September 15th, 2014 in culture, study | Tagged , | by | Leave a comment

It’s that time again-another Case Study! Here at W5 we like to share what we’ve been doing, including recent research studies that have helped client achieve their business goals. This case study highlights W5′s approach and the resulting deliverables for a research study on how to create a retail space to satisfy both general and Hispanic markets.

My very first blog post was about the future of Spanish in the US and discussed whether bilingual efforts were still relevant to the Hispanic market of today.  Later, I was assigned to a study that investigated how to refine a retail store to better accommodate Hispanic consumers’ needs, including language needs. It is essential that consumers understand the retail space whether navigating the store independently or guided by a sales representative. This can become a convoluted balance in bilingual markets where retailers will ask themselves how to accommodate for Hispanic consumers’ needs. An in-depth retail environment study can answer such bilingual marketing questions as: are bilingual
sales representatives sufficient assistance for consumers; is a cultural ‘translation’ a more appropriate marketing solution than a language translation; and will we be isolating or alienating unilingual consumers if we grow bilingual efforts?


A multinational telecommunications company wanted to under
stand how Hispanic shoppers react and engage with a newly redesigned store. The client wanted to ensure new design and layout improvements accommodate any cultural and language needs before renovating additional stores.


To understand consumer perceptions of the new store, W5 interviewed pre-recruited Hispanic consumers and employees and conducted in-store interviews, intercepts and employee interviews. In addition to Hispanic shoppers, W5 also spoke to non-Hispanic shoppers to compare experiences. Discussions centered on navigability of the space, functionality of interactive experiences, and clarity of in-store communications.


The research revealed opportunities for refining experiences and noted meaningful points of differentiation between the general and Hispanic markets. Through our ethnographic approach, W5 recommended changes to the store to enhance its appeal with the Hispanic market and outlined important criteria when catering to this community. The results ensured a store design that would successfully communicate to both Hispanic and general market consumers, encourage product interaction, and avoid confusion related to customer service, navigability, and product features and benefits.

Spotlight is a special feature of the W5 Blog showcasing W5 consultants’ approach to designing marketing research studies, creating engaging deliverables, and informing strategy. For more information on W5’s approach to qualitative or quantitative research contact:

SPOTLIGHT: Exploring Consumer Sentiment & Building Empathy

August 20th, 2014 in advertising, market research | Tagged , , , , , , , | by | Leave a comment

Every once in a while, we like to share what we’ve been up to, including how our research engagements have helped our clients achieve their business goals and some of the lessons learned. This case study highlights W5′s approach and the resulting deliverables for assisting a client with their campaign strategy.

A video deliverable is a great way to provide context to research and bring consumers’ lives out of the field to project stakeholders. There is incredible power in hearing responses and opinions directly from the mouths of your consumers. In the case study below, capturing stories and emotions surrounding fraud victims was very effective in shaping the client’s messaging going forward.


“Exploring Consumer Sentiment and Building Empathy”
A financial services client developed an ambitious multi-channel campaign to raise consumer awareness and provide education on financial fraud. W5 worked with the firm to cultivate understanding and empathy within the organization for at-risk consumers and evaluate advertising concepts for effectiveness in supporting the campaign goals.

W5 designed an approach providing consumers a forum for sharing perceptions of financial fraud as well as react to advertising stimuli. W5 conducted a series of Focus Groups to explore consumer sentiment toward the concepts, followed by Post-Group Interviews to capture their personal stories and their experiences with fraud, detailing how they were victimized and their emotional response in the ensuing days and months.

W5 applied the findings to the client’s campaign strategy, suggesting key areas for more effective messaging to and targeting of at-risk consumers. W5’s reporting included an edited Highlight Reel Video featuring the personal stories of fraud victims. The five-minute video encapsulated key findings, shared victims’ personal experiences and was distributed throughout the organization to cultivate a shared sense of empathy toward the consumers at the heart of their campaign.

