Innovation Month: Playing The Waiting Game

This Innovation Month post is a special report from The Market Research Event, where BrainJuicer is presenting and where this blog’s editor, Tom Ewing, is acting as an event blogger. This post is a write-up of an innovation case study Tom saw. Even though we didn’t do this research ourselves, we feel it has important lessons for approaching innovation and making it Fluent!

On Day 2 of TMRE, in the Innovation Track, a case study presentation by Sargento Foods inadvertently illuminated one of the big issues in innovation: the gulf between how we talk about it, and how it actually happens.

The track chairs kicked the session off with the former, a chart showing the ever accelerating pace of technological innovation. It was the kind of chart that shows the electric lightbulb and the steam engine as less dramatic advances than the iPad – but it made its point. This is how people in our industry talk innovation – as an ever-accelerating hamster wheel of change on which brands must spin or fall off.


But is that really how innovation works? Michelle Monkoski and Barbara Kilcoyne of Sargento implied a rather different view – where patience and timing, not frantic acceleration, are the keys to innovating against consumer trends. Continue reading

Innovation Month: Fighting Back Against Idea Fatigue

We’ve all heard the figures about the staggering numbers of new products launched every year. But what people don’t often say is that these innovations are rather unevenly distributed. Some categories see only a few major launches. Others see a huge turnover of new ideas. And behind every one that makes it to market there are a throng of concepts that didn’t get that far.


Trying to innovate in these everyday but high-turnover categories – think alcoholic drinks, waters, snack foods, or haircare for instance – can be frustrating, and it must seem like idea fatigue has set in and only truly special concepts can break through. The rest get dismissed – “Too boring!” “Too weird!” “Too off-putting!”

Is there hope? Yes. There are a few things you can do to improve your innovation process and optimise concepts to prevent the ones with commercial potential from getting lost. Here are our top four tips.

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System1 Politics: Who Is Theresa May’s Biggest Threat?

Theresa May’s first conference speech as British Prime Minister will dominate the newspapers tomorrow. But how strong is her overall position? Back in August we used our System1 Politics techniques to assess the strengths of several leading UK politicians.

System1 Politics – which is nominated for an award at December’s MRS Awards – takes the tools we use to track and predict the commercial success of brands and applies them to politicians and parties. We look at three baseline heuristics that drive decision-making at a fast, System 1 level.

Fame – how rapidly a politician comes to mind

Feeling – how good people feel about them

Fluency – how distinctive and recognisable they are to the public.

The 3 Fs are combined into a single star rating which gives a one-stop ‘meter reading’ of a politician’s current standing.

Here are selected topline figures for the UK.


What does this tell us? Continue reading

Innovation Month: Innovation In A Change-Phobic World

Sometimes it takes a huge event to make people look at their assumptions in a new light. Taken by surprise by the EU Referendum and Brexit, British marketers have had to think carefully about how well they knew the people they were selling to. And, as a fascinating new study by the Futures Company points out, it’s not just a British thing. All over Europe and beyond there are vast groups of consumers who feel a sense of loss in the face of change, and respond strongly to the familiar.


Marketers tend to be novelty-seeking types who talk a big game about the inevitability of change. Forcing themselves to consider more conservative or change-averse consumers can be a wrench. But while history may be on the side of change, psychology isn’t. Continue reading

Innovation Month: The Importance Of Being Easy

It languishes now on Worst Cars of all Time lists, and there’s some dispute over whether it was even made. So the Horsey Horseless Automobile, brainchild of Michigan’s Uriah Smith in 1899, might seem a strange point to begin our Innovation Month on the Brian Juicer blog.


But behind the bizarre appearance of the Horsey Horseless lurks a very important point about innovation. The easier you make it, the better it works. Continue reading

Ad Testing: More Vital Than Ever?

Online video has been one of the great success stories of digital advertising – consumers are said to prefer it as a way to consume content, and brands have invested in it massively. Its momentum is such that the news this morning that Facebook metrics have been overestimating the amount of time people spend watching videos on the platform won’t change the upward trajectory of online video or its centrality to modern marketing.

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But it is a useful reminder of how important it is to get the best content in place – work that genuinely does capture people’s hearts and eyes. And the best way to do that is testing.

Continue reading

Under The Hood Of Our System 1 Digital Content Test

This post is a sneak preview of the next generation version of our award-winning Ad Testing methodology, specially optimised for digital content.(You can hear a free webinar about it next Wednesday).


This isn’t new territory for BrainJuicer: we’ve been testing online content for as long as we’ve been testing ads. And the core of our approach is still the same as it always has been – we measure emotional response to ads to predict how effective they are.

So what’s new? We wanted to create a version of our test that reflected our philosophy on digital content – a set of principles that we think aligns very well with a new appreciation of how best to use online content in a marketing campaign. Continue reading