Despite millions being spent on research, 95% of innovations fail.

But how about we flip that on its head, and guarantee an innovation concept that gets the highest scores in database backed tests?

The Iterative Concept Builder by Catalyx is the most consumer centric approach to develop a concept from first principles. It’s proven to help our clients build innovation concepts that translate into millions of dollars when launched.

And it does so by turning concept testing from a traditional consumer test into a highly collaborative iterative building and learning experience between client, Catalyx and thousands of consumers.

In real world situations, the Iterative Concept Builder has helped to turn failing concepts into database superstars by activating consumers in multiple sprints to build each concept element by element.

The approach is proven time and time again to help clients to consistently build database-topping product propositions that win in-market and avoid all the pitfalls of the traditional innovation processes.

It is one of the key tools included in our award-winning Consumer Activation System, which works like a giant jigsaw puzzle capturing consumer behaviour, emotion, opinion and desire at crowdsourced scale.

But don’t just take our word for it…

Testimonials like this one are common for those clients that use the Iterative Concept Builder:

“Thanks to the strong partnership with Catalyx, particularly on the iterative concept build, we hit super strong results (BASES outstanding, BASES superstar, TOP20 PI). I honestly don’t think that would have been possible without the strong partnership we had with Catalyx.”

Global Insight Director, World Leading Male Personal Care Brand

So, how does Catalyx’s Iterative Concept Builder work and how can it help you? We hear you ask…

Well, in mathematics and computer science, iteration is a standard element of algorithm programming to get to the best possible output.

If we look at concept testing it is too often seen as a go/no go step rather than a learning journey, with the agency seen as a supplier of results rather than a strategic and creative partner to aid success.

At Catalyx, we have taken inspiration from the process repetition more often seen in software development to create a highly collaborative approach that takes the guesswork out of traditional concept building, with incredibly powerful results.

Current approaches to developing concepts can be a time-consuming and speculative process – and often time is the one thing a brand team doesn’t have in a competitive marketplace.

Taking the pain out of the process of good concept building

Anyone who has been involved in concept development will attest to the debate, discussion and alignment that goes into trying to craft a good concept. It can be an enormously painful process.

And in a more traditional approach, because the whole concept is tested in one go after all the internal debate, discussion and back and forth, if the consumer doesn’t like the concept it’s either a case of going back to the drawing board entirely or pulling apart the project to discover what went wrong. Which is hard to do, because it can be almost impossible to determine what it is about the concept that the consumer doesn’t like…

Is it that the product promise isn’t compelling enough? Is it that the concept isn’t believable? Is the pack design off putting? Or is the way the concept is written not that appealing? Or a mixture of all of the above?

So, teams try to evolve, retest, evolve and retest to get to the bottom of the problem, which takes time and costs a lot.

What started off as a fast, inexpensive concept test can become an expensive nightmare as the team scrabbles around looking for its next innovation or communication that will help continue to grow the brand.

And the fact that almost all product launches fail suggests something is broken in how the world approaches innovation creation.

Achieve much better results faster than traditional testing with Catalyx

At Catalyx, our Iterative Concept Builder stops all this.

Our approach achieves much better results and faster than the traditional testing process by taking the guesswork out of the process and involving the consumer and yourself throughout to build a finished product concept or effective communications messaging that will work.

We have deconstructed the process of developing a concept – and we embed ourselves and thousands of consumers into the process to help you build the concept line by line, supported by a quantifiably robust number of your target audience every step of the way.

The iterative process uses thousands of customer inputs to enable innovation that people can’t wait to buy. Over five rounds of consumer interaction with more than 200-plus consumers a round, we work step by step to:

To help you achieve full understanding of our recommendations, we promise guaranteed outputs at every stage of the process. These include:

Basically, the Iterative Concept Builder helps to take the debate out of the “conference room” as it is able to provide consumer evidence and reasoning at every stage of the process at a speed that doesn’t slow the innovation development process down.

It also helps to uncover regional differences early – a product and its messaging is likely to receive a very different reaction if it’s going to market in Germany, the US and China, and the iterative process helps to discover those alternative touch points early on and work out what to do about it.

This removes pre-assumed opinions that can become time-wasting, especially in large organisations, and it helps to blend your expertise and market knowledge with what the consumer really wants right the way through the concept development process – ultimately creating concepts that have consistently topped out databases and won in market.

How can a totally unique approach to creating a winning concept ensure your innovation success?

Despite millions being spent on research, 95% of innovations fail.

But how about we flip that on its head, and guarantee an innovation concept that gets the highest scores in database backed tests?

