Learning Summary — Research and Communication
To summarise the learning in the Research and Communication course. I will go through my assignment projects to review the knowledge and techniques used and conclude with the critical reflection.
• Communication Audit
As the first assignment, I implemented the Communication Audit to review my design job, a Facebook post about the sale promotion of HKJEBN (HKJEBN, 2021) with Foodpanda (FoodpandaHK, 2021). I used a transactional model of communication to analyse the role of sender and receiver, the flow of the communication process, and the influence of noise in decoding and encoding.
By this assignment, I realised that I had not profoundly understood HKJEBN Facebook Followers’ minds. Persuasive communication requires finding out the appropriate audiences at first. And then, based on the segmented receivers, design the message strategically considered their interest, common associations, and psychology. I learn that this approach can improve my communication skill in brand management and design from this assignment. For instance, collecting the followers’ data from Facebook Audience Insight tool (FacebookAudienceInsight, 2021) to analyse demographic and behavioural information is one of the research methods. Also, investigating the feedbacks and commands from the Facebook followers and decoding their messages and thought can provide helpful insight to improve the communication. This learning inspires me the importance of Empathize and Define in the Design Thinking Process, and I will experiment with applying it in my work.
• Observational Research
In investigating the traditional retailer during the pandemic, I used the KWHL Tables to develop my research plan and design my Observational Research strategy. The objective was to find the unique advantage of brick-and-mortar shops and weaknesses of online shops. Before conducting the observational research, I had studied some online articles about “Buy Online Pick up In-Store, BOPIS”, which is the suggestion to improve the physical shops’ business. I thought that was an excellent method to answer the question of my assignment. However, it led me to fall into the subjective and biased assumption. I did my observational research in the wrong direction to take the photos to support the BOPIS being the problem-solving. Finally, this caused the “Garbage in garbage out”, my data analysis and design solutions developed on the wrong footing.
From this experience, I understand that the research methodology learned in this course is different from what I previously used. I used to utilise the research data to support the unverified design solution and jump to conceive the subjective answer for the case while conducting the research. However, the research in Design, Innovation and Brand Management need to follow four steps: Observation, Describe, Explain and Prescribe. It focuses on understanding the audience’s needs, behaviour, culture and context. Rigorous investigation and discovery insights can generate knowledge for solving the problem and driving the Intrinsic Force of Design. This mistake was a valuable experience in my study and helped me to discover the design research deeply.
• Brand Audit
The third assignment was to conduct the Brand Audit for HKJEBN, which needs to define the Brand Essence components: Brand Value, Belief and Promise. Application of Brand Pyramid and Customer-Bases-Brand-Equity Pyramid frameworks studies and examines the situation of the HKJEBN’s brand. After the analysis, I based on the review to design the suggestions for improvement to strengthen the brand performance and enhance competitiveness in the market.
In this project, although I had tried to apply various frameworks learned in the course. But my design suggestions were too general and did not provide practical solutions to improve the brand performance, and could not fit the business direction of HKJEBN. I followed the advice of my lecturer and reconsidered the suggestions for improvement. Increasing the performance of Customer-Based-Brand-Equity was the purpose of the design proposal. Therefore I had provided the Supplement Document to append the additional solutions.
I visited several HKJEBN shops and discovered how to enhance HKJEBN Brand Equity. And found that lacked touchpoints of Brand Belief — Better Dining and Rainbow Diet in the shops. According to this finding, I designed a customer shopping journey to provide the experience and recognise the “Rainbow Diet” concept to HKJEBN customers in the retail shops.
On the other hand, I found a similar situation on the HKJEBN Facebook page. The Facebook posts were focusing too much on sales promotion and less to express the Brand Essence. Most conversations between followers were about the sale information, such as the product price and the promotion period. To improve the communication between HKJEBN and customers also enhance the delivery of brand messages. I suggested establishing the “Better Dining” community to develop the highest level in Customer-Based-Brand-Equity, the Resonance Level.
As learning the brand management, I realised that knowledge of the relationship between branding and business is essential. In addition, because of making the Supplement Document, I have an opportunity to understand more about the application of Customer-Based-Brand-Equity and the influence of design solutions for brand development. It provides helpful practice experience for the future work of brand management.
