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Live from #shopper360: Decoding the New Consumer Mind

The third and final day of the 14th Annual Shopper Insights in Action opened with Kit Yarrow, professor at Golden Gate University and author of Decoding the New Consumer Mind.

Professor Yarrow started off by listing three socio-cultural shifts that have changed society in recent years:

1. Technology – It’s not what we are doing with technology; it is what technology is doing to us. Consumers no longer have the attention spans they used to. We become bored more easily.

2. Individuality – There has been a shift from “we” to “me.” We tend to focus on ourselves more due an increasing feeling of self-reliance. Our self-reliance provides us with a sense of empowerment.

3. Emotionality – We are responding to shifts that don’t really make sense to us. Our sense of security and control falls, while anger and anxiety rise. Trust is down in society, consumers are more wary and guarded. Consumers take to online communities to fill that gap in lost trust. We trust people like us.

Due to an increasing lack of consumer trust, marketers need to overcome the trust deficit. Professor Yarrow suggests that marketers must “get real.”

Getting Real:

Transparency – Marketers can no longer be around the bush. Consumers want to know the truth.

Personality – Show consumers who you are.

Authenticity – Prove you are the real deal.

Humanity – Relate to the consumer

Marketers who show kindness, optimism, caring, humor and happiness will get ahead. The top 50 brands of last year all demonstrated these characteristics.

Consumers want control, predictability, humanity, visibility and respect. Marketers must meet the needs of an ever-changing consumer market in order to build trust and stay relevant.

About the Author:

Sam Wisenberg is an advertising major at Boston University.  He can be reached at


Live from #Shopper360: Sir Terry Leahy, Ravi and a stage in Chicago

The morning started with a eye-opening speech by Ravi Dhar, The George Rogers Professor of Management and Marketing at the Yale School of Management. Ravi was able to deliver such compelling content as a speed faster than the twitter crowd could capture and distribute. So, we had to sit back, listen and take notes.

Then, later in the morning we got introduced to Sir Terry Leahy and his bountiful reign at Tesco. He was the first CEO many of us heard  talk a such length and depth about data and its importance to his former organization. He is, of course, English so the drama was in between the lines, which kept most of us listening for gems like, “People are superficial in their use of data. They don’t go deep enough.” And, there we plenty more worth bits of knowledge from Sir Terry Leahy.

And, upon the finish of his speech, Sir Terry calls up Ravi Dhar in order to conduct an interview. This seemed risky to me, two equal intellectuals having a discussion, what would it feel like for the audience? Would we get further insights or just review of what they already covered? Would Ravi take the interviewer role and show is curious side?

The result was tremendous.

Sir Terry Leahy (former CEO of Tesco) interviewed by Ravi Dhar (Professor at Yale University)

Here are some of the notable thoughts share be each of the participants.

Sir Terry: “People say things on too little knowledge or no knowledge. Most of what you hear from politicians is blatantly wrong.” When you dig into the data, this is certainly revealed on so many occasions. Yes, and certainly better access to big data for the world would allow us to call the politicians out on these issues.

Ravi: “Insights are granular, but the data needs to be big for confidence. Are you getting insights that your confident in? Because, most often the answer is no.” Insightful, as we seek granular insights and consider if they can be scaled, that is often the problem, the findings are granular, but the data for business to have confidence needs to be large. Unless we change the business perspective.

Sir Terry: “I would listen to give context to the data, for rich context. See the data and even through it. You want the leadership down in the data, they (management) are in a privileged place to be able to make rapid connections.” The data itself is gathered lower in the organization and often stays there, being interpreted and socialized up through an organization. The result is a management team with great physical and cultural distance from real data. This is a failure, the experience of management gives them a unique ability to connect the dots if they see the data.

Sir Terry: “Philosophers down in the data. People who ask interesting questions of the data. Curious about how life works, how people work.” This was a great one, more philosophy majors and more people who think in this way. A marvelous insight by Sir Terry.

Ravi: He asked a leading question (a situation where its okay to be leading) on the importance of seeing more disciplines when you’re in the role of an expert. Yes, as our educational institutions splinter into specialties, it is more and more important to keep a liberal arts (emphasis on philosophy) education strong in our culture. On this, we agree entirely.

