Kantar partners with Second City Works to mix improv and customer understanding
- Kantar, the data investment management division of WPP, has partnered with Second City Works, the corporate services division of the improvisation comedy theater and school, on a joint venture called Brandstage, according to a news release.
- Brandstage uses improvisational methods and audience-centered collaboration with consumer audiences to help brands unlock unique insights that can inform their marketing strategies. The collaboration will work with marketing organizations on new product ideas, marketing and communications ideas and customer experience.
- Second City Works launched in 2014 and uses improvisational and audience-focused methods. Brandstage is the new name for Consumer Theatre, which Second City Works formed with Firefly, Kantar Millward Brown’s qualitative division, in 2015.
As consumers demand more personalization and individualized experiences, initiatives like Brandstage can be a valuable tool for marketers who rely on customer insights and feedback to tailor their strategy. By combining insights, creative and strategy with direct work with audiences, Brandstage promises a unique approach for supporting efforts to develop relevant and relatable marketing, removing the “guesswork and over-reliance on dated, silo-based groupthink,” the news release said.
"Brandstage gave us a wealth of fresh consumer insights that we hadn't heard before, and that we are still using to help inform marketing decisions six months later," said Kolby Blackham, senior research manager of Surface at Microsoft, in the press release.
Kantar is looking to shake up how brands test new ideas with consumers by working with storied improvisational comedy troupe The Second City and give the data services group a unique point of differentiation for attracting new business. The news is the latest example of how Kantar is ramping up its offerings as data-based marketing becomes more important and competition with consultancies like Accenture and Deloitte continues to heat up. Earlier this week, WPP launched Kantar Consulting, consolidating four shops under the one umbrella to streamline consultancy work across the organization.
Marketing ROI has been a top concern for marketers, followed closely by the ability to understand consumer behavior across multiple channels. Only one-third of marketers use brand or behavioral metrics to measure cross-channel performance and 50% use reach and frequency combined with ROI and sales metrics, according to Kantar Millward Brown’s most recent Getting Media Right report.
Lack of trust and poor personalization can cost businesses $756 billion a year, per the recent Accenture Strategy Global Consumer Pulse Research report. Among U.S. consumers, 43% are more likely to purchase from companies that personalize experiences, and 31% find value in services that learn about their needs and offer personalized recommendations.
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