Brands Getting Baked

Passing a reefer, growing grass, or lighting a joint in your parents basement are quickly being outdated terms of the past. Now, indulging in your cannabis urges is legal in 10 states across the US, with an additional 21 states cleared for medical marijuana use. The script is being flipped from an underground, seedy cloud of smoke to a whole new world of weed. Topicals, edibles and medicinal uses are just a few examples of how the cannabis rhetoric is shifting. In California alone, cannabis sales are forecasted to skyrocket an additional $2 billion by 2025. As the marijuana marketplace explodes and competition increases branding and marketing will become the only way to stay high. As the branding battle of marijuana unfolds, it’s still unclear whether cannabis consumers will seek out a particular brand of cannabis, dispensary or device. There’s also different strategic approaches for positioning medical marijuana vs. recreational use.  According to Olivia Mannix with the cannabis agency Cannabrand, “Products that are marketed for the effect or mood have stood out from the crowd. Also using marketing that is lifestyle based has been successful.”  One cannabis brand example that stands out is Dosist. They have used sleek design and mood enhancing benefits to turn people’s heads. Users can choose to get blissed, aroused or calmed when taking a puff from a smart device that will ration out the amount of cannabis meant to be ingested.  Similar to the California gold rush, it’s a new frontier with endless opportunity in [...]

Brands Getting Baked2019-12-04T17:00:06+00:00

Why You’re Forgettable

There is a wealth of scientific and cultural support the merit of brevity: “less is more,” “brevity is the soul of wit,” “200 characters of less.” A shocking statistic was shared with me at this year’s QRCA market research conference. Studies show that your audience remembers only 10% of what you present to them or in other words they forget 90% of what you share with them. 90%! I know, shocking.  Contrary to popular belief, our attention spans aren’t reaching goldfish levels quite yet. The real culprit is steeper competition for attention, not less attention overall.  Twisting The Familiar Despite these alarming stats, there are solutions to buck this retention crisis. One method to capture your audience is twisting the familiar. The brain responds positively to the familiar, however there’s a fine line between communicating a message too familiar or too surprising. Leading with the “too familiar” results in boredom and communicating the “too surprising” can be too weird and hard for the brain to follow. Towing the line between this spectrum will keep your audience wanting more.   Anticipation & Reward Another mental model to maintain focus is through anticipation and reward. Regardless of the payoff in the end, creating anticipation with a teaser will spike the brain’s dopamine levels. At Talk Shoppe, we’re challenging ourselves to boil down our 10% and decipher the best expression of our 10% in our proposals, deliverables and communications. We now ask you, what’s your 10%?

Why You’re Forgettable2019-09-30T21:36:39+00:00

Supporting the Side Hustle:

How encouraging passion projects make for better, more engaged employees We recently did a study on Gen Z and Millennials where we found that over 70% of them believe the gig-economy is strengthening, with 42% stating it will increase in coming years.  Gen Z and Millennials, alike, appreciate how the “side hustle” supports their ever-evolving journey. “It helps me to travel and afford luxuries I wouldn’t be able to afford.” - Wayne, 20  With the rise of automation, some think that pursuing side hustles is a good way to future proof against job loss in the ever-changing job marketplace.  But it’s not just about security and financial freedom. Many people have skills and hobbies outside of their primary role that would be beneficial for the company but that they are not allowed to pursue. In a recent global survey of job seekers conducted by LinkedIn, 37 percent of respondents said their current job does not fully utilize their skills or provide enough challenges. At Talk Shoppe, we not only think the side hustle is important to personal development, but we have also seen first hand how it can lead to a more engaged and creative staff.    Our Creative Director, Char-Lynn Griffiths has had a side-hustle/passion project for over 2 years now.  Recently, she has had her artwork featured in Pottery Barn Kids and Target. We sat down with Char on her 4 year anniversary with Talk Shoppe to discuss her work here, find out what it's like to switch career [...]

