Opinions offer brands an opportunity to tap into the minds of consumers who now, more than ever before, demand authentic communication and transparency from the makers of the products and services they use, writes Tanya van Tonder.
Access to social media has elevated consumers over corporate marketing. Armed with their smartphones, they have a powerful voice, which they’re only too happy to use.
Consumers are unforgiving and vocal when companies let them down or run campaigns perceived as disrespectful, and often turn to social media to vent their disapproval. All of which makes brands more vulnerable to consumer sentiment.
But mobile can be a brand’s best friend – if marketers harness the power of those platforms and voices to gauge the opinions of consumers BEFORE they go ahead with campaigns that might offend people. Technology, used properly, can do that. Mobile offers real-time access to thousands of connected consumers.
Traditional media research is an important tool for marketers and brand managers, despite the time it takes to conduct, and the costs involved. With budgets stretched as tightly as they are, marketers need to know whether an idea is going to fly or flop – fast.
But because most consumers these days live frenetically busy digital and real lives, marketers need to be able to proactively access them in an instant.
Opinions in an instant
Mobile technology research company, Opinion Solutions, was created for this very reason. The company makes it easy to engage consumers who want to feel part of the decision-making process, who want to engage with brands and who appreciate transparency by maximising the power of social media to engage in real-time conversations with consumers.
With misinformation and fake news so much a part of daily life, the issue of trust is top of mind for consumers, who need to feel safe in giving their opinions, and trust that the platform used to survey them is secure.
Thousands of survey recipients are registered on the Opinion Solutions platforms. These are consumers who are comfortable enough to have a conversation, be it for ad hoc qualitative and exploratory research, or within branded private panels specific to a target market that would be involved in ongoing product development or concept testing. It’s not a hit or miss affair, but a deeply refined process, honed and developed as technology evolves.
Agility is a key strength
With exclusive rights to the Upinion mobile research app in Africa, Opinion Solutions is playing a whole new ballgame as it is global and accesses literally billions of consumers for in-the-moment mobile conversations and surveys. It can be customised for research groups and allows users to find respondents via Facebook Messenger or their Facebook pages. Results are published on a real-time dashboard. Respondents can be incentivised, too, via free products, vouchers and coupons.
Another aspect to consider is that speed to market is essential. The rapid pace of innovation has resulted in shorter product lifecycles, so the risk of delay can scupper the best laid marketing plans. Having the relevant consumer insights at the ready speeds up the process from conversation to implementation, giving brands a competitive edge through an affordable, flexible, effective research tool. In this fast-moving world, agility is a key strength. Being able to react to new market conditions, to quickly gain insights into what consumers think, and then act on it is vital for businesses wanting to stay ahead of their competitors.