Why Risk Isn’t Always Bad – IHOP vs. IHOB
12 Jun 2018
Provoke Insights was quoted in an article in NBC yesterday — you can check it out here. The article discusses the International House of Pancakes (IHOP) decision to rebrand as IHOb — International House of Burgers. Moreover, the temporary name change shows that the restaurant is serious about its burgers, not just its pancakes.  

Carly Fink, the principal and the head of research and strategy at Provoke Insights, was asked what she thought of the famous breakfast chain’s strategic move. She noted that it is risky. However, risk can have both positive and negative results. That is to say, the risk is not necessarily a bad thing; it can often pay off!

Risk Can Pay Off

A name change is a significant shift in a marketing strategy. For example, IHOP is one of the top names that consumers think about when they think about breakfast. Changing the name will impact this perspective and result in consumers’ association shifting away from breakfast and to lunch/dinner instead. The key here is to avoid losing its association with breakfast.

Increased Sales

IHOP has been trying to increase sales for lunch and dinner because a restaurant can often charge more for meals later in the day. We can be sure that IHOP marketing team spent a lot of time weighing the pros and cons of changing the brand name for this marketing initiative. One way this risk can pay off is by causing controversy.

In other words, there is value in controversy – it gets people talking. For instance, the IHOP strategy has succeeded. As a result of the name change, there has been a considerable stir on Twitter, with Burger King changing their name to Pancake King and other burger vertical leaders commenting on the name change. As a result, the initiative has been somewhat successful, with an influx in press and chatter evident.

Complicated Acronyms

There is a need to be careful. Acronyms can cause complication. Acronyms are ingrained in people’s memories, and consumers find it difficult to stop using old ones. Thus, it is essential to research to determine if the name change will confuse consumers. Will people be aware that the chain still sells pancakes? How else, besides the acronym, will IHOP promote burgers? It will be critical to see how their advertising focus, such as its television commercials, changes in the following months. If ad spend is less focused on breakfast, would this impact the brand overall equity?

Global Brand

It is also important to remember that this is a global brand, and as such, each market/country may react differently.

The burger market is very saturated. Entering the direct competition with the burger industry will be steep as IHOP is not known as the king of this vertical, and many brands are competing for the crown.

The risk may pay off, though. A name change could help their positioning. People might start to think of IHOP when they think about lunch and dinner. When a brand is changing its name or acronym, it’s key to conduct thorough research about the consumer, brand, and advertising initiatives! Will the name change move the needle? Or will this take away from breakfast spending, resulting in loss of revenue?

Check out some of our most recent posts from our strategy and advertising research blog here:

  1. Blockchain & the Markest Research Industry
  2. I’m Just Not That Into You: Exclusivity or Bad Marketing?
  3. Is Your Research Stuck in the 1980s: Update Your Brand Tracker!
  4. Market Research Doesn’t Need to Be Boring: Improve Data Visualization
  5. Tips For Building Brand Strategy for a Successful Brand
  6. What’s the Difference Between Quantitative and Qualitative?

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Marketing in the Summer
05 Jun 2018

Like many industries, advertising is notoriously slow in the summer season. However, there are also plenty of seasonally specific opportunities to take advantage of for advertisers across a number of categories. In many parts of America, summer is the only season that affords a real chance to get outside; consumers enjoy the beach, sporting events, water parks, summer camps, vacations, and a generally more relaxed few months. Summer is also associated with fun foods, socializing, and a cheery attitude.

So, how is a summer audience different than one in other seasons? How can you incorporate seasonality into your advertising strategy? The key lies in the features of the season.

Marketing in Summer Season

Summer sunshine means getting out of the house. It brings to mind barbecues and the pool or beach. June through August is all about spending time in the open air and participating in leisure activities. As such, out-of-home advertising is a natural fit – billboards, videos, flyers, and other media at concerts, fairs, movie theaters, airports, water parks, and sporting events are hugely effective, especially when they are advertising goods or services that are directly related to the location.

Radio also can be a great opportunity, as consumers more often take road trips. The lighthearted nature of summer also calls for fun television and print campaigns with strong creative appeal. In addition, there are plenty of opportunities around holidays and events that pertain to families as much as they do to individuals, including Graduation, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, Flag Day, Summer Solstice, LGBT Pride Month, Fourth of July, Back to School, and Labor Day.