Supporting the Side Hustle:2019-08-20T18:19:47+00:00

5 Reasons Why Startups and Tech Companies Need More Qualitative Research

There’s a growing notion that qualitative research is becoming obsolete in the world of Big Data. At the surface, this line of thinking seems to make sense. Put yourself in the shoes of a tech company: it has never been faster, easier, or cheaper to collect information on your millions of users and quantify their behavior - you know what they are doing, when they’re doing it, and where they’re doing it. If you own this seemingly infinite amount of behavioral data it may seem wasteful (or downright silly) to go out and collect additional data that some in your organization may dismiss as “anecdotal”. How does that make any sense? The truth is that numbers can only tell you so much. They can tell you where you are but not how you got there. Or what potential issues or pain points may be looming around the corner. Ultimately, numbers on their don’t tell you why people start (and stop) doing whatever behavior it is you’re able to quantify. Talking to consumers early, and continuously, can help young companies grow and evolve in the right way - by having a persistently firm grasp on the why behind people’s decisions.  That’s part of why we at Talk Shoppe believe qualitative market research is invaluable for startups. 5 reasons why startups and tech companies need to invest in qualitative research:  To validate the direction of a product or service: better understand people’s needs and determine if your product or service can address [...]

5 Reasons Why Startups and Tech Companies Need More Qualitative Research2019-07-22T15:07:31+00:00

The Rainbow Race

Staying Authentic During Pride Month: Pride Month explodes each year as a symbol of LGBTQ+ celebration and equality, and this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising in New York, a pivotal turning point in the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement.  Since then, many advancements in LGBTQ+ equality have occurred in the US, including workplace protection, housing protection, and the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015. Though only 4-7% of the population, the purchasing power of the LGBTQ+ community is estimated at a whopping $917 billion. That near $1 trillion makes the LGBTQ+’s “pink dollar” the strongest of any minority group within the US. According to a 2018 survey by Community Marketing and Insights, more than 75% of LGBTQ+ Americans will spend more at a company that supports equality. Taking note of the power of the pink dollar and strengthening public support for this community, brands are increasingly using Pride Month as a chance to reach and market to the LGBTQ+ community. This year alone, we see Pride campaigns spanning categories and platforms, from Pepsi’s “All For Love Pride Pack” that includes 18 rainbow cans to Snapchat’s Pride-themed Landmarkers lenses that bring global landmarks colorfully to life.   The LGBTQ+ community welcomes recognition and support by brands, but there is a tipping point of authenticity vs. exploitation that brands must watch out for.  Here are a few ways brands can remain authentic and sincere without simply capitalizing or marginalizing the LGBTQ+ community during Pride Month: Give Back: don’t simply [...]

The Rainbow Race2019-06-19T17:45:10+00:00

Green is the New Black

Corporate responsibility’s hot new trend: climate change Last month, we explored the race to stand out by embracing diversity and inclusive messaging. However, the success of “corporate activism” extends beyond the trend of inclusion. Another area that impacts brand affinity and advocacy is a stance on combating global climate change. JWT innovation director Lucie Greene aptly explains “sustainability used to be seen as a nice-to-have and a fringe trend, but now it's a core differentiator and a way consumers are really deciding between brands.” And the data backs up her assertion- according to Nielsen, 81% of consumers feel strongly that companies should help improve the environment (and that level of agreement across demographics is noteworthy in research!) From ditching plastic straws to outright “strikes” on having children, consumers are making changes to protect their future and want everyone to pitch in. With this growing sense of urgency and lack of action from leaders worldwide, brands who step up to become “eco-leaders” are winning with consumers. Some brands are taking the lead through investments. One such brand, Patagonia, plans to invest $10 million in "groups committed to protecting air, land and water and finding solutions to the climate crisis." Consumers are rewarding Patagonia for taking a stand- according to Patagonia’s CEO Rose Marcario, “Any time that we do something good for the environment, we make more money.” Apparel brands are also going green by investing in creative uses for recycled [...]

Green is the New Black2019-05-20T20:05:01+00:00

Drag Queens: The Mr. Rogers of Gen Z?

Reaching the Diversity and Inclusion Tipping Point and Why it Matters for your Brand In libraries across the country, story time is getting a makeover. Drag Queens are coming out in new ways, rotating between the standard bachelorettes and brunches to babies and books. The Queens are bringing their humor and zest to popular children’s stories- the goal? To sprinkle storytime with positivity, acceptance, and empowerment for their tiny audience. What started as a small, seemingly radical, movement in San Francisco in 2015, has now become a family favorite in libraries throughout the US. But libraries are not the only place we’re seeing a push for exposure to diversity and inclusion. Post Millennials (Gen Z) are the most diverse generation to date.  As this generation becomes more influential in our economy, there is a call for both the private and public sector to better reflect the new diverse majority or risk being left behind.  Unlike the “keep out of politics” mantra from a few decades ago, today’s consumers are rewarding brands that take a stand on social issues. The benefit to brands is clear- those companies that are more inclusive in their advertising are 25% more effective at reaching consumers and delivering a powerful message. In just one example, when Nike launched their ad campaign with Colin Kaepernick, their stock rose 7% despite the Dow Jones having one of its worst week’s in 10 years.  While the calls for boycotts made noise, Nike made a [...]

