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Ask HawkPartners

Ask HawkPartners

Are you facing a difficult marketing question and are looking for some ideas? Are you wondering what market research approach is most appropriate to collect the insight you need? Are you looking for examples of companies facing a situation similar to your own?

Please submit your question to us below – HawkPartners will leverage our collective expertise across industries, marketing challenges, and research efforts. Our professionals will do our best to quickly provide you with our perspectives and ideas to help answer your question.


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Recent Questions:

Question:

We would like to test a new mobile app concept, and want to use research to ensure the app is as useful as possible. Do you have ideas on which research approaches might be best to test digital applications?

Answer:

In similar situations, to test clients’ website experience and/or specific online tools, we’ve had success deploying three stages of research.  At each stage, the research method is optimized for the business objective – from initial concept ideation through prototype development and refinement.  These stages can be applied for a mobile or tablet app, as well as a traditional website.

  1. Conduct focus groups to explore consumer needs and gather initial reactions to the idea.  Depending on stage of design, this research could be purely conceptual (what would the respondents expect) or leverage a simple, illustrative overview of the site or tool.
  2. After applying this feedback to design a rough prototype, conduct individual interviews in which respondents experience the site or app, perform specific tasks guided by the moderator, and provide feedback on its features/functions and overall value.
  3. Finally, after refining the site or app, field a quantitative survey in which the prototype can be experienced and evaluated (via a link or download).  This last step enables respondents to spend adequate time with the tool – in addition to immediate feedback via the questionnaire, respondents could also reply via email at a later time, thereby giving more nuanced and longitudinal feedback as well.

Question:

We would like to know about large national or global brands that acquired brands with especially passionate customers. Can you provide any examples?

Answer:

Initial input from across the firm and some very preliminary research yields several examples:

  • Google’s acquisition of YouTube
  • Unilever’s acquisition of Ben & Jerry’s
  • McDonald’s acquisition of Chipotle
  • TD Bank’s acquisition of Commerce Bank
  • Sears’ acquisition of Lands’ End
  • Amazon.com’s acquisition of Zappos and of Diapers.com
  • News Corp’s acquisition of the Wall Street Journal
  • Quaker’s acquisition of Snapple
  • eBay’s acquisition of PayPal and of Skype (which was later purchased by Microsoft)
  • Chase’s acquisition of Washington Mutual
  • Disney’s acquisition of Pixar

The common theme across these cases is, the parent brand strived to preserve much (if not all) of the acquired brand’s identity, while also enabling the acquired brand to grow based on the marketing muscle and distribution reach of the parent.  And even though in some cases the acquired brand’s identity was eventually transitioned to the parent brand, key elements of the acquired brand’s customer experience were preserved (e.g. beloved products, perks, service standards).