivot according to consumer expectations. Examples of how clients are adjusting their communications and brand health studies to address changing consumer needs include:

  • Testing new ad campaigns to ensure an appropriate tone throughout the pandemic
  • Prior to launching new communications campaigns, organisations check imagery, music, and planned executions are connecting with consumers emotionally
  • Post launch, checking their communications deliver as expected in terms of ad recognition, emotional engagement, and call to action

Meet today’s drivers of agile brand and communications research. 

We help businesses manage and monitor the health of their brands; understand how they’re performing against competitors; and determine whether their communications are resonating with the target audiences. How? Through agile brand and communications solutions that address these common cross-organisational challenges:

  • Speed: Projects run faster than ever, with results often needed in hours — not weeks. That’s where pre-templated communications questionnaires come in. Whether custom or based on our best practices, they save precious time and resources and allow for sharing globally or between teams.
  • Quality: Sacrificing quality for speed is not an option. Think embedded design and quality checks paired with best practice methodology. Pre-templated questionnaires and data visualisation tools are at the ready, as are quota balancing capabilities, independently validated brand measurement models and more.
  • Ease of use: If it isn’t intuitive, it isn’t going to work. Whether DIY, fully serviced, or a combination of the two, a user-friendly platform houses all projects under one roof. And data visualisation is just as easy, as is sharing results with key stakeholders or remote teams.
  • Flexibility: No customers or projects are the same. Customisation is key, with flexibility in the form of additional questions, monadic or sequential monadic designs, and service levels — from DIY-assisted to fully serviced.
  • Value: Doing more with less means incorporating automation into every step of the process. This is especially true for larger- scale brand and communications trackers typically requiring more significant investment.
  • Technology and automation: The cornerstone of successful brand and communications research is reliable tech. Along with automation, it has brought more agile research to life, and continues to be developed.

Brands must continue to leverage up-to-date insights to ensure they’re equipped to meet the changing needs of consumers, today and tomorrow.

Learn more about Toluna Start by scheduling a demo here.

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