Rapid and effective qualitative market research using mobile phones is helping drinks giant Diageo revamp its advertising and better understand the positioning of its brands in African markets.
Traditional research methods can be expensive and hard to organise, and may often deliver superficial results, so the Join The Dots agency came up with an alternative which both tapped into the behaviour of the target audience and met Diageo’s requirements around speed, quality, reach and cost.
The UMOJA Club is a collective of 250 young participants of legal purchase age based in the capital cities of Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia and Cameroon, who complete research projects on smartphones and mobile devices, an ESOMAR paper explained.
Thus, participants might be asked to purchase a drink in a shop or a bar offline, try it for the first time, and then record and reflect on the experience online.
Interactive question tools are designed for mobile participation, such as instant messaging, a WhatsApp-style live feed, swipe tools that mimic Tinder, Twitter, search and the use of emoji to illustrate reactions.
This approach enabled Diageo to save significant sums when it was reviewing its Star beer brand in Ghana, where a new ad that emphasised the beer’s superior taste to the market-leading rival had been well received but had failed to shift equity scores.
Using The UMOJA Club established that Star should tweak the ad so the brand appeared earlier and with the focus now solely on taste and quality – a process that avoided the costs of developing an entirely new ad.
At the same time, the research showed the message was not being reinforced at the point of purchase, so more marketing spend was allocated towards BTL activity, including getting more people to taste the beer to back up the claims being made in advertising.
The UMOJA Club was also able to go deeper into the semiotics of beer brands, leading to the understanding that Star’s name is a particular strength, as well as its taste.
This, coupled with the insight that Ghanian culture values one’s behaviour on the road to success as much as success itself, led to a new positioning that is both aspirational and achievable.
This was all achieved within three weeks at a fraction of the cost of using a typical brand consultancy, according to the authors of the paper.