Our case studies
Involving >1000 customers in co-creationHow an Italian multipartner loyalty program involved its customers in co-creating new initiatives with the biggest ever virtual focus group. "Synthetron has proved to be extremely effective in listening to our customers and in getting feedback and new ideas from them. I would have never imagined to collect so many insights in real time, directly from our customers in just 60 minutes!" Bruno Coletta (Head of Marketing & CRM, PAYBACK Italy)
SituationPAYBACK is a multipartner loyalty Program active in Italy since 2014. With its 12 million consumers and 80+ partner is the largest Italian consumer loyalty Program with a very active CRM program. The marketing team wanted to identify new insights for new initiatives and to improve the user experience and was looking for a way to actively involved their customers in this.
ApproachThe team came across Synthetron online dialogues and decided to use this innovative form of virtual focus group to actively involve their customers, listen to the ideas and suggestions and co-create with them new initiatives. The Synthetron Italian team organized one session with 1300 customers - the biggest (virtual) focus group ever! - and carried out an in-depth analysis of the results.
- The discussion enabled the Marketing team to validate quantitatively some of the actions already in their pipeline and to identify other new initiatives to put in place.
- The discussion also confirmed the relationship and the expectations clients have towards the Program – not just from a rationale / features point of view, but also from a more insightful perspective.
- And, last but not least, consumers really appreciated the Program's willingness to listen to their thoughts:"I appreciated the possibility of giving advice to improve the program"
"I enjoyed to be able to express my ideas and see what others think about it"
"I like being an important part of business decisions"
Testing a new concept efficientlyHow a retailer used Synthetron Proposition lab to test a new concept in an efficient way
SituationA large online department store in The Netherlands wnated to test new concepts for specific target audience in a predefined age group as part of the multi-channel sales strategy of the company.
ApproachApproximately 20 consumers in the targeted customer segment were invited to join the one hour Proposition Lab - a virtual workshop session a real-time Synthetron discussion- to review the developed concept.
ResultsThe proposition lab gave useful insights into how to develop the concept further. This was done much quicker than with traditional research, with a better geographical spread, cheaper and in a multitasking environment.
Customer Mindset ProfileHow a financial institution used Synthetron's Customer Mindset Profile method to understand more about the customers' mindset and adapt its language.
SituationThe financial world has been through a very rough ride in the last 5 years. Many financial service companies have gone under, been re-organised or taken over, or only survived thanks to state interventions. In that context, a leading European financial service company wanted to regain customer confidence by aiming for a respectful, meaningful and honest relationship with all their customers based on a truly customer focused approach and behaviour linked to the core values of the company. The management team wanted to go one step beyond the usual insights on customer needs and wants to understand more about the customers' mindset and relationship with financial service companies.
ApproachWe set up two Synthetron on-line dialogues: one with a group of frontline financial advisors (employees) who are in daily contact with the customers, the other with a group of representative customers. The topics for the discussions were carefully selected to enable the employees and customers to have free flowing and rich dialogues with an appropriate level of interaction between the participants in each on-line sessions. Such a set up also allows for a gap analysis on the language used by the two groups.
ResultsThe linguistic analysis revealed some interesting insights. For instance, the customer mindset is very much focused on the avoidance of any financial risk, with clear implications for the communication strategy of the financial service company:
- more focus on security and stability of the company and less on innovation or being different,
- more focus on what the customer wishes to avoid (instead of what they want),
- more personal, less business-like communication,
- more new financial service opportunities proactively pitched to customers.
Reinventing the membership relationshipHow an industry body extended the relationship with its members through a new crowdsourced way of working with members
SituationAn industry body ran regular large scale conferences with members but felt it needed to update the offer.
ApproachThey used Synthetron before the conference to build engagement and ensure relevance and after to embed the learnings and actions of the conference, share ideas to overcome barriers to implementing new ideas.
ResultsThe approach kept the industry body top of mind for much longer, gave them valuable insights and allowed them to demonstrate contemporary value via this new, more crowdsourced way of working with members.
Collecting in-depth feedback from customersHow the General communications regulator for Ireland collected in-depth feedback about the impact of the postal market liberalisation on customers.
SituationComreg is the general Communications regulator for Ireland, covering almost all possible types of communications. In this capacity, it acts as the National Regulatory Authority for the Postal Sector in Ireland. John Hearn, Comreg’s Manager for Postal Liberalisation initially conducted a series of “physical” conferences to collect feedback about the impact of the postal market liberalisation. He wanted however to collect additional insights to fully understand what benefits might be expected for all types of customers of postal services in Ireland, after the full opening of the Irish postal market due by the end of 2010.
ApproachSynthetron solution was used to engage both the service providers and the representatives of customers in a different way through a single cyber-discussion. The script for the online debate on “Understanding and ensuring the benefits to all consumers from a competitive postal market” was developed by Paul R. Kleindorfer, Distinguished Research Professor, INSEAD, an expert in the field of postal deregulation. Prof. Kleindorfer also facilitated the debate among the conference participants and wrote the report documenting on the outcome of the Synthetron session.
ResultsSynthetron enabled to collect feedback in a very efficient way. Indeed, holding a conventional type of meeting is time consuming for both Comreg and the participants. The need to spend at least half a day at such symposium, plus the travelling time inevitably restricts the participation of many stakeholders; especially those who live some distance from the venue. Also, the Synthetron dialogues ensured that every participant got the opportunity to make his/her point.
Engaging experts at EU levelHow the EU's Research & Innovation DG used Synthetron online dialogues to consult and engage experts across Europe in the development of a EU policy framework on biodiversity.
SituationTo inform the EU policy framework on biodiversity, the European Union’s Research and Innovation DG, in cooperation with the European Platform for Biodiversity Research Strategy (EPBRS) wished to mobilize knowledge holders and providers, policy makers, performers and market players, users and society in general - local, regional, national, European and global level to participate in a multi-player consultation.
Approach4 Synthetron online crowdsourcing sessions were held with experts in Biodiversity throughout Europe on the following topics "improved risk management and resilience", "restoration of degraded ecosystems", "climate change adaptation and mitigation" and "sustainable urbanization“.
ResultsThe outcome of the Synthetron sessions contributed to the development of a comprehensive EU policy framework on biodiversity for research and innovation to solutions.
Learning about Germany’s foreign policy perceptionHow the German Foreign ministry used Synthetron to learn about Germany's foreign policy perception in a new and modern way.
SituationBack in November 2013 German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier launched a “What goes wrong?” reflection on Germany’s foreign policy to consider what needs to be changed as part of its 2014 review process.
ApproachSynthetron came into play when external expertise had to be complemented by internal knowledge of both the central staff in Berlin and their colleagues in embassies around the world. Starting at the beginning of November 2014 we ran four 75 minute debates, each reflecting on different aspects of cultural and procedural issues – three in an overall context and one especially focused on ways how to handle European policy aspects in the light of the newly established European External Action Service. Around 350 participants exchanged nearly 3,250 ideas. The analytical work was done in four steps:
- An immediate response converting significant raw data from each debate into a readable layout
- An in-depth analysis for each the 3 debates focusing on culture, creativity and organisation
- An additional analysis on European Policy issues
- An analysis of attitudes shown via language patterns.
ResultsWe reported back on the following:
- What participants expect as an appropriate internal culture and how they would react to it (shown as well in segments differing between central and embassy staff)
- Top actions required to achieve the aspired culture
- Which parameters need to be reflected in the course of achieving progress
- What suitable communication could help to bridge gaps in a consistent way.
"Within the IT-architecture of the Foreign Office, the crowdsourcing approach offered a new, modern approach from which we learned a lot. The Synthetron online debates were an important integrative element amongst the various formats of people involvement in the “Review2014” Process. It was only with the assistance of this methodology that we could offer the chance to take part in the process to colleagues from all over the world in a very short time. The technical potential of your product as well as the manifold options for evaluating the data were a big gain for us. We were also impressed by the quick analysis of the underlying patterns of the participants on the basis of the structure of the language they used. I realised that an efficient cooperation between your specialists and my team is indispensable in order to coordinate the Synthetron expertise with the knowledge of the processes and specials of the Foreign Office and to make use of them in a most efficient way. This was a success.” Dr. Thomas Bagger, former head of Planning Staff (now head of department of external affairs in the office of the German President) – Foreign Office Germany, Berlin- read the article about this project in the Economist
Engaging high level expertsHow a large consulting company engaged high level experts using Synthetron online dialogues.
SituationA large private sector management consultancy wanted to develop knowledge and expertise around the treatment for depression.
ApproachMcKinsey & Company commissioned a synthetron session where a high-level panel of more than twenty academics from Harvard, Yale and Oxford discussed issues around the treatment for depression. Synthetron and the internal pharma project team jointly developed questions about treatment pathways, how to address challenges and how to formulate effective answers to improve care in depression.
ResultsEngaging participants for more than an hour, the moderators collected around 500 statements of substance. Nearly 21% of those achieved a collaborative support. From the instant report at the end of the debate participants learned immediately about their level of consensus on major issues. McKinsey partner Dr. Jorge Santos da Silva was quick to congratulate the team – not only for careful preparation but also for the momentum achieved in this highly interactive format. To inform experts around the world about insights from the panel, McKinsey published an in-depth research paper on the topics.
Engaging journalists on hot topicsHow a multinational oil company engaged journalists on hot topics using synthetron online dialogues
SituationA multinational oil company wished to work more openly with journalists on their issues and objectives.
ApproachThey ran a quarterly Synthetron online dialogue session on key topics of the time such as sustainability, community development, globalisation.
ResultsBecause the session were online, they could be attended by more journalists more easily than a live event. The methodology enabled lively and inclusive debate - no voice could dominate. The sessions led to clear and unequivocal conclusions, with quantified qualitative input that provided guidance for decision makers and material for external communications.
Enhancing a Partners conferenceHow a large consultancy leveraged Synthetron to enhance its annual Partners conference
SituationA large private sector management consultancy wanted to make sure its annual Partners conference was focused on the right issues.
ApproachThey ran a Synthetron online dialogue session with all the delegates a few weeks before the conference.
ResultsThe senior partners used the outcome of the session to determine the overall theme of the conference and set the agenda. This process was useful as an Early Warning System for the leadership to know where concerns were building in the organization and also served to motivate and engage the Partners around the event.
Preparing a key global conferenceHow Synthetron helped the senior management of a multinational corporation to prepare a Top 100 global conference
SituationSenior management of a multinational corporation wanted to prepare and improve the agenda for a Top 100 global conference focused on the implementation of a new strategy.
ApproachWe set up two synthetron online dialogues to identify priority actions for the conference. All employees were invited and the debates were segmented by seniority and geography.
ResultsThe analysis of the debates showed that a significant number of the employees were not aware of the strategy, and even those that were did not necessarily support or even understand it. This Early Warning given to senior management from the online brainstorms helped them realise that the first job was to clarify and communicate the strategy, then build alignment before asking employees to get on and implement it. The conference was postponed and hundreds of thousands of pounds of travel expenses not to mention the implications of disengagement or an unexpected rebellion on site were saved.
“Of course they all understand the strategy, this conference will be about how we implement it” - This was what our client said before the discussion."We can't have a conference about strategy implementation now" The client after the discussion.
Hybrid mass consultation of citizensHow the first G1000 mass consultation with citizens used Synthetron to increase engagement and extent reach.
SituationIn November 2011 a unique experiment was set up in Belgium: the first G1000. One thousand randomly selected citizens were brought together in Brussels in an effort to bring together people from all regions, social classes and ages to discuss 3 topics previously identified by citizens: Social Security, the Financial Crisis and Immigration. The G1000 was set up using a hybrid format. At a mass event people at tables of 10 first listened to 20 minute expert presentations on each topic discussed under the guidance of facilitators. In parallel discussions took place online (G-home) and off site (G-off). The set up was unique in so far that the whole initiative was entirely crowdfunded, and citizen-driven and that is used a unique mass hybrid model of on-site mass interaction plus online (G-home) and offline (G-off).
ApproachOn the day Synthetron ran the online part G-Home. More than 700 citizens joined the debates from their PC at home or work. Via live-streaming they first watched the 20 minute expert presentations and then joined the interactive Synthetron discussion online (60 mins). Eight discussions were organised with Dutch and French sessions set up in parallel on each topic. The discussion scripts were designed to be complementary to the G1000 on site event so that citizens co-created their best insights into what changes and solutions they felt were needed. Participants jointly decided some focus areas. Moderators guided the citizens to share and co-evaluate their ideas, opinions and reflect on ways forward. A quick analysis was done during the day and presented back to the G1000 room an hour later. The discussions were projected live in the G1000 event room for cross fertilisation.
ResultsParticipants had a critical yet very constructive attitude during the debates. In terms of content, results were very much in line with the G1000. Reports were provided to all participants a week after the discussions. These reports together with the outcome of the G1000 were the core input for the next step: the G32 (32 citizens from amongst the G-home and G1000 participants working in more detail on some recommendations). The reports and the full raw data were made available to universities in Belgium for further analyses. Since this first experiment, many G1000 initiatives that followed used the Synthetron platform to increase engagement and extend reach.
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