Our last Rise breakfast session before the summer break was about consumer journeys. Crowd's Tom Morgan and Essi Mikkola discussed three things that often get overlooked when researching the path to purchase...

So, what exactly is a consumer journey? It’s much more than a specific purchase moment or service experience: at Crowd, consumer journeys conceptualise the experience of being a customer over a length of time, from first hearing or thinking of a brand or product, right through to making a purchase and considering buying it again. This insight can also be used to cause the most (positive!) disruption, whether it’s via innovation, communications or offers and promotions.

At our event, Essi and Tom used buying lunch as an example of a journey. Culture inevitably plays a huge part in decision-making across a consumer journey as it progresses from consideration to evaluation, purchase to post-purchase. For example, not only are current trends important when buying lunch (like the rise in probiotic eating or the proliferation of street food markets in the UK), there are also broader socio-cultural factors, such as customs and rituals that contribute to what actually makes a meal ‘lunch’ within any specific market.

Additionally we use behavioural science to help us to understand consumer journeys. Going back to our lunch example, a survey by Covent Garden Soup found that one in six people eat the same lunch every day and have done for the last two years. When analysing consumer journeys, we need to bear in mind that status quo bias comes into play as consumers often resort to purchasing the same thing. Other behavioural factors that help us understand decision-making are: priming (subconscious influences on our behaviour caused by different cues, such as words, sounds, smells and images) and heuristics (mental shortcuts used to make decision-making less cognitively difficult).

Finally, Essi discussed the power of visualising the journey, which allows us to reveal the pain points and opportunities along the purchase experience. Applying behavioural and cultural theory on top of this provides brands with specific touch-points where they can connect with consumers.

Essi and Tom left us with three reasons why consumer journeys are so important. Mapping journeys prioritises insight to ensure the greatest traction. A journey model creates actionable findings that can be used across the business. Finally, they break down siloes by encouraging holistic connections beyond marketing and product/service design, therefore inspiring cross-category change.

If you’d like to read more about consumer journeys, please contact hello@crowddna.com and we’ll send you a lovely pdf on the subject.

We're recruiting people to take part in a global lifestyle community...

Crowd DNA are looking for people to take part in a one-year community about city life for a global lifestyle brand. The community will explore people’s experience of living in a city as well as their behaviour and ideas around areas such as innovation, sustainability and retail.

We’re looking for 20-35 year-olds with good quality written/spoken English skills who live in one the following cities (and have been resident in the country for 10 years or more):

London, Mumbai, San Francisco, Shanghai, Stockholm, Tokyo

What do you need to do?

Over the course of a year, you’re asked to complete fortnightly ‘quick-fire tasks’ (e.g. polls, written responses, taking pictures) and one ‘major task’ every two months (e.g. interviewing friends, diaries). Topics will vary for every task.

What’s in it for you?

We offer remuneration in the form of Amazon vouchers for tasks completed, as well as prize draws for the best response, general engagement and overall contribution.

If you’re interested, please fill in this questionnaire:

Know someone who’s a perfect fit? Then feel free to share this post.

Thanks.

We're seeking someone for a brand spanking new role in our London office...

Crowd DNA has an excellent track record in online communities, for projects both short term and long running, and across a range of categories (media, tech, fashion retail, alcohol, entertainment). We’re recruiting for a director/associate director who can drive this part of the business forwards, building client relations, facilitating innovations, and furthering best practice among our project teams.

You will sit in our business and strategy team, working closely with Crowd DNA’s managing director and taking a lead on winning business in the online communities field and communicating our approaches to the industry. You will also work closely with our head of insight and innovation on the perfect delivery of live projects, ensuring work is executed to amazing standards. What we’re after:

- Detailed experience of online community-based research; from how to communicate their value to clients, how to set them up, how to keep them in good shape and how to illicit first rate insights; including understanding the differing demands of short term versus long term communities, smaller sample versus larger sample ones, operating across markets/languages and how best to engage clients in the work

- Knowledge of different community platforms, an aptitude for building supplier relations and assessing strengths and weaknesses of different offerings

- If you can point to experience of using communities for innovation/development oriented projects, that’s definitely a good thing

- A strong grasp of the wider repertoire of online research methods/platforms, beyond communities, is a good thing, too

- The necessary energy and dexterity to work at a senior level in a range of areas – directorial input across live projects, upskilling the wider Crowd team, devising new innovations, leading pitches and sharing our expertise with clients/prospective clients

- Even if you haven’t been directly involved in business development to date, a tangible enthusiasm for it is important

- We’ll want you to be well aligned with Crowd DNA’s own values also – attuned to cultural trends, to presenting findings in powerful, immersive fashions and receptive to new ideas and fresh thinking

Our preference is to recruit at director level for this position – though if someone with slightly less experience, but who’s a good fit nonetheless comes along, we may switch to offering an associate director role.