The Iterative Concept Builder by Catalyx is the most consumer centric approach to develop a concept from first principles. It’s proven to help our clients build innovation concepts that translate into millions of dollars when launched.

And it does so by turning concept testing from a traditional consumer test into a highly collaborative iterative building and learning experience between client, Catalyx and thousands of consumers.

In real world situations, the Iterative Concept Builder has helped to turn failing concepts into database superstars by activating consumers in multiple sprints to build each concept element by element.

The approach is proven time and time again to help clients to consistently build database-topping product propositions that win in-market and avoid all the pitfalls of the traditional innovation processes.

It is one of the key tools included in our award-winning Consumer Activation System, which works like a giant jigsaw puzzle capturing consumer behaviour, emotion, opinion and desire at crowdsourced scale.

But don’t just take our word for it…

Testimonials like this one are common for those clients that use the Iterative Concept Builder:

“Thanks to the strong partnership with Catalyx, particularly on the iterative concept build, we hit super strong results (BASES outstanding, BASES superstar, TOP20 PI). I honestly don’t think that would have been possible without the strong partnership we had with Catalyx.”

Global Insight Director, World Leading Male Personal Care Brand

So, how does Catalyx’s Iterative Concept Builder work and how can it help you? We hear you ask…

Well, in mathematics and computer science, iteration is a standard element of algorithm programming to get to the best possible output.

If we look at concept testing it is too often seen as a go/no go step rather than a learning journey, with the agency seen as a supplier of results rather than a strategic and creative partner to aid success.

At Catalyx, we have taken inspiration from the process repetition more often seen in software development to create a highly collaborative approach that takes the guesswork out of traditional concept building, with incredibly powerful results.

Current approaches to developing concepts can be a time-consuming and speculative process – and often time is the one thing a brand team doesn’t have in a competitive marketplace.

Taking the pain out of the process of good concept building

Anyone who has been involved in concept development will attest to the debate, discussion and alignment that goes into trying to craft a good concept. It can be an enormously painful process.

And in a more traditional approach, because the whole concept is tested in one go after all the internal debate, discussion and back and forth, if the consumer doesn’t like the concept it’s either a case of going back to the drawing board entirely or pulling apart the project to discover what went wrong. Which is hard to do, because it can be almost impossible to determine what it is about the concept that the consumer doesn’t like…

Is it that the product promise isn’t compelling enough? Is it that the concept isn’t believable? Is the pack design off putting? Or is the way the concept is written not that appealing? Or a mixture of all of the above?

So, teams try to evolve, retest, evolve and retest to get to the bottom of the problem, which takes time and costs a lot.

What started off as a fast, inexpensive concept test can become an expensive nightmare as the team scrabbles around looking for its next innovation or communication that will help continue to grow the brand.

And the fact that almost all product launches fail suggests something is broken in how the world approaches innovation creation.

Achieve much better results faster than traditional testing with Catalyx

At Catalyx, our Iterative Concept Builder stops all this.

Our approach achieves much better results and faster than the traditional testing process by taking the guesswork out of the process and involving the consumer and yourself throughout to build a finished product concept or effective communications messaging that will work.

We have deconstructed the process of developing a concept – and we embed ourselves and thousands of consumers into the process to help you build the concept line by line, supported by a quantifiably robust number of your target audience every step of the way.

The iterative process uses thousands of customer inputs to enable innovation that people can’t wait to buy. Over five rounds of consumer interaction with more than 200-plus consumers a round, we work step by step to:

To help you achieve full understanding of our recommendations, we promise guaranteed outputs at every stage of the process. These include:

Basically, the Iterative Concept Builder helps to take the debate out of the “conference room” as it is able to provide consumer evidence and reasoning at every stage of the process at a speed that doesn’t slow the innovation development process down.

It also helps to uncover regional differences early – a product and its messaging is likely to receive a very different reaction if it’s going to market in Germany, the US and China, and the iterative process helps to discover those alternative touch points early on and work out what to do about it.

This removes pre-assumed opinions that can become time-wasting, especially in large organisations, and it helps to blend your expertise and market knowledge with what the consumer really wants right the way through the concept development process – ultimately creating concepts that have consistently topped out databases and won in market.

Why ‘do’ in online market research is key to unlocking your crowd

How can we be confident consumers will shop our product online and our innovation won’t fail?

This is a question we get asked by clients week on week.

They want to know how we can be sure their concept innovation or product will be as successful in an e-commerce environment as it can be.

With a rise in online shopping and an environment where price is top of mind, knowing how people will purchase against the competition is crucial.