A Time To Experiment

Particularly for retailers, summer marketing is a time to test out new and different methods, according to Forbes. Businesses can try various communications and execution tactics like expressing appreciation to customers in email campaigns (as opposed to promotion alone), partnering with businesses to promote complementary products or collaborations, introducing limited-edition lines, sending out seasonal “swag” like t-shirts and ice coffee cups, pushing loyalty programs that incentivize sales during a typically slow period, or opening up pop-up stands or store locations at some of the aforementioned summer-friendly venues.

Time Spent Outside

Keep in mind the various demographics and segments that can be addressed when thinking of these summer events. Graduation is all about students; these days, this means every school-ending ceremony from kindergarten through college and beyond. Independence Day brings to mind family cookouts, but it is also a day for adult beverage consumption, namely beer and related spirits. Many of these events conjure parties, parades, and ceremonies, all of which require planning, supplies, furniture, technology, food and beverage. Even industries that do not seem directly related to warm weather can likely be pegged to one of a few broader summer events.

Finally, summer is also a great time to catch up on future advertising plans, spruce up your business plan, update your website, or improve your SEO tactics. Instead of viewing summer as downtime, use it as a time to strategize. It is crucial for advertisers to use these months as an opportunity to conduct competitive research, build better business infrastructure, develop your marketing plan, and gain as many potential leads as possible in order to boost performance during other seasons.

Marketing in summer is just full of potential! It’s important not to let the most pleasant season of the year go to waste. Your brand should prepare for the summer in order to maximize your marketing strategies. Why not make sure that your company is taking advantage of all the great marketing opportunities at hand? See you at the barbeque!

Check out our other blogs!

Have a look at the way other technologies are affecting the market research industry: Virtual Reality and Qualitative Research: Fad or Here to Stay?

Read about market research for tech companies themselves: Tech Companies: Have You Thought About Your Marketing Strategy?

Why We Love Advertising Research
10 May 2018
Written by: Carly Fink

I grew up in the 1980s, and cable TV was seen as a premium service. We had an antenna with only seven TV channels. There was no internet, social media, or smartphones. Ads were mostly aired or shown on television, radio, print, or out of home (e.g. billboards). If you had a fun jingle or a catchy slogan your ad would be seen and hopefully remembered. Everyone was using predominantly the same media channels. As a result, someone my age often remembers the commercials they grew up with… From Mikey from Life Cereal to the Anti-Drug Campaign – “This is Your Brain on Drugs”.

However, the advertising landscape today is much more diverse. On average, a person sees over 10,000 ads a day. A cable subscriber has access to an average of 200 TV channels. To complicate the media landscape, millennials are cutting the cable cord and watching streaming services such as YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu on their TVs and computers instead.

People do not sit and exclusively watch TV or videos anymore. They are often using their phone, tablets, and computers while watching programming which allows them to easily tune out commercials.

It’s not only streaming services that have complicated advertising. I love observing people and seeing how walking around in public has evolved. Now, you often see people taking smaller steps so that they can walk and access their phone at the same time. Or how many times have you waited on a long line at a retailer and not taken out your phone? This results in a major loss of eyes on out-of-home advertising, store’s window advertising and point-of-purchase advertising.

This makes it extremely challenging for a brand to stand out from the crowd. As a result, advertising research becomes more important than ever. Research provides so many opportunities for your brand to become more relevant, memorable, unique, and important to your consumer base. It is a smart way to get ahead of your competitors. From conducting secondary research to understanding trends to segmentation research to advertising tracking, there are multiple ways to be stand out and smarter about your advertising.

Introducing the Advertising Optimizer Express
13 Feb 2017

Written by: Carly Fink

In today’s world the consumer is awash in advertising. These communications are designed to create a position in the consumer’s mind leading to eventual purchase.

At Provoke Insights we help maximize advertising effectiveness, and ultimately garner higher ROI. Provoke Insights provides a new tool, the Advertising Optimizer ExpressTM, to help ensure your brand’s success. This online quantitative tool test all types of advertising including: banners ads, print ads, OOH, brochures, and more.

The Advertising Optimizer ExpressTM determines how your customers value different features that make up your advertisement. We find out what combination of attributes is most influential (image, CTA, key message). This way you know what is exactly working in your ad and what isn’t.

Plus, this cost effective tool can provide results in less than two weeks!

