By continuing your visit to this site, you accept the use of cookies. These ensure the smooth running of our services. Learn more.

Doing Business in an Expanding Reality - Page 3

  • How to Succeed Marketing to Seniors? The Point of View of Repères

    Pin it!

    seniors,silver economyThe latest subject addressed by Market Research News concerns the target group of the Seniors, about which the Repères teams have developed substantial expertise.

    Below is a transcription of the interview with Yaël Bensoussan (Repères Health) and Ariane Lacas (Repères Quali) conducted by Thierry Semblat 

    Market Research News - The notion of the "Silver Economy" and of consumer growth being driven more and more by seniors is increasingly being evoked.Do you have any figures that substantiate this?

    Yaël Bensoussan:There are a lot of statistics available on the question, but there is one essential determining factor.The fact that we live longer and longer, on average 78 years for men and 85 for women.Even if there are regional differences, the French are gaining an extra three months of life expectancy every year.Since the period of life as a senior is extending, this group is becoming more prevalent.Even if one sticks to a restrictive view of seniors by only taking into account the 65 plus, they represent 17.1% of the population and more than half of them are aged over 75.This prevalence has grown by more than one point in only ten years.In France it is estimated that as from next year the prevalence of the 60 plus will be greater than that of the under 20s!


    Two of the big questions concern the definition of what is a senior and the best way of breaking up this population.What's your take on these points?

    YB:It's true that the notion varies a great deal depending on the perspective.A top sportsman or sportswoman is a senior from the age of 35 or 40!Taking the health perspective provides a good insight.Apart from specific pathologies (metabolic, oncological, infectious, etc.), people experience a first life stage of good health.During this stage they have illnesses of course but they recover from them and these illnesses only have a small impact on lifestyle and consumption.Then there comes the life stage requiring permanent health care.At this stage people are obliged to take medication for the rest of their lives, care must be delivered on a permanent basis with the need for regular medical analyses.And eventually comes the stage during which other health issues emerge and unavoidably lead to death.


    The major break is there, when the issue is "extending" life?

    YB:Absolutely.We switch to a relationship which suggests an end through death.This greatly contaminates the use of and the imaginary dimension associated with medicines, which also concern consumer products.  The scope of possibilities is reduced, and the relation to time is changed considerably.


    From this perspective which segmentation do you feel is most relevant?

    YB:Generally we identify three main physiological ages:that of the "young seniors", which could also be referred to as "seniors in transition"; then come the seniors "in their prime"; and lastly, the "ultra-seniors".


    Let's start with the young seniors.Who are they and what characterises them?

    YB:They are aged between 50 and 60, are still working, and may live with children.They don't live as if they were "old", especially since our society focuses on youthfulness and performance.But there is a tension due to the fact that the body starts to fail (pre-menopause, andropause, etc.), but which is denied in order to postpone implementing the prevention strategies of the healthcare life stage we evoked earlier.This tension provokes the so-called "change of life", the middle-age crisis which manifests itself through a certain number of events.Often there is the need to be seductive again, with a sexual potency that is no longer the same, but which can now be enhanced simply with a medical prescription.


    Among this age group there is a sort of denial, which can provide considerable marketing opportunities... Is it this denial that disappears when people reach their "prime"?

    YB:Absolutely.This second group of seniors in their prime are aged between 60 and 70/75, typically they are recently retired.The children have left home, and grandchildren are now coming into their lives.This group represents a large proportion of the population because they are the children of the so-called post-war baby-boomers.They are sometimes referred to as the "Happy Boomers", or even "Bohemian Boomers".They often have a high purchasing power having benefitted from a long period of full employment.They are very different from the grandparents of the past:They use the Internet and mobile phones, travel, and have acquired a certain moral freedom.And they refuse to break with social life!


    Even when retired, they continue to play an important role in society?

    YB:Indeed.They are particularly active in voluntary associations and quite naturally play a pivotal role, either in terms of major social changes or simply within the family by helping their children and their parents at the same time.