At Catalyx, we take a behavioural approach to help our clients launch a successful product. We do not rely solely on ‘claim’ data and claim purchase intent to anticipate online consumer behaviour.

Our innovative research approach is built on the ‘do’ – what will consumers actually do if they were in front of Amazon (Walmart, Tesco or Carrefour – or any other retailer) tomorrow.

Creating real-life shopping experiences

We use life-like platforms that almost exactly mimic real-life shopping experiences to share behavioural insights that predict how consumers behave in an e-commerce environment.

Our analysts accurately capture what consumers might do online by measuring every click and every scroll.

It is a very conclusive way – as close to real life as possible – of telling our clients what is likely to happen when their product or concept is launched, whether it’s as good as it can be, and where they’re going to get their market share from.

There’s no arguing with the results

The in-market response from our clients’ products has proven time and time again the accuracy of our research and recommendations:

A global baby care brand wanted to predict the in-market response to four new line extensions.

They set up two tests: A standard methodology using a claimed based survey, and a second using a true to life e-commerce replica to capture consumer shopping behaviour of the new SKUs.

Our behavioural approach, which captured what consumers actually do versus what they claimed they were going to do, predicted the in-market response with 95% accuracy.

Our approach helped identify the impact the new lines had on sales versus the competition and identified the risk of cannibalisation amongst the existing portfolio – acting as a forewarning.

This client no longer tests new innovation introduction via claimed based surveys.

They use the Catalyx Behavioural Concept Test as the true validation for their future innovation launch cycle.

The WOW of the Catalyx Behavioural Concept Test

The WOW in our behavioural approach is the actionability for marketers because the results are simple in what they share.

Our succinct reporting and strategic recommendations truly capture consumer purchase intent, helping to solve business problems or guide the focus of our clients’ innovation.

Once clients start using this approach, they don’t stop because it is that conclusive.

So, standard ‘Claim’ based purchase test or Catalyx Behavioural Concept testing – which will you choose?

Product Overview: Behavioural Concept Test

Why settle for claimed data, when we can give you real life. An entirely behavioural way of seeing how well your product idea does in its real life competitive set. The gloves are off. This shows you what will happen if you launch your concept into market in as life-like a setting as it is possible to get.

Guaranteed outcomes:

To learn more about our Behavioural Concept Test and for consumer insight to unlock your brand’s potential growth, please get in touch with the Catalyx team here to discuss your requirements.

Business Leader Magazine interview our founder and CEO Guy White about fast-track growth, our Consumer Activation System and the future

*Out now! Catalyx is the focus of the Fast Track feature in the June-July 2022 edition. Business Leader magazine is one of the UK’s leading media platforms for high growth and scale-up businesses.

Over a three-page spread, Guy shares the story of why he started Catalyx in 2012; how our flagship Consumer Activation System has changed the way that brands can achieve growth; and how we became one of the fastest emerging disruptors in the insight industry along the way.

Guy also explains how the Catalyx team has recently innovated our product offering, through our Consumer Activation System, to help businesses around the world audit in-market success, build better strategy, optimise innovation and communication.

 

You can read the full Business Leader profile here, and we’ve included a few snippets from Guy below:

On the birth of Catalyx
“Marketing strategy companies were either qualitative or quantitative, but clients don’t necessarily want this split and consumers who are performing research have no clue about it. So, the starting point for Catalyx was creating an agency that was all about giving the best possible strategic recommendation without the client really realising this split existed.”

On our Consumer Activation System
“At the starting point of Catalyx, I got really interested in crowdsourcing: the idea that the wisdom of a large group of independent and diverse people is always going to give you a more accurate understanding of human behaviour than the group of experts who are talking on their behalf, or a small group just talking to consumers through one lens. This idea led to the creation of our Consumer Activation System.”

On creating success
“As a company, we are very focused on saying to a client ‘if you work with us, you will walk away with two or three things.’ This could be a better product, better innovation, and a strategy that unlocks more growth. That’s what we promise, and then we talk about how we’ll do it.”

On the challenge of growth
“I once heard a wonderful quote that resonated with me: ‘Building a business is like designing a new aeroplane while flying the current one’ and that’s exactly how I feel.”

On the importance of a good team
“We have something we call the Culture Crowd, which can be described as an employee-led team of people working from the bottom up that are able to say what’s important, what works and what doesn’t.”

On our future plans
“We’re looking to increasingly build an outcome benefit-driven systemised approach that allows us to process complex, mixed-method data quickly to solve the bigger problems and to enable recommendations that unlock growth, because that’s what we feel is the hardest thing to do in the industry.”