The role comes with a competitive salary and benefits package, plus a clear path to promotion. It’s an entrepreneurial and energised environment, fast-paced and collaborative. If you fancy working in a place where setting the agenda for the future of insight and innovation is coded into the culture, please get in touch with Crowd DNA managing director Andy Crysell, attaching a CV and covering letter.

 

We're looking to bring on board a consultant level, quant-focussed researcher to join our London team...

This is a role for an enthusiastic and confident individual who’s looking to step up from exec level to join us as a consultant (think senior research exec). The successful candidate will be responsible for drafting questionnaires, project managing quantitative fieldwork, collaborating with our clients and analysing data to draw out compelling findings. You’ll be supported by senior team members to develop your research skills, as you assist on a range of key accounts across categories such as media, tech, retail, alcohol and entertainment. The ideal candidate is likely to exhibit the following:

- Relevant experience in an agency environment

- A tangible enthusiasm for working with data and for doing so in new and novel ways

- An inquisitive and analytical mind, but also the creativity to think about new and compelling ways to present work and tell stories

- Highly organised, with excellent attention to detail and the ability to work under pressure

- Someone who’s positive, keen to develop, and who can operate with equal ease as part of a team or working autonomously

- Having either experience with, or an enthusiasm to learn about, qual methods and how to blend them with quant work a big plus point

The role comes with a competitive salary and benefits package, plus a clear path to promotion. It’s an entrepreneurial and energised environment, fast-paced and collaborative. If you fancy working in a place where setting the agenda for the future of insight and innovation is coded into the culture, please get in touch with Crowd DNA managing director Andy Crysell, attaching a CV and covering letter.

Rise: Consumer Paths

At our next Rise breakfast session in London, Crowd DNA’s products and services expert Tom Morgan will explore three things that often get overlooked by brands when they consider the consumer purchase journey...

Date: June 22

Time: 8.15am-9am

Location: Crowd DNA, 5 Lux Building, 2-4 Hoxton Square, London N1 6NU

To understand how consumers make decisions on the path to purchase, brands need help to decipher a complex journey. In this session, we’re focusing on three things that often get overlooked: cultural shifts, behavioural factors and the power of visualising results.

Tom will help you to understand consumer decision-making processes better, learning how to influence them and ultimately to unlock actionable findings for your brand.

If you’d like to join us for coffee, croissants and an insightful journey along the consumer path, please contact Jason Wolfe. And feel free to bring colleagues along for the ride.

Watch the trailer below:

Prototyping is a useful tool for brand innovation. This is what happened when graduate students joined the Crowd DNA team for a hands-on workshop...

Prototyping was the subject of this morning’s team training session at Crowd DNA and we invited some students from the MA Innovation Management course at UAL Central Saint Martins to join in the fun.

We use prototyping in two ways at Crowd DNA: for design thinking and as a research method, but we were also interested to find out how our guests bring prototyping into their work. Jose N, for instance is interested in bringing art thinking to business, which he feels opens up more creative ways to innovate than design thinking. Inga has worked with AI while Nina and Jose C (who built a prototype of an Amazonian community) are interested in design for social impact.

Leading the session was senior consultant Ken Wallraven, who explained that prototyping is a way of “thinking and expressing with the hands”. With that in mind we were split into groups and challenged to reinvent ‘breakfast on the go’. A noisy ideation and building session followed a discussion of needs, where ‘wearables’ were made from colourful string, vending machines were fashioned out of stationery and balloons were turned into drones.

While presenting our prototypes the discussion covered breakfast shaming (the perils of eating messy and smelly food on public transport), how we can learn from other categories and – if we want to think differently – why app ideas should be banned (at least in this session).

Interestingly, the prototype doesn’t always have to be a viable product. Provotypes are designed not to work but to provoke discussion, while pretotypes (derived from pretending) involve channelling your inner actor (something that certain members of the team did this morning) to mock or act out a function of a product or service.

Finally we looked at how prototyping could be useful for specific brands. If you’d like to find out more, please get in touch with our Products and Services expert, Tom Morgan.

Roll up, roll up - we're recruiting for two exciting roles in our London office...

We’re looking for two senior hires to join our wonderful team in Hoxton Square, working on fabulously diverse and exciting briefs for some of the biggest brands around.


ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR 

We’re looking to recruit an associate director to join Crowd DNA’s London office. Strong quant skills are a must for this role, but if you can blend those with qual experience and know-how, better still! Reporting in to our head of insight and innovation, your role will include managing and mentoring the wider team, and making sure we deliver high quality work that adheres to our company principles of better thinking, being agile and ensuring impact. Here’s what we’re looking for:

- You need to have the confidence and necessary experience to take the controls of large and sometimes complex projects

- And you’ll do so in a way that means you get the best out of the wider project team, ensuring we are collectively diligent and creative in equal measure

- Demonstrating experience of working on multi-market projects will be beneficial

- We don’t necessarily expect you to have ticked off every one of the research methods we deploy at Crowd, but a broad swathe of experience in quant techniques (plus an appetite for innovation) is expected

