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Winter 2016: We live in turbulent times

Theo Muller, Managing Director, MMResearch

Welcome to the winter issue of Research Notes©. We live in turbulent times, that’s for sure. Who would have thought that Brexit would cause such a ripple effect right across the globe? Within minutes after the final referendum count, stock markets around the world took a tumble apparently losing trillions of dollars in the hours that followed. While that sounds horrible, let’s not forget that these are ‘paper’ dollars and economists are confident that these losses will correct themselves as the dust settles down.

Watching the news moment to moment, it was interesting to note that many in the ‘leave’ camp, including leading politicians, admitted that they had not foreseen the full extent of the consequences of the UK leaving the European Union. While I am sure that the dust will settle, eventually, few will be able to predict what the next few months, perhaps years, will look like.

There is a lot of confusion out there. What the effect will be on the New Zealand economy and society is still guess work, but if there is any lesson out of this debacle it surely should tell us, certainly our politicians, to listen to the voice of the people. How well informed that ‘voice’ is, is another story.

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Have the chickens come home to roost?

“We are inextricably part of Europe. [No-one] will ever be able to take us ‘out of Europe’, for Europe is where we are and where we have always been.” Margaret Thatcher 1975.

Yeah right!

It's in the DNA of an Innovator

"How do I find innovative people for my organization? And how can I become more innovative myself?" These are questions that stump most senior executives, who know that the ability to innovate is the "secret sauce" of business success. How do these executives come up with ground-breaking new ideas? Dyer, Gregersen, and Christensen reveal how innovative entrepreneurs differ from typical executives. Their study demonstrates that five "discovery skills" distinguish the most creative executives:

Associating helps them discover new directions by making connections among seemingly unrelated questions, problems, or ideas.

Questioning allows innovators to break out of the status quo and consider new ideas.

Through observing, innovators carefully and consistently look out for small behavioural details - in the activities of customers, suppliers, and other companies - to gain insights about new ways of doing things.

In experimenting, they relentlessly try on new experiences and explore the world.

And through networking with diverse individuals from an array of backgrounds, they gain radically different perspectives. Game-changing innovations are rare - always have been, always will be. But, as the stories in this HBR Spotlight demonstrate, the right organizational conditions can make a breakthrough more likely. Strong leadership helps. Creating career paths for innovators makes a difference, as does using social media to pull your whole ecosystem into a creative conversation. Leaders who put all the pieces together will have a huge advantage.

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What marketers need to know about chat Apps

Mark W. Schaefer reports

The rise of social media changed marketing. Now, before some marketers have even fully adapted to that world, the social web is transforming again. The rise of private social networks and messaging apps will challenge the strategies that marketers developed for public social networks.

The movement of consumers from public social media to private messaging has been so rapid that Business Insider reported that the combined usage of the top four messaging apps now exceeds the combined usage of the top four social media apps. Falling data prices, cheaper devices and improved features are helping propel this growth.

Why the hunger for private messaging apps? Perhaps people are becoming more interested in actually communicating, rather than broadcasting. Maybe we do not want personal and private lives merging anymore and we want control over our different social circles within these messaging apps.

Social media will not go away, but traditional social networks may become less important to certain groups. The rise of more intimate channels presents new opportunities, and perhaps perils, for marketers.

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Women are generally more religious than men, particularly among Christians

Many religious groups, including Roman Catholics and Orthodox Jews, allow only men to be clergy, while others, including some denominations in the evangelical Protestant tradition, have lifted that restriction only in recent decades. Yet it often appears that the ranks of the faithful are dominated by women.

In the United States, for example, women are more likely than men to say religion is “very important” in their lives (60% vs. 47%), according to a 2014 Pew Research Center survey. American women also are more likely than American men to say they pray daily (64% vs. 47%) and attend religious services at least once a week (40% vs. 32%).

Noting similar gender differences in other countries, mainly in Europe, some social scientists have argued that women are universally more religious than men across all societies, cultures and faiths.

On all the standard measures of religious commitment examined in the study, Christian women are more religious than Christian men. By contrast, Muslim women and Muslim men show similar levels of religiousness on all measures of religious commitment except frequency of attendance at worship services. Because of religious norms, Muslim men attend services at a mosque much more often than Muslim women do.

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The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers

How do creative people come up with great ideas? Organizational psychologist Adam Grant studies "originals": thinkers who dream up new ideas and take action to put them into the world. In this talk, learn three unexpected habits of originals - including embracing failure. "The greatest originals are the ones who fail the most, because they are the ones who try the most,"Grant says. "You need a lot of bad ideas in order to get a few good ones."

Originals are nonconformists, people who not only have new ideas but take action to champion them. They are people who stand out and speak up. Originals drive creativity and change in the world. They are the people you want to bet on.

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"C-words" that retailers must embrace to enhance customer experiences

Choice, Convergence, Customisation, Convenience and Community all amount to the biggest C-words of all... CUSTOMER-CENTRICITY.

The likes of Country Road, Trenery and Nespresso understand the power of the five Cs, particularly Convergence.


