International Research and Cultural Guides – Expert Interview with Emma Bellamy, Innovation Designer at Dorel Juvenile

Dorel Juvenile Europe create innovative products and services for growing children, and their strong brands Maxi-Cosi, Bébé Confort, Quinny, Safety 1st, Baby Art and Tiny Love are well known globally.

Researching with over 50 families in Japan, China and Korea over the course of six months, Studio INTO supported Dorel’s innovation team in a pan Asian market scoping which aimed at better understanding the East Asian markets in general and the baby mobility sector in particular.

As always with international projects, we worked with our Cultural Guides – experts in analysing their culture and local consumption – who’s deep native knowledge helped us make sense of the three markets and detect emerging behaviours and influential trends relevant to Dorel.

Three months after the hand-over we got back in touch with Emma Bellamy – Innovation Designer & Marketing Intelligence Specialist at Dorel Juvenile – to see how the project insights were being put to use.

Why is ethnographic research important for Dorel?

As a company we aren’t trying to tell people what they want or need, we would rather understand our consumers so well that the products and services that we offer automatically do that for them – before they realise, or maybe without them noticing at all. In order to do that, we really need to understand our consumers on a very personal level and that’s’ why I think we find ethnographic research so powerful.

We’re not looking for facts like ‘on average a woman has 3.2 children’ because those insights are very easily dismissed and are not only hard to truly understand but very difficult to interpreted into some kind of result. Collecting stories that make something foreign seem relevant and tangible is important for us.

Why did you decide research in Asia was important when you’re already in the market?

Parenting is obviously a global phenomenon and we know that the need of those parents, especially those that live in cities, are quite universal. But those same needs can manifest themselves differently from country to country, or from region to region, or even different parts of the same city.

We know the European market and consumers quite well in this office, but outside of Europe it’s hard to even know what questions to ask. Sometimes Asia can feel like its one big unknown – embarrassing to even admit it, because it’s so big and the countries are so very different – but it’s very easy from our perspective to just group it together “Asia over there…”, but there’s a lot to learn from those countries and people.

Having worked with us on three projects recently, what was your experience of working with INTO and our Cultural Guides?

I think the Cultural Guides are integral to the kind of research that we were doing. Dorel is a global company with global brands and we like to be able to focus our brands, products and services regionally. That’s why it’s important for us to be able to do research in all different places, but we can’t possibly have a research team in every region – it’s not efficient nor feasible – so I think of course it helps to use external agencies like INTO to help us with that.

We need people who are going to do more than just translate for us, as language is so much more than the words. I think tone of voice is something like 38% of communication. So capturing those sort of details, the connotations of what people are talking about and the nuances in what they’re saying is something you can’t do without a cultural guide. They are integral for this type of research.

Who would you say uses the insights; Is there one specific team, or does it trickle down to everyone? And what has been the biggest impact?

I think if nothing else it’s proven how useful research can be and how important it is because it really threw our expectations out the window.

I work on the innovation team here, but I also work very closely with the market insights team; the two teams work hand in hand to help and learn from each other. Between us we’ve used the insights to analyse projects we were currently working on to ask ‘is it even possible to think about this product in any part of Asia’?  We’ve also used the results to think about how to make more global products – products that are not just European focused but that have potential to be sold globally, possibly with a local configuration or marketing.

The research we’ve done has helped bring our users to life for people within all parts of the organization, especially those whom don’t work directly with consumers. With such powerful stories from around the globe, our consumers finally feel like real people. Building empathy this way is invaluable and helps to bring the consumer to the center of our organization.

And I think that is has also helped us to bring our global company and colleagues together and us to better understand each other’s cultures. The more we can do to bring people together and to have a better understanding of each other the better we can work together.

Only final question, what for you was the most unexpected insight from these projects?

I think the difference between the countries really surprised me, but the one that really stuck with me is how in China, the whole family works together to care for baby. One set of grandparents usually moves in the parents for the first three years of their child’s life. At first, coming from a more individualistic society, I thought how overwhelming it would be to have a whole family in one apartment, trying to agreeing on parenting techniques and planning, etc. But looking more into it, it’s easy to even get a bit jealous. Since the grandparents are always around, both mom and dad can go back to work, and no one is ever left alone to care for the little one. It’s really a team effort!

