Market Research & Insights
Research to define and deliver growth
Combining our market research insights, techniques and intuition with our commercial and consulting expertise to help your business thrive.
Whatever your research challenge or opportunity, we will support you. Our actionable insights will get you ahead of the game, help you bounce back from tricky times, fill in knowledge gaps or unlock new growth opportunities in your category.
Identifying ownable territories for new products, brands and services.
Unlocking channels, surfacing real consumer needs and disrupting the competition.
Cutting through the noise to uncover insights and establish a simple and focused set of priorities and next steps.
Tackling the biggest questions to establish a compelling roadmap for the future.
Occasion mapping enables us to gain a detailed understanding of the underlying drivers of behaviour (the needs consumers want to satisfy) and how these change over the course of a typical day.
Concept testing enables you to proceed to market with confidence, knowing your new concept/ proposition is commercially viable. This means you can gauge your customers’ acceptance and their willingness to buy and therefore allows you to make critical decisions before launch. Throughout concept testing, you can also get in-depth insights into different aspects of your idea e.g. specific features, design elements, pricing, and more.
The perception of your brand and its competitors will have a major impact on customer purchasing decisions. Conducting a comprehensive strategic analysis of your brand landscape is therefore key.
Whether you want to investigate how your brand is being received by consumers or conduct a competitor analysis to inform development of new propositions, at HRA we are experienced in conducting brand & design research at each stage of the journey. Brand & design research can be carried out by implementing various research methods, from online surveys to focus groups and online communities.
At HRA we can help tell the story of your customers’ experiences with your brand. Throughout customer journey mapping, we can tease out the core experiences and emotions your customers go through and how these translate to different channels. HRA will work with your brand to create a visual picture of the user journey and provide insight into the likes of customer loyalty and conversion.
This refers to a variety of online research methods used to generate rich, contextual insights into human needs, behaviours, journeys and experiences. Digital ethnography can be used in a variety of situations and is particularly valuable in exploring real-world purchasing behaviours rather than claimed practices. The online community is just one example of a popular digital ethnographic technique offered at HRA.
Stakeholder feedback is critical for a company’s ongoing improvement. At HRA we can evaluate stakeholder feedback through an objective lens, helping you identify workable and efficient resolutions to any problems that may have been highlighted. We can also feedback on existing practices and processes to address concerns, improve communications, and fill any skills gaps.
The HRA Consumer Panel is our proprietary database of UK consumers. We access the panel when we’re looking for participants to take part in our food and drink market research, be it for a client or for our own leading research. It is one of the services in our HRA toolkit that is a real differentiator. Empowering the voice of the consumer is something we are very passionate about because insights from real consumers matter. Make your research exceptional, give it the edge, and make your company stand out from the rest.
Customer satisfaction research is used to understand customer perceptions and satisfaction levels with their shopping or purchase experience. This type of research can be highly valuable in understanding customer needs, as well as any areas that need improving with a product/service. Online surveys are just one method commonly employed for the likes of customer satisfaction research. Scores obtained throughout customer satisfaction research can often serve as useful performance benchmarks that can be tested over time.
Communication strategies are the strategies used by a brand to reach their target market. A range of research methodologies can be employed to help with designing and developing these strategies. Mixed method designs can be particularly useful here, with qualitative methodologies useful for defining & refining messaging for ad campaigns and quantitative research enabling us to measure both appropriacy and impact of the advertising.
While quantitative surveys can help answer simple questions like ‘which design do people prefer?’, part of the real value of quantitative data is in helping us understand the behaviour and opinions of different types of consumers. Through using SPSS to analyse the output from quantitative methods we can create distinct customer segments, each with their own thoughts and attitudes. A strong understanding of the customer is crucial to any business and a customer segmentation model adds another dimension to this understanding.
Please select for further information about the services we offer...
The bedrock of qualitative food market research, focus groups gather a room full of participants to explore almost any topic, from an emerging concept to a live product. Assessing and resolving challenges specific to your brand, company, or idea, our focus groups are usually held in public venues in London, Bristol and Manchester, with participants drawn from our growing consumer panel. We often hold focus groups in retail store training rooms, allowing us to take respondents down to the relevant category fixture and get feedback on their decision making process in a real-life store environment.
For those hard-to-reach consumers, we also offer online focus groups. This is an ideal technique when the consumers you want to speak with are spread out geographically or difficult to get together in the same room. Online focus groups also allow clients to view the sessions remotely, either live or through a video recording.
We offer interviews as an alternative to focus groups when in-depth insight is what you require. The information gathered can be more detailed and tailored to a particular consumer than other methodologies. For clients looking for research to help in their Design Thinking process, interviews can be a great starting point for exploring customer views and pain points.