Speak to the Catalyx team about working on your next project together, get in touch.

What is localism and why is it a key trend for global brands today?

Global brands risk losing customer engagement to local brands if they don’t understand how to generate brand activation and communication at a local community level*

*Consumers are engaging at a local level, accelerated by the pandemic, and will continue to do so because of technological advancements combined with long-term work and lifestyle shifts.

Even before lockdowns accelerated change, people were increasingly engaging with the authenticity and sustainability of local products, helped by the ease of access and communication through technology.

With people being forced to stay at home during the pandemic, and to stay local, we witnessed a rise in local community-based engagement. Working patterns continue to shift post-pandemic, with many adapting to a more flexible home/office life. Demand continues to exist for local engagement.

Localism means that increasingly, global brands need to find a way to become part of a more grass roots conversation – and it’s key to do that with authenticity.

Recently, the team at Catalyx has seen first-hand how major brands in the US can move from a previously successful broad-brush, national campaign approach to one that embeds itself more directly within chosen communities – and gains high-value results for it.

For instance, Catalyx helped Mountain Dew to build more valuable connections to the community by focussing efforts on key local initiatives, destinations and events that targeted Midwestern adventure sports enthusiasts.

Then, when Pepsi were looking to optimise their engagement between the brand, consumers and their favourite NFL team, Catalyx provided consumer clarity on the need to recognise the unique differences and characteristics within each fan base and to provide more localised, targeted and effective campaigns.

Consumers are now asking “but what does this mean to me?” and brands need to consider the many differences in culture, geography, lifestyle and more to find a solution that fully connects with their community. One size definitely doesn’t fit all.

So, if you’re looking to stand out from the crowd, it’s clear that local storytelling is becoming increasingly important in our data-driven and highly connected society.

Catalyx can help you discover how to engage with consumers at a local level using our Consumer Activation System’s Consumer How To Win.

We’ll promise you the following benefits:

To learn more about our Consumer Activation System and for consumer insight to unlock your brand’s potential growth, please get in touch with the Catalyx team here to discuss your requirements.

Key talking points from Qual360 Europe qualitative market research conference

The only global conference series dedicated to qualitative market research, MRMW’s Qual360 Europe 2022 was held in Berlin, Germany last week and members of the Catalyx team attended and presented at the event.

You can watch a video of our presentation, here.

Catalyx talk video

 

We heard fascinating points of view from a number of exciting international brands, and here we share a few of our key takeaways from the Qual360 Europe conference:

Catalyx blog graphic

As with Qual360 North America last month, which you can read about here, Chief Commercial Officer at Catalyx, Andrew Reed, was among the speakers. We’d love to hear your takeaways from his talk and from the other speakers at the conference on our LinkedIn page.

For consumer insight exactly how you want it, contact the Catalyx team here.

Doing business in a hyperconnected world – a help or a hindrance?

We live in a hyperconnected world. Every single moment of every day, the majority of people are connected to some form of technology.

From always-on smart wearables and smart tech in the home to active participation in technology with smart phones, streaming services, gaming and so much more.

What does this mean for brands looking to leverage technology in both product and brand communications?

Well, there are potential communication opportunities for brands to find growth in a hyperconnected product world by asking…

How can we hyper-connect our consumers to make their lives better?
We need to consider brand communications in a hyperconnected world. Consumers are consistently flooded with brand communications, and they can directly and instantly engage with these messages across multiple channels. It’s difficult to stay on top of every story or trend. And, even if you’re aware, it’s hard to know what to engage in and how best to speak to your consumers. It’s challenging to maintain a consistent brand persona and identity when there are so many different platforms to show up on to provide something of value, above and beyond another brand. It’s important to be a genuine brand on the latest platform, not just a business jumping on the bandwagon.

So, the next question is…

How can our brand better connect with our consumers using existing technology solutions and partnerships?
We understand that consumer emotion drives behaviour, opinion and desire. We know it’s important to capture all these through crowdsourced mixed methods, delivered by synthesised analysis and smart recommendations. Let Catalyx help you put the consumer at the heart of your business decisions in this hyperconnected world.

And, finally, a talking point…
Where does this hyperconnected world lead? Some suggest that live stream shopping will be the next big thing. TV shopping has been a staple of channel guides for many years, but live streaming the experience appears to be putting a rocket under the industry.

For example, Taobao Live sold £5.3bn-worth of goods in China in one day! And Coresight Research are predicting that the US live stream shopping market will be worth $25 billion in 2023. So, how does this happen?