- If you also bring qual skills to the table, that’s even better

- An interest in trends and the type of brands and challenges that Crowd DNA gets involved with (look around this website if you need more of an idea) is important, as is evidence of how you’ve met business challenges in the past

- Showing you can be creative with research and have the confidence to engage clients through exciting debrief approaches is a big plus point

- Moreover, we anticipate this role going to someone who fully appreciates – and indeed relishes the fact – that the world of ‘market research’ (we don’t much like that term…) is fast changing, and that factors such as strategic thinking, stakeholder engagement, storytelling and innovation are key to the future of this industry


ONLINE COMMUNITIES DIRECTOR/ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR

Crowd DNA has an excellent track record in online communities, for projects both short term and long running, and across a range of categories (media, tech, fashion retail, alcohol, entertainment). We’re recruiting for a director/associate director who can drive this part of the business forwards, building client relations, facilitating innovations, and furthering best practice among our project teams.

You will sit in our business and strategy team, working closely with Crowd DNA’s managing director and taking a lead on winning business in the online communities field and communicating our approaches to the industry. You will also work closely with our head of insight and innovation on the perfect delivery of live projects, ensuring work is executed to amazing standards. What we’re after:

- Detailed experience of online community-based research; from how to communicate their value to clients, how to set them up, how to keep them in good shape and how to illicit first rate insights; including understanding the differing demands of short term versus long term communities, smaller sample versus larger sample ones, operating across markets/languages and how best to engage clients in the work

- Knowledge of different community platforms, an aptitude for building supplier relations and assessing strengths and weaknesses of different offerings

- If you can point to experience of using communities for innovation/development oriented projects, that’s definitely a good thing

- A strong grasp of the wider repertoire of online research methods/platforms, beyond communities, is a good thing, too

- The necessary energy and dexterity to work at a senior level in a range of areas – directorial input across live projects, upskilling the wider Crowd team, devising new innovations, leading pitches and sharing our expertise with clients/prospective clients

- Even if you haven’t been directly involved in business development to date, a tangible enthusiasm for it is important

- We’ll want you to be well aligned with Crowd DNA’s own values also – attuned to cultural trends, to presenting findings in powerful, immersive fashions and receptive to new ideas and fresh thinking

Our preference is to recruit at director level for this position – though if someone with slightly less experience, but who’s a good fit nonetheless comes along, we may switch to offering an associate director role.


Both roles come with competitive salaries and benefits package, plus clear paths to promotion. It’s an entrepreneurial and energised environment, fast-paced and collaborative. If you fancy working in a place where setting the agenda for the future of insight and innovation is coded into the culture, please get in touch with Crowd DNA managing director Andy Crysell, attaching a CV and covering letter.

 

 

Last week Crowd DNA execs Gabriel Noble, Julie Brethous and Essi Mikkola went to hear Zoe Guiraudon at the General Assembly recap on UX (user experience design) and how it helps brands...

User experience provides a crucial competitive advantage for brands. Ocado, Uber and Airbnb – the biggest innovators of recent years became winners in their categories thanks to their user interface, and the experience these provide.

Even though UX design is often discussed in the context of digital services, it’s actually an umbrella term for human-centered disciplines like service design, information design and graphic design. Everyone can benefit from the principles of UX design that follow the classic ‘Double diamond’ process established by the Design Council.

The Design Council's 'Double diamond'
The Design Council's 'Double diamond'

The practice of UX is essentially about solving problems with design. Creating user flows, wireframing and usability testing are some of the main techniques to make sure the product is good and answers the needs of its users. UX is always subjective since there’s no universal taste, though creating personas can help take into account the needs of a range of people. UX design is rooted in psychology and its main areas of interests are understanding what users think, feel and how their instincts affect these. A well-known tool for marketers, Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of needs’ proves itself handy in the case of user experiences too.

Using Maslow's 'Hierarchy of needs' to create ux
Using Maslow's 'Hierarchy of needs' to create ux

Below are some top tips for designing better user experiences:

  1. 1. User research forms the basis to any design
  2. 2. Asking the right questions is key
  3. 3. Collaboration: incorporating all stakeholders in the design process brings in more ideas and insights
  4. 4. Affinity Mapping helps visualise and come up with themes when thinking of journeys and user insights
  5. 5. Personas help to empathise with different types of users
  6. 6. Prototyping helps thinking as ideas become tangible. All you needs is a pen and paper – if a picture is worth 1,000 words, a prototype is worth 1,000 meetings
  7. 7. Iterative process = design – test – learn: repeat

What differentiates Ocado, Uber and Airbnb from their predecessors – traditional supermarkets, taxi companies and hotels – is that they’re borne out of user needs (I need food, I need someone to drive me from place a to place b, I need a place to stay). Moreover, every little detail has been designed carefully to make the experience more satisfying and to involve the least possible effort for everyone using the service. Whether it’s a visual, audio or touch-based interface, UX should be at the heart of your decisions. They say that the best services are often the ones you don’t even notice.

Part of InterFace, a series exploring – across digital and physical – how our touchpoints with brands are changing…