Sir Terry: “We have more information on customers, but they have more on us too.” This had to be one of the largest gems from Sir Terry. The corporation has big data, the consumer has it too in the form of transparency, social media, etc. This is a window into our future as a culture, sharing big data and finding a balance of each knowing a lot about the other.

Sir Terry: “Entrepreneurs are wired differently. When they pop up in large organizations they are often marginalized as trouble employees. They have challenging character behaviors for a large organization.” Then, he spoke to finding and using entrepreneurial people in large organizations. How you do it, how you keep them around and do what you can to avoid categorizing them as “troubled people.” They are a positive virus in an organization and can do good if the organism doesn’t reject them.

These are some of the intriguing insights into this foray into a one-on-one interview by two intellectuals.

Thank you Sir Terry and Ravi Dhar, much appreciated.

 Aaron Keller
Managing Principal, Research
Capsule Design



Announcing The International Shopper Insights in Action Event 2014

The International Shopper Insights in Action Event unites more than 250 of the world’s most influential FMCG Suppliers and Retailers to share best practices, industry innovation and illustrate the value of activation at retail.

Leading Researchers, Category Managers, Shopper Marketers, Merchandisers and Industry Experts attend to explore consumer and shopper behavior, the decision journey and how to champion the value of activating intelligence for basket growth. Shopper Insights in Action is the most integrated, cross-market shopper agenda focused on strategy and activation.

The 2014 agenda for the 3-5 November program taking place in Edinburgh, Scotland, is now available for download and is the most integrated cross-market shopper agenda focused on strategy and activation yet – download your copy here.

The World’s Most Trusted Conference Brand for Activating Research at Retail:

• 250+ attendees from the world’s most influential FMCG Suppliers and Retailers
• 35+ countries represented in global participation
• 96% manager level & above
• 76% client-side attendees
• 100% new content shared by the best minds in the shopper ecosystem

Featured 2014 Speakers include:

• Digital Retail Landscape

• Psychology of Persuasion
Nathalie Nahai, Web Psychologist and Best-Selling Author, WEBS OF INFLUENCE: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF ONLINE PERSUASION

• Location-Based Services
Simon Thompson, Director, Commercial Solutions, ESRI

• The Future of Retail
Kevin Barrett, Director or Space and Formats, SAINSBURY’S SUPERMARKETS

PLUS, Stories Shared By:

The Coca-Cola Company
Sainsbury’s Supermarkets
Dansk Supermarkets
Starbucks Coffee Company
Reckitt Benckiser
WM Morrisons
Arla Foods
Bacardi-Martini Corporation
Campofrio Food Group
Kerry Foods
Tetra Pak
and more.

Use your blog reader code ISHOP14BL to save 15% off the standard rate.



Live From #Shopper360: Death of the Gondola

Aisle in Grocery store in New Orleans, 2008. (...

Aisle in Grocery store in New Orleans, 2008. (Langenstein’s, Uptown) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rhonda Hiatt and Ryan Brazelton of  Interbrand Design Forum held a session on the death of the grocery store gondola, or the shelves that line the aisles. The first gondola was patented in 1897 and has evolved very little since then. The supermarket is seen by Hiatt and Brazelton as a “glorified stockroom” and shoppers go in and fill their carts and leave. Their main problem with gondolas is that they are restrictive and have limitations of size and the amount of messaging that can be displayed. This also prevents communication and creativity.

The Chore of Going Shopping:

While it is possible to slightly dress up these aisles, grocery shopping is still seen as a chore for most customers. Last year companies lost $83 billion just from unsatisfied customers that had a bad customer experience. This shows that customers want a change in the current system. Companies that address this issue and improve their customer experience have seen positive stock implications.

Changing the Aisles:

Hiatt and Brazelton looked at four of the least exciting areas in a grocery store: canned produce, cereal, laundry, and pharmacy to find a solution. They took a creative look to develop a theoretical new engaging experience.

- Canned Produce: An in store garden with a digital wall that could show a sunrise or allow brands to tell their stories and how their canned corn was packed fresh and never frozen.

- Cereal: Imagine a candy store shaped like a milk bowl. Shoppers could sample and test the cereal and there could be an adult brand section in the back while the children’s brands are in the front.

-Laundry: Picture a laundry lab experience that can tell shoppers what combinations of detergents work best to keep clothes clean and fresh. Without this companies cannot tell consumers the facts and technology associated with their products in the crowded aisles.