We’re always look for how consumer use our products in new ways. That really is the best bit of doing this really open ended research – you leave room for your consumer to surprise you!

A big thank-you to Emma for talking to us!

6th October 2016
Authors own holiday photo

Cultural Guide Spotlight – Colombia, the only risk is you’ll want to stay longer

In recent years, Colombia has been up on its heel celebrating her growing numbers of visitors.

Since 2000, the country has been heavily investing in various drivers of change to attract travel enthusiasts; armed with a sense of humour and a vision for the future the country has devised peace treaties with armed rebels and advertising campaigns, like the 2008 nationwide campaign Colombia, el riesgo es que te quieras quedar’, ‘Colombia, the only risk is you want to stay longer’. And figures show that the hard work if paying off. Migration Colombia recorded an 11.2% growth in arrivals into Colombia since 2015 with 70.2% of visitors coming for vacations followed by 16.2% for business reasons.

As international tourism is on the rise, Colombians are also making domestic travels more frequently. Yes, Colombians are travelling more! Tightened safety regulations have made a big difference, but more importantly, a low cost airline ‘Viva Colombia’ was introduced in 2009. A trip on Viva Colombia is like taking a nostalgic, whimsical ride on Colombia’s rustic Chiva busses. The explanation behind this inside joke is simple; as a low cost carrier, travellers are expected to arrive early and get ready to “run for a good seat” which the same protocol for locals who run for seats on packed Chivas.


If you too are planning a trip to Colombia, then finding good tips in guidebooks can be hard, so it would be my pleasure to share my experience of beautiful Colombian road trips and carnivals!

So, what does holidays mean for Colombians’? With our tropical climate all year round, we are privileged to say vacaciones (holidays) may happen any time of the year. A very popular road trip for domestic tourists is one my family and I did 24 years ago – travelling to Cartagena. There was a TV advertisement of a soda brand in the late 90s with the slogan “llegamos a Cartagena, IIegamos a Cartagena” which translates to “We just arrived to Cartagena, we just arrived to Cartagena”. The commercial focused on the excitement of a family finishing a long road trip upon arrival to Cartagena and now it’s almost a symbolic milestone in life for most Colombians.

As Colombian’s, we like parties and can be said to be proudly happy, so many holidays are planed around these festivals! Each of Colombia’s 5 main regions – Amazonia, Andean, Caribbean, Orinocco and the Pacific – is made up of many cities and towns which celebrates their own festivity. Some are traditional events inherited from Spanish Colonisers, Indigenous, and Africans. Cultural events embody a string of carnivals, parades, cavalcades, concerts, and fairs. An example is the San Pedro festival in the city of Neiva. We also celebrate “Feast Days”. They are holidays originated from religious beliefs. 15 out of 20 paid holidays are “Feast Days”. Religious tourism also contributes to a big part of the tourism pie in Colombia. The famous destinations are commonly cities with a strong Spanish heritage such as Popayan in Cauca, Buga in Valle del Cauca and Santa Fe de Antioquia in Antioquia, among others.

Welcome to Colombia!

Alejandra Arango / INTO Cultural Guide in Colombia

24th August 2016
INTO's Cultural Guides in Dessau

Cultural Guide Spotlight – Changing attitudes to local markets and regional identity

Last week we brought together some of our Cultural Guides in Dessau, Germany. To make the most of the international spread present, we were keen to compare global thoughts on what’s defining today’s brand and design culture. As recently published by the Harvard Business Review on the difference of looking at cultures within countries as compared to between them, INTO Cultural Guides takes prides in breaking down stereotypes and generalisations.

Our Cultural Guides from around the world have been noticing a surge in interest  for design made with a local nuance. Many believe that the desire to imitate popular design trends is decreasing and will continue to do so as more young designers instead invest their talent in adapting global trends to suit regional markets and local identities.


Trend 1: The value of tapping into local talents

Looking for opportunities in more established design markets has led to many local talents searching for a second home outside their native county. Having trained as a product designer in Brazil, Paulo Victor Santos reflected that it was only after leaving his country that he appreciated the design culture Brazil offered: “There is an underdog feeling held by design students and practitioners in Brazil which makes us believe what we have in the country is not good enough. It is just not about design education but society itself. It feels like what we do is not good enough so we have to look for somewhere else that we perceive as doing better. However, when I started as a freelancer, working from Germany, I experienced how much clients valued my work as a Brazilian designer. I would not have realise this appreciation for Brazilian culture if I’ve not travelled out.”

