To what extent is strongly anchored in the mind of the consumer?

Branding probably means more to you than, in the same way that Germans know the brand as and the Poles as TakeAway is a website or app with which consumers can easily order meals from various restaurants. The company was wondering to what extent the brand name was strongly anchored in the mind of the average Dutch, German or Polish consumer. In short, TakeAway wanted to investigate its 'mental availability'.

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Mental Availability TakeAway

Mental Availability study for

Blauw investigated which points in time in the life of the average Dutch, German and Polish consumer TakeAway could act on to increase its familiarity. These points or situations are referred to in the study as Category Entry Points. The idea was that by getting a greater sense of the context and, as a result, the times and situations that form a trigger for the category in which TakeAway is active, it would be possible to work on the mental availability of the brand. An important cornerstone for brand growth.

Investigating mental availability

In the past, Blauw investigated 'brand awareness' using the traditional Brand Funnel method. However, for the last 5 years or so Blauw has been working with a research method it has developed itself based on recent behaviour, knowledge gleaned from the How Brands Grow method and implicit measurement tools. This new method delivers not only interesting results on actual, context-driven awareness of brands, or 'mental availability'; it also contributes to gaining insights relating to the positioning of the brand within a range of markets.

Mental availability's key features are the extent to which the brand is present and anchored in the consumer's brain at specific points in time and when elements of a brand, such as the logo or the colours associated with the brand are perceived. When applying the How Brands Grow method, we use Category Entry Points (CEPs) and Distinctive Brand Assets (DBAs) to measure the mental availability of brands. In this study the CEPs were generally more important: the points at which TakeAway would like to be at the forefront of the consumer's mind.

Research method: focus groups, questionnaire, workshop sessions

Blauw investigated the mental availability of TakeAway in the Netherlands, Poland and Germany. The first step was to organise face-to-face focus groups in the three countries. Then we organised a workshop, in which TakeAway itself selected the definitive CEPs. The following step was a quantitative study in which we sent a questionnaire to 500 respondents in each country. Finally, Blauw presented all the results to TakeAway and we discussed all possible points for action in a workshop session.

Step 1: Focus group training sessions, face-to-face local studies

Firstly, Blauw organised three face-to-face focus groups with Dutch consumers. There were 6 participants in each of these focus groups. The participants were selected from several different target groups, ranging from people who regularly have food delivered to people who have not had a single meal delivered in the past year. The talks went well and the guidelines drawn up for the talks ensured that the right insights were brought to light. For the next step we contacted market research agencies in Poland and Germany. They led the focus groups in the relevant countries. Blauw gave a number of training courses to an appointed market researcher at each agency in advance, so that that expert could set up, lead and moderate the focus groups effectively. The market researchers were also given an output format, so that they were easily able to process the results of the focus groups.

Step 2: Focus groups: the consumer's 'memory'

3 different focus groups in total were organised in all 3 countries. There were 6 people with widely differing profiles in each focus group: there was a good mix of both education level and age range. The participants referred to were hired via a recruitment agency. The consumers did not know in advance what they were going to be talking about. The market researchers got the conversation with the participants going by talking about evening meals:

  • How do you decide what you're going to eat?
  • What are the steps you take or the thought processes you go through during the day?
  • What problems do you encounter?
  • And what about lunch?

Many people in the Netherlands think it's important to have the main meal of the day in the evening, although that's not necessarily the case in other markets in which TakeAway is active. We ran through the entire decision-making process in the category. In addition, we unravelled the spontaneous associative network underlying the category in the consumer's memory.

  • So what does that network look like?
  • And what position does TakeAway occupy in it?

Using all the results and insights, Blauw was ultimately able to draw up a list of possible CEPs and brand associations.

Step 3: Workshop, selecting Category Entry Points (CEPs)

The next step in the study was to hold a workshop. Blauw organised a workshop for TakeAway employees, to help whittle down the extensive long list to the key CEPs for use in quantitative research. Which CEP domains did TakeAway want to measure and map out among a large group of respondents? Blauw gave all the employees from the Netherlands who were present (and those from Poland and Germany via video conferencing) various tasks to perform, so that they could learn to make the right judgements in the selection of the CEPs. On the one hand, the workshop's aim was to share the insights from the first phase of the study and, on the other, to make collective choices for the following phase. In addition, TakeAway got a greater sense of the position of the brand in consumers' minds in terms of mental availability.

Step 4: Quantitative research: questionnaire

The fourth step was to generate a quantitative study. Blauw was able to draft a questionnaire based on the How Brands Grow method, including the CEPs and brand associations that were selected during the workshop. We had this questionnaire translated into Polish and German. 500 respondents in each of the three countries completed the questionnaire. These respondents were made up of members of the general public aged 16 and over, and ranged from people who regularly order food online to people who never use the internet to order food. The study used implicit measurement tools to gauge the extent to which specific points (the CEPs) were unconsciously linked to either TakeAway in the countries in question, or to a competitor's brand. We were then able to read off which CEP domains clearly came to the fore in relation to TakeAway, and which did so to a lesser extent. Where competitors are lying in wait or where there are opportunities for growth.

Where are the opportunities for growth for TakeAway?

Lastly, we analysed all the results and catalogued them in a report. As far as TakeAway was concerned, the point of the exercise was not so much the results but the insights that the research revealed. This enabled them to develop a strategic plan, with the aim of increasing the mental availability in the minds of consumers. To devote sufficient attention to that, we organised a workshop session with twenty marketing professionals from TakeAway. During this interactive session we discussed how TakeAway could convert all the insights into concrete action points and how to remove any potential barriers to customers. The result was a strategic plan, which TakeAway could put into action straight away, with a view to hitting its target.

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