We have taken a nostalgic trip into the past this summer as we revisited our PRS IN VIVO legacy of understanding why consumers really behave the way they do and how brands can influence shoppers. Our Summer Series case studies, some dating back to the 1980’s, is a reminder that we have been applying the principles of Behavioral Science (BeSci) long before they were made popular.
Like another nostalgic “oldie but goodie” you might say we have been going “Back to the Future” by looking at how PRS IN VIVO has been applying BeSci to client challenges way before it was even fashionable to describe it in those terms.
IN VIVO pioneered Shopper Labs, allowing observation of consumer behavior in-context that most closely approximate the real shopper experience, well before VR was even a concept.
Our eye-tracking research introduced by PRS decades ago allowed researchers to reach beyond what consumers SAID they read on a page, saw on a shelf, or noticed on a pack to a scientific certainty of what was actually seen. This breakthrough enabled researchers to know what influenced consumer choice unconsciously. . . and advise brands how to optimize shopper marketing accordingly.
Our Summer Series featured case studies of brands leveraging a behavioral framework to drive growth on the shelf: examples included Colgate-Palmolive’s Ajax introducing a unique floral product for household cleaner and Danone’s Vitalinea packaging reinforcing the cues to maintain its position as the category leader.
As with other BVA Group companies, we have historically enabled the best of academic learning to inform the development of world class research solutions, addressing the challenges of the world’s biggest brands.
We have since taken this instinct for understanding and mapping consumer choice architecture, validated our solutions against the most rigorous science, and blended innovation in agile methodologies with a behavioral framework to understand how consumers actually shop and consume products.
By applying BeSci before it was known as BeSci, we have been helping clients to cost effectively improve shopper and consumer experiences, in order to drive business growth.
As the summer draws to a close and we conclude our nostalgic look backwards, we are looking ahead to what role behavioral science can play into the Future.
Actually, we see evidence all around that for brands and marketers, that future is already here.
Based on the “new realities” of retail, we are seeing more and more marketers looking to BeSci to help them devise shopper marketing strategies that will work and future proof their businesses.
- Omni Channel Retail is creating new options for choices in what to shop for, where to shop, and ultimately how to purchase products. Only through observing and decoding how consumers actually behave in the new shopper journey affecting the world of grocery retail (that is frankly already here) can we understand and predict the most effective ways to intercept and influence their choices.
- Speed, convenience, and price will increasingly be levers brands will need to engage, as the time and place to influence inflection points in the shopper journey become more complex. Marketers already find themselves not only competing with other manufacturers’ brands, but private label in the very distribution channels they depend on to drive revenue. Understanding the “whys” behind consumer behavior, and the impact a competitor’s new product may have on a brand’s hold on market share, will be the only reliable formula to win in an increasingly competitive market. To meet this need for speed, convenience and cost effectiveness, we are using AI to leverage our extensive behavioral database of pack and shelf designs so brands have alternatives to getting the insights they so sorely need.
- Growing consumer concern for issues like Sustainability (in product AND packaging), trust in food safety, fair trade, country of origin, and making healthier choices present an inscrutable puzzle for brands, both in terms of products they develop and how they convey brand promise on pack, on the shelf, and online. Sorting the implications of complex choices will require a more behavioral analysis of how consumers will change or adopt new habits to support more sustainable lifestyles. Most marketers are genuinely committed to the cause of sustainability. To live up to their pledges, they will need to understand what consumers do, not just what they say they feel about the balancing act of habit and familiarity, and the truly imperative and emotional goal of protecting the environment and the future of the planet.
So, what’s next, in our own PRS IN VIVO version of “Back to the Future”?
We are excited and will be announcing solutions in our pipeline that marry the best of our behavioral framework with technology innovations, so we can continue to apply BeSci and what we know works best to understand and predict consumer choice, and help our clients address their toughest challenges and drive brand growth. One thing for sure, our mantra will continue to be to embrace experimentation and a means to fuel and accelerate innovation.
BeSci? The Future is NOW!