Editor’s Note: Every year, participants in the GreenBook Research Industry Trends (GRIT) Report survey vote for the most innovative companies in market research. In Insights That Work, these top companies share the real-life challenges and solutions of their biggest clients.
Microsoft has always been well aware of the influence research should have on the advertising process – running ad copy testing and in-market campaign tracking. However, for the global rollout of the company’s flagship ‘Real People’ campaign, the technology giant wanted to get closer than ever to consumers, sooner in the creative lifecycle, to choose the characters best-placed to showcase the innovation and power of Windows for PCs.
Both the research and ad teams at Microsoft wanted to know whether the talent options they’d chosen as their real people would resonate with consumers. Would viewers identify with the personalities of the people they planned to feature in their ads? Are their stories relatable?
To get these answers, and determine which characters would make ad campaigns most appealing, Microsoft partnered with Voxpopme to go beyond traditional quant research with agile qual.
The ad campaign was being carefully crafted to offer a glimpse into real stories from people doing work across industries and show how they each use Microsoft products to power their work and passions.
With Voxpopme’s end-to-end ‘Video Feedback’ solution, Microsoft was able to begin deeply exploring internal theories about character performance and determine whom they should feature in the ad campaigns. To test options, Microsoft shared screening videos with consumers, asking them to watch the lives and work of these amazing people.
Immediately after watching, respondents were asked to leave self-recorded videos describing their initial reactions to the person and their story. Next, Microsoft’s research team was able to leverage the automated video analytics in Voxpopme’s platform, instantly exploring all of the content collected by searching and filtering transcripts, key themes, and sentiment associated with the characters.
Microsoft’s researchers used Voxpopme’s built-in editing tools to share this feedback with their ad team and agency – giving them more power to make decisions and cast the people they wanted in their ads based on the consumer story.
Two characters stood out as Microsoft had been considering using one for the US campaign and another for international markets. However, with the enhanced advertising insight delivered by consumer-recorded video, the researchers were able to highlight the strength of ‘Katherine’ – the character planned for international markets – demonstrating how well she connected with critical audiences. The result: Katherine was used in both domestic and global campaigns.
The additional context enabled Microsoft to optimise the ad content to avoid distraction from the campaign message. Furthermore, post-campaign testing showed how influential Katherine was with the final ad landing in the top percentile of ads tested within Microsoft’s ‘Real People’ campaign.
”In addition to helping us choose the right talent for our ads, we obtained additional context through the video feedback. This gave us some information we didn’t even know we needed – we also saw some initial hints at things that could easily derail the spot” commented Anne Sedgwick, Senior Research Manager at Microsoft.
While the research results can’t take credit for the stellar ad production, it’s no surprise that deeper insights and listening to the voice of the customer earlier in the creative lifecycle deliver content that outperforms typical advertisements, norms, and benchmarks.
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