Discovering what keeps consumers coming back to a brand again and again…or not…can be the equivalent of finding the golden ticket. Helping brands understand the reasons motivating consumers’ opinions and buying habits is one of the most important phases during a brand’s development process.
This kind of strategic qualitative research enables brand owners to collect critical feedback based on human observations and personal experiences, providing underlying influencers that drive consumers’ emotions, responses, and behaviours. But the process can sometimes face obstacles when it comes to revealing unbiased input. This could be due to a number of reasons, including environmental factors.
After spending countless hours in the same cookie-cutter environments behind glass, Chicago-based, branding agency Soulsight recognised that improving the research environment, while implementing a unique methodology, was key to uncovering the core human truths that inspire consumers. Establishing the right environment can elicit deeper insights simply because people feel more at home.
“I believe that consumer truths are best found when people feel comfortable and welcomed,” says George Argyros, Partner & CEO of Soulsight. “While traditional qualitative research facilities can deliver good results, we believe the best consumer insights are those gathered within an environment that generates inspiration and a sense of comfort. People are more apt to share their true thoughts and feelings when they don’t feel as if they’re being examined under a microscope, but rather are part of a thoughtful conversation.”
Wanting to bring a fresh perspective and creative atmosphere to its clients, Soulsight developed Soul-Lab, a non-traditional, lounge style, consumer qualitative research facility that is an optimised space for focus-groups, collaborative brand workshops, brainstorms, and break-out workspaces — all under the overarching mission of consumer-centric brand design. Paired with a highly collaborative, multi-dimensional, proven process for strategy, research, and concept development called Brand Soul, Soulsight’s team is able to dig deep to uncover the true nature of a brand’s connection with consumers, while turning discovery to insights, and transforming strategy into innovation.
The Soul-Lab has been the venue for many brands being invented and reimagined, including projects for Tyson Foods, PepsiCo, Performance Health, Sprout Insight, The Hershey Company, and MillerCoors — specifically Henry’s Hard Soda, which ranked in the list of top 10 innovative food and beverage brands for its first-year sales following launch to market. The space has allowed the Soulsight team to intentionally seek inspiration by leading clients through a proprietary creative process and observing consumers in a relaxed atmosphere that lowers barriers and gets to the kernels of truth that are the source of soulful design.
“Despite its moniker, the Soul-Lab is the anti-thesis to a “lab” — it is the type of venue to which people instantaneously feel a positive emotional connection,” says Lisa C. Mills, PhD, Principal at Sprout Insight, LLC. “From the first moment that they walk into the room, people almost forget that they are engaging in research under observation. As researchers who are always striving to find ways to help participants get acclimated swiftly so that we can get down to business quickly, we recognise that a welcoming environment goes a long way in creating a situation in which people will feel comfortable with sharing their most genuine responses.”
“The Soul-Lab has deepened our direct connection to the human experience, while allowing our team an opportunity to get firsthand consumer insights that fuel our brand strategy and innovative branding solutions that have generated brand growth and increased sales velocity for our clients,” says Argyros. “We’re excited to see the impact it will have on many other brands in the future.”