All right, I’m back. Market Strategies’ resident blogger covering the superhero sector is here to share thoughts on the 2017 summer superhero movies, and the summer’s somewhat surprising breakout star: Gal Gadot, playing the titular hero in Wonder Woman. In addition to reveling in the spectacular success of Wonder Woman—a movie my kids and I thoroughly enjoyed, and for which we’re now rooting to win the summer box office outright—I will revisit some brand and character analyses that I conducted several years ago for my blog post, DC vs. Marvel: It all Comes Down to Batman. I’ll look at how Wonder Woman has impacted the relative popularity of the parent brands (DC Comics and Marvel Comics) and the marquee character brands including the long-reigning king: Batman. Again using publicly-available data—comparing search volumes via Google Trends—let’s see how the brands have shifted over time, and how Wonder Woman impacts the superhero brand space.
I recently sat down Don Hodson, head of customer experience (CX) at Georgia Power (GPC), to discuss how GPC is maximizing the effectiveness of its CX program. For energy brands that are working hard to create a positive, seamless experience for its customers, Don’s insight might just spark an idea that can be applied to your company’s strategy. Enjoy!
Can you explain GPC’s customer experience goals and the specific issues you’re trying to solve with research insight?
Don: Georgia Power has a strong reputation with our customers already so there is little value focusing on improving a customer sat score from 8.5 to 8.6. Rather, we look at all the interactions customers have with GPC—the channels they use, the issues they have—to identify where there are barriers to resolution or where we force them to make extra effort. Then we focus on how to mitigate those issues to reduce customer effort. Not only does this improve customer sat but, in many cases, it also identifies opportunities to decrease operational costs.
It’s my last day of work in 2016, and I’ve been taking stock of what I’ve done as well as what we as a team of colleagues have done this year: what we’ve focused on, what we’ve written about, and ultimately, what we’ve learned. All told, it’s been an amazing set of adventures and accomplishments. Here at Market Strategies’ FreshMR blog, we’ve been sharing our thoughts on market research since 2011. So far this year, we published 109 posts with 69,706 words and 369,665 characters, covering scores of topics including.
What we do: Research on brand, communications, customer experience, product development, segmentation, syndicated research.
How we do it: Qualitative and quantitative data collection, marketing & data sciences.
For whom: Clients in Consumer & Retail, Energy, Financial Services, Healthcare, Life Sciences, Technology and Telecommunications.
Of all we covered in 2016, a few topics stand out distinctly:
I love the holidays (and not just for the abundance of pecan pie). This season reminds me of what I often fail to reflect on during the other 300 or so days of the year: my numerous blessings. Chief among those blessings, and where I typically focus my reflections, are family, friends, good health and a warm home. But this year, I wanted to engage mindfully about thankfulness for my job at Market Strategies International.
The workplace is an often overlooked area for gratitude but important nonetheless. So what comprised my “workplace cornucopia” this year? I’m glad you asked.
Market Strategies is often asked to recommend research approaches that guide decisions about marketing and product/brand management. A topic that’s been of keen interest lately is brand health. NPS has been the “go-to” measure for some time, but we were curious to compare it to other brand health measures so we used our quarterly consumer omnibus study as a research sandbox.
Specifically, we fielded various questions and used the results to test the efficacy of brand health approaches that would serve clients across industry sectors well. We surveyed more than 1,100 US consumers regarding brands in the social media space: Facebook, Flickr, Google, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Reddit, Snapchat, Tumblr, Twitter, Vine and YouTube. We then used these data to run multiple brand health analyses, ultimately comparing NPS and several brand health measures and indices at how well they predict our dependent variables: frequent use of the brand and intention to increase use of the brand in the near future.
If your company uses NPS and nothing but NPS, you’ll want to download this free topline research report to see the results of our experiment. Here’s additional background for context, if you’re so inclined.
In July 2006, I boarded a plane to Portland, Oregon. It was the beginning of my service at Market Strategies International. A decade is not a long time but long enough to witness some changes. Let me share with you a quick inventory of what has changed from 2006 to 2016 in the market research industry:
Editor’s note: This is a spoiler alert for fans of Game of Thrones (GOT). You may not want to continue reading unless, of course, you want an entertaining way of looking at what drives brand allegiance.