Drag Queens: The Mr. Rogers of Gen Z?2019-04-09T19:01:54+00:00

2018 Summer Retreat: The Power of In-Person Connection on Teamwork

Putting the “Amigos” in Calamigos What we did: This year was the first ever Talk Shoppe Summer Retreat. An overnight excursion into the hills of Malibu to refresh, recharge and refocus our team. The ultimate goal was to take us out of the day to day routine, inspire creativity and foster new ideas that will make us better, stronger and brighter. Where we did it: In order to truly inspire creativity and get our team thinking outside the box, we wanted a setting that was serene and peaceful. The Calamigos Ranch in Malibu truly delivered on this brief. We were able to unwind and escape in the hills as well as work hard with sweeping ocean views. The entire ranch and beach club are intimate, inviting and truly conducive to team building. Much like the tenants of Talk Shoppe, the Calamigos experience is artfully curated, custom and unique. Why it matters: By taking this retreat we not only recharged, but realized the importance of bonding with one another and the impact it has on our team dynamic. We all agreed that the Talk Shoppe culture is partially what makes us so special; its our people and the entrepreneurial spirit we all bring to the table. During our time, we were able to brainstorm freely on where we see the future of Talk Shoppe, resulting in innovative ideas that will ultimately have a positive impact on [...]

2018 Summer Retreat: The Power of In-Person Connection on Teamwork2018-09-06T18:54:04+00:00

Making focus groups a can’t miss event: custom research takes on a new face

We're so excited about the new custom research methods we've been using with our clients to answer challenging business questions.  We recently had a client that needed to speak to a very specific audience that isn't always easy to recruit in a traditional market research setting.  We were able to collaborate and come up with a fresh approach to meet these consumers where they are and get actionable insights in the process in our latest Pop-Up Research project! Testing a New Concept Talk Shoppe pop-up research strikes again!! This time we popped up somewhere new, and popped some bottles for our awesome respondents as we revealed a cool new concept from a burgeoning new fitness client.   It’s top secret, so we can’t reveal anymore, but we can show you a few moments from the fabulous evening…. We selected the hip, new Jeremy Hotel in Hollywood as the scene for our groups.   Making Research an Event Respondents were treated to delicious small bites and light, bubbly refreshments as we took them through the concept and discussed their reactions.   Turning Challenges into Succeses What seemed like a challenge at first turned into a great success.  We were able to recruit hard to reach participants by making our focus group discussion an exclusive event.   We had a really great conversation with these core users that helped our client identify unmet needs in [...]

Making focus groups a can’t miss event: custom research takes on a new face2018-02-06T20:34:51+00:00


It’s time to hear Daniel’s latest and greatest picks from life in the field. On this quick pop over to the South to talk sports, Daniel practiced his best ya’ll and prepped for some peaches. Check out his reco’s in #DanielDoesAtlanta   Stay- The Ritz Carlton While I’m not always the biggest fan of chain hotels, you can’t go wrong with the Ritz. The ambiance is so warm and welcoming. The bed was heavenly, the marble bathroom decadent and the plate of chocolate truffles awaiting me at night, simply divine. I was also a huge fan of the hotel restaurant that served fried chicken over a homemade glazed doughnut. Worth every last calorie.   Eat- JCT Kitchen I’ve been here a few times and it always brings out my inner fat kid. Nestled near Inman market, JCT serves up southern comfort fare with flare. The deviled eggs with bacon bits on top were mind blowing. The mac n cheese made me melt and I loveddddd my tequila cocktail. I can sometimes take or leave dessert, but their homemade banana split will blow anyone away.   Drink- Lure Another favorite of mine in midtown is Lure. Complete with a swanky bar and maritime décor, it’s a great spot to wet your whistle or dine in. Some of my favorite drinks here are the homemade spritzes that they concoct in house. They use unique botanicals and pair them [...]