    In spite of their age, do they still project themselves into the future?

    YB:Yes, absolutely.Some of them postpone integrating the healthcare stage mentioned earlier, but the majority of them receive good health care.They are the object of major preventive health plans (flu, cancer, Alzheimer, DMLA...).They are well informed about their health care needs and usually have a rather consumerist approach to health care and health insurance.  Their prevalent attitude is to continue as before as long as possible, and to get the most out of life.


    At what age does this blissful period end?

    YB:On average people shift into the ultra-senior stage after 75, when they become isolated or care is provided by the family or institutions.These ultra-seniors represent 9% of the French population today, and this proportion will continue to grow.This age group can be subjected to degenerative diseases occurring at advanced ages (Alzheimer's) and which naturally raise major public health issues (who will pay and what is the cost for society?).They are very well cared for (in hospital or at home thanks to high quality care) and the prevailing approach in France is to preserve life at all cost whereas other European countries have more restrictive approaches.


    The question is relatively vast, but how would you define the main challenges when seeking to successfully target these age groups?

    YB:When working with this target you need to think and rethink the product mix as a whole.You must work with the actual product, but also with the packaging, the ergonomics, as well as communication and distribution channels.You also have to ask questions such as whether seniors, depending on the segmentation we mentioned earlier, are going to be able to open packaging easily, or be able to carry the products.There is a need to picture being "in their shoes".If one considers health problems, it's obvious that there is a lot that needs do be done in terms of communication.

    Ariane Lacas:In relation to a certain number of physiological disorders, the idea is to see how the taboo might be lifted, which requires having good insights that need to be sublimated so the target can hear the message, and identify with it without any sense of embarrassment.


    And in the area of consumer goods?

    AL: In these universes, as with that of cosmetics, the question is to know how, given the age factor and the new physiological constraints, a certain number of aspirations to consume and derive enjoyment from consuming may be experienced.There's a great quote from Confucius that sums it up perfectly:"We all have two lives, and the second one starts when we realise we only have one life".This means that when we become aware of our limits and of our mortality we start to live our true life, without the possibilities we used to have but with the need to experience enjoyment and pleasure.This is when a new relationship between aspirations, needs, and possibilities must be decoded for the different categories of products and services.Paradoxically, the stronger the need, the more difficult it is to experience the desire and consume the product.The problem needs to be addressed in terms of a new way of consuming, of proposing new uses in relation with a new imaginary dimension, which takes into account declining physical and sensory faculties.The intention is to continue to offer these people useful products for their enjoyment, especially since they are people who in most cases have a life expectancy of thirty to forty years.It is in the interests of brands to deploy a genuine customer loyalty strategy by creating new areas of trust.


    What does this mean for the different segments you mentioned?

    AL:  The young seniors are a rather new phenomenon in the history of humanity.Many things need to be rethought, especially when it comes to communicating to them.There is a prevalent "anti-age" discourse which this group relates to but which they also tend to ignore.They will be receptive to a new discourse which breaks away from stigmatising or being "anti" but privileges a "positive" and a "together" approach.For the seniors in their prime, we undoubtedly need to redefine a discourse including individuation because they are very individualistic and vitality because of the fear of aging.And there is a need to enhance the pivotal status of this generation which is often a generation of reference.As for the ultra-seniors, they have fewer demands or needs.But they are automatically subject to a form of impotence which generates new needs, especially when dealing with the action of consuming itself, because of declining faculties.The challenge consists of helping them to maintain or recover physical enjoyment, namely by working on the sensory aspects.Working on the sensory aspects of products compensates for physical deficiencies reintroducing enjoyment and the feeling of being alive. 


    Concerning market research on these senior target groups, what are the principle rules that need to be taken into account?