Spotlight is a special feature of the W5 Blog showcasing W5 consultants’ approach to designing marketing research studies, creating engaging deliverables, and informing strategy. For more information on W5’s approach to qualitative or quantitative research contact:

Interstate Migration and Cultural Evolution

August 18th, 2014 in culture, data visualization, infographics, knowledge | by | Leave a comment

In the world of academic anthropology the theories, hypotheses, and debates around human migration are a defining characteristic of the field. Entire careers are built on developing and/or supporting migration theories from the Multiregional vs. Out-of-Africa origin of biologically modern humans, to the Bering Strait land bridge vs. Atlantic crossing theories for the peopling of the New World.

While discussing the strengths, weakness, and supporting evidence of various migration hypotheses can be an interesting exercise in and of itself, what is particularly interesting about human migration patterns is thinking about how migration impacts cultural evolution.

A recent article from the NY times, “Where We Came From, State by State,” displays a fascinating series of infographics showing state-by-state migration trends from 1900 to the present for all 50 states. It is interesting to view this information while thinking about why state-to-state migration has changed, from the simple fact that automobiles made it significantly easier to move long distances, to economic factors both pushing and pulling people to or from certain places. It is also particularly interesting to view this data in the light of what it says about the collective culture of a state as a whole, from Nevada which has the largest percentage of residents born outside of Nevada (75%) to Louisiana which has the largest percentage of native born residents (79%).

Nevada State-by-State
LouisianaNorth Carolina, where we are based here at W5, had the highest percentage of native born residents at the turn of the century (95%) while that number has decreased to 58% of residents born in North Carolina in 2012. So how has the culture of North Carolina changed as a result of this increasing influx of residents from outside of North Carolina?

A recently published book, “Talking Tar Heel,” details the history of language in North Carolina and how distinctive dialects and accents have changed over time. For an interesting overview of the ways language in North Carolina has both changed and stayed the same over the decades (and to hear some really interesting NC dialects) check out this North Carolina Public Radio podcast with one of the authors of the book.

So what does the data displayed in these infographics say about the culture of your state, and how has your state’s culture changed over the years? We would love to hear your perspectives! Leave a comment to share your thoughts!



Hackers & IoT Devices

August 7th, 2014 in Data Visualization, emerging technology, infographics, internet, technology | Tagged , , , | by | Leave a comment

The 17th Annual Black Hat cybersecurity conference wraps up today in Las Vegas. The conference rallies hackers, cybersecurity researchers and feds to discuss the latest hacks and newly found bugs. The hottest topic this year: challenging the security of Internet of Things (IoT).

IoT refers to the interconnection of uniquely identifiable embedded computing like devices within the existing Internet infrastructure. A few examples include smart TVs, webcams, wearable technologies, home thermostats, remote power outlets, sprinkler controls and automatic door locks, a natural target for hackers. According to Gartner, there will be nearly 26 billion devices on the Internet of Things by 2020 and ABI Research estimates that more than 30 billion devices will be wirelessly connected to the IoT by 2020. And, while the IoT marketplace is forecasting to grow exponentially, plenty of us are already connected.

Is it easy to hack common IoT devices? Apparently so. A study by HP reveals that 70 percent of the most common IoT devices had security vulnerabilities ranging from the recent Heartbleed bug to weak password requirements. How Safe is your Quantified Self, a report by Symantec “found security risks in a large number of self-tracking devices and applications,” including the finding that “all of the wearable activity-tracking devices examined, including those from leading brands, are vulnerable to location tracking.”

What happens if your fitness tracker gets hacked? According to Symantec, the perpetrators could know:

• Mileage you are covering

• When and where you usually go running

• Where you live

• Your age, sex, height, and weight

• Your heart rate

• Your altitude

• Where and when you are on vacation

Curious to see how wearable technologies, smartphones, apps and social media have changed the way people use the Internet and interact with technology? Check out this infographic by 4A’s and Statista:

4As Statista Wearable tech

Planning-ness 2014 Tix Now on Sale!!!