Marcela Gonzalez, noticed the difference between working as a designer abroad in comparison to staying in her home country, Mexico. She comments: “In Mexico, when a designer from the States or Europe comes work in the office, they are perceived as “imported design”, therefore more valuable than what we have here.”

Macarena Alamos shared her thoughts on why Chileans also aspired to work aboard. She says: “Chile is far away from the rest of the world therefore, we are always looking outwards and aspire to be like them. The education curriculums we have are preparing designers to find jobs overseas. I only realise this after completing my design studies in Germany. There are many possibilities for jobs here but not back in Chile. I want to look at what is actually Chilean industry, what can locals actually do to increase its productivity and visibility so that we can find work in our country. We should start prioritising local economy rather than the reality of the rest of the world.”

In response to Macarena’s ambition of increasing visibility of Chile’s design culture, Daniel BArón, from Bogotá, Colombia highlights: “I believe the strategy for a designer is to think globally but applying those concepts locally. This will increase the visibility of the Colombian art and design industry. As a designer, we should promote local production and be proud of our heritage and start to create Colombian design trends, not just checking Pinterest all day for inspiration.” With the opening of Medellín Museum of Modern Art and in light of international attention on Colombia’s fashion industry, Medellín is currently transforming itself into Colombia’s capital city for creative progress.

Trend 2: The emergence of local design movements

A design movement in Karachi, Chowk has caught the attention of Omer, our Guide from Pakistan. Chowk has recently emerged as a hub for Pakistan’s creativity and design enthusiasts. Omer says: “In my city Karachi, there is this area called Pakistan Chowk. Over there, there are very cheap designers, they will design the whole website for 50 euros, so everyone just goes. Now it is kind of becoming a cult. You know people are doing research about “Pakistan Chowk Design” and maybe they can use this to form a distinct visual culture. It has become an identity: in my opinion it’s bad design but people in Pakistan can relate. They don’t rely on influence from the outside world at all- they are instead creating everything from scratch.” Lahore, Pakistan has also recently announced their first Biennale happening November 2017.

No matter if local talents stay in their home country or chose to work abroad, the emerging aspiration of designers are to look to their local heritage and define a visual identity they are proud of. Our Cultural Guides highlight the importance of research that looks not just at a country but also at cultures within a country’s socio-classes, cities, communities and cults.

Photo Credit: Sam Sanchez

Alcinda Lee

25th July 2016

Emerging Consumer Lifestyles Asia – Regional Compilation 2016

For the last twelve months we’ve spoken to 50+ families across all corners of Asia, looking for large market trends and collecting personal stories from inside people’s homes and on the street; we have been asking about everything from family life to favourite objects, travel destinations to social aspirations. This is our regional list of some of the bigger trends we think will be shaping the consumers and markets across Asia in the near future.


CHINA – The incubator of ubiquitous apps

As China’s internet penetration passes 50% this year – just over 700 million users – the online market establishes itself as the shopping channel of choice for goods and services. With the ever growing connectivity it’s exciting to see how ‘home grown’ apps are not only shaping the Chinese consumer, but setting the trend for the future of commerce and communication globally.

WeChat not only dominates China’s messaging app market but is becoming truly ubiquitous allowing users to transfer money, hail a taxi, deliver a pizza or book a doctor’s appointment, whilst XiaoHongShu (Little Red Book) China’s $1bn shopping app is turning everyone into trend spotters.


KOREA – A society of two faces; home vs public

Korean life is competitive in all things: final year school students can get police escort to their final exams to make sure their don’t miss them, people confess to carrying an empty coffee cup around to show their participation in the highly popular café culture and expectant mothers feel bound to go on spiritual holidays and to paint mindfulness paintings to ensure the best start in life for their unborn child. In a society where many feel there are constantly being judge, individuals and companies are going to great lengths in an attempt to escape.

The home – a  place of escape from competitive society – has started shaping consumer trends, whilst at work stressed employees are shut inside coffins or sent to laughing therapy in an attempt to teach them the value of life and happiness.