Well, a live stream shopping event dives fully into our hyperconnected experience. It is an interactive broadcast, normally fronted by social media influencers or well-known personalities, where viewers can ask the host questions about the products that they sell.

Items appear on screen (promotional videos, how-tos etc can all be shared); consumers can discuss events across multiple channels; and, importantly, products can then be easily purchased via e-commerce platforms. It makes it a much more interactive online shopping experience but is also perceived to be more personal.

A large number of sectors are already using live-stream shopping to sell products ranging from shampoos and skin creams to cars and even houses, and it highlights how it’s easier than ever before to bring a large group of similarly minded consumers together across whole countries or event continents.

How to react to changing consumer behaviours in times of crisis

In a world that seemingly spins quicker every day, how do businesses and brands stay on top of changing consumer behaviour in times of crisis?

It’s a question that Catalyx’s brand strategists get asked a lot by those attempting to construct long-term marketing strategies that are robust, realistic and flexible.

With 24-hour rolling coverage and social media commentary by the minute, the news cycle can seem overwhelming – and it’s fair to say that there have been monumental challenges for businesses and consumers alike in recent years:

This is, of course, by no means an exhaustive list of the trials the world is facing and there are far more base factors that affect how and why people decide to make a purchase.

So, how much do the fundamentals of consumer behaviour change during major world events? Do short-term pivots always turn into long-term change? And, if people have moved on during, for example, the pandemic, what can a business do to re-engage consumers – or do we have to move on and find a more innovative path?

These are huge questions that will affect every product and brand differently, so let’s focus on the fortunes of one day-to-day product that is found in most family homes: breakfast cereal.

“Lockdown certainly saw a once in a generation boom for breakfast cereal sales, with many people eating breakfast at home and using cereal as a snack throughout the day,” said Weetabix head of category and in-store, Mark Perry.

“We weren’t surprised to see cereal sales fall since March, with more of us able to escape the house. Some still enjoyed a bowl of cereal at home or at work, but for others they returned to previous behaviours such as picking up a snack bar on the way or buying breakfast with their morning coffee.”

So, more people enjoyed their bowl of cereal when they were stuck at home than they do when they have freedom of choice and their favourite coffee shop to visit during the commute. No surprises there, perhaps.

What is interesting is that one cereal segment did continue to grow through all of this. The “natural & wholesome” sector grew its market value despite a drop in volumes sold.

Consumers were willing to spend a little more when being health conscious. Brands have quickly taken note and made it a key part of their cereal trade, while own-label value products have been slower to react and seen a drop.

Costs are going up across the board due to wide ranging international factors. From CPG brands to technology innovators, brands need to figure out the best ways to drive value in such an inflationary environment. And they need to do it quickly to take advantage of changes in the market.

You can only charge consumers more with a strong product, brand and message.

It’s hugely important to meet an unmet need. Rather than settling just for what consumers are telling you it’s essential to monitor their current actual behaviour to better predict coming trends.

None of the challenges that are facing the world are likely to pass quickly and it’s never long until the next one looms on the horizon, so it’s more essential than ever to focus in on exactly what your brand does and what you want it to be – as well as how that is perceived by consumers.

MRS Impact 2022 conference – Catalyx and Swiss Re discuss mental health market research

You can now watch the video here >

 

The world’s leading research association, the Market Research Society (MRS) hosted their annual Impact 2022 conference online on Wednesday March 16 and Thursday March 17.

During the conference, Catalyx founder, Guy White, and Swiss Re vice president, Matt Singleton, discussed the fascinating market research we’ve recently completed together surrounding the insurance industry and the topic of mental health among consumers.

You can read the conversation in full below:

Catalyx and Swiss Re at MRS Impact 2022

Introduction…

Guy White, Catalyx
0:16
Hi, I’m Guy White. I’m the CEO and founder of Catalyx. Catalyx is an insight and innovation agency that specialises in embedding consumers into the innovation and communication development processes of big brands to help unlock more brand value. I’m joined today by Matt Singleton. Matt’s the vice president of life and health products at Swiss Re, and we’re going to be talking to you today about a fascinating piece of market research that we’ve done around insurance and mental health. Matt, could you start us off with a bit of background about Swiss Re? And a little bit about your role?

Matt Singleton, Swiss Re
0:56
Thanks, guys. So Swiss Re is one of the world’s largest reinsurers. In simplistic terms, a reinsurer essentially insures insurance. We don’t actually own the relationship with the consumer, that’s our customer, the primary insurers, and I work on the life and health side. One of the important aspects we do here is new product development and product enhancements in partnership with our clients. This is the area where I’m focused, and clearly research and insights are absolutely key to enabling this.

