The Landmark Blog

Kevan Oswald

Recent Posts

My Generation - Segmenting Characteristics of Generation X, Y, & Z

Posted by Kevan Oswald on Jan 8, 2015 10:35:50 AM

The oldest Gen Xers will turn 50 this year. At least most consider that to be the case.  Baby Boomers are widely agreed upon as having been born between 1946 and 1964, making 1965 the starting year for Generation X.  After that, start and stop dates for each generation start to get a little fuzzy.

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Topics: Market Research, Segmentation

Thought Control and the Branding Power of “that Kit-Kat Bar”

Posted by Kevan Oswald on Oct 15, 2014 1:36:00 PM

When did they stop singing the jingle in Kit-Kat commercials? I don’t watch a ton of TV, so I’m not the best judge of this, but I think its been a few years since the Kit-Kat jingle was actually sung in a commercial.  It’s all sound effects now, but when a Kit-Kat commercial comes on, I still sing the words in my mind along with the sound effects.  I can’t help it.  It’s as if I don’t even have a choice in the matter. “Gimme me a break, gimme a break, break me off a piece of that Kit-Kat bar.”  Having me repeat those words in my mind is of course far more effective than simply hearing those words.  That’s powerful advertising.

So much of what we think, believe, and even decide occurs without our own awareness.  In his book “Unconscious Branding,” author Douglas Van Praet provides several insights into the way our mind works when it comes to forming opinions about brands. The following is my effort to summarize some of his key points.  As a marketing researcher, much of the book resonated with what I have already come to know, but he also provided several new insights that I know I will find applicable to much of the branding research I do with regard to focus groups, survey development, and consultation.

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Topics: Branding

French Frying Your Brand's Selling Position through Survey Research

Posted by Kevan Oswald on Oct 1, 2014 10:03:18 AM

A much younger version of me used to play right forward on a soccer team.  And I was fast. I remember frequently racing with the ball up the sideline, past the other team’s defenders, and then centering the ball to a teammate who would hopefully put it in the net.  I recall on one occasion, after racing up the sideline, centering the ball directly to a defender instead of my teammate. I mistakenly assumed that my teammate would be there, I obviously should have looked first, but had he been playing his position, the outcome could have been very different.

Soccer, football, lacrosse, basketball, with just about every sport positioning is a critical component of success. The same can be said for any brand. As you watch football this season, notice how many big plays are made as the result of a receiver finding an open position on the field.  In business the action is far slower, but the same principle applies.  If you can outmaneuver a defender (the competition) and find or create an open position, you can make the big play.  Easier said than done, but when you have a sound game plan (a positioning strategy), the likelihood of success is much greater.

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Topics: Market Research, Survey

How Things Go Viral

Posted by Kevan Oswald on Mar 27, 2014 11:36:00 AM

When I was in 5th grade I brought a small yo-yo to school.  Smaller than any other yo-yo my classmates had ever seen… they were fascinated.  I wasn’t a yo-yo wizard, but I could make my small yo-yo do just about anything an average sized yo-yo could do.  At recess kids gathered around to watch and give it a try.  A couple of days later a few of my friends showed up to school with small yo-yo’s of their own.  Soon more followed, and before long anybody who wanted to be one of the cool kids in the 5th grade had a small yo-yo.  The craze quickly spread around Morningside Elementary resulting in new rules and restrictions on where and when yo-yo’s could be used.  Since then I have been unsuccessful in creating a fad or craze of any other type.  Not that I have tried, or really even want to, but I look back at that experience with a degree of wonder.  Why is it that some things catch on like that?  Is there a formula or recipe for making something go viral?

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Topics: Social Media, Branding, Business Practice

A Researchers Experience with Google Consumer Surveys

Posted by Kevan Oswald on Mar 13, 2014 1:25:00 PM

Jupiter is big.  With a diameter of 88,694 miles it is roughly eleven times wider than the Earth.  Comparing the diameter of Jupiter to the diameter of the Earth is like comparing the 2013 revenue of Google to the 2013 revenue of Nielson (the largest player in the marketing research industry, according to the Honomichl Top 50).  To continue the analogy, GfK (another Hinomichl) would be roughly the width of our moon, and Discovery Research Group, not sure, we’d probably be the width of that asteroid Bruce Willis blew up in the movie Armageddon years ago.

