Mobile Phones Key To Researching Brand Conversations

22Squared talk about their smartphone-based research on what triggers brand talk.

22Squared is an agency with expertise in consumer advocacy and conversation generation around a brand. Insights from their previous research, titled ‘Why People Talk: 8 Ways to Inspire Conversation Around Your Brand,’ can be found on Slideshare.

They are currently working with Consumer Insights Inc. on a new project that leverages smart phone surveys. We caught up with their Chief Strategy Officer, Brandon Murphy, and Senior Project Manager John Doyle from Consumer Insights Inc. to talk about the “Word of Mouth Talk Trigger” study.

How did the idea for Talk Trigger research come about? Why smart phone surveys?

BM: We had been investigating ways to help brands factor consumer conversation earlier into their strategic process. To really understand conversation, you have to take advantage of fresh memories. That’s where smart phones came in; they’re the one way to reach a consumer anywhere at anytime.

JD: 22squared wanted to better understand how, why and where people were talking about brands. Very little data exists on people’s initial interactions with brands, and that data has been elicited through traditional home phone surveys and computer-based online research, the latter of which occur in contrived environments and make it hard for people to accurately recall brand conversations. We knew that if we could somehow interact with people when brand conversations were still fresh in their minds, then we could not only be more accurate in our findings, but we could also gain a deeper level of understanding about those brand conversations… hence smart phone surveys.

Tell us a little about the methodologies employed in your research.

JD: Knowing that smart phones have dramatically increased in market penetration and that those who have smart phones usually have them by their sides 24/7, we thought that disseminating a survey on someone’s smart phone would be valuable because it would be ‘in the moment’ research. Whether you’re at home, work, shopping, or in a bar, you can easily take a few of minutes to answer a handful of questions.

Using online research panel, we recruited qualified consumers who were willing to participate in an ongoing study via a text message survey. Once we weeded out the small percentage of people who did not have an operating system that was symbiotic with our survey platform, we sent the first text survey to each of our respondents. Over a two-week period, we’ll be sending 25 surveys to each person, hitting them at all times of the day. We wanted to keep people interested, so we limited the surveys to five questions and we’re paying respondents for each completed survey.

The research results are due next month, how are the numbers looking thus far?

BM: We’ve pulled some preliminary numbers that show the percentage of smart phone users who have talked to someone about a brand in the last two hours is higher than previously used methods like home phones and computers have indicated. And many of those surveyed have had more than one brand conversation.

As far as identifying what triggered these conversations, we’re seeing that things like “turned me on to something new and cool”, “entertains me”, “solves a problem”, “stands for something” and “connects me with others” were more effective at triggering conversations than limited time offers. We’re also seeing interesting data on the location of conversations and how many of these conversations are directly triggered by advertising.

JD: We have some preliminary ‘eye-opening’ data:

  • We knew that brands were being discussed, but we’re surprised by the frequency.
  • It’s not surprising that Apple is one of the top five most talked about brands, but it we’re shocked by some of the other most talked about brands with have lower market penetration.
  • There’s also much more texting going on than we imagined, and our method gave us a peek into the interesting brand content within consumers’ texts.
  • The impact that companies have on driving brand conversations is higher than we initially thought, with a substantial percentage of conversations emanating from some advertising, activity, or effort from the brand.
  • We’ll also be able to tell you where brand conversations take place, and if more of them occur at home, at work, in cars, etc.

Away from the research, what trend(s) make you optimistic about the future?

BM: I’m inspired by the continued evolution of the social layer on how people live their lives and how we structure marketing and advertising plans. I’m also excited to see the impact of the emerging game layer, which will enable brands to encourage consumers to do more than just talk about brands, but also play and participate in games involving brands.

JD: In terms of brand relationships, there is a lot of potential for brands to communicate an authentic message about themselves to their most valued prospects and customers.

Thanks Brandon Murphy and John Doyle

22Squared

Consumer Insights Inc.

image by Florin Hatmanu

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