INDIA – The new men and women

India’s population is young; with over 50% of its population below the age of 25 and more than 65% below the age of 35, the average consumer is competitive, impressionable and social image consciousness. The increasing media exposure and globally informed aspirations of the new middle class has started to create new definitions of femininity and masculinity, causing tension as well as liberation for young men and women in a society still bound by strong traditions.

Whilst India’s expanding opportunities has seen an increase in the visibility of women in public spaces, such as the office and the gym, Indian men’s sense of “masculinity” still impacts parents’ preference for sons despite the many legal steps to stop gender discrimination.


JAPAN – Confident patrons of the domestic market

Despite a shrinking domestic market, the Japanese see themselves as a confident and comfortable consumer group. Whilst they speak highly of foreign design and are quick to purchase foreign products and brands they still place greater trust in locally manufactured goods. We have seen strong popularity of brand collaborations where local produce was used by foreign brands to make Japan specific variations.

Following the highly successful 1974 advertising campaign “Kentucky for Christmas”, KFC has become synonymous with Christmas in Japan. Perhaps even stranger is that the chicken specialist have also become synonyms with fish and green tea as the brand adapts to the local preferences. The baby carrier brand ‘Ergo Baby’ also realised the value in cultural adjustment when they made a sell-out product using Japanese jeans fabric for a Japan specific baby carrier, made in collaboration with Lee Jean.


INDONESIA – The emergence of middle class consumption in Asia’s next giant

As one of the MINT countries – Indonesia’s emerging market is tagged to be one of the world’s next economic giants. Popularity of products in the leisure and health product categories and overwhelmingly sense of optimistic with consumers we spoke to all supports the theory of thriving market. Travel, fruit juices, skin care and wellbeing products as well as and health insurance are booming as the growing middle class shifts towards an aspirational form of consumerism with individuals seeking to improve their lives and their social standing.


Photo credit: Bric News

Nathalie Jerming – Havill

10th May 2016

What are kids INTO?

Over the last year we have worked across many different categories, from airline catering to cosmetics and children’s products, and in doing so have gained insights into the changing markets of a wide range of sectors.

As we feel no industry exists in singularity but always in the context of others, we compared the industry crossovers, looking specifically for emerging trends relevant to the kids industry. Combining insights from larger market shifts with individual consumer behaviours highlighted a multitude of trends, of which we would like to share four of the more prominent ones.



Generation Z don’t want off-the-shelf consumption, they want to create and customise their possessions. As they get older they are taking more control of the process, going on to define their own culture.

Children are being introduced to the tools and systems of their generation at a very young age. Encouraged and supported by parents and inspired by the potential of kits on the market which provide support structures, kids with discerning minds go on to build and make personalised objects. They learn by building and destroying.

The internet is giving these young entrepreneurs a platform to share their thoughts and sell their products.

“We’re a youth culture magazine written by youths, not guys in their thirties” – Elise By Olsen, 15 years old Oslo-based founder and editor of Recens Paper



Thanks to the ever-present internet, social media, migrating work forces and the rise in city living, children are exposed to a plethora of cultural backgrounds. They are increasingly moving and interacting across national and cultural boarders having a visible impact on attitudes and tastes.

City children commonly adopt multicultural celebrations – Holi, Day of the dead, Halloween, Chinese New Year and are into Global Popular Culture. Today kids are in the know more than ever and their tastes for fashion, food and services and becoming more and more sophisticated. Due to the impact of social media, traditional geo-dependent trend cycles are quickly disappearing.

“Today’s kids have sophisticated palates. A trend in the food industry is the disappearance of child specific menus. Instead kids are offered a smaller portion of the grown up’s dish. So kids can pick an adult taste in a smaller size” – Jennifer Pembroke Johnson, Global Consumer Insights Director at McDonalds



There is a visible change in the dynamics and behaviours of different generations within families. Fewer children born in Europe, older first-time mums, and fathers and grandparents getting more involved in the everyday care of children has lead to changes in priorities when making purchasing decisions.

Unlike previously, where mum traditionally did most of the shopping for children, grandparents and fathers are now proactive decision makers, buyers and main users of kid’s products too.

While more money is being spent on fewer offspring, families are looking for a polarised range of products and services where ‘cheap’ still has appeal, but where children are also ‘treated’ to the emerging luxury products developed for the youngest generation.

