Hypothesis vs. Reality

Every good strategy exercise begins with research, research and more research. We are constantly gathering audience insights, exploring their behaviors, hopes, dreams, needs and fears. We want to know everything that makes them tick, both rationally and emotionally. We watch categories closely for trends and shifts. We know our clients’ realities and keep a running list of these insights to form hypotheses about how our clients should meet their markets.

The next step is to test these hypotheses through tried-and-true methods like focus groups, surveys, interviews and ethnographies, all of which are complemented by innovative new techniques such as predictive social listening, in-home immersion interviews, mobile video diaries, wearable observation tech, interactive shop-alongs and in-store workshops – just to name a few.

Getting this close to our clients’ audiences allows us to unearth new insights, and on occasion we delight in discovering that our hypotheses were wrong. Often it’s the times when we were wrong when we ultimately create strategies that allow for deeper, more meaningful relationships between our clients and their audiences.

Here are just a few examples where being wrong lead us down the right path:

Hypothesis: Being a family-owned business is an appealing attribute that fosters brand loyalty
Reality: Consumers don’t care that a business is family owned
It turns out that being a family owned business doesn’t mean what it used to mean for past generations. It’s all about the product and service experience and making sure that both are consistent for every customer.

Hypothesis: Community banks are more appealing than large corporate banks
Reality: Every bank is a community bank
Is there a bank in your community? Then it’s a community bank. Our research revealed that for the majority of today’s banking consumers, it doesn’t matter when or where a bank was founded nor how it relates to the “community” it serves.

Hypothesis: Brick and mortar retail locations are unnecessary
Reality: Retail real estate is not dead. It’s flourishing
Brick and mortar experiences are critical for developing consumer relationships. We tapped industry sources and conducted convenience surveys to validate the fact that consumers want experiences – now more than ever – and brands need retail touch points to deliver them.

Disproving our original ideas not only helps us push ourselves toward better strategies, but it also acts as a reminder that the marketplace is constantly changing and evolving. If you’re willing to admit you might be wrong – or that things may have changed since you last investigated – it could very well create new paths to success for your brand. Talk to us about how we can help you be wrong.

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