David Harrison is Lead Insight Manager for frozen food company Nomad Foods, which in the UK includes the Birds Eye, Goodfellas & Aunt Bessie’s brands. He has been working at Nomad for eight years, helping lead the company’s digital transformation.
We talk to Harrison about maximising the potential of new technologies within a large company, and how Nomad has changed its approach to insight innovation.
How has Nomad’s approach to insight changed?
Like many companies we are very data hungry, but also data literate. Our approach to insight is to focus on the consequence – what can we do better as a business based on this? – rather than the purest research answer.
The other big shift has been around unlocking the power of big data. We still spend an awful lot of time looking at EPOS (Electronic Point of Sale) and panel data, but there is huge potential in linking up sources – web listening, and other more advanced analytical approaches. We are continually challenging ourselves and asking, what is it we need to understand? What’s the best way to understand it? And what technology advances allow us to do it?
What technologies are you using for insight research now?
Web listening and neuro research are both part of our digital transformation. On the web listening front, we’re focussing on emotion analytics. The outdated model states that people rationally decide what to purchase: ‘I will buy this because it has high iron content.’ In reality emotions drive our decisions, we then rationalise what we’ve done. Take buying a house. It should be the most rational purchase I ever make, but ultimately I make the decision based on how I feel as I’m walking around it. We want to build strong emotional engagement with consumers and back that up with great product experiences that re-enforce that emotional connection. We are undergoing work on this for brand connection, using Happen’s StarMaker tool.
How are you using neurotechnology?
Neurotechnology is a very pragmatic approach that we use for pre-testing during the creative process. A number of participants watch a few adverts and their neurological response is measured via a headset. We can measure what they are engaged with, and how strong the emotion produced is. We can quickly discover what people are responding to, spot opportunities to improve.