A great big cookie hug: AI-powered consumer closeness and diagnostic power

Exploring the heart of consumer insights with a chatbot

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Ansie Collier, Global Innovation Director, Nova

24 Jan, 2024 | 5 minutes

Picture this: it’s a wintery morning, you have a warm cup of tea in your hand, and you have found a sunny spot on the couch to savor every bite of a delicious cookie. Or perhaps you’re having an indoor picnic with your little ones, sharing stories and giggles over yummy cookies. These moments, captured in a recent concept test, go beyond traditional survey responses, delving into the heart of consumer insights with a fundamentally more exploratory approach.

At MMR, understanding people better is at the heart of what we do. But how we communicate and live our lives has changed so much. We chat to friends and family on messenger platforms, sharing more of their lives here than ever before. They enjoy busy lives, with shorter attention spans, leaving little room for lengthy surveys. Social media has also changed the way they engage with brands – away from one-way messaging to an expectation of personality, conversation, and experience.

To keep pace, how we do research must change.

But it doesn’t have to be boring! In fact, the dynamics at play here presented a unique opportunity to tap into consumers’ lives authentically, to capture a richer and more realistic understanding to support business decision making more effectively.

Just like the game, “Truthier Truth”, we can aim to bring joy back into how we engage with consumers to get to the heart of what really matters to them and what impacts the decisions they make.

How do we make this fun and engaging?

The answer is simple: make it conversational.

Tap into that part of our DNA that is hardwired for stories. If you think about it, from a very young age, stories are how we learn, discover, and share our world with others. We are as eager to share stories as we are captivated by them.

Increasingly intelligent and expertly tailored chatbots help us to do just that, to tap into the storytelling DNA ingrained in each of us. Just look at this story shared by a consumer in a client’s recent concept test:

“Chewy and deliciously gooey… This would make my mouth water as I bite into it. I would then taste the sweetness of the cookie. A deliciously soft, chewy cookie, as I bite into it there would be a melted chocolate center.

It makes me think of sitting at home, having an indoor picnic with my little ones… Talking about the things they enjoy doing at school and laughing and joking. This cookie would be such a special treat as part of my birthday. As we don’t have much money, I’ll also make popcorn and have a movie night.”

Female. 35-55 years.

This story, captured through a chatbot, not only speaks to the sensory experience of a gooey chocolatey cookie, but also highlights the role it plays as a very special treat in an intimate family moment.

This is data with a soul.

Through expertly crafted chatbot questions, with dynamic, in-context intelligent probing, we uncovered what matters most to consumers – the texture in the moment.

The superior sensory experience delivered through texture emerged as the key driver influencing how likely consumers would be to perceive the cookie concept as new and different.

Output Example Chatbot Cookie

This insight is invaluable for our client in a saturated market where differentiation is essential to cut through, to break into established repertoires, to underpin long-term success in market.

What is more, the often-heartwarming stories consumers shared revealed that texture is inextricably linked to the moment of experience.

“As I bite into the cookie, it gives me a great big cookie hug. Indulgent and gooey. A small bite of joy to improve my mood after a stressful day at work. Just perfect, it ticks everything that you want from a premium indulgent treat.”

Male. 35-55 years.

The “cookie hug” is more than a metaphor; it is a sentiment deeply rooted in memorable moments of joy, nostalgia, and shared experiences, such as holidays, movie nights and family picnics. The emotional connection also extends to more intimate solo moments of comforting me-time. For our client, this represents an opportunity to mobilize the drivers of memorability to elevate the level of reward associated with their product, going well beyond liking alone.

For MMR, this is a recipe for success.

By leveraging the extraordinary AI-powered diagnostics we can access through people’s stories, we can bolster what MMR does best for our clients – driving superiority through the product experience.

It is stories like the ones captured in this concept test that give us access to people’s personal human truths, the stories that help us as researchers and product owners to step outside the boardroom, to get much closer to the real-world motivations, behaviors, and evolving needs of our consumers and how these impact their choices.

Armed with such a deep understanding of the consumer – the truthier truth based on real stories from real people – we can build on MMR’s mission to go beyond liking by combining our genuine expertise in product with deep AI-powered diagnostics as just the right ingredients to perfect the product experience, appealing to the hearts and minds of consumers. This is a recipe for delivering “a great big cookie hug”.

Ready to dive in?

Get in touch via the form below or speak to your MMR Account Director about incorporating conversational AI into your next survey. With chatbots collecting 135% more data compared to a standard survey - and more relevant, actionable data at that - this isn't a development worth waiting on!

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