Turn the Ketchup Bottle Upside Down: Astonishingly Simple Solutions to Complex Problems

Turn the Ketchup Bottle Upside Down: Astonishingly Simple Solutions to Complex Problems

Remember the agony of waiting for the ketchup to inch its way down toward the mouth of the bottle? The awkward small talk with the elevator operator while waiting to reach our floor? How about frantically digging through the car’s center console to produce exact change for an impatient toll booth worker?

These are distant memories, but it’s surprising how long we operated under these daily inconveniences. What’s more surprising is how these annoyances were solved by rather simple solutions (store your ketchup bottle upside down, install an automatic elevator switch, and calculate your monthly toll booth usage with an electronic transmitter.) These advancements share a common thread: by applying a little creativity, someone discovered a simple solution to a complex problem.

But if these answers were so simple, why were they so hard to come by? Why did it take us all so long to turn that ketchup bottle upside down?

Every day we talk with Chief Marketing Officers, Brand Managers and Senior VPs of Global Insights who share their desire to get to know their brands more intimately. But the challenge of working within a brand for many years leads to the proverbial “can’t see the forest for the trees” conundrum. Those with the power to make the biggest difference in the trajectory of a brand are often too close to the issue to examine it creatively.

We help companies take a different approach. Through deep conversations, unique ethnographic tools and deliberate methodologies, Big Squirrel collaborates with brands to uncover core truths directly from consumers. We surface individual customer insights that sometimes reveal unexpected–and sometimes astonishingly simple–results. These insights lead to radical solutions to even the most complex problems.

So how do you apply creative thinking to your own brand? How do you break through to reveal new insights to long-established business challenges?

Check out our Field Guide to Innovative Thinking
to help your team 
think outside the nut!

Get On the Other Side of Your Problem

You may have experienced this phenomenon in your personal or professional life: after days of racking your brain, you’ve finally given up on solving a problem–only to have a stranger point out a brilliant solution within seconds. Sure, you know your brand inside and out. Yet innovation in branding thrives on un-knowing. The willingness to change your perception. The skill of suspending your deeply held beliefs to gain unexpected results.

When you promote a company culture of innovation and open-mindedness, you gain the ability to discover creative solutions that propel your brand forward. From this foundation, Big Squirrel can help you launch micro studies and ethnographic studies that create space for consumers to talk about your brand freely, connect with your products organically, and open up about the truths of their feelings and experiences.

If you think innovation is hard, remember that although their ketchup hit shelves around 1870, Heinz didn’t create the upside-down bottle until 2002 – 132 years later. The answer was staring them in the face; it just took a while to get there. Why did it take so long? Heinz didn’t have Big Squirrel.

We’re kidding – kind of.

Learn more about how Big Squirrel has helped other big brands turn their thinking upside down.

Real Brand Insights From Real People: Why Big Brands Trust Big Squirrel

Real Brand Insights From Real People: Why Big Brands Trust Big Squirrel

On-point branding doesn’t just give your company a competitive edge – it’s an absolute requirement if you want your business to succeed in today’s market. Being on-point means creating authentic resonance with the consumer. It’s a tall order for advertising alone, but when you craft a brand story that spans your entire set of customer touch points, you create an opportunity for greater connection to your brand.

Big Squirrel Accomplishes Big Things

At Big Squirrel, establishing real connections between brands and their customers is exactly what we do. Throughout our years in the business, we’ve cracked some seriously tough nuts for major clients like Nike, PepsiCo, Zales, Maidenform, ABC FamilyHanes and others. These brands understand the value of getting to the heart of what really matters to their consumer.

Big brands come to us with major challenges and trust that we’ll glean real insights from real customers to help them create an authentic, impactful brand strategy.

We gather meaningful, influential and authentic brand insights through ethnographic research techniques.

