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Second Life

  • Repères at SEMO

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    logo_semo200x103.gifEvery year the SEMO exhibition is the most important event in the survey and opinion poll industry in France, and it is an occasion for Repères to meet its clients, prospects and partners.

    It is also a fine opportunity to present our latest research in methodological workshops. Whenever possible we try to organise these workshops in partnership with a client who is a user or co-designer of a method.

    In recent years we have had the opportunity to present the following innovations at SEMO:

    In 2005:

    • The creation of the Emotional Monitoring method with Moet Hennessy (renovation of imaginary approaches to the brand)
    • The Product Insight method (a qualitative approach that makes it possible to identify by means of a blind test all the “stories” a product conveys)

    In 2006:

    • The creation of the Home Use Blog with Danone Research, a protocol for real-time testing of prototypes, even disruptive innovation prototypes.
    • The PackExpert packaging test that combines quantitative research and the memory expertise of Impact Mémoire (Memory Impact)

    In 2007:

    In 2008:

    • The Heineken case study on the use of Emotional Monitoring
    • Our research with Franck Saunier in the field of Video Studies (integration of non-verbal communication in the research process)

    In the same vein, we will have the pleasure of presenting two workshops at SEMO 2009, with clients participating in presenting case studies:

    • On Wednesday 4th November at 3:30 p.m.: The case study of an interactive and prospective co-design experiment, presented by Catherine Roty from CTIFL. This protocol, which we have now used several times in different sectors, makes it possible to generate operational disruptive innovation routes for new products and services. It is based on a collaborative consumer approach, boosted by prospective stimuli designed by the Proâme agency.
    • Thursday 5th November at 3:30 p.m.: A case study on the identification and modelling of product appreciation drivers, presented with Valérie Sarkis from PEPSICO. These studies based on Bayesian networks make it possible to greatly increase the added value of product tests, especially by providing highly operational optimisation recommendations.
  • Presentation of the results of the co-design initiative for CTIFL and UNFD

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    In these times of economic uncertainty, disruptive innovation is increasingly essential for creating a competitive edge. At Repères we are convinced that innovation must be conducted in collaboration with the consumers to design in a meaningful and differentiating manner. Our prospective and interactive co-design protocol calls on the imagination of hyper creative consumers (recruited in the virtual world of Second Life) to help brands find new sources of inspiration.

    So far we haven’t yet had the opportunity to present actual results from co-design initiatives since these are highly confidential. Today, thanks to CTIFL (Centre Technique Interprofessionnel des Fruits et Légumes – Inter-professional Technical Centre for Fruit and Vegetables) and UNFD (Union nationale des syndicats de détaillants en fruits, légumes et primeurs – National Union of Fruit and Vegetable Retailers) we have a unique opportunity to present the details of the process and its results.

    I will let Emilie Labidoire, the head of the Repères Communities Department continue:

    Our last project conducted for CTIFL and UNFD made it possible for us to work on the design and the offering at the same time, with a 3D model of 2 proposals from among 10.

    Point of departure of the project

    To adapt to new modes of consumption UNFD intends to make points of sale of fresh fruit and vegetables denser in areas of intense urban traffic through the creation of mobile outdoor kiosks and/or the setting up of dedicated gondolas with traditional retailers.
    This is because, in a climate of a decline in the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables, UNFD must take up a number of challenges:
    - How to promote the purchase of fresh fruit and vegetables?
    - How to reduce preparation constraints?
    - How to enhance the image of fruit and vegetables (healthy, simple, quick, etc.)?
    - How to prevent consumption among the young from declining further?

    The Protocol


    The strong points

    .Greatly increases the potential of “imaginative” communities from the virtual world of Second Life® by injecting prospective visions in partnership with the agency Proâme
    . Engages consumers in brainstorming on a collaborative, exploratory blog for two weeks. Presents the benefits of asynchronous communication and of a widened time frame allowing ideas to mature.

    The Designs

    As a result of the brainstorming session and the joint analyses of Proâme-Repères, 10 detailed proposals for kiosks and innovative fruit and vegetable corners were presented to UNFD and CTIFL, a working tool for a highly fragmented sector (different sizes and means according to geographic situation).

    The two proposals selected were then modelled on Second Life® to bring to life these concepts and propose a 3-D illustration. Instead of static boards, the client and vegetable retailer teams are able to discover a space and to fully experience it to test the ergonomics, the positioning and interactions between the retailer and the client.

    We presented this work at the Esomar Consumer Insights 2009 conference in Dubai and we are looking forward to seeing the kiosk open, probably in the autumn 2009!

    You may also read the interview with Catherine Roty from CTFIL, whom we warmly thank, on the site dedicated to the activity of Second Life.

