Mind The Gap – Consumer Centricity in a nutshell

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Transcript of recording with Tom De Ruyck – generated automatically by HappyScribe which means it will be about 80% accurate – if you spot confusing errors, please email ray@new-mr.com. The timestamps are included to help you jump directly to a point of interest.


[00:00:10.180] – Tom De Ruyck

Hi, everyone, thanks for joining in. I’m Tom. I’m a managing partner at inScience Consulting, and today I have this presentation for you. Mind the gap or mind the gaps towards consumer centricity. So I want to talk to you about what actually is needed to reach consumer centricity. This quote is one of my favorites, the only constant is change, and the rate of change is increasing or you could put it. In other words, there will never be as little change in the world.


[00:00:57.110] – Tom De Ruyck

As we experience today and in the last 12 months during the pandemic, we have even seen, I think, an acceleration of the speed of change, the pandemic acted as a tailwind for a series of trends that were already going on, but that have just become more mature, more important, more urgent to act upon than they were before covid-19. I’m talking here about digital technology and how, let’s say in 12 months time, according to McKinsey, we have gained more than seven years in digital adoption and maturity altogether.


[00:01:47.840] – Tom De Ruyck

I’m also talking about things like purpose and companies thinking beyond profit and being more into societal change and having a positive impact on the world. We clearly see that those trends have become more mature, have become more important to act upon as an organization. And we have also seen that consumers expect companies to do more in these areas and in these fields. So the world is turning fast. The world we as brands, as companies, as researchers have to work in is changing almost every single day now more than ever.


[00:02:38.120] – Tom De Ruyck

And in this type of environment, it will be the fast fish that will eat the big fish. It will be the companies that have a constant finger on the pulse with what’s happening in the world around them and that are able to act upon it quickly. That will be not only to the survivors, but the winners. So if you are a brand today, I think it’s important to have a constant finger on the pulse to know what it’s going on in the world of your consumers, of your customers, and to have an agile organization that can turn all of those learnings, all of those insights into relevant actions, business actions very quickly.


[00:03:30.810] – Tom De Ruyck

Summarizing this. This is a great quote from David Jones, the former CEO of Harvard, and he said, We need to move from marketing to consumers to mattering to people. We need to start from what it is that consumers and customers want and need. And we need to work from those insights to come up with relevant solutions. Of course, today in a fast-moving world, we need to do that at speed. Still. We need to be more consumer centric and more agile.


[00:04:11.620] – Tom De Ruyck

But first, more consumer centric. How can we be more consumer centric? Well, I think consumer centricity is about closing gaps, closing gaps between the world of the consumer, the customer and the brand. And we believe that there are three gaps that we need to close. The first one is the empathy gap. Most big companies, most brands have an issue with consumer or customer empathy. Most marketing people in organizations say that they only see consumers twice a year.


[00:04:58.250] – Tom De Ruyck

Only twice a year that can interact with consumers. And that means that they are not confronted enough, probably with the fact that they are not their consumers, in most cases, marketing people live a different life than their average consumer. Because they are slightly higher educated, they have slightly more money to spend, but also simply because of the fact that marketing people have to serve many different segments of consumers and they only live the life of one. And we see that this is a clear issue in marketing because a lot of marketing people make decisions from their own reality.


[00:05:52.570] – Tom De Ruyck

A lot of marketing people use their gut feeling and their own experiences as a consumer to make marketing decisions. And if you are only meeting up with real consumers twice a year and throughout the rest of the year, you have to learn what it is that consumers want and need from PowerPoint presentations, not seeing, feeling, almost touching those consumers. It’s very hard to really understand what it is that consumers want, and it’s very tricky as well, because in a lot of the cases, you will make interpretations of the data that you see in those PowerPoint presentations from your own reality, which is often not the day to day reality of consumers.


[00:06:41.080] – Tom De Ruyck

So if we want to avoid that, marketers make bad marketing decisions. If we want to avoid that, for example, like it is today, 80 percent of the innovations that we bring to the market can be considered not a success one year after launch. If we want to avoid those things, probably we not only need insights and lots of data and all those beautiful PowerPoint presentations, we also need more consumer empathy. We need to see consumers more because we can only turn data into insights.


