The Challenge: Bristan is the largest showers and taps company in the UK. It is estimated that one in five homes in the UK have a Bristan shower or tap fitted. Bristan products can also be found in bathrooms and washrooms at hospitals, leisure centres, hotels, schools and colleges across the country. Bristan is a true advocate of market research and commissions a variety of research projects each year.

Bristan scoped out a plan to formulise its ongoing communications with installers and invited responses from research agencies for achieving this goal. As well as seeking to develop an ongoing installers communications platform, the proposed study also sought to understand more about installers, not just about their business, but also to attempt to understand them as people, what they enjoy doing outside of work, what makes them tick, etc.

Our Approach: We devised a comprehensive and innovative approach to Bristan’s brief. In the first instance we prescribed a series of ethnographic sessions with installers to truly understand them and the work they undertake.

Each session commenced at the installers' home at the start of the working day and culminated in wrap up interviews at the end of the day, again often in the home or even the pub! In between, we experienced at first hand a ‘day in the life’ of an installer, quoting for work, helping on the job, visiting the merchants, etc, etc.

These sessions proved to be the bedrock of this significant project. Having de-briefed this first element, our ‘day in the life’ installers became ingrained with the client and were affectionately referred to by name in meetings. As our selection procedure had sought installers at different life stages, with different businesses and attitudes, Bristan gained a clear understanding of the types of installers operating today.

The second element sought to quantify our findings through a significant listening piece. The survey we designed (in conjunction with Bristan) was wide ranging in its content and, given the wealth of information sought, was considerably longer than we would typically advocate for an online survey.

To achieve the quantity and depth of responses sought, we developed an online survey that was designed with the principles of ‘gamification’ at its heart. Gamification is the use of game mechanics and game design techniques in non-game contexts. Rather than a survey presented in order, with the participant forced to answer each question in turn, installers were presented with a choice of sections to engage with, each completed section enabling them to claim entry into an additional free prize draw for substantial prizes. Throughout, encouragement and thanks were given, to boost additional section completes.

To further boost response, the survey was developed using a highly engaging scripting tool, one that delivered surveys which could adapt to the device they were being viewed on. We knew from experience that a significant proportion of this audience would be entering the survey on mobile devices and thus it was critical that the user experience was designed to ensure full compatibility across all devices. Additionally, installers could complete the survey in a piecemeal style, coming back to pick up where they left off the last time they completed questions.

In total the study engaged with around 1,000 installers, and most strikingly, the average interview length amongst those completing all sections of the survey was 45 minutes, some three times longer than we typically see through online surveys. This was clearly impacted by the gamified nature of the survey, innovative scripting and our advanced scripting tool.

With a wealth of data available, the next stage sought to segment the installer audience. Segmentation is an extremely powerful tool that enables us to better understand markets and target specific audiences with dedicated marketing messages. Kotler and Armstrong define market segmentation as “dividing a market into distinct groups of buyers who have distinct needs, characteristics, or behaviour and who might require separate products or marketing mixes”.

Critically, the resulting segmentations, generated through our statistical software, made ‘real-world’ sense to Bristan and clear engagement strategies were developed for each.

Clearly, this approach was extremely successful in delivering a robust and extensive dataset. RbD’s next challenge was to deliver the research findings in an engaging way to senior stakeholders with differing remits. Our approach mimicked our experience in the ‘day in the life’ ethnographic sessions, disseminating results in a step by step manner commencing with describing the installer at home, moving through their business day and concluding with social events and catching up with business admin.

This extensive research programme delivered clear guidelines and recommendations on an on-going communications platform that has subsequently been developed by Bristan.

Testimonial from Bristan:

“You have a good understanding of our business and sector.  You deliver excellent value for money, your team are personable, professional and energetic. I really enjoy working with the team - nothing is too much trouble for them.”