Mobilizing Urban Parents Around the World

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Information about Mobilizing Urban Parents Around the World
Business & Mgmt

Published on February 14, 2014

Author: TomDeRuyck


In 2011, Dorel discovered that their flagship brands Quinny and Maxi-Cosi were cannibalizing one another to some extent. Dorel wanted to reposition the Quinny brand into a brand for parents with a city lifestyle, as an answer to the urbanization trend. This target group was completely new to the Dorel organization, What to expect? creating a huge consumer knowledge gap. To speed up the success of the repositioning, Dorel wanted to connect the Quinny team with the new target group: the Urban Parent. To fill the knowledge gap, a 3-week global ‘Market Research Online Community’ (or ‘Consumer Consulting Board’) was launched where a dialogue took place between the Quinny team and 120+ Urban Parents from 7 big cities around the world. The immersion experience confronted the organization with the daily struggles of their core target group and the creative solutions they come up with themself. This resulted in 6 “Universal Insights” which are insights that evoke the same ‘Aha, it’s me’ feeling among people from different cultures around the globe. These insights are the fundamentals of today’s new product innovations such as the “Longboard Stroller” and branding campaigns. This paper gives insights into the power of a global and mobile community and how it has inspired Quinny to discover universal insights and translate them into actions for future branding and innovations.

The Urban Parent, a universal concept

For the first time in history, more than half the Quinny, part of the Dorel group, asked themselves world’s population lives in urban areas. By these questions. They believe that this 2030 this number will increase to almost 5 billion, urbanization trend offers many possibilities. As with urban growth concentrated in Africa and Asia parents with a global mindset consider the city as a ( The urbanization trend should place full of opportunities, Quinny believes that it will trigger business questions such as ‘What will also bring forth new growth directions for their brand. urbanization mean for serving tomorrows consumers?’ and ‘What new opportunities will there be for offerings to make customers’ lives better?’ Urbanization is a trend we can’t beat - so surely it’s time to join J. Kirby (Harvard Business Review, 2009)

The potential scale and global appeal that is The switch to this new target group will enable brought forth by the urbanization movement is Quinny to benefit from scalability advantages probably leveraged most by today’s global brands. Quinny is determined to become a global brand, by developing mobility solutions for and grow their brand strength. Quinny’s “The City Is Ours” brand platform has the right potential to become such a global brand and connect with the parents around the world that choose to live Urban Parent, but the question remained how to in the city. translate that slogan into relevant and differentiating product innovations on a global level as well as a brand activation strategy on a local level. In order to answer this question, we first needed to identify the similarities on a global level and discover the ‘universal insights’. These insights evoke the same ‘Aha, it’s me’ feeling among parents from different cultures around the globe. After that, Quinny needs to build further at their branded universe to become locally relevant in branded activations and communications.

To identify the universal insights, Quinny first needed to get under the skin of their global target group: the Urban Parents. ‘Urban Parents’ is a universal concept, unifying all parents from different cities all over the world, from New York and Berlin to Seoul and Tokyo. They all embrace the city with all its positive and negative aspects. They are used to the city life and cannot imagine living outside the city. However, when they become parents, they need to rediscover the city all over again. Quinny wanted to better understand their challenges during their ‘rediscovery’ and link them to Quinny’s product experience and brand image. In short, the research project’s aim was to discover the universal insights and translate them into actions for future branding and innovations.

In order to engage Urban Parents with research, we needed to search for a flexible solution that fits the busy schedules of the parents. Next to that, we needed to offer a great learning benefit because parents are on an ongoing search for parenting information during that period of their lives. Furthermore, to identify the universal insights the solution needed to cross the boundaries of space and time to connect with parents from cities from all over the world. Our research covered the 7 most important markets for Quinny: New York, Sao Paolo, Berlin, London, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur and Seoul. An online research community was chosen as the backbone of this research projects. This method 1) connects participants from all over the world on an online closed platform, 2) empowers participants to share tips and tricks on parenting, creating an inspiring learning environment, 3) enables participation in a flexible and asynchronous way matching the parents’ busy schedules. While this solution brought us key benefits, we also were facing 3 major challenges: 1/ Linguistic challenge 2/ Contextual challenge 3/ Engagement challenge Next we will discuss each challenge. Figure 1. The Urban Parents Community