“Parents always want quality products, but what’s interesting is that there is a luxury market emerging in the kids industry” – Prof. Peter Wippermann, at Folkwang University Essen



Families are living busier lives and therefore are looking for offerings which will make their day-to-day lives easier and save time. Products and services that minimise planning and provide maximum quality family-time are increasingly popular.

Parents seek subscription services that offer ‘ready-to-play’ activities or simply allow them to eliminate chores such as shopping for nappies and other everyday items. Family members are reaching out to technology in order to structure their hectic lives. Apps and websites are not only used to keep the family schedules updated, but also to communicate and locate each other.

“Is my husband going to be home for dinner? Does that business meeting conflict with basketball practice? Game night, girl’s night, date night… keeping everyone’s schedules straight in my work and family life is a herculean effort. To manage everyone’s coming and going, I need something more than just a place to jot things down”- Busy London Mum


You may have noticed that these four trends are already beginning to impact the children industry, but they are just some of many, with more emerging every week. To not only stay abreast with, but to stand a chance bringing innovation to the market, companies in the children’s industry would be wise to do brand specific research, helping them understand not only what these trends mean for their particular business now and in the near future but also the behaviours and attitudes of their consumers who will, ultimately, decide the success or failure of the company.

19th November 2015
Category : Uncategorised
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Expert interview with Design Director at LEGO Licencing®

Sine Klitgaard Møller is a design director at Lego Licensing and has worked for the LEGO group since 1995. She has vast experience in doing research with families. The LEGO company is insight driven, meaning they base new product development on research findings rather than relying on assumptions and churning out new merchandise without much thought. This is why LEGO is still at the forefront of the children’s toy industry, being nominated the most powerful global brand earlier this year.

We had the pleasure of working with Sine during a project for LEGO® wear the children’s wear brand that goes the extra mile for families by understanding and supporting their lives. She has kindly given us some time to answer a few questions.



“You can have an idea of what you think things are like, but you don’t know for sure if that is the case. When talking to parents they will tell you their ideal picture of what they would like their lives to be like, not necessarily what their lives are actually like. For example, mums often tell us they are trying to stimulate their child creatively and would like toys that help them do so. But when digging a bit deeper it becomes clear that it is not only about creativity but also about trying to get the child to play on its own for a few minutes so mum can get on with other things for a while.”


“Doing research is not about proving what you have in your head. At LEGO Licensing staff are encouraged not to say “my kids like… or my cousin’s children like …” it’s simply not credible. You would never trust a medical scientist who says: – my kids like this medicine and they didn’t get sick”


“One of the big take outs from the LEGO® Wear research that we wouldn’t have found without research was that LEGO wear needs to be easy, not fashionable or trendy. We also learnt fathers take on dressing children & what they want from children’s clothing. That meant we can tailor advertising to include dads and show things from a dad’s perspective, i.e. how to match clothes, and how easily it washes etc. That is a totally new ‘hook’ we can use.”


“We do research at all stages of a project. In the beginning to define the brief, and then we have play tests every week where kids are invited into LEGO to try toys that are in development. We also do packaging tests in the final stages of a project, and sometimes even after a project is done to evaluate the outcome.”


“We use consultancies who can find us children with the right criteria, such as age and gender. We are also in touch with a few kindergardens where we have a sign-up system for those interested in taking part in research with parents approval.”


“Although keeping an open mind you need to be super clear on what you want to get out of the research. And then you need need simple straightforward questions. When doing group tests you have to be aware of group dynamics and peer pressure. For example in a shopping scenario where kids are asked something along the lines of: ‘If you have £10 what would you buy?’, if someone picks a thing someone else also likes they may not realise it can be picked again despite there just being one sample piece of clothing.”


We transfer the knowledge from research between other projects. We have a common share and we constantly re-visit research.


“LEGO Friends — LEGO bricks made specifically for girls — is a good example. It started with many years heavy research before we launched the products. We were under the assumption that girls don’t like to build, but they do, they just think they can’t do it –– the company’s tag line is ‘creating the builders of tomorrow’ –– if we want to support children to become the builders of tomorrow, and we are going to have female engineers we had better get girls building.”


A big Thank You to Sine for talking to us!