Here are a few of the specific ways we help big brands expose exactly what their customers want:

  • Cultural Immersion
    Customers don’t rush to discuss their unmet needs. They’re too busy living their lives. Cursory research techniques fall short because customers lose interest quickly or deliver the answers they think the researcher wants to hear. We counteract this challenge by embedding ourselves into customers’ lives. We take the time to experience the world as they do and see your brand through their eyes. Instead of limiting ourselves to simply asking questions, direct observation and experience generates personalized feedback that leads to true insight.
  • Personal Interviews
    Consumer decision-making is a complex journey. By visiting consumers where they live, work, play and shop, we discover firsthand the thought processes that inform their decision to commit to–or reject–a product. We emerge with authentic, unscripted information that reveals more intimate details than a focus group ever could. Understanding these step-by-step nuances helps big brands discover exactly how to deliver an experience that resonates more deeply with their customer.
  • Virtual Communities
    Catch them in the right environment, and people love to talk. Social media is an invaluable platform to expose consumers’ true sentiments about people, products, brands and culture. By providing a comfortable environment where consumers can express themselves freely, you’ll gain access to a trove of unbiased truths. Using social media as a tool, we facilitate unique, cross-cultural conversations. This outlet encourages deeper exchanges between real people and reveals dynamic thinking, ideas, opinions, intentions and attitudes.
  • Attentive Observation
    At Big Squirrel, we’re expert observers. We gather important information about a brand’s health and status beyond the board room; we reveal what’s happening in the real world. These stories deliver deeper insights for marketing teams to use as their springboard.

Big brands know how critical it is to unearth the unseen realities of consumers. Are you ready to optimize your marketing and branding strategy around real stories and real truths? Whether you’re a Fortune 500 leader or an emerging startup, the first step is to start thinking big.

Use the Power of Partnership to Get Inside Your Customers’ Minds

Use the Power of Partnership to Get Inside Your Customers’ Minds

Whether you’re B2B or B2C, a single rule applies across the board: always remember that you’re selling to people. Every solid marketing strategy centers around understanding the habits, actions and expectations of real people–how they buy, how they perceive your brand, and how your brand appears in their daily lives.

Quantitative research is helpful, but it can only reveal so much. You might discover that 70% of a 10,000-person sample prefer your brand over your competitor’s. But what’s going on with the remaining 30%? Knowing the personal stories of even a few of those detractors will help you understand how to shift their perception and their actions.

Getting to those stories isn’t always easy. And once you do, how do you make sense of all your customers’ thoughts, opinions and perceptions? How do you dig deeper to discover relevant insights that inform the way you do business? How do you turn information into results?

That’s where the power of partnership with Big Squirrel comes in.

The Private Nature of Public Opinion

What makes your customers fall in love with your brand? What do they find unattractive or even distasteful? People often only share their personal truths about your brand and products once they are out of your sight.

Surveys are constructive, but might not provide enough flexibility for accurate self-expression. Focus groups reveal more, but ultimately, they’re an inorganic social environment where customers often adapt their thoughts and feelings to achieve group unity. These quantitative research tools are useful but can trap you in the mindset of seeking out patterns, when what you really need is to reveal core truths.

Getting to these truths takes in-depth, individualized studies of your brand and your consumers. It takes a team of modern-day cultural anthropologists who know what look for and how to ask the right qualitative questions that reveal the most informative answers.

The Secret to Sales Success

The secret to sales success is found in the small picture. Not only should you know what your consumers desire inside and out, but you must get comfortable with what aggravates them and causes loss of brand loyalty. Getting to the innermost truths of why consumers buy and how individual mindsets are changing delivers the insights that drive sales success. Herein lies the true secret to shifting customer behavior.

The only way to reveal these underlying truths is to capture individual stories and spend time closely identifying cultural insights. These and other key behaviors will lead you toward more effective brand management.

Deep Immersion Reveals Human Insight

Your brand is always perceived in an infinite number of ways, amid a dynamic ebb and flow of consumer opinion, cultural trends and changing economics. The world is never still. Big Squirrel’s ethnographic approach allows us to observe your consumer in their natural habitat, as they engage with your brand in real time. We have developed a unique toolset that gives consumers the opportunity to share genuine thoughts about brands and products. This feedback often delivers unexpected but profound discoveries.

Deep immersion and ethnographic observation allows insight to emerge naturally, not through forced data sets or forgone conclusions. By looking beyond the data, we see your consumers as humans. We mine personal stories from your consumers’ experience to help you realize a deeper understanding of the trends that fuel a shifting market. These discoveries help you optimize your brand strategy to gain a competitive edge.

(Unflinching) Honesty is the Best Policy

Are you ready to examine your brand with unflinching honesty? To explore the forces driving culture today? To dig into the subconscious reasons people might defend or abandon your brand?

Our qualitative experts customize every inquiry to help you see your brand from multiple unique perspectives.

Whether you’re looking to redefine your brand, sharpen your marketing strategy, understand a cultural nuance, or get ahead of a buying trend, we’re ready to collaborate for your success.