Bringing 7 cultures together

The ‘Urban Parents Community’ is a global community. The goal of the community was to identify universal insights for Urban Parents, not so much the cultural differences. Therefore we combined all cultures on one platform and the community had to run in English while the fear existed we would lose out in terms of the fine nuances in languages. However, given the fact that this target group is part of the Global Generation, they are perfectly capable of expressing themselves in English. In order to be completely sure they actually were capable, we recruited parents who passed a TOEFL test, felt comfortable in using English and were open to learn from other cultures. In the end, 127 parents were active on the community, generating over 2,900 posts in 3 weeks’ time.

Getting under the skin of mobile parents

A second challenge we were facing through this ‘Dual screen’ refers to the parallel usage of project, was to get a sufficient number of insights desktop and mobile connection. The ‘dual in their daily lives and routines, almost like an screen’ community solution enabled members to ethnographic study. Therefore, we enabled the parents also perform ‘offline’ tasks, such as sharing the to share as much contextual and personal information about their environment as possible through a dual screen mobile community application. parent’s hotspots of the city, spotting new trends and share opportunities for the brand, in the heat of the moment. This application resulted in 433 photos, generated by 60% of the participants, 22% of which actually used the mobile app. The 2,900 posts, 433 of which were photos, show that this solution has given us the richness of an ethnographic study and the depth of several consecutive focus groups. An in-depth analysis of the usage of the mobile application, summarized in table 1, results in 3 key conclusions:

1 Mobile application increases community engagement Previous research already proved that mobile enables participants to better stay in touch with the community (Verhaeghe and Willems, 2012). Confirming Mobile/dual users N=28 that mobile increases their platform activity, our study also adds that it boosts their participation. Community analytics show that mobile users login 2.3 times more and view 1.4 more pages compared to nonmobile members. They make 65% more contributions, meaning that they are more engaged with the community. In order to keep their attention, community managers need to stimulate mobile recurrent visits and offer new challenges on a daily basis. Average # posts Average # visits Average # page views Average # words per post Total # photos Total # tagged photos Desktop-only users N=99 33 44 327 47 179* 555 20 19 232 87 254 516 *The photos of mobile/dual users were submitted through mobile only Table 1. Mobile and platform analytics

2 Mobile application generates more visual feedback While mobile/dual users contribute 1.65 more posts, they only use half the number of words compared to desktop-only users (47 vs. 87 words). One might expect that the reason for the short wording is because of a speedy contribution and a smaller screen. We observe that the words are replaced by a different, more visual contribution such as a photo or video (6.2 photos mobile-dual users vs. 2.6 photos desktop-only users). These results imply that mobile communities need to include a lot more yet shorter challenges that require multi-media feedback.

3 Mobile application results in more contextual and personal data The mobile contributions have had a Tag categories Total # tags study. While mobile generated only 41% of the total number of photos, the relevancy of those visuals is much higher. Of all photos tagged by the researcher, Brands Products & solutions Mobility Challenges Needs Love for the city 52 27 127 178 375 312 % Tagged photos submitted through desktop N=179 photos* major impact on the richness of this % Tagged photos submitted through mobile N=254 photos 56% 63% 60% 47% 57% 44% 44% 37% 40% 53% 43% 56% 52% of the tags were allocated to *The photos of mobile/dual users were submitted through mobile only photos generated by mobile. Table 2. Tagging framework With respectively 60% and 63%, tag categories ,‘mobility solutions’ (e.g. walking, public transport, car, train) and ‘favorite products’ (e.g. flexible solutions, several solutions, growing with the child) were mostly generated by mobile (see Table 2). This shows that the mobile component is of crucial importance to fully understand the user group and uncover unique and fresh insights.

