Commercial/Private Sector

Retail – Fast Food

1. Market segmentation and positioning

The Issue:

  • This fast food/snack chain was experiencing a dramatic decline in sales and needed to know why.
  • Brand awareness was strong however conversion fell away dramatically and the business had endured stagnant or declining sales for a period of two years.
  • Previous advertising campaigns had won prestigious creative awards but had delivered little or no effect on sales.
  • Large amounts of tactical research had been undertaken most of which was directed at post analysing advertising performance or providing operational feedback. No strategic market research had been undertaken throughout the eight years of the brand’s existence.

Actions:

Research Solutions developed a strategic market research program for the brand, including qualitative and survey research to:

  • Understand the brand’s strategic position in the marketplace and in the consumer’s mind
  • Segment the market based on their needs, wants and desires
  • Develop a unique and sustainable competitive difference

Results:

  • The research identified four target market segments defined by consumer attitudes and behaviours.  Each segment was prioritised by its size and potential for new or increased sales.
  • New products, product bundling and value adding were then developed, aimed specifically at meeting the specific needs of each segment.
  • A high quality advertising campaign took the brand “back to basics” and focused on what made it unique in the market leading to an immediate spike in sales of around 20%.
  • The brand was then purchased by another company, originally to merge with an existing brand, however its much stronger brand positioning meant it became the dominant brand.

What they said:

The Managing Director of the strategic marketing agency that commissioned this project said:

  • "When we reviewed the previous research undertaken for the brand it didn’t answer any of our strategic questions – while it was good tactical research about store experiences and if people liked the pies it didn’t tell us what market we were operating in, our target segments or customer value.
  • Research Solutions took the time to sit down with us and work through our strategic questions and then designed a research program that would provide us with the information we required to really drive the brand’s  future.
  • At the end of the day it wasn’t about lots of bells and whistles and flashy models – it was about getting strategic information relevant to the company’s future and success in a tight time frame and a limited budget. 
  • This information helped us to put together a firm brand and product strategy which turned the company around from two years of static and declining sales to an overall 20% increase – in some stores it was as high as a 70% increase in sales”.

 
Retail – Rural Products

2. New product development

The Issue:

  • This manufacturer and supplier serves the rural market.
  • It began life as a monopoly and, although still the dominant player and market leader, had experienced a decline in sales with the introduction of competition in the marketplace.
  • Innovation was felt to be key in  regaining sales.
  • The next substantial market innovation had been identified and was being trialled on a small scale.
  • The challenge was to develop a positioning, pricing and distribution strategy for the product.

Actions:

Research Solutions developed a market research program for the product including:

  • In depth interviews (qualitative research) with customers trialling the product on farm.
  • Survey research, including a choice model, the identification of key brand benefits and behavioural sequence modelling.
  • Consequent in depth interviews for advertising concept development.


Results:

  • The research identified:
    • Market size and therefore production requirements
    • Price sensitivity and the price premium the market would bear for the product
    • Distribution requirements to get the product on farm
    • The need to work with other suppliers to develop product appropriate equipment
  • The product was then officially launched.
  • Consequent tracking research over the next three years saw a market penetration level of 17% and the product accounting for 7% of total company sales.
  • The most successful product launch in the company’s history.

What they said:

The Market Development Manager of the company at the time said:

  • "Because the product was so new and revolutionary we were quite concerned – customers really had to take an educated guess at what their expected usage would be.
  • Research Solutions designed a research program that allowed us to test both price sensitivity and predict demand – both critical in the early stages of new product development.
  • Using their forecasts we went into wide scale production and launch - the eventual take up rates were as good or even better than what Research Solutions had predicted – their independent advice was spot on."

 
Retail – Insurance Products

1. Brand and logo development incorporating semiotics

The Issue:

  • Leading insurance company had recently acquired a number of new brands.
  • Needed to develop a branding structure, a new name and associated logo that would facilitate the retention of existing customers and the move into new markets.
  • Previous research (conducted by Research Solutions) had identified that the name change suggested and brand positioning was acceptable to the existing and potential customers.
  • The challenge therefore became the development of a new logo that both retained the company’s history and its new direction.
  • Initial logo concepts did not resonate with customers.

Actions:

Research Solutions suggested the use of semiotics to better understand the cultural influences surrounding the product and logos in the marketplace and to develop insight into the unconscious emotional triggers to which the target market responded.

A workshop, facilitated by Research Solutions was convened involving key organisation personnel and marketing agency personnel with the overall objective of providing the marketing agency and designers with the context/cultural setting for the brand, particularly with respect to logo development for what essentially is a very conservative market.

It progressed through a number of exercises designed to identify cultural signifiers, codes and brand position in this context, concluding with a discussion regarding where the company’s current logo “sat” and what aspirations they had for the new design.


Results:

The workshop resulted in a new brief for logo development being prepared and the consequent testing (in focus groups) of two new concepts, one of which emerged and is now used as the new logo for the organisation.