11th November 2015
Category : Design, Experts, Insights
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Design That Stimulates – Central Saint Martin’s Graduate Show 2015

Sometimes, indulging in too much of a good thing can be wonderful. On rare occasions it might even be good for you. For anyone with an insatiable curiosity, a graduate show – with its abundance of eye-catching creations and thought provoking concepts – is an example of one such satisfactorily opulent occasion.

The second half of the Central Saint Martins’ annual graduate show, dedicated to showcasing design, graphics, and material exploration, took place this June and, as Studio INTO’s Joanna Brassett has this year had the enviable task of tutoring some of the final year product design students, I was lucky enough to get a ticket to the opening night.

Joanna had supervised a selection of the students personal and client projects., among them a group project done in collaboration with McCain, entitled ‘The future of the potato (it’s not a chip!)’. This humorous brief produced some ingenious products, including a wearable snack targeting ‘scooter-set’ school children and a new take on edible energy boosting gels, also made primarily from potatoes. Reassuringly however, I don’t think the chip element of Friday fish dinners will be jeopardised any time soon.


Graduation exhibitions, as environments of excessive creativity, are not only a place for inspirational indulgence, but also present a great opportunity to spot emergent socio-cultural themes. Although we find ourselves in a time where once easily identifiable trends have been replaced by a steady bombardment of short lived micro movements – whose main objective increasingly seems to be to demonstrate of their novelty rather than their relevance – there were a few poignant trends that transpired the show that I’m sure we will be seeing more of in the future.

Although we have yet to see any truly ‘Jetson-esque’ gadgets being mass produced, I am sure no one will have managed to avoid the ubiquitous hype of how smart wearable technology is soon supposed to be transforming everyday life. It was perhaps rather expected then that one of the most notable themes addressed at the show was intelligent objects and Big Data. Most evident at the product and graphic part of the show, many student explored the potential benefits from harnessing big data, and the new moral philosophy that could develop as products get smarter. Ideas ranged from concepts that I would be thrilled to see on next year’s Christmas list, to speculative products I hope remain dystopian predictions. One of the more optimistic student was Kehan Yu: “Connected products can be seen not only as tools but also as devices which can give active responses. An intelligent sensing computer would understand its users’ behaviours and serve them similarly to a servant aiming to reduce its master’s burden. A personal Internet of Things could create an efficient and sustainable future.”

Another prominent, less anticipated theme, saw projects focus on alternate health care and the process of death. These students had highlighted varied issues such as the ageing global population, our obsession with cleanliness and a changing religious landscape as factors affecting our current mental and physical health. There were apps for self-medication, a dispenser that would expose you to bacteria as you slept, paraphernalia for modern burial rites and digital services for remembering the lives of deceased family and friends. One exhibiting student, Simon Drake said “Memories of people, places and events in our lives are inescapable. So it follows that the many objects we come in contact with represent an attachment formed with people, places and/or events. Over a lifetime this can become a rich collection of ephemera that reflects our individual and/ or collective journeys.”


Since my own graduation I have noticed a growing general sentiment that despite today being a time of stuffification, design continues to blindly add to the ‘object overload’, increasingly disconnecting itself from both the industry and changing social values. As editor in chief, Robert Thiemann, said in the June/July Issue of ‘Frame’: “What bothers me is that an industry so deeply engaged in innovation – literally from day one – pays so little attention to broad social shifts and technological advances.” But, having seen what this years’ students have produced I can, with renewed confidence, beg to differ.

Whilst it might be true that most of the projects on display will not in their present form make it into our everyday lives, the overwhelming evidence of student’s awareness of real social issues and exploration of new materials would lead me to believe that at least some of them will not go on to just make ‘new stuff’ for the sake of it.

Let’s hope that the inspiring optimism and enthusiasm present during the opening night of their show remains with the graduates once they leave the university-incubator, and that they remember that as designers –thinkers, makers, doers – they should dare to apply themselves to bigger things. By tackling social and technological change with an inquisitive, provocative and entertaining mind set, I would like to believe we will see the new graduates go on to make big waves in the services and systems of the real world.

Then again, being a Central Saint Martins alumni, I was perhaps always going to be biased.