August 6th, 2014 in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | by | Leave a comment

imagesIt’s finally time! Tickets are now on sale for the Planning-ness 2014 conference, to be held September 11-12 (Thursday- Friday) in Portland, OR at Pure Space.

To buy your tickets, please go to the Planning-ness website. Note: Tickets, as always, sell out FAST. Space is limited. I recommend you buy your tix this week.

Further information regarding the conference will be posted on the website as content develops, so check the site regularly.

See you in Portland!


Traveling Hispanics

August 5th, 2014 in advertising, study | Tagged , | by | Leave a comment

Summer will soon be over but many Americans are still not done traveling this year. US has been branded by the  travel industry as the ‘no-vacation nation’, with a vast majority of Americans traveling once a year.

Although a same percentage  of Hispanics and non-Hispanics travel once a year, MediaPost urges travel marketers not to ignore the Hispanic market. Instead, MediaPost asks that marketers target the Hispanic market, explaining that Hispanics spend more money on average than non-Hispanics on domestic vacations. As they explain, there are several distinct reasons for this:

1. Hispanics fly to their destinations more often than gen pop.

2. Because of their larger families, travel groups are larger.

3. Regardless of income, Hispanics are more likely to stay at several different hotel chains during one trip

4. They are more likely to travel outside the U.S.

Read more about this MediaPost’s research study here.


Spicy Meatball & Eggplant Salad?

July 18th, 2014 in Uncategorized | by | Leave a comment

If you’ve ever spent much time with me, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I love Chipotle. QSRs (Quick Service Restaurants) that are convenient and affordable but also source locally and use responsibly raised meats can be difficult to come by. When I learned the owners of Chipotle had opened a new QSR chain ShopHouse, I was ecstatic to say the least. ShopHouse serves an entirely gluten-, wheat-, and dairy-free menu, a selection of responsibly raised meats free of antibiotics and growth hormones and an array of market fresh vegetables. With the popularity of dieting trends and increased concern regarding the use of antibiotics and added hormones in meats, QSRs like Chipotle/ShopHouse are succeeding. In 2013, Chipotle’s revenue increased 20.7% to $844.1million.

On a recent trip to DC, I scouted out a ShopHouse upon arrival. As soon as I walked in, I could feel the resemblance to Chipotle, the food smelled amazing and the place was slammed. As I approached the menu I suddenly remembered I wasn’t in Chipotle and had no idea what to get! Order anxiety came on at its fullest… and I accidentally ordered a spicy meatball and eggplant salad with pickled veggies and crunchy garlic…what? Luckily, the ShopHouse-ista didn’t mix or shake my bowl and I was able to enjoy each of the ingredients separately. I can’t image how strange my concoction would have been mixed up. Individually the food was great, but I highly recommend taking your time when creating your masterpiece at ShopHouse. You want to go with a theme in mind. You can review the menu here and properly prepare yourself.


Despite my first experience at ShopHouse, I am looking forward to many more as their locations expand and as the Chipotle/ShopHouse style of QSRs continue to grow. I hope to see more chains flourish in the marketplace with a similar mission to support and sustain family farmers who respect their land and animals, use meat from animals raised without the use of antibiotics or added hormones, and source organic and local produce to help protect our planet.

Reviving the Ghost

July 16th, 2014 in Collection, culture | by | Leave a comment

Last week an American living in Japan stumbled upon close to 100 prime condition arcade machines from the 80’s stored away and untouched in greater Tokyo. Donkey Kong, Galaxian, Street Fighter, Puzzle Fighter, Raiden 2, and Scandal Man were a few of the machines taking up two full floors. The finder of this gold mine, dubbed “The Ghost Arcade”,  has been selling them on Reddit for the past week and found buyers in the US, Brazil, France, Italy and the UK. He explained he sold to those markets first because arcade machines are rarer and therefore more expensive.