  • Brand and Virtual World Experiences: The results of a Repères Second Life study

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    Beyond implementing the Co-design process, the purpose of Repères in Second Life is of course to explore these new digital words to gain more knowledge of them and to advise our clients in their marketing strategies in these virtual worlds.

    We also want to play an active role in the Second Life community and to participate in its development, namely by disseminating the results of studies we conduct on our own initiative, or by making research organisations benefit at cost price from field studies conducted by our panel of avatars.

    It is within such a framework that we are publishing the results of a qualitative study we conducted last year on the perception by the residents of Second Life of the first launches of brands in SL.

    The investigation, under the form of an "in world” focus group (via avatars in SL) and in Real Life, concerned the automobile sector which already presented a certain diversity in marketing terms. The aim of the study is to determine the key factors of success for a successful launch in a virtual world.

    You may download all of the findings here, which you may also view in a slide presentation below (given the density of the text, I recommend the option “view on slideshare / Full”)

    For further details, please contact Emilie Labidoire, project manager at Repères Communities.

  • The Metaverse : Towards the Integration of the Digital world in Our reality

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    The development of virtual worlds about which we regularly communicate is a part of the more global process of the massive integration of digital technology in our reality.

    This new reality we are moving towards, where the border between the virtual and reality will become less and less discernable, is sometimes referred to as the metaverse.

    In the spring of 2007, a group of experts, researchers and players in the field of virtual worlds published a remarkable study on this subject : the metaverse roadmap overview. The authors identify four leading trends which, through their convergence, lead us to the metaverse:
    . Virtual Worlds
    . the mirror worlds, the digital reproduction of reality (Cf. Google Earth)
    . enhanced reality : the integration of the digital in the real world, for example via enhanced reality glasses (you walk in an Antique site and thanks to these glasses you have a completed view of the buildings instead of the ruins)
    . lifelogging, which consists of recording all the events of one’s life on a digital medium.

    You will find here the support materials from a talk I gave on this subject at the summer university of a consulting company. In addition to the 4 trends of the Metaverse Roadmap, you will find some elements concerning another change I believe is fundamental: the notion of the enhanced body (exoskeletons, cyborgs and brain-computer links) where, here again, the visions of science-fiction writers are confirmed.

    To finish with this theme of the metaverse and immersion, here is a video in which a system for measuring brain waves makes it possible for a person to move his avatar in Second Life mentally:

    There are many surprises in store for us.

  • Understanding and mobilizing the consumer 2.0 via communities

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    For approximately two years at Repères we have been engaged in the process of updating the tools used in market research. Our objective is to look for better ways of accompanying our clients, in a context in which society is undergoing major changes: traditional tools are less and less able to provide an accurate picture of reality today, whereas new approaches, previously inconceivable for technical and budgetary reasons, now provide access to a wealth of new and highly relevant information.

    Among these new approaches, we are investing especially in all the “collaborative” techniques which represent a change of position within our profession. The citizen consumer is moving from the status of respondent to that of participant.

    Hence, on the occasion of the last SEMO trade show, Emilie Labidoire, in charge of Repères Communautés, and I presented a series of collaborative approaches aimed at the following:

    . mobilising consumers and involving them in designing the offer:
    - co-designing, namely by using the Second Life platform,
    - a concept test under the form of a collaborative blog, with 60 to 80 respondents alternating during a fortnight between collective exchanges and individual questionnaires
    - a prototype test via the Home Use Blog, previously mentioned in this blog

    . but also at gaining a better understanding of consumers via the creation of Virtual Communities of Interests, making it possible for a company to get a better understanding of its target and to continuously exchange with this target in a real spirit of partnership.

    In addition to this new position as a “participant”, clearly in line with that of the consumer-citizen today (Cf. the book, “Génération participation” by Thierry Maillet), the strong point of these approaches is that they are based on new time frames: We are no longer working with 15-minute quantitative questionnaires or 3-hour focus groups, but with a collaborative experience over one or two weeks (collaborative concept test, Home Use Blog) or even several months (Communities), thus providing a definite opportunity for ideas to ripen and for the experience to be integrated. Another important aspect is the advantage of asynchronous communication limiting leading effects (each participant integrates the opinions of the others, but with a "distance" which enables him or her to evaluate these opinions and to preserve his or her individuality) and also makes it possible for the respondent to express himself/herself in a very personal way.

    At Repères, we are continuing to develop and experiment with these collaborative methods which hold great promise, naturally for general consumer issues but also in the field of BtoB (for example: the development of a co-design protocol with certain key customers, or the creation and moderation of communities of retailers…)

    In short, we are fortunate to be working in a fascinating profession offering a host of new prospects!