The challenge…

Guy White, Catalyx
1:32
So, we’re here today to talk about a really interesting piece of research that Catalyx and Swiss Re partnered on. It has triggered a significant shift in how the insurance industry thinks about mental health and, indeed, about the innovations and solutions it can offer to support mental health issues. So Matt, it would be great if you could set the scene for us. Let’s imagine we’re way back in 2019 – no one knew what COVID-19 was – and give us a view of the thinking at the time and what was going on.

Matt Singleton, Swiss Re
2:11
We were aware that mental health was already an important issue and becoming an increasingly important issue in society. For our clients, there was a concern about the amount of claims that could potentially take place. But, also, it seemed there was an opportunity to do more to support clients.

So mental health prevalence is on the rise in society. Now, whether that’s just purely because prevalence has risen or because people are more open about mental health conditions and also more willing to seek support as a result – which is, of course, a good thing – is not entirely clear. It’s probably a combination of the two.

But in 2019, this was clearly an area where our clients needed support and it was an area where we felt that we needed to do more.

Guy White, Catalyx
2:59
And what triggered you to take action? And why did you feel you needed to do this big global study?

Matt Singleton, Swiss Re
3:06
So, we were witnessing increased interest and questions coming from our clients in many different geographies around the world on this topic. As a global reinsurer, we had the opportunity to leverage some of that strength and do more in this area. So that was really the driving force behind it, essentially: to do more to support our clients around the world.

Here is what happened during the research…

Guy White, Catalyx
3:39
I think it’s useful to talk about how we designed this research, before getting into what we found because that was that was part of the challenge, actually.

So, we knew we had a strong inclination that a more traditional approach to this simply wouldn’t work.

We had two main challenges:

So, we split the research a lot down these lines and into two phases.

Going forward, now we’ve designed this approach, we’ve used it subsequently to great effect in challenges as diverse as innovation development in biscuits, in hairbrushes and even in varicose veins would you believe?

On phase one, this was all about determining who the audience could be, and how big that audience is.

Now, we didn’t have the time or the budget to do a traditional segmentation analysis, but we realised that we didn’t have to understand how that audience fit into the total market.

Essentially, instead of trying to understand the entire market, we decided to set ourselves a range of hypotheses on what a likely audience could look like and then set out to prove or disprove these. You could argue that we might miss something and, frankly, you’re probably right. But we reasoned as long as we found what we needed, we’re in good shape, and Swiss Re’s deadlines were such that, in this case, perfection was very much the enemy of good.

So overall, we recruited more than 4,000 nationally represented people across seven markets in North America, Europe and Asia, and we designed a methodology that centred around the fact that ultimately this group of people would need to want to buy something from an insurer that went beyond adverse event protection – protection from after something happened. And they needed to have a certain propensity to buy from this industry.

We kept things broad, because we didn’t have a definition of what this would be beyond “something new” at the time and we reasoned they would need to have some form of motivation to buy as well – a reason why mental health products and support would be of heightened interest to them versus other things.

Then we had to see what was most strongly correlated with that broad product interest.

And the results, actually, once we ran this work, were encouraging enough that we could move on to phase two.

Ultimately, we found that the two strongest determinants of product interest was an anticipated disruption of mental health symptoms, either to myself or to my family, and in most markets we found that that audience worked out around 20% or so of the total population, which we felt was a good size to go and innovate for.

Now, when we then moved on to phase two, to actually go and design the product or the innovation or the service, the main thing we battled with here was a worry that we were dealing with an intensely personal subject: that of mental health. And culturally, potentially fairly taboo as well.

So we’re really worried that a more traditional survey based approach would simply lead to superficial one line answers.

Instead of doing anything face to face, that might get too personal, and instead of running a more traditional survey, that might be too superficial, we used our unique crowd methodology to try and get under the under the skin of things.

This was a week-long crowdsource approach working with 50 people per market in an asynchronous moderated setting across a wide range of topics and across six markets, which Matt will talk about in a little bit.

We captured 1,000s of pieces of verbatims, of imagery, of videos, of discussions and we covered a huge deal of topics and subjects, double clicking through the moderated chat when needed.

Our approach allowed us to do a decent range of mixed method data capture flexing the activities to best suit what we were trying to find out.

We then synthesised the 1,000s of pieces of mixed method data through our analytics approach to identify innovation building blocks for Swiss Re.

