All articles from
Kim Merckaert

Binging with Frank...

Categories : News
Binging with Frank...

Last Friday afternoon, my spouse sent me this screenshot of the notifications on his phone:

Just Eat, the online food-ordering service, had sent him a text message urging him to stay home and enjoy a discount on their services.

The message is vague, but to anyone with an (un)healthy addiction to Netflix, the code “FRANK15” is clearly referring to Frank Underwood, the protagonist from House of Cards so expertly played by Kevin Spacey. And as all “binge watchers” know, Netflix released the show’s fourth season that very same day.

 As I mentioned in a previous blog, my spouse is a privacy-conscious man who claims to be impervious to advertising and uses ad-blockers on all his devices… But this one really had him stunned.

Was the ad a bit creepy and invasive? Maybe.

Was it so very relevant and tempting enough that we thought of cancelling our dinner plans? Definitely.

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Local Schmocal?

Categories : News
Local Schmocal?

Every time I’ve tested products, services or brands in focus groups in recent years, participants have stressed the importance of local products*.

In qualitative research, local companies, brands or products are often preferred over others, and the reasons for gravitating towards these are legion…

  1. Higher quality perception: For example, fruits and vegetables are considered fresher; and Canadian regulations for several types of products (e.g. meats, electronics) are considered stricter than those in our neighbouring countries;
  2. Stimulating the local economy or supporting local producers and artists;
  3. National or regional pride;
  4. For some types of products - clothes, for example - consumers will argue that Canada offers better working conditions to labourers, which they want to support;
  5. Other consumers get their green on, arguing that local products are more environmentally friendly, since they travel smaller distances;
  6. A sense of uniqueness: For example, locally-made clothing is usually created on a much smaller scale than mass-produced items;
  7. Local manufacturers are claimed to be more aware of local needs: Just think of anything that needs to resist our harsh Canadian winters.

It’s very interesting to hear the arguments for local products flow abundantly, but do consumers put their money where their mouth is?

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My Home is Where my Stella is

Categories : News
My Home is Where my Stella is

The Influence of Marketing on Brand Image

As a semi-recent immigrant – coming up on five years now; Go Habs Go! – I find myself having different perceptions of certain brands than those around me.

Take the beer Stella Artois, for example. Even after all of this time, it still makes me giggle when I see it advertised as “Premium” Belgian Beer.

Back home, in the land of beer, chocolate and waffles (or Belgium, as some like to call it), Stella Artois has been around for centuries. But in Belgium, there is nothing premium about it. It’s one of the five mass-produced lager brands and is, quite frankly, perceived on the lower-end side of the quality spectrum (think Colt 45).

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Recruitment Screeners: Less is More

“[...] Simplicity is preferable to complexity; brevity in communication is more effective than verbosity.”

It’s unlikely that Robert Browning had market research in mind when he coined the phrase Less is more in the 1850s and provided the minimalist movement with a raison d’être. Nevertheless, the mantra can be applied in many a field, including qualitative research and more particularly, with recruitment screeners.

Having dealt with recruiting for thousands of focus groups, we’ve realized over and over again that simple, short recruitment screeners deliver better quality participants. When criteria are less confined, recruiters have a larger pool from which to draw potential participants, and can therefore be more rigorous regarding enthusiasm and articulateness of the recruits.

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Effortless advertising or how to make your message go around the world... for free

Viral videos have become the holy grail for all companies, organisations and foundations. It’s a low-cost way of getting your message out there, but most of all, it’s a very effective one. However, creating a viral campaign is not an easy task, and very few actually succeed.

So how come “The Ice Bucket Challenge” went around the world so quickly? And more importantly, how can its success be reproduced by others?

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