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Gaining Richer Insights in Africa

How Discuss.io Helped Unilever To Revolutionize Their Approach To Market Research

Summary

As the demand for meaningful insights increases, budgets tighten and time becomes more scarce, researchers are looking for new alternatives to traditional market research. Where previously, researchers would spend weeks of their time and hundreds of thousands of dollars to connect with their consumers, today they are able to gather the same quality insights for a mere fraction of the cost using the Discuss.io platform. Additionally, regions and consumers that were previously inaccessible, like those across Africa, are now within reach, promoting access to richer and more diverse insights. As technology changes the landscape of research, Discuss.io is proud to partner with Unilever to lead the way in generating powerful and meaningful insights.

The Challenges

With products in over 190 countries globally, Unilever relies on market research to understand and connect with their consumers around the world. Of course, keeping track of each of these countries’ cultures and buying habits can be difficult, but in some regions, the task is especially challenging. Among other regions, Unilever has traditionally had difficulty in connecting with consumers in African countries, largely due to precarious infrastructure. Speaking directly with and understanding consumers is an integral part of Unilever’s culture. This becomes especially complicated, costly, and time consuming in the African context. In this market, consumers are widely dispersed and sometimes located in remote or rural areas. Some areas are also difficult to access due to conflict, such as Northern Nigeria. This makes travel difficult and time consuming. Traditionally, Unilever conducted this research in person by visiting consumers across the African continent to speak with them during in-depth interviews and traditional qualitative groups. These traditional methods of market research typically required a team to fly to each country, resulting in serious cost and time implications. Proving inefficient, it was time to replace these traditional methods with a more modern approach.

The Solution

As expectations of insights and deep understanding of consumers increase and budgets decrease, traditional methods of conducting market research were no longer feasible. Discuss.io, the online consumer-connection video platform, offered a solution. Using Discuss.io’s platform, the Unilever Africa team was able to cut budget and time invested by up to 90%, while maintaining their core mission and high standard for meaningful and insightful consumer-connects. After partnering with Discuss.io, Unilever teams can connect with consumers directly from their offices, with zero travel involved, in under a week’s time.

“A deep and personal understanding of the people it serves is a core component of Unilever’s DNA. Over the last year, Discuss.io has achieved significant impact on Unilever’s consumer closeness in local markets. Global research studies that used to take months now take days.”

– Keith Weed, Chief Marketing Officer, Unilever

“Discuss.io allows us to bring together consumers from around the world into the same conversation in a way that is impossible with traditional methods. They are also strong partners, who are always striving to upgrade their technology and improve the experience. Discuss.io has fundamentally disrupted the way Unilever approaches connecting with consumers and global focus groups.”

– Marie Wolfe, Consumer & Market Insights Director of Research Innovation, Unilever

Using Discuss.io’s platform, the Unilever Africa team was able to cut budgets and time invested by up to 90%, while maintaining their core mission and high standard for meaningful and insightful consumer-connects.

The Results

This year alone, thousands of Unilever consumer-connects have been conducted on the Discuss.io platform. Of these, the Unilever Africa team has been responsible for hundreds, with the majority of these being performed by the Home Care team. Traditionally, researchers’ access to consumers was limited to one or two big cities in each country. Discuss.io’s platform now allows researchers to expand their reach to more remote consumers and broaden their understanding of the market. We believe that Unilever is conducting more consumer connects in Africa than any other consumer brand in the world.

In addition to rural markets, Unilever has been able to connect with African women. These direct consumer-connects allow the team at Unilever to gain deeper insights on a variety of topics ranging from the opportunities that exist for women to sustainability in South Africa. These direct conversations enable Unilever to gain a richer, more accurate understanding of their consumers and their perspectives. Quick and cost effective access to consumers facilitates feedback that can help to refine stimulus before quantitative testing in order to ensure the effectiveness of Unilever campaigns. Poignant video clips of this feedback are especially impactful when they are shared during presentations.

Through Unilever’s many conversation-based consumer-connects, they have gained unprecedented access to their consumers’ lives in real time. Whereas insights gathered through traditional methods relied solely on the memories and claims of respondents, researchers are now also able to observe consumers first-hand through recorded video uploaded on Discuss.io’s platform. While conversations with consumers are important, this footage gives researchers an unfiltered glance into the consumers’ actions in real-time, thus giving them an additional perspective in order to enrich their understanding of consumer behavior.

These direct consumer-connects allow the team at Unilever to gain deeper insights on a variety of topics, ranging from the opportunities that exist for women to sustainability in South Africa.

About Discuss.io

Discuss.io enables brands to make better business decisions by engaging directly with consumers through real-time conversations. Using live video, brands are able to connect face-to-face, online, in order to achieve a rapid and deep-seated understanding of consumer perspectives and behaviors. This “agile empathy” encourages brands to make better real-time decisions, leading to reduced time to-market, successful products, and more effective marketing. The Discuss.io proprietary platform erases geographic barriers, expanding brands’ global reach and equipping them with a cultural and contextual understanding of the consumer populations that they target. Today, Discuss.io is powering consumer connection and empathy programs at many of the world’s leading brands. The company is headquartered in Seattle, WA, USA. Please visit www.discuss.io for more details.