-Pharmacy: When someone is sick they need medicine so a human anatomy section of the store could be made. If a shopper has a headache then he or she could go to the head section of the store and find the right medicine. There could also be virtual pharmacists to help shoppers.

Tesla, Ikea, and Apple: Moving Away From Gondolas

-Tesla is changing everything and focusing on shopper mindset. They want to create experiences and have stores where a customer can learn about the brand and they may not even sell cars in that store. Their goal is to have customers walk out with a smile.

-Ikea separates shopping from transacting by having customers fill up a list instead of cart. Among other ideas they are also moving away with their latitude in design style.

-Apple wants people to experience brand and not focus on selling products. Its about experience and no one has caught up to them and the model they have currently.

Hiatt and Brazelton have four principles of experience design:

1. Emotion- hit people at gut level

2. Simple- people need to understand it quickly

3. Honest- keep it real

4. Memorable- need to stay with them

As soon as products are not constrained by warehousing, the product can become meaningful; and storytelling can help shopping not be a chore anymore.

About the Author:

Ryan Polachi is a contributing writer concentrating his focus on Marketing, Finance and Innovation. He can be reached at


Live from #shopper360: The Dark Side of Social Media

Marketers tend to consider social media a Godsend. It is a global platform that can be used to gather information and spread a company’s message like wildfire, what could possibly be wrong with that? Jehan Hamedi, Senior Manager of strategic market development at Crimson Hexagon is here to tell us about the unseen dark side of social media.

Social media is the single largest source of unsolicited consumer opinion, but with all of those comments and opinions being shared, chances are people are talking about your business without you knowing it. This is the dark side of social media. The most interesting conversations about your brand might not happen on your page or with your handle, which results in missing critical information from consumers.

Here is an example of Sharpie’s experience with the dark side of social media:

Data was collected about the different usages of Sharpie’s pens. The research indicated pens being used for creating fake tattoos or writing on plastic cups, but the users were not tagging Sharpie in their posts so the company was out of the loop. If Sharpie had been able to collect that data, they would have been able to form an advertising campaign around these trends and potentially sell more of their products.

There is always data you see and data you miss. The data you miss is hidden on the dark side of social media; data that could possibly be the key to increasing sales or formulating new business plans.


Live from #shopper360: Coca-Cola’s Marketing Collaboration Success Story

Preparing for the World’s largest sporting event is no small feat. According to Jessica Ellickson, Director of shopper marketing at Coca-Cola, it took her team almost two years to create a campaign for the World Cup.

Being partners with FIFA since 1976, Coca-Cola wanted to mix things up a bit this time around. Instead of focusing on the World Cup, the beverage company decided to make this year the World’s Cup. Their big idea came from two simple statements: “football is a game for everyone” and “Coke is everyone’s drink most loved and inclusive brands.”

From there, the marketing teams at Coke worked tirelessly around the clock to make this year the World’s Cup.

The team created an important three-phase calendar:

Trophy Tour



By implementing their big idea in these three phases, Coca-Cola was able to build a global following in the months leading up to the big event. Their trophy tour really kicked off the campaign. Coca-Cola got their hands on the FIFA World Cup trophy and took to the skies to bring it around the world, setting up massive events and collaborating with a multitude of brick and mortar stores as well as big brands like McDonalds and Walgreens to promote the Trophy Tour events. The Trophy Tour was such a success because it brought the spirit of the World Cup around the world before the tournament.

The Pre-Tournament phase focused on four key targets:

Young Adults – Using the World Cup to socialize, connect with friends, go out and watch the game

Teens – Same as young adults

Moms – Understand what FIFA means to her – a time where she can bring her family together to watch

Born Sportsmen – Being active and engaged

Pre-Tournament marketing focused on occasions. Coke would show ads of mom watching the big game surrounded by her family, using this as a good visual to engage consumers. Promotions were also used to engage. Coca-Cola launched their “Win a ball, give a ball” where fans could win a ball by buying Coke and in turn a ball would be donated to a school in need.

As the Tournament neared, Coca-Cola presented their idea to make the people of the world into the biggest flag ever. Using pictures sent in by fans, the beverage giant created an enormous flag-mural of all the pictures and presented it at the opening ceremony of the tournament.

With their World’s Cup campaign, the Coca-Cola Company really hoped to create memorable experiences in every channel throughout the world and there is evidence of their success when looking at their marketing efforts before and during the event.