Shaking the cocktail of the parents’ engagement

The long-term commitment that the members need to have provides the third challenge. There is more to building engagement than mere tools like the mobile app. In order to keep the parents engaged for 3 weeks, we needed to create the perfect mix of the right intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, following the framework of Deutskens (2006), illustrated in Figure 2. Figure 2. Urban Parents community’s cocktail of engagement

1 Unlock new parenting fun facts Members want to talk about topics that interest them and are relevant to them, like parenting advice and how to deal with transportation struggles in the city. In order to motivate the members to keep on sharing their opinions, we rewarded them with new content about their favorite topics . By responding to the challenges posted by the moderator, participants unlocked new fun facts. For example, results of a new urban life study and a video with “the making of” of a new Quinny stroller. This way, members are encouraged to keep on participating and consider it a true learning experience.

2 Shape the future of the Quinny brand Participants want to feel like they had an impact on the brand. While we started off with an unbranded community, we created a ‘secret room’ that was still locked where we would announce the sponsoring company. In the third week, the brand was revealed and the members were introduced to the Quinny team. The people from Quinny shared a personal message and gave feedback on the learnings so far. This way, the parents knew their stories and ideas were used to shape the future of this brand. “Head down to you, Quinny! You helped many people in these big cities to enjoy urban life and ease their lives with all the suggestions given in the forum! I have always admired companies who care of their clients and always backed the idea that the real people out there can give the most brilliant idea. I will definitely miss this place!” By Etito, London

3 Reward with parental incentives While extrinsic rewards with a monetary value are not the main reason to stay engaged with the community, our research-on-research has shown that this type of incentive still needs to be added to our ‘cocktail’. Previous experiments has taught us that most members prefer to receive these kinds of topicor brand-related rewards (56%) such as a goodie-bag over a generic voucher (44%) (De Wulf and De Ruyck, 2013). So, besides a money voucher, the Urban Parents also received a book with 500 tips on what parents should do with their kids before they grow up.

4 Give recognition to the ‘top 30 Urban Parents’ The gratification from successful performance of the participants’ role motivates members to participate. Therefore, we invited the 30 most active members across the 7 cities to become “Quinny Casters” and test the new Quinny stroller: Yezz. They received recognition for it on the community, but also outside of the community, making them feel proud of their special role. “Oh my GOD..!!!!!! Thanks, Quinny... Now I can show off the buggy to my other moms out there and make them jealous because this buggy is not available in Malaysia and I OWNE it...Yeay... Thanks again, Quinny!” By Asyikin, Kuala Lumpur

The universal insights

By keeping the parents engaged long-term Secondly, a strong insight is equal to a sort of ‘Aha’ with the community, we obtained rich and experience: a combination of surprise and something contextual data. After studying the behavior and familiar. It entails a view on something which was needs of this target group, we realized that these implicit all that time. Thirdly, the insight should have an parents share a lot of similar deeper motivations. ‘emotional valence’. It can be a friction or Instead of focusing on the country differences, we problem that consumers want to solve. But it could identified key ‘universal insights’ that connect also be a desire for something. Consumers should be the Urban Parents of the 7 cities, which lies the excited about having a potential solution. These three fundament for building a global brand. A universal insight evokes the same ‘Aha, it’s me’ feeling among components make up the magic formula for an insight. The better the insight, the higher the business people from different cultures around the globe. The potential. It can unlock marketing innovation on first basic aspect of a strong consumer insight is different levels: brand innovation, product innovation, ‘relevance’. A strong insight automatically calls for service innovation, communication and consumer familiarity (‘It’s me’), sometimes to the extent that activation (Verhaeghe et al., 2013). you may even learn things about yourself that you were not aware of before.

In total, 6 universal insights were identified that connect Urban Parents around the world, four of which are described below. 1 2 3 4 “My love for my city is so big that I’m ready to take up every challenge accompanied with this lifestyle” “Besides experiencing the dynamics of city life, I want my children and not forget about the authentic things in life such as nature” to go ‘back to basic’ don’t want my children to grow up thinking there are no people who care about them” “The city can be quite impersonal and I “Although we live in such a big and sometimes anonymous city, I safe and at home in our own neighborhood” really want my children to feel

1 “My love for my city is so big that I’m ready to take up every challenge accompanied with this lifestyle” Urban parents embrace the city and all its positive and negative aspects. Although the city offers many challenges for parents in terms of their mobility and relaxation, the Urban Parent can’t imagine living outside the city. They have a global mindset and are convinced that the city offers great opportunities for raising their children. So, they choose to stay in the city and constantly look for new ways to find peace and quiet for a balanced lifestyle. This is a very positive attitude towards life, making Urban Parents very resourceful in overcoming the challenges of the city.