    YB:First it's essential to take into account the stakeholders.Concretely when studying general consumer issues this implies getting the seniors to participate, but it also means implicating the people directly in contact with them day to day (the family, friends, doctors, beauticians or hairdressers, health staff...) as well as the experts and specialists concerned:such as sociologists, psychoanalysts, geriatricians, ergonomists... For health issues it's also a good idea to involve health staff and carers along with the seniors.


    And what about the methods for gathering the information?

    YB:There are no specific constraints regarding the young seniors, the imperative being to avoid making them feel designated as "seniors".There are also few constraints for those we have defined as seniors in their "prime", on condition they aren't afflicted with incapacitating illnesses.As a group they are outspoken and appreciate being able to express their opinion.Concerning the "ultra-seniors", the constraints are often related to their level of capacity and dependence, bearing in mind that the most dependent are rarely interviewed.There is also the geographical dimension to take into account, with a large proportion of this group living by the sea.Online and telephone interviews are to be discouraged.  Interviews at home can work very well, except for institutions which pose a problem because of the need to obtain authorisations.

    Contacts :  Yaël Bensoussan, Ariane Lacas


  • The Lab in the Bag: A Revolutionary Sensory Booth Design by Repères

    Pin it!

    logo.jpgA grand premiere for Repères: our first patent!

    This is the fruit of the work conducted in the field of test environments by our Director of Research & Innovation, Franck Saunier.

    The aim was to guarantee high quality conditions for gathering evaluation data on products by offering a standardised controlled environment easy to duplicate at all test facilities.

    This led to the invention of "The Lab in the Bag" concept, a foldable and easily transportable isolation booth. 

    The Lab in the Bag value proposition is "my sensory lab where and when I want it in less than 2 hours".

    Below is a demonstration of the assembly of 4 booths by one person (the inventor Franck Saunier).

    Repères is now commercialising booths for manufacturers and research laboratories, as well as for sensory research institutes operating outside France.

    This product, which is a real disruptive innovation in the sensory field, was enthusiastically welcomed at the Pangborn World Congress in Rio this summer.

    Since then initial requests have come in from all around the world, with two principle uses envisaged:

    . sensory tests when renovating a laboratory or when setting up a laboratory in unequipped sites,

    . quality control in plants, with the possibility of creating a very affordable laboratory as close as possible to the production site.

    For details:

    Website The lab in the Bag

    Sales information for The Lab in the Bag: Nadège Drouillet

  • System 1 / System 2 and Market Research

    Pin it!

    The need to look beyond what the consumer says has now been identified as one of the fundamental issues in marketing studies: a consensus has been established concerning the key role of emotions and unconscious reactions in decision-making.

    The seminal work conducted by Antonio R. Damasio on this subject ("Descartes' error” – 1995) has been confirmed and complemented by recent developments in behavioural economics. Authors such as Dan Arriely (“Predictably Irrational” – 2010) and Daniel Kahneman (“Thinking, Fast and Slow” – 2010) have proved the lack of realism in the paradigm of the "homo economicus" in which it is assumed that as rational human beings we make choices with the sole aim of ensuring maximum individual utility while being fully aware of the offers available and remaining uninfluenced by the behaviour of our peers.  

    The “system 1 / system 2” metaphor used by Daniel Kahneman provides a very effective description of the way our brain functions when faced with making a decision:

    .System 1 is a function that is systematically and unconsciously deployed without requiring any particular effort (automatic pilot), and which enables us to answer a question such as "2+2= ?". This concerns the emotional register, that of the somatic markers which Damasio describes as being fashioned by instinct and experience.

    .However, if we are asked to answer the question “235 + 4 195 = ?”, we need to activate system 2; this involves conscious thought which is slower and more costly in cognitive energy, hence our reluctance to deploy it. Daniel Kahneman evokes “our lazy system 2” (how many of you have made the effort of calculating 235+4195 ?) which nevertheless plays an essential role in validating or invalidating the choices made within system 1.

    To better understand the consumer we need to understand these two systems. System 2, which is of the realm of rationalisation, may be approached via questioning, however, more generally the subject is unaware of the reactions involved in system 1 and will therefore not be able to accurately explain this process.

