Multi-country FMCG study
Consumer health study
Supply chain analysis
HO CHI MINH CITY
Consumer health study
RESEARCH AND STRATEGY
Deciding which direction to take a design, or even what to design next, often proves one of the greatest hurdles in product development.
Research and strategy at DCA exists to inspire and inform these decisions, providing the cultural and user insight on which to build great product strategy and designs.
Practised by a team with diverse experience we use a range of tools to build robust data and rich stories. No two projects are the same. We go wide and we go deep, gaining intimate knowledge of the relationship between people, brands, products and their environment.
The starting point for design-led innovation is not just what users can tell us about their existing needs, but what culture can tell us about future possibilities, what technology can tell us about opportunities and what our clients can tell us about their capabilities.
Exploration in a commercial context is a fundamental assumption of research at DCA. We run collaborative processes which breed the support necessary to champion innovative ideas within a business. We are sensitive to organograms,balance sheets and IP landscapes, generating ideas, insights and deliverables that are actionable.
We observe users and consumers in context to understand their environment and reveal latent needs to create insight and identify opportunities.
Ethnography combines observation and qualitative interviewing to find connections and contrasts between what people say they do and their actual behaviour.
This immersive approach is invaluable in the development process for uncovering the hidden influences and for building empathy. That's why we actively encourage client attendance and participation in our contextual explorations: because there's nothing like being there.
How will your concept be perceived? How does it make potential users feel? Do they understand how to use it? We explore the strengths and weaknesses of product concepts continuously to ground development.
Concept evaluation is fundamental to refining ideas and ensuring the right directions are developed in the right way. Often we evaluate ideas directly with users, but just as valuable is exposing ideas to experts and stakeholders at different stages in the design and development process.
We adhere to the very best principles of qualitative research, building an understanding not just of the articulated response to an idea, but of its intent and the emotional truth underlying it. We blend verbal methods with visual expression tools and objective measures of performance, to build a holistic view of a concept's merits and demerits.
Design is not just visual – we evaluate how an experience is communicated across all the senses, defining properties that successfully communicate brand values in different sensory modalities.
We employ a structured process to establish the relationship between physical properties and emotional response. Sensory properties are broken down and explored through workshops to define characteristics that communicate brand values within a given category. Conceptual and experimental stimuli can then be used to define the limits of the physical properties, leading to a clear, specifiable sensory brand language.
Semiotic analysis explores how things come to mean what they do. Understanding brands in the context of the cultural codes which give them value and meaning can yield opportunities to maximize their potential.
Working across multiple sectors with global reach gives DCA the perspective to scope out category boundaries and define the attributes which give artefacts specific cultural meaning. Through semiotic analysis, we understand and frame the properties of an artefact that are at the roots of these meanings for people in specific categories and geographies.
How are emerging social and cultural trends going to affect your product strategy? We forecast a category’s progression based on grounded assumptions of how consumers are changing.
DCA continuously track emerging, emergent and recessive trends across multiple sectors and channels to maintain a current overview. This broad foundation of knowledge can be either augmented with deep dives into specific categories to address detailed project challenges or exploited in its breadth to identify novel opportunities from parallel categories.
What new technology could enable your vision? Is there a manufacturing technique in an analogous industry that could help deliver your new product?
As a multidisciplinary team we couple strategic foresight with our wealth of engineering expertise to bring technological insight to design.
We engage with our broad and experienced team of engineers to identify processes, manufacturing techniques and technologies from across different categories to inspire and reassure stakeholders of feasibility and viability. Fom the earliest stages of the design process, building technical confidence is integrated into everything we do.