2 “Besides experiencing the dynamics of city life, I want my children and not forget about the authentic things in life such as nature” to go ‘back to basic’ This is about the popularity of digital entertainment and the realization that children raised in the city lack the experience of nature around them. Urban Parents want to create the perfect place to raise their children and therefore take their children outside as much as possible. When they become parents, they start looking at the city from a whole new perspective and discover the city’s small and unique places of nature that are free of charge, provide fresh air and offer valuable playtime for their children. Most popular places in the city are parks and playgrounds.

3 don’t want my children to grow up thinking there are no people who care about them” “The city can be quite impersonal and I Even though many Urban Parents don’t have family or relatives close-by, they still value them enormously. The city is rather impersonal, which emphasizes the need to make sure that their children grow up knowing that there are a lot of people caring about them. Therefore, parents try to involve their extended family as much as possible. Communicating digitally through face-time or Skype plays an important role, as well as making trips to parents and grandparents. They often live outside the city but are also aware of city life and want to support their children in their busy city lives and stay close to their grandchildren.

4 “Although we live in such a big and sometimes anonymous city, I safe and at home in our own neighborhood” When urban citizens become parents, they feel the need for a community, for belonging in the big anonymous city. They start small villages in the city they live in, with the people they feel connected with, consisting of the places they visit and routes they walk. Their radius to travel within the city is seriously limited and parents prefer to visit local facilities, like supermarkets, cafes, libraries and other shops. This is where they feel safe and at home. really want my children to feel

Connecting internal stakeholders to the Urban Parents

Identifying the 6 universal insights alone was not sufficient. The next step was to inspire the rest of the organization with the Urban Parents and translate those insights into actions. Based on previous research, we know that in order to create a mind shift in the organization, we need to use a staged approach to play upon the hearts, minds and actions of the internal stakeholders (De Ruyck et al, 2011).

Engage with the world of the Urban Parent This phase is all about getting to know the Urban Parent and discovering the insights in a longitudinal, engaging and fun way. While the project team was already closely involved in Next to that, we invited different teams to play the Urban Parents Game to test their current knowledge of this target group. As a result, every 1 out of 3 employees played the game, with an average score of 66%. This result points out that the community from day 1, we needed to there were quite some knowledge gaps. Through immerse the other stakeholders as well. In instant feedback, they were confronted with order to catch the attention of sales and their own knowledge gaps, creating a positive marketing teams, a video about the disruption. This makes them feel a little bit community and the results was shown at uncomfortable about their current view on the various internal events. This video was an subject and curious about the final outcome of the important first step in bringing the consumer much closer to the employees of Dorel. project. Afterwards, we presented the insights of the study in offline sessions to close the knowledge gaps.

Inspire with eye-openers and insights In the next phase, we inspired internal stakeholders with the gained insights through engaging presentations. Several sessions were hosted to present the insights to different teams (e.g. core project team, international sales team).

Activate them by translating insights into actions The presentations were followed by interactive workshops to make sure the research outcome was used effectively. In the activate stage of the workshop we worked with the results and turned insights into ideas and concepts for innovation and brand actions purposes. In order to activate the different teams, Quinny developed a persona called “Lilly” who reflects the target group. This persona helped them to understand both her own dreams and those of her family, as well as the expectations towards the brand. It now acts as a ‘relevance check’ when one needs to make a consumer-relevant decision (‘What would Lilly say?’).