Live from #shopper360: Winning Shoppers in 2020

Vikram Sarma, Director of Global Insights at The Clorox Company shared today the strategic imperatives for future growth.

The stylized Clorox logo used on Clorox bleach...

Clorox Logo (Photo: Wikipedia)

They evaluated over 50 trends impacting Shoppers through 2020. They don’t know if they are right but they learned a lot just from the process.

In 2020, there are gonna be these four mega forces that are going to converge to impact shoppers: diversity, health, income. Attitudes differ depending on what networks and what occasions influence you as a Shopper/Consumer.

The screens of Life Guide Shoppers in 2020: Most people have 50 apps on their device but only use 3-4 ll the time.

Automated Shopping, Health Management, Expense & Banking Management, and Virtual Communities are the most prevalent. Lead convenience innovation or be left behind. How will you help consumers in 2020?

Find your most extreme shopper and design your future with them.

Occasion Management 2020

Retailers need to determine which occasions to be 1st and best at – deliver convenience, assortment, basket

Tech 2020

Excess capacity in retail caused by ecommerce: 22%

Smart devices will create new and “captive” environments – creating new touchpoints and opportunities

Networks 2020

Marketing & merchandising needs to fit “digital shopping mode” guiding 5 modes of digital shopping – shoppers gravitate toward authentic influencers and ideas. Offer Information, Entertainment, Value for followers.

Diversity 2020

Fragmentation from increasing urbanization, ethnic diversity, aging needs, and millennial buying power. How do you scale or because a nice powerhouse?

Income 2020

Elimination of a Middle Class: Increased pressure on sources of income. 1/3 of HHs run out of money by mid-month.

Health 2020

Shoppers are looking to avoid the $1 Trillion increase in health care costs through proactive solutions. Incetivized care (biometrics & tracking), personalization (my.microbes), and prevention (socially networked resources aid in early detection) may all be opportunity to create and extract value.

2020 Shopper Implications – Imperatives to win at CPG & Retail in 2020:

Win shoppers screen to cart

Occasion based differentiation

Innovation is creating new convenience not necessarily new items

Authetic Life ideas will carry brands



Valerie RussoFormerly a senior copy editor at Thomson Reuters, a research editor at AOL,  and a senior web publicist at Hachette Book GroupValerie M. Russo is editor at large of The Front End of Innovation BlogThe Market Research Event BlogThe World Future Trends Tumblr, the Digital Impact Blog, and also blogs at She is the innovation lead and senior social media strategist for the Marketing and Business Strategy Division of the Institute for International Research, an Informa LLC., and her poetry was published in Regrets Only on sale at the MOMA Gift Shop. Her background is in Anthropology and English Literature. You can reach her at or @Literanista.





Live from #shopper360: Capturing the Hearts & Wallets of Shoppers Online

Leslie Willis, Market Research Analyst at Sports Authority and Jen Drolet, Managing Partner at iModerate shared their research on capturing Shoppers online and breaking barriers to omnichannel commerce.

Online shopping is currently at about 7% at Sports Authority.


Shipping is important in comparison shopping, it outweighs discounts and coupons in deals and return policies also are considered in the path to purchase.

A Sports Authority in Daly City, California.

A Sports Authority in Daly City, California. (Photo: Wikipedia)

The industry benchmark is set by Amazon’s hassle free return policy and shipping.

There are two factors that are really important to Shoppers: Fast & Free

Most consumers expect free shipping with a minimum purchase, expected minimum amounts range from $25-100.

Two things explored at Sports Authority were ship from store or in-store pickup.  Another way they accomodate Shoppers’ needs are in-store kiosks where they can order items online if store is out of stock.

Free Returns are huge but they also need it to be easy and hassle free. Return policies are under-researched and not meeting the expectations of Shoppers.

Sports Authority ended up with a free shipping policy for most purchases over $49, all backpacks, apparel and footwear ship for free as a direct result of the research findings produced by iModerate. Returns are now available for in-store and online.

In the past, ecommerce and in-store were two different things but now omnichannel is now expected to be seamless.