What are the main tensions? What are the product benefits of interest to them? What makes businesses in the insurance industry a compelling proposition for this target audience? And how to make it interesting, believable and worthwhile?

So, let’s spend some time talking about the results. So Matt, what did you find out in phase one that was interesting to you?

About the results of the research…

Matt Singleton, Swiss Re
8:40
Well, first of all, one of the interesting things was a big tick in the box of the question of are we relevant? And the answer was, yes, we are to a segment of consumers, which was, which was fantastic news. Also, we found that in Japan consumers were less willing to participate in research around this topic. They found it a bit more sensitive, especially when talking about themselves, rather than mental health as a societal issue. So that therefore created some barriers to them entering phase two. And, generally, we were also helped to understand a little more about what this segment looked like in terms of their demographics, their living circumstances etc.

Guy White, Catalyx
9:36
And was it all as expected or were there any surprises for you? Was that Japanese finding a surprise, for instance?

Matt Singleton, Swiss Re
9:44
As we’re a global company, we had had some suspicions that there could be a little bit of a stigma in Japan, which would prevent people doing such things and that would that was confirmed.

We have one of the biggest underwriting manuals in the world and, prior to this research, there was a concern that the main people who might be interested in insurance for mental health conditions would essentially be those who have had a condition in the past or were living with one currently.

And that wasn’t necessarily the case at all. There were people from all different backgrounds and it was such a positive to essentially see how many people live well with negative mental health conditions, and actually manage them on their own very, very well – often through some pretty difficult circumstances.

People just very much impressed me from that point of view.

Guy White, Catalyx
10:59
I absolutely agree with you. In some respects, I think the research and what we found was, well, you could almost describe it as heart-breaking. Some of the stories we heard and some of the things people have been through were often quite tough to read, frankly. There was this stoicism that people just live with it, got on with it and were still able to thrive in many respects. But they also felt that they didn’t have the necessary support in place.

So that was both very sad, of course, but also, from a Swiss Re perspective, it was great to know that there were potential possibilities to do something about it. To shift the marketplace.

So after phase one we cut Japan from the study, for all the reasons that have been said.

There were many, many insights but to boil down such a complex study, we basically found five big insights which I’ll talk about now.

The most unexpected thing for me was that request from consumers for insurance to help them avoid mental health issues becoming something debilitating, rather than supporting them if they did, and protecting against that fear happening, rather than a safety net when it does.

I think this insight shows that insurance providers should give them something tangible for their premium while protecting something they fear might affect them otherwise. So actually, you could argue this could become a two-for-one benefit.

But insights are worthless unless they’re actioned upon. And so, Matt, I wonder if you could tell the audience what happened next? Did this work turn into something tangible and valuable?

And then the research insights became tangible…

Matt Singleton, Swiss Re
15:46
The first thing is that those things you listed cross over with the needs of the insurer too. So, there’s a mutual alignment of interests between our clients and their policyholders, and their group scheme members.

Indeed, we want to help consumers prevent negative outcomes. We want to help them track and make sure that they get early intervention if needed. That’s the fabled win-win right there.

Based on that understanding of where they interlinked – and that one of the findings was that consumers saw our apps as being relevant providing they could link to further offline support – we essentially scoured the earth trying to find the right app space partner to join us.

Eventually, we landed on Wysa, who are building on their existing successful app, which scores 4.8 out of five on app stores and has over three and a half million users worldwide.

They’re going to build on that to essentially add the tracking wellbeing aspects and also integrations into the needs of our clients of the insurance, and we announce that in October.

We’re currently in the process of seeking a pilot for that for that app and we’ve been to a number of positive discussions around the world.

We launched this around World Mental Health Day in October 2021 and we witnessed almost 80,000 impressions with the research forming the cornerstone of that campaign, along with a Wysa launch and enhancements to our underwriting manual life guide.

All to make insurers more inclusive to people living with mental health conditions and, indeed, those who aren’t but are aware and need to protect it. So it was a big positive impact and this research really helped drive that.

And finally…

Guy White, Catalyx
17:57
It’s absolutely fantastic. As an insight agency, being quite far up in the innovation development pipeline, it’s so nice when see the impact of the work coming through and this one obviously gave us a really warm feeling that we were doing something impactful.

So, to wrap up, life insurance and health insurance used to be about physical things. About the problems that you can see. And they used to be about the pay-out if the unexpected happens; those moments that can turn your life and the lives around you upside down.

Now we’re helping the industry help people proactively protect those problems that you cannot see before they even have a chance of happening.

I think that’s a big shift in thinking.

And, in some way, I’d say we’re helping to normalise the conversation about mental health.