Retailers must now provide a reason to go into their store rather than online. How? By creating an environment where the two experiences meet. It means leveraging the best out of both worlds: technological efficiencies coupled with the sensory and human elements of physical shopping. Retailers should also think about in-store technologies that merge multiple channels such as Mobile, Social, POS and In-Store Displays. How can these be integrated so that the characteristics of a good online experience be translated in-store?

read all about the Cs here

Find out about MMysteryShop™

Mystery shopping is all about finding out how your frontline staff interact with your customers – not because you want to catch them out doing it wrong, no! Your reason for finding out how staff and customers relate is because you want to put your team in the best possible position to give the customer a positive and memorable shopping experience. Mystery shopping allows you to fine-tune your staff training programme. It gives you the opportunity to elevate your staff to be the best in their field. You do it for your people, so that they become better equipped to make your customers smile.

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When to use qualitative research?

While quantitative surveys are appropriate for learning “how many?” or “how much?” or “what percentage?”, qualitative research helps you discover underlying motivations, feelings, values, attitudes and perceptions. Some examples of how qualitative research is used include:

-Studying product or service brand positioning

-Identifying strengths and weaknesses
-Exploring alternative communication messages
-Understanding purchase decision dynamics
-Brainstorming or idea generation
-Evaluating advertising or pr campaigns
-Probing opinions of current societal or public affairs issues
-Assessing product, service or website usability
-Pre-survey developing hypotheses to be quantified in a follow-up survey
-Post survey in-depth exploration of quantitative findings.

Most often, at least two focus groups should be conducted in each key market segment to provide checks and balances for the findings.

2. Who should participate in the focus groups?
A general rule of thumb is to conduct research among the target markets that are critical to the success of the project. In most instances, focus group participants should have a shared trait or experience (synergy) on which the discussion can build (i.e., mums with nappy-wearing children, men who colour their hair, business owners who use the same bank). This type of group tends to expand on their experiences and provide a higher volume and quality of information than groups with widely varied experiences.

3. Can I do the research myself?
Research conducted by independent professionals has many advantages that can be critical to your project. First, these professionals avoid any bias or perception of bias on the part of an internal moderator. Also, although qualitative research may at times look easy, it requires extensive training and experience. Using a variety of techniques, professionals will probe for the kind of responses that can impact decision-making. Their ability to capture language, hot buttons, positions and perceptions exceeds that of the inexperienced moderator. They are also better able to interpret responses in order to make solid recommendations.

4. How do I know I will get to the "big idea?"
The "big idea" is not always readily apparent. An experienced qualitative research professional can isolate key themes and responses, and will continually evaluate the results against the agreed-upon goals. They are experts at searching out the big idea.

Interactive reporting with MMdashboard™

A dashboard is a form of interactive reporting. It is a visual interface that provides at-a-glance views into key measures. However, what a key measure is for one manager, may not at all be of interest to another manager in the organisation. So, a really useful dashboard allows the user to filter the data in a way that is useful to them. In other words to drill deep into the data. This means that the research is effectively accessible to managers with different portfolios in the client organisation, thereby removing the static nature of a written report or PowerPoint presentation.

MMdashboard™, developed as an interactive electronic reporting tool by MMResearch™ in Wellington, is hugely popular with its clients. Instead of asking clients to plough through a multi-page written research report or sit through a static PowerPoint presentation of far too many slides, interactive MMdashboard™ allows the client to cut or filter the data to useful chunks at the click of the mouse.

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Hey there…have you heard of me?

In consumer and B2B market research circles we are often asked to assess market awareness of brands, products and spokespeople or causes. These two related, but separate constructs, represent the first steps on the pathway from prospect to customer.

Awareness should be measured in two ways – unaided (unprompted) and aided (prompted). Unaided awareness is captured via an open-ended question. For example, Please name three brands of dishwashing detergent? Unaided awareness questions capture those brands in the mindset of the consumer.

Aided awareness, the next step in the process, provides a check list from which respondents can choose the brands they are aware of. This list must be randomised and be in a multiple response format where they can select any or all brands they have awareness of. Expect to see a lift in the percentage any brand receives between unaided and aided.

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Do Millennials <3 Your Bank?

Understanding what truly drives Millennials can give financial marketers perspective on how to build relationships that tap into the unique life goals and expectations of this generation. Creating brand experiences with — not for — Millennials is the first step.

While much has been written about Millennials and their perception of banks, many financial institutions still have not cracked the code on what Millennials expect from their banking providers. Millennials now outnumber Baby Boomers, totaling 84 million in the U.S. alone, and they have proven to be fickle when it comes to banking. Last year Millennials switched from their primary banking provider at a pace nearly double the average of other consumer groups. How can banks and credit unions build meaningful relationships with Millennials? Great insight is to be obtained from reading more under the following three headings:

Synch with The Millennial Lifestyle

Embrace The Millennial Mindset

Align with Millennial Values

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Trivia and Truths

A few quotes from great women

In politics, if you want anything said ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman (Margaret Thatcher)

Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission. (Eleanor Roosevelt)

Old age ain't no place for sissies. Bette Davis

I’m a marvelous housekeeper. Every time I leave a man, I keep his house. (Zsa Zsa Gabor)

A man has got to do what a man has got to do. A woman must do what he cant. (Rhonda Hansome)

And a few anonymous quotes from wise old men
Whether a man winds up with a nest egg or a goose egg, depends a lot on the kind of chick he marries.
Too many couples marry for better or for worse, but not for good.
Many girls like to marry a military man because he can cook, sew, make beds and is in good health, and he is already used to taking orders.

And a few truths
Accept that some days you are the pigeon, and some days you are the statue.
If you lend someone $20, and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you wont have a leg to stand on.
When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

Winter 2016 - We live in turbulent times

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