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Topics: Survey, Online Survey

Social Media Research Analysis of Charitable Giving in America

Posted by Kevan Oswald on Dec 5, 2013 10:00:00 AM

Given the time of year (the holiday season), we decided it would be interesting to do some research on charitable giving in America.  This article gives a summary of some social media analysis we conducted of the Philanthropic efforts of the thirty largest companies in America according to Fortune magazine’s list of the 500 top revenue-producing companies for 2013.  For this research, online conversations were harvested from various social media sources for content related to philanthropy.  The data was extracted using proprietary linguistic technologies developed by Discovery Research Group’s Focalytic brand.  A full-blown white paper is being developed around this topic and will be available in the next week or two.  We will also cover additional findings here.   

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Topics: Market Research, Social Media Research, Sentiment Analysis, Industry Analysis, Business Strategy

Talkin’ Bout My Generation - Segmentation

Posted by Kevan Oswald on Nov 29, 2013 9:00:00 AM

Not my song.  Not my generation.  I’m one removed from the rock and roll of the self-centered “me” generation.  I grew up way back in the day when MTV actually showed videos and I don’t recall seeing anything much from The Who.  The point is I know the song, but I can’t identify with it, it doesn’t resonate with me.  There’s no need for me to live in someone else’s past.  Use that song in a commercial and I probably tune it out.  Grab a song from the 80’s that I like and I might take notice.  Pull something else into the ad like people my age, activities I like, an environment I can relate to, maybe a well know actor or line from an 80’s movie that Boomers and Millennials won’t get, make it entertaining, and I’ll pay attention. 

It’s a fairly basic concept; simply show your target market using your product, and they’ll take notice because they can project themselves into the circumstance.  But to really resonate your marketing needs to do more than just create a mental picture or association; it needs to communicate a level of understanding so that your target market says “yea…they get me”.  So how do you do that?  Your best guess?  Trial and error?  To borrow a word from a much much older generation, that’s “tomfoolery”.  (I don’t think I resonated with anyone with that word choice).  But to my point, research is how you get there, in particular segmentation research.

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Topics: Market Research, Marketing, Qualitative Research, Segmentation

Six Reasons Why MROCs Rock

Posted by Kevan Oswald on Sep 18, 2013 9:12:00 AM

First, in case you’re not familiar with what an MROC is, it stands for Marketing Research Online Community. The format and interaction is somewhat similar to that of Facebook. A little like a focus group and a little like a survey panel, the platform provides for interaction and sharing between a moderator and participants. The moderator asks questions or assigns tasks and the participants respond. The insights gained from this research tool are rich and powerful. Below are six reasons why this is the case.

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Topics: Market Research, Online Research, MROC, Online Community

Using Strategic Insights to Steal a Lion's Kill

Posted by Kevan Oswald on Jul 3, 2013 1:47:00 PM

This video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3AtVgiYKd8 shows three men walk straight up to 15 hungry lions and steal part of their kill.  It completely puts to shame all videos of people swimming with sharks making them look like wimps by comparison. 

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Topics: Market Research, Consumer Intelligence, Strategic Insight

RATUFA Branding

Posted by Kevan Oswald on May 15, 2013 11:19:00 AM


Contrary to the spelling of its name, the Ratufa isn’t a “rat”, it’s a squirrel, a “very large tree
squirrel”, according to the ultimate authority on squirrels, Wikipedia.  There are four species of the genus Ratufa living in Southeast Asia…and that’s about as exciting as it gets.  If you want to see a Ratufa, also known as an Oriental Giant Squirrel, in action, watch this video of one eating a cookie. (The logic of how this “exciting” video has over 16,000 views escapes me).

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Topics: Branding, Business Strategy