Interviews can be held face-to-face, on the telephone, or via Zoom. We use CAPI data collection to ensure responses are gathered quickly and efficiently.
Engaging consumers in the real world, in-store intercepts, or ‘accompanied shopping’ is a qualitative method often used in food and drink market research where consumers are able to provide in-store feedback. This method is particularly useful for gathering data about brand delivery and experience.
Occasion mapping enables us to understand how consumers use products by reference to both the underlying drivers of behaviour (needs they want to satisfy) and how these change over these change over the typical day, in relation to time bound consumption occasions.
It’s all very well asking people about their behaviour, but often what people say they do and what they actually do can be two very different things. This is where in-home placement comes in. Through watching people interact with products in a home environment, we can get a much more reliable measure of real-life behaviour than we would just asking them about their opinions.
A useful method of gathering qualitative data is through running a workshop. We run workshops with clients as well as consumers to stimulate thoughts and develop ideas. By an outside source introducing new ideas and opinions into the mix, consumers can develop entirely new ideas, and clients are able to think differently than before. Ideation Groups are a great method of kick-starting the market research process, usually followed by more straight-forward and quantitatively robust methodologies to give it wider representation and validity.
At HRA, we recognise that market research is all about people. Trying to distil the richness and depth of peoples’ opinions onto a few charts and slides is a difficult task, and sometimes this just isn’t the right approach. This is why we see video as a hugely valuable tool – instead of reading what consumers have said, you can watch them say it for yourself. We pick out the key video excerpts from our qualitative methods, condensing the most important insights we know you’ll be most interested in into an easily digestible format.
With our in-house video production capabilities, we can turn key video extracts round for you quickly, giving you something to engage with and circulate internally before receiving the full debrief.
Rolling out a new product can be a stressful task for any food or drink business. The last thing you want is for your perfectly designed brand to be presented in a way you hadn’t intended, or for your masterfully engineered SRP to be discarded before being put on shelf. This is just one of the occasions where Mystery Shopping can be of use as our panel of fieldworkers can check up on stores and help iron out any issues.
If quantitative data is what is needed, we offer online surveys – efficient, geographically targeted research with definitive answers. Recruiting respondents from our proprietary HRA Research Panel, we can offer sample sizes of 100 to 1000 respondents depending on how robust you need the research to be. Whether you are looking for a quick sense check or some extensive data on which to base a crucial business decision, we can design a survey to meet your needs.
While quantitative surveys can help answer simple questions like ‘which design do people prefer?’, part of the real value of quantitative data is in helping us understand the behaviour and opinions of different types of consumers. Through using SPSS to analyse the output from a quantitative method we can create distinct customer segments, each with their own thoughts and attitudes. A strong understanding of the customer is crucial to any business and a customer segmentation model adds another dimension to this understanding.
Food and drink companies often come to us with questions on what flavour they should launch and whether their recipes could be improved. In order to give recommendations, we hold taste tests to find out what typical UK consumers think. Tastings are often carried at public venues with respondents usually pre-recruited beforehand and instructed on where to attend. These are usually referred to as Hall Tests and are ideal where a large sample is required.
With our newly launched Sensory Tasting Booths in our office in Devon, we are also able to conduct sensory research in a strictly controlled environment. This is an ideal method for testing different formulations where differences are relatively small and extraneous variables impacting taste perception need to be avoided.
For situations where a more ‘real life’ tasting experience is desired we can also offer remote taste tests. Using our proprietary panel, we recruit and screen a sample of 100 respondents matching your target audience and send out product samples in the post. After tasting the products in their own homes and under the conditions specified, they provide feedback on taste, as well as packaging and branding if required.
While focus groups, interviews and online surveys are great for getting instinctual feedback, sometimes it’s useful to get more considered views over time. This is where Market Research Online Communities (MROC) can be particularly useful. In this technique we use an online platform where respondents answer questions, upload photos and videos and interact with other respondents.
This method also enables us to integrate online surveys and focus groups and can be tailored to best suit your brief. This method is ideal for gathering rich and detailed insight on how people actually use products in their everyday lives and is unrivalled in the flexibility and detailed, longitudinal insight it provides.
At HRA, we will create a bespoke methodology that best caters to your research needs. Through blending qualitative and quantitative methods, data can be leveraged to generate deeper, and ultimately more reliable, actionable insights.
At HRA, we frequently undertake secondary research (otherwise known as desk research) for many clients. This is typically conducted at the project outset and enables us to identify and extract all existing sources of information on a product or category. Typically, this will enable us to summarise the likes of market size, trends, structure, competitors, target audience and opportunities. Desk research is of further value in highlighting any knowledge gaps – this can further shape and inform the next stage of the research project, enabling us to select the most appropriate approach to best fill any knowledge gaps.