Respondents test multiple banner dimensions, graphics, messages, and brand fit.  Every respondent sees different combination and ranks each combination from 1 to  100.

You have the ability to customize the features you would like to include.

•       Up to 5 dimensions such as brand, image, message and call to action.

•       Each dimension can include 10 different values.

•       Ranks the best combination for your brand vs. the competitors.

•       The tool tests up to 100,000 combinations. Yes, you heard us right… we test up to a 100,000 different combinations.  However, each respondent only views up to 10 of these combinations.

Various brands, images, ad sizes, and messages are tested in the example listed below.

So why not test your ad concepts before spending a ton on your media buy!

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The Importance of Secondary Research when Launching a Brand
21 Nov 2016
Written by: Rachael Ryan

Whether you’re launching a new product or service for the first time, launching an existing brand in a new country, or rebranding an already successful brand… There is one common denominator – you have to do your research! Specifically, this article will discuss how important secondary research is to begin with.

Market research is often overlooked in launching a brand. Unfortunately, many a brand has failed due to lack of market research or conducting market research too late. Understanding the importance of secondary research can make or break a launch. Timing is everything in every aspect of a product launch and research is not exempt from that statement. If market research is too far down on your ‘To-Do list’ then you might be setting yourself up for failure – this isn’t just my opinion, this has been a mistake made by brands as big and bad as Coca Cola, P&G, and Microsoft in the past. And it’s easier to just do the research than it is to rectify any damage caused by an ill-thought-out or ill-researched brand launch. We have decided to put together a series of blog posts to discuss the importance of research in launching a brand, in today’s post we are going to discuss where to start.

So, when should you start your market research?

In this case, there’s no such thing as too soon. Once you have a clear idea of what you want your product to be and where you want it to go – even in theoretical terms – you need to be researching. Market research at this early stage will mean that your product answers all of your customer’s needs and the outcome will have been determined by the customer/market rather than simply creating your brand from your own opinions or from a handful of opinions within your brand. Secondary research is the most important because this is where market research starts.

Where can you start with market research?

Well, we have to go back to basics. You have to gather market intelligence. Both the market and the consumers need to be understood.

Desktop research is vital here. What is secondary research?  It is information that is already out there. You would be surprised as to how much information is available before running to do a survey or focus group.  Why is this type of research vital for a brand launch? It indicates;

  • What is happening or changing in the industry
  • What are trends to take note of
  • Who your competitors are
  • What your competitors are doing
  • What type of marketing is the competition doing (advertising, media spend, PR, etc)?
  • Who uses this type of product/service

It is also important that you use the already existing research that is out there before you start conducting your own primary research because you don’t want to double up on research and if the information is out there, then be resourceful and use that information instead of having to find it out yourself.

So how do you gain access to this information?  This type of marketing intelligence is more than a simple Google search.  Some free sources include CensusPew Research, and Statista.  However, several sources are more costly and analyzing all the data may be tedious and difficult.  Often brands reach out to firms, like Provoke Insights, to help with this important research.

Keep an eye out on Provoke Insights blog for the next part in this series or sign up for our newsletter here.

Social Listening Research 101
10 Sep 2015
It’s more than just listening to those who talk positively or negatively about your brand and your competitors online.  Social listening is such a stronger and more powerful research methodology.  It allows you to understand what trends are impacting your consumers and prospects and also learn what they are talking about so you can join the conversation.   It also provides a stronger understand of what social media channels are most suitable and effective for your target audience.  

Just like any other research methodology, you need to have a concise plan in place and formulate your objectives.  It’s important to think about why you are listening online and what you hope to achieve with this information.

Once your objectives are formulated, it’s now key to find your brand’s target audience.  Using client data, primary or secondary research to understand what is the ideal audience:

·       Psychographics

·       Beliefs

·       Interests/Hobbies

·       Media consumption

Once your audience is clearly defined, now social listening begins. You should listen to what is being said on various sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, online blogs and news outlets.    The more you listen, the more  accurate the perspective.

There are several social listening tools out there such as Trackur, or sproutsocial. Each tool has their own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to social listening. Look for what your audience is saying about the industry, trends, interests, beliefs and media habits.

Everything that you hear, make sure that you record:

·       The number of people talking about a topic
Where they are talking

·       What is the sentiment

·       Percent who are influencers and how influential they are (this is often determined by scores such as Klout).