Swiss Re have enormous impact and power around the world to be able to push that messaging and to make it acceptable, even desirable, for people to take a proactive stance against the dangers of the darkness and the anguish of mental health problems stopping them in their tracks before they become a debilitating burden with such large consequences. Breaking down those taboos of not being able to talk about it.

So, I hope you’ll agree with me that this is a really fascinating, worthwhile piece of work and partnership. I’d like to thank Matt from Swiss Re for joining me today to present this and to you too, the audience, for listening. I hope you found it as interesting to hear about as we did to do. Thank you so much.

Key talking points from Qual360 North America qualitative market research conference

The only global conference series dedicated to qualitative market research, Catalyx attended and presented at MRMW’s Qual360 North America in Washington DC last week.

As one of the fastest emerging disruptors in the insight industry, our talk focussed on:

• How fast data isn’t necessarily accurate data.
• How cheap data isn’t necessarily cost-effective data.
• Cost-effective research, not cheap research, adds value.

Complete, Consumer, Clarity is the fundamental mission here at Catalyx, and we were delighted how our message was received at Qual360 North America. In fact, if you would like to work with our talented team of brand strategists on your next project, you can contact us here.

It wasn’t just about Catalyx, however, and we also heard fascinating points of view from a number of exciting international brands.

Here we share a few of our key takeaways from the conference:

For consumer insight exactly how you want it, contact the Catalyx team here.

Metaverse and your business – marketing revolution or evolution?

An immersive digital world, the metaverse is still at a very early stage of development – and there’s no one simple definition.

According to Influencer Marketing Hub, a metaverse is ‘always active; exists in real time; players have individual agency; a self-contained, fully functioning universe on a mix of platforms; and contains user-generated content”.

There could be as many metaverses as there are brands who create them. These self-contained universes are a potential tool for digital marketeers, creatives and brands who want to target consumers who engage through self-created avatars in virtual reality worlds.

The marketing world is abuzz with the metaverse. Brands can create metaverses fairly cheaply and there are potential opportunities for brands to play big in this virtual world if consumers engage.

The metaverse could close the gap between ecommerce and instore shopping through virtual product discovery. Consumers go into a shop and they can try a product before purchasing. Online, they find speed and convenience without trial. The metaverse could combine the convenience of online with the reassurance of testing before purchase.

Brands could use the metaverse to drive growth through combining social experiences with product purchase. Brands will be able to create a specific social universe, which users can virtually interact with and then be able to buy products from – e.g. a fashion show to showcase items that are available to purchase. It could also enable brands to benefit from user generated context on an even greater scale.

The metaverse could accelerate communication about brand purpose. For example, P&G’s BeautySphere allows consumers to interact with the brands while allowing P&G to share details about their approach to sustainability and promote their long-term values.

How do I measure engagement? There are currently no defined measurement metrics for engagement in the metaverse. So, if return on investment can’t be measured, could long-term goals around awareness provide the justification needed for investment instead?

Is there a risk for brands who move into the metaverse too quickly? If brands get it wrong, then reputations can be put at risk. However, mitigating the risk – by for example, building partnerships with existing metaverse platforms – could reduce the likelihood of getting it wrong.

Right now the metaverse is hype*
*The question we’re all asking is if and when people will engage with the metaverse.

Currently, there’s relatively low consumer awareness of the metaverse. According to wundermanthompson‘s trend report: ‘only 38% of global consumers have heard of the metaverse.’ Even less will be actively trying to engage.

While the metaverse is on the tongues of brands and marketers, consumers are not heavily invested. Those currently engaged are already engaged in gaming or virtual tech. The dominant user groups of these virtual spaces are Gen Z and Millennials.

People will need to buy technology accessories, such as headsets, to get involved in the metaverse, so the benefits will have to be clearly understood and relevant to the mass market if they’re to truly engage. Based on current consumer interest, this is a long way off.

The metaverse could remain hype, so brands should make sure their audience is wishing and willing to engage with it – but also understand what benefits will drive engagement. Brands need to know why they’re creating a “universe”.

It appears that, for now, the metaverse doesn’t change anything about the basics of marketing. Brands still need insight to communicate in a way that is relevant and authentic about a product, and with a message that is on point and delivers to consumer needs.

The metaverse may not be a revolution but instead an evolution of our online environment. It won’t fundamentally change how people are currently living but may be used to successfully amplify what already exists.

The key thing for brands, however, is to only play in this new virtual universe where they can see and measure real benefit and genuine engagement – and to ensure that reputations aren’t being put at risk through lack of control.