In today’s shifting world of business, many companies are beginning to focus more energy on enabling consumer centricity and innovative business practices. Using Unilever as an example, an article recently published in the Harvard Business Review, “Building an Insights Engine,” explains why these practices are important and how they deliver results. The efficacy of these practices was measured by a study called Insights2020 (i2020), conducted by strategy consultancy Kantar Vermeer, and is referenced and supported throughout the article. “Building an Insights Engine” is a collaboration between authors Frank van den Driest, chief client officer and a founding partner of Kantar Vermeer, Stan Sthanunathan, executive VP for consumer and market insights (CMI) of Unilever, and Keith Weed, CMO of Unilever.
In order to be consumer-centric, a company must see the value of data. However, the authors insist, companies cannot rely on the data alone to speak for itself. Instead, data must be used to draw meaningful insights which can then be developed into actionable strategy. The authors call this the “insights engine.”
In order to drive consumer centricity, Unilever has implemented multiple innovative, non-traditional practices. These practices range from promoting collaboration with clients and fellow employees, to provocative storytelling, to experimentation. Among other ways, Unilever embraces the spirit of experimentation through an in-house marketing-technology incubator called the Foundry. Following a format inspired by CNBC’s Shark Tank, the Foundry invites startups to give their pitch, after which it votes whether to pilot or reject the idea. Discuss.io is one of the startups backed by the Foundry.
Here at Discuss.io, we are familiar with Unilever’s innovative, consumer-centric practices, having experienced them first-hand. Not only have we been fortunate enough to have a long relationship with them as one of our customers, but we are also one of only 37 technologies that the Foundry has scaled up, out of more than 650 screened and 175 piloted. Through this close collaboration with Unilever, we at Discuss.io have reeped immeasurable benefit from the guidance and support of the Unilever team. In return, Unilever gains access to Discuss.io, the online consumer-connection video platform. The use of our platform directly facilitates their core mission: to connect with consumers. Here’s how:
Through Discuss.io’s platform, decision-makers are enabled to instantly target their desired niche demographic and determine insights on a variety of market research topics through on-demand qualitative consumer interviews and focus groups using webcams.
Unilever understands that agile market research is essential to understanding today’s market. Direct access means that authentic, quality insights are accessible to researchers in just a few clicks via our fast, transparent, and democratic research platform. Additionally, the recorded video for sessions conducted on Discuss.io’s platform is automatically synchronized to a searchable transcript to help locate consumer quotes, which then can be shared as video clips within seconds. This not only brings the insights to life, but also facilitates the spread of insights and collaboration among colleagues and clients.
Through collaboration with Discuss.io, Unilever is able to successfully execute the “insights engine,” mentioned above. The success of Unilever’s approach is dependent on the multifaceted mixture of data, insights, and action, and the use of Discuss.io’s non-traditional approach to market research allows Unilever to embrace consumer centricity through an innovative and disruptive approach to gathering data and insights.
If you’d like to learn more about how Discuss.io can do the same for you, join us at our weekly webinar.
Zach Simmons is the Founder and president of Discuss.io. Zach has 20 years of experience building software. Prior to founding Discuss.io, he was the Technical Product Manager for Amazon Web Services (S3) where he ran the team that built the infrastructure that now powers a significant percentage of the modern Internet. Zach holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
An entrepreneurial leader, Zach is passionate about building disruptive and agile SaaS based market research startups as an alternative to traditional market research. Seeing a need for change within the Industry, Zach launched Discuss.io, bringing Market Research to the digital age.