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Generating & activating infant feeding insights for Danone R&D

Danone R&D wanted to get a better understanding of the concerns mothers experience when feeding their baby. Danone is active in infant feeding and in order to improve their offering, it was thought vital not only to understand mothers, but also to be able to speak their language.

What did we do?

The research design combined social media netnography and a Consumer Consulting Board (also known as online research community). Through social media netnography, we avoided asking questions to which the answers already existed. The netnography also generated topics related to the physical characteristics of infant feeding for further discussion in the community. The community participants were recruited via the largest most influential platform detected in the social media netnography (i.e. babycentre.co.uk), ensuring fast and social glue between the community participants. The closed research community setting allowed Danone to ask follow-up questions on certain issues and present innovative concepts to a naturally engaged audience which – for confidentiality reasons – could not have been shown to the larger public.

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The results

The netnography research, resulted in more than 100,000 relevant online conversations about breast milk and formula feeding over less than 2 years. It was valued as a listening platform where marketers and researchers at Danone could learn more about the customer perspective. The mothers’ perspective on infant feeding proved a great source of insights for the R&D team’s new product development. It also helped to get more insights in the consumer vocabulary and natural language of mothers when they talk about infant feeding. The dictionary that resulted from the text analytics was perceived as a great instrument for future communication. Also, the combination of netnography and community research helped Danone to better engage with their customers in a more efficient way: marketers could be involved from behind their desk in a non-obtrusive way.