Nathalie Jerming – Havill

5th August 2015

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Interview with the Global Consumer Insights Director at McDonalds

Jennifer Pembroke Johnson is the Global Consumer Insights Director at McDonalds based in Chicago, Illinois U.S.A. With over 15 years of qualitative and quantitative consumer research experience on both the client and supplier side she knows a thing or two about doing research with children. We are very grateful to Jennifer for taking the time to talk to us and share some experiences, hints and tips.


“We may get different information if we only rely on the parents. It’s good to speak with both parents and children as you can see where opinions differ and overlap.”

“We often see kids and parents together but we also do kids ‘hang-outs’ to check concepts and flush out what they find most exciting, and fine tune those ideas before we put them into quantitative research.”


“We are very involved in our kids research and think there are some great firms out there that specialise in how to talk to kids. Just because you might have a research methodology that is appropriate for parents it’s not sure it would work well with children.”

“Kids attention span is shorter so the conversation must move on much quicker, and that requires someone with a special ear to help understand what the kid thinks and help them project their opinions.”


“We do both home visits and focus groups. We like to organise friendship groups or meet ups with a few kids at a time. I think it is important as it has a positive effect on how people talk and play off one another instead of just having a one-to-one conversation. The results are so different. I find the same if we get a couple of mums together. It often makes the outcome feel more authentic.”

“I tend not to put boys and girls together because they are so different especially at certain ages. Recently when doing some kids triads (friendship groups) we had 8-9 year olds, the age when kids would be emerging out of Happy Meals, and we wanted to understand their interests in general. While sports is definitely a theme for both boys and girls most other leisure time activities were miles apart. Boys were into Minecraft and hardcore play like LEGO or that type of games, and girls we into dancing, singing and swimming. With the exception of Harry Potter even the books they read are different.  It was really good to be able to compare and see differences and similarities.”


“I think some of it is in the screening of the kids. We ask them questions, like describe a favourite character from a book for example, if they are really struggling to articulate that it’s a red flag. I also find that if you ask a kid to bring along a friend they tend to be more relaxed instead of being with a bunch of strangers. They are able to share a bit more freely. Also, their friend catch them out if they are making things up – “you don’t do that!” When they are with people who know them they can’t just tell you things that they think you would like to hear, and therefore it tends to be more authentic.”


“One of the trends I think is really relevant for our brand is that kids are the mini-me of their parents. As a kid I didn’t go out for sushi with my mum and I didn’t go to a salon to have a manicure. Fine dining was for super special occasions. Today you can’t go into a restaurant or a salon without finding a 4 year old in there sharing the experience with his/her parents.

In focus groups you hear kids talk about their favorite food and places to go, and it’s about using chop sticks, and Asian food and Indian food… Kids just have a lot more exposure now and their parents are taking them along versus hiring a babysitter and leaving them at home. It’s a new market and the brand needs to develop with that mini-me trend.

As an example of that, when we were in London earlier this year we went to a place called Leon, and they don’t have special kids meals. Their kids offering was a smaller portion (half portion) of the grown up’s dish. So kids can pick and adult taste in a smaller size.”


“You have to be a little patient. And you must have a very clear understanding of the research question”

“The best kids research is done by people who don’t stick to one single methodology but instead really craft a methodology to suit a particular project. You must be sensitive to kids need and demands and ensure the kids understand the question.”

“A good research partner has tools in their tool box that helps the child answer the question without it sounding artificial or projected.”

“Keep it simple – they are kids.”


“The best research lives on. The best researchers can summarise the big ideas into small and easily accessible snippets of information.”


A massive Thank You to Jennifer for talking to us!

3rd July 2015
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Look who’s talking

“ While a large proportion of pensioner households have a low income, ironically the retired account for the majority of wealthy Britons. The over 50’s own 80 per cent of the private wealth of the UK. ”

We’re pleased to share that CWB magazine has written a review of the seminar we offered at the Bubble Show earlier this spring, where we were invited as expert speakers of the children’s industry.

Our seminar focused on the opportunities for innovation in the children’s industry that are emerging as the role of grandparents changes. Did you know that 63% of UK grandparents now look after their grandchildren on a weekly basis?

If you couldn’t make it to Bubble then find out more about our insights into the changing role of grandparents on page 29 of the March/April 2015 Issue of CWB.

7th May 2015
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