Welcome to the 2019 CRC Series. Recorded live in Orlando, this series is bringing interviews straight to you from exhibitors and speakers at this year’s event. In this interview, host Jamin Brazil interviews Liz Moore, Candorist and Partner of The Candor Company.
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Hi, this is Jamin. You’re listening to the Happy Market Research Podcast. The next set of episodes are conversations I had at this year’s Corporate Researchers Conference or CRC. This is put on by the Insights Association in Orlando, Florida. I had quite a few interesting conversations highlighting specific companies that exhibited this year as well as a couple of speakers, Wells Fargo, IBM, etc. I hope you have a really good rest of your day and enjoy these short episodes.
Hey, this is Jamin. We are live today at CRC at the exhibit floor here in beautiful Orlando. At least they tell me it’s beautiful. I haven’t been outside yet. I have the honor of chatting with Liz Moore, two words. She is one of the owners of The Candor Company, which is a qualitative-focused firm, and I’m looking forward to finding out more. Hi, how are you doing?
I’m terrific. How are you?
I thank you for asking. I think I’m doing okay. I do actually really want to get outside.
We were out earlier.
Oh, you’re such a show off.
I know. It’s swampy. It’s very humid. Yeah, it’s better in here.
It’s better inside. I don’t know. I feel like everything’s yellow now with the fluorescent lighting tint. It’s permanent. All right, so the show, how’s it been for you guys? You guys have, by the way, sorry about interrupting. Ask a question interrupt. That’s a terrible way to do it. You guys have the most bright and interactive booth on the show floor.
Thank you. Thank you.
It’s totally bad-ass, isn’t it?
Yeah, it is bad ass. You guys have just totally nailed the interactivity. For those that weren’t in here, it’s a ring light, which is something you use in photography to take a portrait photo. And it’s like super pro. Is it just like cell phone cameras? Oh, you even have a nice camera kit. Okay.
Totally legit. You should check the lens out.
All right, I will. What kind of camera is it?
It’s a Canon. It’s our photographer’s setup.
5D Mark III. Something fancy?
85 prime. Okay, so, tell me about your business, Candor.
That’s right, Candor. We are qualitative researchers who don’t like to necessarily think about ourselves as qualitative researchers. I think qualitative research has kind of gotten a bad rap over the years: very staid, very conservative, very traditional. Call a bunch of people into a room, total strangers; tell them to ideate for 90 minutes and just come up with something great. That doesn’t work, does not work anymore. We noticed that trend.
We’ve been together about 20 years, and we started noticing the trend about 10 years ago that when we could take out of that environment and either go into their environment or bring them to a place that’s really creative and it’s fun and it’s different—not just taking a focus group facility and going away from the standard setup to a living room setup, but actually taking them somewhere where it feels safe and there are really no boundaries. We just find that we get so much better and richer learning from people.
All right. Give me a little more context. Give me a favorite project.
Oh, my gosh, there is a ton of them. Well, a recent project. We were working with probably the second largest consumer packaged goods company, and we were doing some work with them to understand how consumers clean. And we were looking at shoppers at two of their largest retailers. And so, we recruited folks from those primary shoppers from the stores and understood their behavior in home over the course of two months, using an online journal. And then we picked the best of the best. So, we really got to know these people by everyday with their posting videos and content and us asking them questions and them responding. We had a good handle on who these people really were. Then we went in-home with them and we saw how their behavior that we saw that they were recording mobile, how it translated online. And it was really cool. We really got to understand their behavior from everything from shopping behavior to actually how they use the products to purchase intent, how they learn about new things. If we had called nine consumers into a focus-group room and asked them to do this.
No. “Well I think, yeah, I think I have that product that has the green label on it.”
Yeah. They really wouldn’t have the… We know that the recall is… Like my recall, everyone’s recall just diminishes. But the in-the-moment stuff is really important and being able to garner that over time gives you a good point of view on the participant. But then also incorporating video that actually can start functioning as an audition for how articulate and expressive the individual is, and it sounds like you use that information to pick a subset of your group or your participants to do additional exploratory work. Was that exploratory work on site at a location or what was that like?
Well, actually, that approach we use for any number of projects. We’ve also used it for a women’s cosmetic brand where we had mobile journals and again picked the best of the best. And then we picked a host. And then she had agreed to open up her home to some of her friends for a dinner party. So, we had it catered. There was no end time on it. We served wine; we served a great meal; we had a wonderful conversation. I think it lasted about three and a half hours.
And the clients were actually involved at the table.
That is so awesome.
And we’ve had so many experiences with clients saying, “I’ve never been that close to my customers and able to ask them questions. Like I’m always sitting behind the glass, but now I can sit there And I can touch them on the shoulder; I can give them a hug at the end and say, ‘Thank you so much.’”
That is so interesting. I’ve recently interviewed the head of insights for Samsung and then also last year it was Estrella Lopez-Brea. She’s head of insights for a cereal partnership with General Mills and Nestlé, which is a big company, even though nobody knows the name, right? It’s still Cheerio’s. It’s just in 136 countries. So, both of them independently, when I asked them about future trends, say that the decision makers inside of the company are moving from behind the glass and boardrooms to interact with the customer at the point of sale. There’s this wall that has existed for our whole careers that is now dissolving, and it’s been disintermediated because now we’re creating that access to the consumer in virtual real time. So, it’s exciting to see that play out. I’d never heard of the dinner, but that’s so intimate and so exactly the way that we should be interacting with customers.