As a consequence of the staged approach, the Quinny team fully embraced the results and is now totally aware of the daily challenges of the Urban Parent. As illustrated by the following quotes, the way this collaboration was designed was an important success factor for redefining the brand: “The Quinny Community brought us to a next level in thinking about Market Intelligence. We were able to have live interaction with a big group of people in 7 cities around the globe at the same time. The insights it brought us were much richer than what we normally got from qualitative groups. People were experiencing their mobility with their child and gave immediate feedback on the spot through their mobile phone. It was a very valuable experience which led to permanent online communities for our brands. (Patricia Slootjes, “The approach was totally new to me. It is a great way to interact with and learn from consumers around the world in a quick and efficient way.” (Mark Schrooten, Innovation Director Dorel Europe) Marketing Director Dorel Europe) "Thanks to this research we were able to connect the dots and see that parents around the world have an equal mindset on the higher emotional drivers. This is a big insight and used for further development of everything that the brand stands for, from marketing, communications to product and services." (Jeroen de Bos, Senior Product Manager Quinny)

The source of inspiration for future innovation

After the immersion experience and the translation of the 6 universal insights into action, Quinny has made significant decisions influencing today’s product innovations and branding campaigns. Next, we will explain how these insights have inspired Quinny to take actions for future branding, communications and product development. Figure 3. Illustration of Quinny’s brand repositioning

Branding & Communication: From Looks to Skills The management objective was to reposition the This shift is illustrated by the example in this brand towards the city lifestyle and create relevant figure. Previous communication (Figure left) was solutions for the Urban Parent. The brand’s much more about the looks, showing an positioning shifted towards a more social independent woman emphasizing her context, taking into account the modern and appearance, rather than her role as a parent. extended family. The focus should be on the child and the parent(s), not the mother alone. The new communication message (Figure 4) takes the context of the parent into Furthermore, the brand’s focus shifted from account much more by showing different fashion, emphasizing how the mother looks, to family members, such as the husband; it more creativity and skills that parents need to live in also focuses on the skills and resourcefulness the city. required to live in the city rather than just looks

The new message is about parents who love to live in the city with their children and overcome daily obstacles together while using smart solutions. Next to this new communication campaign, the insights are also used to fuel their social media campaigns. The community discussions revealed interesting conversation starters, giving Quinny new social currency to start the conversation with their customers. Figure 4. Quinny’s previous communication message (right) and Quinny’s new communication message (left)

Product innovation: surfing in the city Next to the innovations on branding and communication, Quinny already has taken some first steps to innovate their products as well. A first example is related to the basic product features. One of the things we found out is that parents that live in the city often use their stroller for grocery shopping. Quinny’s shopping baskets where always rather small. Therefore, a project is now initiated to redesign the solutions so they are much more suitable for grocery shopping with a child. Next to the product features, new product developments were also made in the fuzzy front end. An important development that was triggered by the insight of city villages & limited mobility is the innovation experiment of the “Longboard Stroller”. Figure 5. The Longboard Stroller – An experiment in Urban Mobility

The product development team learned that Urban Parents feel limited in the distance they can cover in the city compared to their life before kids. This insight made the design team realize the daily struggle of the Urban Parent and decided to rework a previously designed stroller concept: a combination of stroller and a skateboard. This experiment is an alternative solution how parents can move around in the city while making it easier to travel longer distances in a nice, environmentally friendly way. Quinny teamed up with Studio Peter van Riet, developed a prototype and launched it in the media. As a result, the concept received a lot of coverage in the media; the Facebook page went viral and resulted in 6,500 friends in just a few months, without any advertising. The new product also featured in various newspapers and TV shows. The innovation project won the OVAM Eco Award PRO 2012 as well. This example shows how the voice of the consumer can inspire the product development team and make product innovation more relevant.

From global discoveries to local impact

This case study shows how to connect with a global generation like the Urban Parents. The results of the community research fueled the branding and innovation funnel on a global level. The next step is to continue building on Quinny’s branded universe around the identified clusters of insights, to enable localizations on the brand, product and activation level. From a methodology point of view, this study proves the importance of a mobile component in studies designed to discover participant’s environment (such as transport and mobility). The power of a mobile community lies in fact that users participate in the heat of the moment, leading to a deeper understanding and new insights. The design of a mobile community therefore needs to take into account the high intensity participation and visual nature of feedback to fully leverage its potential.

Special words of thanks to Thierry Meerschaert, Renee van Dalen and Sofie Bruggeman for their brilliant account and research work involved with the research project and the workshops as well as to the brand teams and agencies involved.

Anouk Willems Marieke Koningen Tom De Ruyck Research Innovation Manager InSites Consulting Market Intelligence Manager Dorel Head of Consumer Consulting Boards InSites Consulting

Thank you! @InSites

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