Arcades are very much alive and well in Japan but in many other countries the famous arcade of the golden age have been closed down. In February the London NAMCO Station video arcade (also known as Funland) closed down for good.  The media blamed the rise of online video games and home consoles for the fall of destination gaming.

But in the past two years that has been a sudden growth of arcades in the U.S.. Adam Pratt, who runs industry website Arcade Heroes, wrote that recently “news occasionally comes along of a place closing, but it is far outweighed by openings.”

“That’s because the geeks have inherited the earth. People who grew up on this stuff have now grown up, but they’re not really grown-ups, you know what I mean?”

In 2012, two Newton, MA residents created the Sandy Hook Arcade Center, a non-profit pop-up arcade. After the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy, the two residents, who are also dads, decided to give Newton a place where families could come together and ‘heal and begin to move forward.” But even this arcade closed last year as the business model just did not work for the upkeep of the vintage machines.

It costs thousands to upkeep an old machine and even more to buy a brand new one. To counteract these costs, many new arcades are supplementing the machines with another form of entertainment: alcohol.

The atmosphere of arcades in the US can perhaps be considered a niche market right now but an expanding one for sure. As always, the Triangle area has kept up with trends.

McKinney, an advertising agency located just down the road form W5, created a custom beer-dispensing arcade machine for Big Boss. The Last Barfighter has characters based on different Big Boss beers and players need to fight each other for the first beer serve.  Big Boss brings the arcade machine to events and has asked for playing donations to benefit charities.

In a few weeks, the triangle will have another barcade. The Baxter will open in Chapel Hill and with more than thirty machines it will have the largest collection of machines in the area. The owners have been spending much of the past year traveling the nation procuring preserved favorites and are painting the walls with large, nostalgic murals.

Spotlight: Using Segmentation to Make Sure the Shoe Fits

July 14th, 2014 in market research | by | Leave a comment

The great thing about working at W5 is that we get to work across a wide array of different markets and categories. One that is particularly close to my heart is shoes and I was lucky enough to work with a shoe retailer on one of my favorite types of studies, segmentation. Talk about a win-win for me!

We pride ourselves on creating actionable segmentation solutions and do so using robust and custom surveys that provide as much information as possible about these consumers. We had a great solution come of this study that provided insights for both the agency and the retailer. It helped the agency discover what worked well and what could be improved in their marketing and advertising efforts and provided information to the retailer about the shopping experience at their stores and how it could be improved even further.

We also had the opportunity to connect with these consumers further through qualitative online discussion boards and shop-alongs and a periodic tracker which provides insights as to how these consumers grow and change over time to help the client stay up-to-date in the marketplace.


A national shoe retailer and its agency felt that its existing, dated consumer segmentation failed to establish a complete understanding of the marketplace, particularly in underrepresenting the racial/ethnic skew the client sees in stores. W5 conducted a new custom segmentation to establish a fresh view of the client’s customer base, including appropriate representation across demographics.


W5 conducted a multi-perspective segmentation study to discern consumer clusters defined primarily by their shopping attitudes, category behaviors, and underlying and motivating psychographics. Segments were analyzed through varied lenses and then also profiled by specific category behaviors and demographics.


W5 identified five actionable consumer segments, including two that represented relatively high economic value for the client, ripe for near-term strategic marketing. The custom research design also enabled an analysis of client and competitor brand perceptions by segment, focused on the shoe retail, department store, and big box channels. The learning around distinct consumer segments’ perceptions and needs highlighted opportunities for strategic communications, but also further exploration. The study was followed by a deep-dive examination of key segments’ brand behaviors and opinions, and periodic tracking research conducted in concert with new advertising efforts.

Spotlight is  a special feature of the W5 Blog showcasing W5 consultants’ approach to designing marketing research studies, creating engaging deliverables, and informing strategy. For more information on W5′s approach to qualitative or quantitative research contact: