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What Happened?

Successful Strategies, Marketing Misdeeds, and the Brands that Loved Them

Groundhog Day is supposed to come only once a year. That would be February 2nd. But in the world of brand and market research, it seems like it transpires at least once a week – insofar as most market prognosticators do a really good imitation of a groundhog. They deliver their predictions and then disappear.

Making predictions tends to be more pastime than actually checking on their accuracy. Unfortunately, it happens a lot, particularly when it comes to predictions of consumer behavior and brand ROI. Look at our most recent Presidential election. Now the biggest question is, “How did the research get it so very wrong?” And as market researchers and the media conducts post-election postmortems, we’d like to offer up a solution to that problem.

Emotional engagement and brand loyalty metrics always point the right direction to what people will actually do, instead of what they say they’re going to do. Or instead of measuring how entertained consumers are, ignoring real engagement altogether.

So as our own annual test, Brand Keys again examines how closely what we published, shared, tweeted, and talked about on TV and radio concerning strategies brands were, were not, or should not have been taking this year matched up with actual market results. To see how consumers “voted” with their wallets.

In short, to see what happened?

What follows are answers to that question, based on our validated, leading-indicator, emotional engagement and loyalty assessments. It’s consumer truth – none of that “post-truth” you’ve been hearing about! There are also consumer insights and brand and category realities we think you’ll find accurate, enlightening, and entertaining.

This year, our look-back examines predictions we made about Mr. Trump (the Human Brand), Loyalty Leaders and Laggards, Craft Beers, Teen Retailers, Cheap Airline Tickets, Super Bowl advertisers, Fresh Food, and fresh starts for brands.

We’ve also included some Trends for 2017 to help you weather any storm clouds that might take you by surprise, if conventional predictions have forecast a mild “winter” for your brand. Oh, and to help you better manage campaigns and polls among your customers and constituents.

So we invite you to tune in again this year, or for the first time, and find out – What Happened?


Hit play on any of the tracks on the right to listen to “What Happened?”

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