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Pet: Understanding unique needs of pets through the only ones who can really speak for them – the people that love them the most.

Problem faced

Our clients in the pet industry often come to us with the similar challenges - traditional research methods don’t allow them to hear from the consumer that matter most to their business: the furry ones. Sure, owners know their pets best, but it’s hard to replicate a pet's feeding time in a focus group or conference room. Their true behavior can only be observed in their home setting, and the best people to observe and interpret that behavior are their owners.

Frequent needs that our pet clients come to us with are:

  • Insights into feeding patterns of pets and their owners
  • Reaction to texture/taste of new products
  • Understanding owner’s perception of pets’ reaction and behaviors during feeding
  • Hierarchy of benefit importance
  • Packaging appeal/usability during feeding
  • Canva - Pug Biting a Bone (2)

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    Observing feeding behavior in the moment, and at the designated feeding area in the home is key. You can do this using a split-screen methodology with an overlay of post-rationalized self-commentary. Recordings can begin before use and continue after use.

    Our Recommended Approach

    We recommend getting up close and personal with our furry friends during typical feeding occasions. Depending on the purpose of the study, we may recommend observing multiple occasions over a period of time (typical minimum sample size, n= 10). We ask pet owners to film their pets as they are eating, in the most unobtrusive way possible (propping up recording devices and not speaking). We then ask the owners to watch back the video of the feeding occasion, answering questions and sharing their observations with us, helping brands understand in-context usage of their products, or competitors’ products.

    Using our split-screen/post-rationalizing overlay methodology, we watched them as they reported back on their experience. 

    What we explored

    • Prior to feeding, we observed interactions between both owners and their dogs, allowing them to get comfortable and tell us all about their dog and why they love them, before moving over to the feeding occasion
    • Owners explained what went into their decision for what brand of food they feed their dog, and how and why that has changed over time.
    • Typical feeding occasion for the dog - where, when, what, etc. We see the preparation, anticipation, tail wagging, all of it.
    • Through our Watch THEN Ask methodology, owners observe their pets eating in a way they normally wouldn’t. Instead of moving on to something else, they are watching and observing for the entire feeding, and in some cases, noticing things about the way their dog interacts with their food that they hadn’t before. Since they are the only ones who can speak for their dogs we asked - what could be improved for their dogs in the way they interact with the food?

    What did we learn?

    Get in touch,  (or use the form below) and we'd be happy to share some of our insights PLUS give you access to the raw footage via our video platform.

    Why Watch Me Think?

    Watch Me Think is a strategic qualitative market research agency. We use mobile ethnography to record authentic customer and consumer behaviours.

    Human led analysis is then applied to bring you actionable reports and persuasive highlight videos.

    We help you bridge empathy gaps, become even more consumer centric, identify previously unknown opportunities, test your prototypes, and provide rapid, value-driven pre- and post-launch testing across 51 countries. In essence, we help people understand people better.

    • We're about watching and listening, not just asking
    • Exploring what people do, not just what they say they do
    • Bringing to life your consumers, getting you closer.
    • Helping you to empathise, and instil that throughout your organization

    What types of studies do our clients commission with us?

    • Qualitative Behavioral Research: Bringing a clearer understanding of actual consumer behavior. Not just claimed behavior.
    • Consumer Closeness: Moving it from slogan and into a culture.
    • Bringing Insights To Life: Letting the consumer communicate the findings. Because insights must be sold, not just found.

    How we helped Sarah Haslett at M&S

    M&S (a UK retailer of clothes and food) wanted to make consumer closeness part of the business culture.

    To do so, they decided to implement a continuous consumer closeness programme, whereby they collected video footage every month on different topics.