Like 8.9 million other people, I sat riveted to my television when the season finale of GOT aired. If you’ve never seen the show or read the novels, here’s a quick, overly-simplistic synopsis: There exists a large kingdom called Westeros. The king of Westeros dies. Many others vie for the throne, each with a considerably decent claim to it. Not surprisingly, few are open to reasonable, sit-down discussions to determine whose claim is best, and thus, things must be decided the old-fashioned way: war. To win a war, you need an army. And to obtain an army, you need loyal subjects. Thus, one could say the content of five books/six seasons of TV follows each individual’s story as he or she attempts to win over others to his/her side. I’m on Team Dany. Daenerys “Dany” Targaryen’s family ruled Westeros for thousands of years before the now deceased king took over. Although legacy isn’t everything, her lineage gives her a lot of street cred. If I lived in the seven kingdoms, I would certainly declare for Daenerys as Queen of Westeros—and according to the end of the season finale, several thousand others agree.
But it took a while for Daenerys to achieve this support. How did she go from being a frightened girl with a wish to rule in Season One to a confident woman with an impressive legion of backers in Season Six? What is it about her, her decisions or her journey that inspired such loyalty?
The next tech trend has arrived, and who would have thought that it would come in the form of a 1990s video game revival of Pokémon?
Suddenly seeing Pokémon everywhere evoked memories of listening to my younger sister describe her valiant efforts to “catch ‘em all” as she immersed herself in the world of her coveted GameBoy Color, describing her collections of Pikachus, Bulbasaurs and Mews. Faithful fans, my sister included, would likely cringe at my coarse recollection of their favored childhood diversion, but they are probably too busy wandering into your backyard to capture and train their brood of digital friends via Pokémon Go – the latest, and arguably most viral, generation of the Nintendo gaming franchise.
In case you haven’t noticed the headlines, here is a quick download on the phenomenon (don’t worry, I’ll connect this to market research soon):
As a lover of language, I deeply appreciate that words are living, breathing things. They reflect our culture, and they evolve as we change the ways we live. Given enough time, some words fall out of favor while new words spring up to take their place. The meaning of many of those new terms is often beyond my understanding—I didn’t know what “Yassss Queen” meant until recently, and I’m still not sure I could use it effectively. For those of you who are as clueless as I am, this may help. Yet, as language evolves, there are inevitable irritations that emerge as well. One such trend is the overuse of filler words such as “so.” Have you noticed this trend? Have you participated in it?
“So” is most often used at the beginning of a sentence or statement and seems to serve as a transition, giving the speaker time to form the rest of her thought, e.g., “Sooooo, this research shows how our brand positioning is resonating with the key segments”. I’ve also heard “so” used as a means to soften what comes next, e.g., “Sooooo, I know we just stopped fielding, but I’d like to see the early findings from the APAC countries in three hours. Is that doable?”
And lest I be accused of throwing stones from my glass house, I use these filler words, too. Continue reading
I am a sci-fi nerd. One of the longest running tropes in sci-fi and crime television occurs when a character orders someone to “zoom and enhance” a blurry or pixelated image or video, causing once hidden details to become clear. As enhancing the image in a television show usually leads to a groundbreaking clue or detail, utilities can do the same with survey data by enhancing results with additional customer data.
Compared to other industries, the energy industry is in a fairly unique position when it comes to customer information. Utilities are already able to amass a tremendous amount of data on their customers’ energy usage, program participation, number and type of contacts with the utility and outage information. All of this information is typically available, or can be appended, in a standard energy customer database. The advent of connected technologies, like smart meters, allows for even more granular data to be collected and leveraged for usage insights down to the hour, and in some cases even more frequently.
However, much of this information often goes unused or underutilized when it comes to better understanding utility customers’ behavior and anticipating their needs. Many utilities are not using their data to its maximum potential because they cannot clear the first hurdle of making their data useable, as database systems are often archaic and/or data are spread across multiple platforms.