Oh, and we’ve used that with physicians. We’ve used that for stay-at-home. We’ve done it around a small dinner table with cartons of Chinese food. We’ve done it in a beautiful home with catered meals. So it really doesn’t matter who the audience is. You’re just putting them in an environment where they feel respected. Their time is respected. And you’re also not forcing them into doing something that is uncomfortable, which is, “Hey, you got 90 minutes. Let’s work through this. Let’s work through this.” And plus, also in the past, kind of also breaking down those barriers like with our clients and their customers… But in the past, moderators were trained to be a blank slate. And, “Let’s not tell them what we’re thinking about; we don’t want him to know who the sponsor is and we wouldn’t reveal any information about ourselves.” But we find the more we can open up and, obviously, not every client project we can divulge who it’s for, but when we can, I feel like we get so much better learning because they feel vested and they understand what is expected of them and then they feel a part of the process.
Because they are, and the journey is where the learning is ‘cause that’s the tangible feeling that empathy is created. It’s all about that as opposed to the processing of a bar chart or something along those lines in order to make a business decision. I gave a talk yesterday and one of my favorite things to do is think about the… So, surveys are really bad conversations at scale, basically.
And so, we try to reduce everything to a Likert scale or whatever. And you think about a date: you would never use an NPS score to post-assess. You know if a date went well or it didn’t go well by a function of being part of the date. And so, you have the same thing with consumer experience. So what you’re doing is really tearing down those walls and creating that. And then, subsequently, so doing it at scale is a slightly different topic. But I am really interested in what is your end deliverable look like for the customer?
Oh, gosh. We still are tasked with writing PowerPoints sometimes, but more often than not, we are asked to create something that is visually beautiful because our clients know that their end clients, which are typically the C-suite, are not going to have patience for something that is not well done, that’s not well produced. And plus, my client doesn’t want to put that in front of these people. So we create something that is visually appealing. Often we give a longer version to our end client. We edit down something that’s easily digestible for C-suite that says, “Look, this is exactly what we learned and this is what you have to do next.”
Like the 11 slides or something.
Except we have to boil it down. And plus, another thing we’ve also recently taken to doing the past couple of years is podcasts. Not too different than this. But what we’re trying to do is we’re basically taking our learning and we’re bringing it to life. And then we’re also bringing in in those cases some snippets from interviews of actual customers talking that are supporting some of those points. And then my client can share it with her senior execs, and then they can listen to it in the car. They can listen to it whenever it’s convenient ‘cause what’s the point of spending all the money on the research if no one’s going to be interested in seeing the results and reading the results.
I’ve been saying this forever. The biggest opportunity for insight consumption is (and really to create a big lever for change in an organization so it’s like maximizing your ROI) is ALL PODCAST. You should be able to reduce your report into a… It doesn’t even matter how long; it could be a 45-minute thing. It doesn’t really matter. You’re not constrained by the length. It’s the ability of creating a story that’s re-tellable. But if you do that in a podcast, which is passively consumed, now all of a sudden you have the opportunity to talk to people, literally, that are outside of who’s in the room or the commissioner of the research or the particular stakeholder and that can get shared and distributed and disseminated it inside the organization, creating a broader view of the customer and empathy connecting. So it’s getting to the “why” and starting to change that behavior.
Like you just said, the whole empathy and connecting and without hearing the customer’s voice… We talk all the time about voice of the customer. But we’re talking about voice of the customer. I want to hear the tone of their voice when they talk about their fears. I want to hear the tone of their voice when they talk about my product or their competitors or an experience they might’ve had, or, when in some instances, when we’re actually able to put our clients in the room… We did a study back in April for a fast food company that wanted to ideate on the future of drive through, and we rented this beautiful home in Los Angeles for three days, invited nine total strangers. They spent eight hours together. We had our storyteller come in. We worked as a large group and then we broke it in mini sessions. And then, once people had their story, had their core story about what this future looks like, we worked with them one on one to help them kind of pull out the real core nuggets, and then they all presented at the end.
And then, these nine total strangers, they were all embracing at the end of the night, and they were sad, and it was amazing. And our clients were in the room. We had four clients in the room working in the teams. It was amazing. And our clients like, “We’ve never done anything like that before.” I’m like, “We should all be doing more of this because that really is the voice and the face of the customer.”
Are you going to get to see any of the speakers?
I hope so. I hope so.
Have you identified any that you want to go see so far? Or are you just fairly tethered to the booth?
We are tethered to the booth, but ironically, literally 10 minutes before you walked by, Jonathan said, “We should go to some sessions.”
All right, there you go.
And I was like, “Well, I don’t know if I want to do that right now.” And then you walked along and if I didn’t meet you,
…we would’ve met later. It would have been fine.
Well, we met in the elevator earlier.
That’s true. This is sounding like a…
Exactly. Liz Moore, The Candor Company. Candor, how’d you come up with the name Candor?
Well, candor, if you look in the dictionary means honesty, openness.
Isn’t that candor, and I’m mispronouncing it?
Well, you’re kind of saying it like condor. It’s a bird.
Candor. Okay, sorry, everybody who’s listening to this. It’s candor, not condor. Dumb ass. Anyway, have a great rest of your show, Liz. Thanks for being on the podcast.
Thank you so much. I appreciate it.
Everybody else, I hope you enjoy my hilarious spelling. Have a wonderful rest of your day.