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In Times of Crisis, In Data We Trust: A Message From Our Co-Founder

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Describing the last few weeks as “unsettling” would be an understatement. Times of great change may bring great challenges, but they can also lead to great opportunities – when clarity arrives.

Allow me to offer some perspective. 

As someone with a background in military intelligence, I know from first-hand experience that when everything around you seems to be falling apart, data becomes the most valuable resource in the world. 

But to be useful, the data must be accurate, contextualized, up-to date, relevant and actionable.  

This type of data, if high-quality and granular, can cut through the confusion and the noise caused by a crisis and provide a completely objective view of what is really going on. In our current situation that means understanding which trends are sustainable as opposed to fads generated by panic.

At a time like this, you are probably asking yourself what changes in consumer perceptions will most impact your brand; which product claims will the consumers gravitate towards; what associations will they move away from; and most importantly, what should you do about all of this in the context of your product portfolio.

We are here to help you understand and sift through the fast-moving changes.

On behalf of Signals Analytics, I want you to know that we are committed to our partnerships and to working together to leverage the insights of our platform to help your business during these uncertain times. Our solution consultants and analysts have been sifting through overarching trends and insights that are emerging daily through this crisis and already there are interesting early signals of some powerful insights that can provide needed confidence and certainty in future outcomes. 

Case in point: It’s no surprise that this month has seen a five-fold increase in Google Search volume on the topic of “immunity”.  On its own though, this data point is far from actionable. By connecting many more sources, like product reviews, consumer discussions, influencer posts, business updates and announcements, we are able to extract a comprehensive picture that you can use to guide your business decisions. For example: 

  • In the food category, the past month has seen a 69% increase in the number of references to “immune health” in consumer reviews on e-commerce sites. But looking back, we can see that this is a sustained trend, meaning that it will likely persist after this crisis is over. At the same time, “immune health” as a benefit matches only 1.48% of product claims, meaning that this is a severely under-addressed consumer need. In particular, there are specific segments that are ripe for disruption. Food manufacturers and brand managers may want to examine their product claims, and consider adding ingredients to existing products that provide this benefit, and rolling out new products. 

  • In the beverage category, consumers continue to link vitamin C with immunity, yet as a benefit in actual products, immunity is considered a niche trend as other health benefits are claimed more (e.g., all natural, allergies, etc.). Like in the food category, though, the overall discussions around immune benefits have continued to grow over the past 2 years, meaning that even before COVID-19 came front and center, there were indications that immune-boosting beverages were on their way to making an impact – the makings of a sustained trend. On the product level, the beverage options highlighting immune health as a benefit centered primarily around teas, with a concentration around 2 major brands. This suggests that other beverage categories and brands may stand to benefit from the increase in consumer demand and discussion for products that can boost immunity. 

  • When analyzing across both categories, interesting trends emerge. The key ingredients and products most associated with immune health are honey, berries, green teas and teas in general, with significant patent activity within the meat, poultry and seafood segment. Understanding this along with predictive insights on pricing and future spending in these areas can help with product positioning, marketing and advertising strategies.

These are insights that are impossible to get from a single source and given the changing nature of consumer discussions as the crisis wears on, keeping up is only possible with AI and machine learning. We will continue pushing the envelope, stretching the boundaries and keeping our “ears” open to all the online sources and discussions.

We will work with you to extract these early signals to help you make the business decisions today that will lead to successful outcomes tomorrow.  Together, we will weather this storm. Let me know when is a good time to discuss. 

Kobi Gershoni | Co-Founder and Chief Research Officer | Signals Analytics 

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Chris Thatcher
5W Public Relations

chthatcher@5wpr.com 646-430-5161
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