Valerie RussoFormerly a senior copy editor at Thomson Reuters, a research editor at AOL,  and a senior web publicist at Hachette Book GroupValerie M. Russo is editor at large of The Front End of Innovation BlogThe Market Research Event BlogThe World Future Trends Tumblr, the Digital Impact Blog, and also blogs at She is the innovation lead and senior social media strategist for the Marketing and Business Strategy Division of the Institute for International Research, an Informa LLC., and her poetry was published in Regrets Only on sale at the MOMA Gift Shop. Her background is in Anthropology and English Literature. You can reach her at or @Literanista.


Live From #Shopper360: Winning Connection With Passsion

Robin Hafitz is the CEO of Open Mind Strategy and she spoke about the passion economy. She brought up the notion that people find millennials hard to decode and understand. She mentions the three ‘I’s for millennials are: info hungry, individualistic, and influential. These three characteristics go hand in hand with the three ‘P’s which are: parent friendly, pro social, and passionate. Reaching these millennials may be harder than previously thought as Hafitz believes that Facebook is seen as a bad brand by millennials because they lack values and only want to expand. Connecting with a brand that has values and a passion is what engages millennials.

Millennials vs. Gen X:

According to Hafitz, millennials and Gen X disagreed only 10% of the time. Millennials were basically the same with more extremity. The millennials are “generation passionate” and follow the undercurrent of their time.The economic undercurrent is the passion economy. Companies such as twitter, Kickstarter, and Reddit are all passionate companies that lead instead of mirror the millennials.

Emergence of the Side Hustle:

When searching the term “geek” on Pinterest, 1000 boards come up. The emergence of the different types of “geek” has led people to create YouTube channels related to their inner geek. These new web stars can eventually sell advertising on their channels and make an income of of their passion even if its baking video game themed cupcakes.

Long Tail and Collaborative Consumption:

The long tail is seen in companies like Amazon because, “57% of what Amazon sells is not available elsewhere.” This is an astounding fact and shows that a company with enough warehouse space can house the specific passions of others and sell them. Collaborative consumption is the idea that in each tribe of millennials there is a “fashion friend” or a “movie friend” and that those friends are seen as a source of info about those subjects.

Reverse Branding:

According to Hafitz, the idea of reverse branding involves a “we are you, you are us” mentality. Companies such as Google and Wikipedia are incredibly successful when it comes to reverse marketing by analyzing search data to help consumers find what they want. She continued to say that marketing used to be a mirroring and now millennials want brands to lead them.

One question asked at the end of the session involved the segmentation of a target from single people to tribes of people. Hafitz answered that it was interesting but the difficulty in doing that would be the mixing of tribes by one individual. What do you think? Could tribe segmentation work as a way to target consumers?

About the Author:

Ryan Polachi is a contributing writer concentrating his focus on Marketing, Finance and Innovation. He can be reached at



Live from #Shopper360: Welcome to the Passion Economy

A fascinating take on the passion economy by Robin Hafitz, CEO of Open Mind Strategy. She gave some extremely targeted insights on the millennial generation, best interpreted and spoken of as “generation passionate”.

photo 3(2)

There are 3 I’s and 3 P’s to millenials. Information-hungry, Individualistic, and Influential. As well as, much to my pleasure, glad to hear: parent friendly, pro social and passionate.

photo 1(3)

What mostly defines a generation is what happens when they come of age. They don’t disagree with older generations, they just feel more extreme. I.e. DEBATE, which speaks to their behaviors. Millennials are also the first generation that will “fare worse than their parents”

photo 2(3)

Ultimately they are driven by passion, and one needs to connect to them and their passion, facilitate it, in order to benefit from the generation.

So how do brands connect to passion?

  • Connect to passion.
  • Target the tribe, because often decisions are made with groups.
  • Catalyze stories.
  • Don’t just reflect, but lead instead. its not an age of mirroring.
  • If you can, give your brand a  face
  • Show YOUR passion

And we ended with learning that millennials don’t necessary gel with Facebook, a brand that doesn’t meet their passion. Intriguing, right?


Sourabh Sharma, Senior Manager & Communication + Social Media Research Expert at SKIM, an international consultancy and marketing research agency, has a background in engineering, marketing and finance from the University of Pennsylvania, and the Wharton School and Rotterdam School of Management. Having worked in marketing and product development at L’Oreal, followed by a stint in management consulting, he now passionately enjoys the world of social media, and can be found on every platform with his alias sssourabh. He is a food critic and a fashion writer, and documents these alongside strategy on his blog called 3FS. He may be reached at Follow him on @sssourabh