    Qualitative studies, through their prospective nature, have always made it possible to look at what lies behind rational discourse. However, this represents a real challenge for quantitative studies, more limited to a traditional line of inquiry.   

    At Repères we have positioned ourselves for several years within this field of investigation which attempts to gain access to the unconscious emotional side of the consumer and to quantify it, which has led us:

    . to develop the method of Emotional Monitoring which, by using prospective tests administered to a large number of respondents, aims to determine the rich diversity of ties between a brand and a consumer.

    . to conduct research on non-verbal communication (VideoEtude) applied to testing ideas or products, which enables us to explore another dimension of consumer reaction such as: what happens before the consumer expresses an opinion? Access to this new dimension provides an original source of information for discovering and testing the potential of products and services.

    . and more recently, to complete our tool box by collaborating with Gaël Allain from the company Mémoire&Marketing, to include implicit tests within our service offering. The aim in this case is to measure the impact of a stimulus. What are the representations that are activated, consciously or unconsciously, following the perception of a stimulus? The principle of the implicit test is not to question the consumer but to measure the response time for performing a task such as recognising the word “desire” when seeing the logo of the BMW brand as compared with the response time for recognising the same word when seeing the logo of the Audi brand.   

    Our first use of implicit tests was conducted by Pierrick Rivière at Danone Research on packaging tests, and was presented at the Printemps des Etudes in April 2012. You will find a version minus the Danone Research results and completed with results from a pilot study conducted by Repères on the relation between different competing brands and basic emotions (desire, joy, sadness, shame, mistrust…). In the two protocols the contribution provided by implicit information proved very rich and complementary to that obtained by explicit questioning.

    Please contact us if you require a more detailed presentation of these different tools and results.

  • Reperes obtains funding for research in non-verbal communication

    Pin it!

    logo ANR.gifThe French National Agency for Research (Agence Nationale de la Recherche - ANR) has selected and financed 7 projects within the framework of the 2011 ALID programme (Systèmes Alimentaires Durables – Sustainable Food Systems).

    Among these, the DIACODD programme (Distribution Alimentaire, Consommateurs et Développement Durable – Food Distribution, Consumers and Sustainable Development) is aimed at analysing the distributors/consumers interrelation and at conceptualising and measuring its influence on the growth of demand in sustainable food (Cf. the programme on the ANR site).

    DIACODD is a collaborative four-year project involving the following schools and universities:The University of Paris-Est Créteil (UPEC), Rennes University (Université Rennes 1), the Lyon School of Management (ESDES - Ecole de Management de Lyon) and AgroParisTech (Institut des sciences et industries du vivant et de l’environnement – Institute of Technology for Life, Food and Environmental Studies).

    One of the questions this project seeks to answer concerns the capacity of current measurement tools to capture consumer responses to propositions relating to sustainable development.The fear is that in this area social desirability may generate a considerable bias in responses.

    A partnership between AgroParisTech and Repères has therefore been added to this programme:the aim will be to develop and if possible patent a non-verbal tool for measuring perceptions of conceptual stimuli.

    The ANR funding will enable us to conduct different experiments and to employ a PhD student for this programme.

    This research perfectly complements the research already conducted by Repères in the field of sniff-tests and taste tests. 

    To be continued…



    For AgroParisTech : Patricia Gurviez

    For Repères:François Abiven and Franck Saunier

  • Repères registered as a certified sub-contractor eligible for research tax credit

    Pin it!

    CIR_205085.34.jpgWe have the honour of having been recognised by the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research as a sub-contractor eligible for tax credit for research. This certification validates the fact that Repères has sufficient R&D potential to be a registered service provider for third parties.

    In practise this implies that any company which calls on the services of Repères within the framework of a Research and Development project eligible for research tax credit may benefit from a tax cut for this service (up to 30%).

    Do not hesitate to contact us for more information.