Where to innovate

Christie Moorman & Emily Sobol // WTF FOOD

Your competition just released a new product. It was starting to get buzz on social media and then a celebrity plugged it unprompted on Instagram and the mentions lit up. Is this the Next Big Thing, or is it the next Not a Thing Anymore? Will this have sustained scale? To put it another way, will this product “tip” from niche to mainstream and should you be developing an equivalent?

Ipsos can set up virtual communities of customers who provide a more qualitative look at the trends. These communities can quickly flag issues for marketers about their products and concepts. For instance, Ipsos research shows that people want to curate their diet and lifestyle, but social conversations show that turns out to be a very individualized process, and it’s difficult to create messaging that scales. The communities are sometimes surprised (and not pleasantly) by food that seems to be vegetarian but isn’t. Some community members think stevia is natural and some don’t. These insights can prompt course corrections in both products and messaging.

As for the macro trends, the problem is that no two trends follow the same arc. But with Ipsos’ Trend Radar, we have studied enough trends over the years that we can spot trends within the trend. Does coconut water’s search trajectory look more like almond milk’s or LaCroix’s? Does a new food product appeal to the customer’s sense of health and wellness? And what does that mean to the specific consumer?

Combining these two tools gives a nuanced look at how a product is being perceived today and how that brand conversation might grow (or not) as the product and the market mature.

Christie Moorman is a senior vice president in Ipsos’ Online Communities practice where she helps Fortune 500 clients grow their brands through a better understanding of their consumers and markets.

Emily Sobol is a vice president of Social Intelligence and Analytics, overseeing research execution of social media research.


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