• Individual Project — HKJEBN Survey Project
In the Individual Project, I had set the objective to develop a new market segmentation for HKJEBN. By analysing the categories and characteristics of existing products and the secondary research study about the retail food market, I found that foreign imported organic food products can be a new market segment.
More relevant information and research data can help HKJEBN plan the new marketing strategy and better understand the target customers. Hence, I utilised the VALS framework (Values and Lifestyles) to study the segmented target by their psychological traits and key demographics. Using the data provided by Facebook Audience Insights, define the Primary and Secondary segmentation. And based on these data, I created a Customer Persona to help establish more detailed information about the hypothetical segmented customer’s background, values, emotions and habits. That provide the reference materials to support the marketing decisions strategically.
At the same time, to strengthen the accuracy of the market segmentation strategy, I designed a questionnaire survey, expecting to discover the Demographics, Psychographics, and Behavioral sections of customers in the market segment to find original insights. In addition, it can provide Primary research data to certify or revises the previously assumed segmentation by comprehensive research and analysis information.
This project is my first time conducting the market segmentation and designing the questionnaire survey. In the beginning, I found that I did not have enough understanding of the food market trend. Consequently, I had to learn the industry phenomenon from reliable sources for reference and analysis. It made me understand that an extraordinary brand strategy always comes from sufficient preparatory research work. Providing a design solution without knowing the business field and market segmentation reduces persuasion and reliability significantly. After this project, I got used to noticing the purpose behind the questionnaire from other surveys. And try to predict their application. I believe this assignment provides the practical reference value for future studies.
• STP Model
In the STP Model project, I studied Nespresso Hong Kong (NespressoHK, 2021) and chose two marketing campaigns this year: “World Exploration” and “Nespresso Goirmet Weeks” to analyse Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning strategy. When conducted the Segmentation investigation, I utilised the VALS Framework and Customer Lifecycle Model. Analysing of demographic data of Campaigns’ media channels, deduce the different segmentation strategies and target audiences between these marketing campaigns.
When analysing the Targeting strategy and discovering the Driving Force of each campaign, I investigated the Goals and Needs that Nespresso wants to fulfil their target customers. The next step was to apply Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs model to define what needs are appropriate for the targeting objective and arouse the target group’s Cognition and Experience.
In studying the Positioning of Nespresso Hong Kong, I researched her brand story, product development history. And the touchpoints such as Facebook Page, Instagram, Youtube and Retail Shops. I found Point of Difference associations in the minds of Nespresso’s consumers. When analysing the Product Level model, I found Nespresso is at the highest level, providing a solid distinction between Nespresso and the competitive Product Instant Coffee.
Through this study, I have deepened my understanding of the STP model and improved my analytical ability of relevant research. Also, I learned how to investigate competitors’ marketing strategies by the STP model in this project and strengthened my professional knowledge and skills as a brand manager.
After reviewing the assignments, I found that most of the workload is to do the research. That is about the decoding process from Structured and Unstructured data of behaviourism and phenomenology. Then using the collating and analysing data and information, encode the findings and insights from my thought to the message like writing (Written Communication) and graphical representations (Visual Communication). Conveying the meaning as the sender delivers the message to the receiver — Readers. Sometimes I have received feedback from the reader and need to decode the interpretations of meaning. There is different noise in the communication process, such as misunderstanding of the studying, applying inappropriate methodologies, using the trustless resource, presenting the incorrect message, and lacking in-text reference. The noise affected the decoding and interfered with the message meaning. Therefore, I understand that reducing the factor of distraction or influence by the noise is an essential mission in my studying.
Through this course, I realise the Research and Communication are significate knowledge to support Design, Innovation and Brand Management. They are the “Point of Origin” to initiate the Design Thinking Process and applied in various areas. And it affected my perspective and mind of the definition of a design job. I hope I can use everything learned from this course in my academic and pragmatic project.
FacebookAudienceInsight (2021) Facebook Audience Insights. At: https://www.facebook.com/business/insights/tools/audience-insights (Accessed 26/09/2021).
FoodpandaHK (2021) foodpanda HK Company website. At: https://www.foodpanda.hk (Accessed 26/09/2021).
HKJEBN (2021) HKJEBN Company website. At: https://www.hkjebn.com/en/hk (Accessed 26/09/2021).
NespressoHK(2021) Nespresso Hong Kong Company website. At: https://www.nespresso.com/hk/en/ (Accessed 26/09/2021).