[00:07:15.070] – Tom De Ruyck

If we have consumer empathy, we can only make an interpretation of insights and turn insights into relevant marketing actions. If we have enough empathy, if we understand enough what it is that consumers feel and that insight, what it is that consumer’s problem is in that insight. So the first gap that we need to close, if we want to become consumer centric is the empathy gap. We need to see consumers more and we clearly see that this is a need that lots of marketers have and have to say that in the last 12 months, that need has become very visible.


[00:07:58.990] – Tom De Ruyck

So to say. In the last 12 months, I have received more calls from marketing people and CMI people. Can we do some consumer connect over Zoom? Can we allow our marketing people, innovation people to meet an hour with the consumer every month? Can we do that? I’ve received more of those calls in the last 12 months than in the last five years, so the pandemic and the fact that we were all remote in lockdown situations has probably made it very visible that we don’t see consumers enough and has made it very clear that we need more consumer empathy if we want.


[00:08:45.710] – Tom De Ruyck

Great insights, and if we want to leverage those great insights into relevant business solutions. So that’s good news to the first couple we need to close is the empathy gap. The second gap that we need to close is what we call the relevance gap. We need to understand consumers 360 degree, we need to immerse into their lives. We need to to have that constant finger on the pulse, to be able to find insights, and of course, today we have beautiful research technology like research communities that allows us to be with our consumers almost every single day.


[00:09:31.260] – Tom De Ruyck

And all of those learnings need to be turned into insights, insights on four different levels. I think, yes, we need product insights. Yes, we need insights around the experience that we need to create around our products and services, but more than ever, we also need insights into the lives of our consumers and how we can play a relevant role as a brand into their lives. And like I’ve said before, today, consumers not only expect more pieces of technology in the experiences and the products that we create for them, they also expect more than ever.


[00:10:13.200] – Tom De Ruyck

That companies play a role in society, so we also need insights on that aspect. What is the role that brands can play in society? If we have insights on those four levels, product and service. Experience digital, but also packaging, shopping experience and so on, the role we can play as a brand in the lives of our consumers and customers and role as a brand, customers expect us to play in society, we can create almost like the perfect value proposition.


[00:10:46.950] – Tom De Ruyck

We can create the offer consumers almost can’t refuse. But it’s clear that in today’s world, if we want to be relevant, we need more insights than ever before on different levels. And once we have those insights, we need to leverage those insights into relevant solutions, relevant communication, relevant products, relevant services and companies today are in need for more and more relevant ideas. One of the solutions we have for this or we apply for this, is creative crowdsourcing.


[00:11:30.010] – Tom De Ruyck

We work together with creative consumers based on a business briefing and consumer insights, and those creative consumers are trying to solve the issue that has been explained. The consumer issue has been explained in the inside trying to solve it. They try to find a solution for it. That, of course, the brand can commercialize creative crowdsourcing. Inviting creative consumers leads to a boom of new and fresh ideas inside the company. So it’s not that marketers don’t need to be creative anymore or don’t need to brainstorm about ideas anymore.


[00:12:16.240] – Tom De Ruyck

No, they get a little bit of help from the outside, from creative consumer to boost the number and the relevance of the ideas, like in this example for the Coca-Cola Company. For the Functor Brands, they were looking for creative packaging ideas that were bringing the fun element of Fanta more to life. There were already 20 ideas within the company based on the insights. But then we brief the insights and the business issue to the creative consumers. And more than 100 creative consumers brought in more than one hundred and twelve additional fresh ideas.


[00:12:57.070] – Tom De Ruyck

So all of a sudden we had one hundred and thirty two ideas. So it’s not only about the quality of the insides and having insights on many different levels, but it’s also about once you have the insights about having lots of ideas for potential solutions to solve the wishes, the needs, the issues that consumers are describing those insights. So it’s not only important to the empathy gap, but also to close the relevance gap. The empathy gap is about, do you understand the everyday life of your consumers?


[00:13:39.480] – Tom De Ruyck

Do you feel students, our consumers, for you more than just the abstract creatures that are being described in PowerPoint presentations? Do you know them? Do you feel them, but then you need proper research, you need proper insights, you need that constant finger on the pulse to be able to find insights on different levels. And once you have those insights, you need to be able to turn them into fantastic ideas. And today you need more ideas and more relevant ideas if you want to beat the competition.


[00:14:22.960] – Tom De Ruyck

And then finally, it’s about closing the experience gap and the experience gap is all about how we experience the brand. As consumers in its communication, but also day to day when we experience the brands, when we use the brand, when we use their services, this is an example of Touhy, the travel company. One of the things we did for them recently is we locked the customer journey and we started to measure every touch points, touchpoint, satisfaction.


[00:15:02.010] – Tom De Ruyck

When we came to the conclusion that measuring every single touch point on touchpoint satisfaction in all those different touch points was only driving LPs for twenty two percent. So there were more elements that were not within the control of the brand that were having an impact on the final score. So we started to do some qualitative research to understand what are in each of the different phases of the travel journey, higher lying needs. And we started to do an audit. Are we fulfilling as a brand as to we are we fulfilling the kind of lead in that face?


[00:15:50.010] – Tom De Ruyck

Are we fulfilling that need enough? Those four different needs were before booking. Do you feel that to be supporting you to make the right decision to book the best holiday for you during, let’s say, the moment from booking till the moment of travelling? Is to me keeping me enough excited and looking forward to the vacation. So apart from just receiving your tickets, what else is it that we can do more to make us looking forward to that travel experience?


[00:16:28.120] – Tom De Ruyck

Of course, during the vacation, it’s all about escaping from everyday routine. And afterwards, people want to stay in the holiday mood. So they use these four high flying lights in each of the different phases of the travel journey to come up with additional touch points, to come up with additional touch points that were actually helping consumers. To fulfill those unmet needs. Where we were afterwards, measuring the touchpoint, satisfaction and the performance on the consumer needs.


[00:17:04.870] – Tom De Ruyck

And of course, after adding a couple of additional touch points, we could already see that we had 60 percent of LPs under control. So here you see that if we want to close the experience gap, it’s about understanding where it is that consumers are having an interaction with our brand, what they are looking for when they are interacting with our brand, what again, the unmet needs are, and trying to realize those unmet needs, trying to fulfill those unmet needs to example was on a strategic level.


[00:17:46.690] – Tom De Ruyck

But we can also think on a more tactical level when we have found what it is that consumers want, that consumers need. It’s about making every touchpoint perfect, so to speak. And for another brand in the travel world, Sky Team, we have set up a system that allows customers that are flying with them to constantly report on the experience, not to understand how we can improve the experience, but to understand how, let’s say, every touchpoint can be.


[00:18:24.180] – Tom De Ruyck

Factionalized, so that means that if something goes wrong in a touchpoint, there is immediately reporting going to the ground staff that can fix it so that for the next customer, it’s perfect. So both on a digital level and on a tactical level, we have to close the experience gap as well. So there are three gaps, the empathy gap. Are we having enough empathy for the consumer empathy that helps us to understand the lives, that helps us to turn data later on into insights and insights into ideas?


[00:19:03.770] – Tom De Ruyck

Are we closing the relevance gap or are we actually understanding consumers well enough? And do we have enough ideas in the company to turn relevant insights to relevant solutions and then finally be are we closing the experience gap or do we have an idea how consumers experience or brands what needs to be improved and. How even at a day to day level, we can make that everything is perfect by installing direct feedback loops with employees to close the empathy gap. We need to do more consumer connect to close the relevance gap.


[00:19:50.470] – Tom De Ruyck

We need more community finger on the pulse type of research. We can also make use of creative crowdsourcing and to close the experience gap. We need to constantly track how our consumers, our customers are experiencing our brands. If we close those three gaps, the relevance gap, the empathy gap and the experience gap, we can gradually move towards more consumer centricity within our organizations and companies. Thank you for listening.