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The "NOW Project 2014" gets a digital plugin

Ethnographic consumer research agency, "The CIA" (a.k.a. The Consumer Insight Agency) has released their much-anticipated 2014 update to the "NOW Project".
Scott Gray
The NOW Project is a unique segmentation that delivers insights into the hearts and minds of the people of RSA, enabling marketers to read change and position brands with a future facing perspective.

The original NOW Project was launched in 2007 as a journey into the hearts and minds of South Africa's people - across the spectrum. Instead of limiting focus to peoples' income or assets, in the NOW Project the Consumer Insight Agency (CIA) explored prevailing mindsets and life motivations (which we then clustered into 12 'archetypes').

This humanising of the consumer found traction amongst marketers keen to connect brands with real people, not just stats and graphs.

(via Biz Community)

The content contained within the NOW Project is powerful. I think that most marketers (agencies and brands), ourselves included, don't spend enough time really getting into the headspace of the audiences we design our clients' communications for. Too often we hear and make sweeping statements like "I don't do that and I'm the target audience". Ethnographic research like the NOW Project enables marketers to apply a really rich layer of empathetic understanding of people's contexts. Understanding what drives groups of people, how they consume media, and how they view the world only makes us more effective at convincing them to use or buy your product or service.

"Know the audience, know the magic, connect the two"

With the launch of the NOW Project, Quirk has developed a digital overlay that sets out to paint a picture of what each of the 11 archetypes' digital world will look like within the next 2 to 4 years. This thinking is available alongside the CIA's report.

While building a three-year view of people's digital world is not an exact science, we've used a simple framework that guides our future thought:

1. The Consumer Mobility Stack

  • Connectivity: The foundation of the digital economy. Without connection, there is no internet, no web, no digital communication.
  • Hardware: Physical (consumer) technology (think mobile phone, tablet, laptop) that sits on top of the connectivity infrastructure and gives software (next layer) life.
  • Software: The stuff that fills our screens. Think Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Gmail, Google, a computer game. These products and services enable consumers' experiences (next layer).
  • Experience: The way we interact with technology, both software and hardware.
  • Consumer behaviour: How will technology/digital change our behaviours, the way we deal with the world around us, the way we interact with others (people and businesses).

    2. Apply Indicators and Trends

    Within each of these layers, we looked at indicators (quantitative and/or qualitative proof points of the situation as it currently stands) and trends (future forward observations, based on the indicators, via the minds of Quirk's strategy, insights and innovation teams).

    3. Implications = Long-term view x Archetype

    After plotting the future trends through the frame of our Consumer Mobility Stack framework, we worked through how the digital/tech/Internet landscape will influence the behaviours of each archetype within the next two to four years. This part was split into "Tech Context" (How future tech scenarios will enable this archetype) and "Behavioural Context" (How best could we engage this archetype?). We've also added a few thought spaces for brands under the heading of "Idea Spaces" (Potential ideas brands can use to reach/enable/empower this archetype).

    The Result?

    Well, I'll let the executive summary do the talking...

    It's hard not to agree that the impact of social and mobile has already been a profound one, the rapid impact digital technology and the internet has already had on humanity makes looking forward, into the future a somewhat difficult task.

    When viewed through the lens of each archetype within the NOW 2014 study, a person's relationship with technology and the resultant behaviour shifts over the course of the next few years becomes a little bit clearer.

    People are creatures of habit, and even though archetypes do evolve, they do so within a certain predictable boundary held together by the core definition of the archetype they exist within - True Blues will always be conservatives who are content with status quo, the Wild Child will always have a somewhat free-wheeling spirit, quick to try anything new and interesting.

    Digital technology however changes seemingly every day. Nobody can predict what things will look like in the next three years, but it is possible to look to the past few years for clues on how things will shape up going forward.

    The following Digital Overlay on CIA's NOW 2014 study sets out to preempt the digital context each archetype will find themselves living within in the next three to five years.

    Upfront, we have set out the broader digital context through the lens of Quirk's Consumer Mobility Stack which serves as a framework that holds our thinking together. Following the broader view, we dive into each archetype taking a look at the physical hardware each archetype will be using as well as services (spoiler alert: WhatsApp), and then the best ways to reach this audience in terms of channel and behaviour patterns.

    If you would like to get hold of the full report, please do contact us at , our marketing team is standing by.

  • About the author

    Scott Gray is Head of Planning & Frisbee Pro at Quirk.