Using Insights to Innovate the Fast Food Breakfast

At IIEX NA, Steve Schafer and Andy Ford of Brädo shared a case study about developing a breakfast menu and strategy for KFC in the United Kingdom. The team discussed their standard approach and what they learnt in this case.

Brädo believes the word insight has been “overused and misused, watered down, bastardized, and abducted.” And “worst of all insights have been replaced with imposters like observations, facts, and quotes.” Brädo has developed its own definition of insight:

A fresh, intimate understanding of your target’s beliefs that, when leveraged, has the power to genuinely change their behavior. After communicating your insight, your target should feel a bit of tension – surprised how well you know them and eager to hear more of what you have to say.

Achieving such insights requires empathy, getting to know consumers as whole people. The Brädo methodology uncovers the emotional link between brand and consumer though a 90-minute IDI. The first half of the IDI has nothing to do with the brand or the category but is about getting to know the person. It’s rooted in science, with questions created by a clinical psychologist, questions which are seemingly innocuous but build to an emotional climax. Traditional researchers can get impatient with the process, because they are used to direct questioning, but “patience builds trust” and uncovers why consumers think what they think and produces a clearer picture of needs. It can explain otherwise seeming disconnects. “The conversations go deep. When was the last time someone sat you down, spent 45 minutes asking about you, just wanting to understand you? It probably hasn’t happened and—if it has—you probably paid for it!”

Brädo conducted these IDIs with British consumers of breakfast fast food, half brand loyal, half not, to understand what people love about breakfast and what people love about KFC. “From these conversations, exciting observations emerged with people in the UK who eat fast food.” The key driver of breakfast for them is about it being “my time”: “they talk about breakfast in a way you don’t hear them speak of any other part of the day” with “my time” providing a unique emotional hook. It’s their pause before the start of a busy day, time for themselves, time to savor.

And “my time” begins with the “first bite,” when the expectation is for a combination of familiar flavors, tastes, smells, and textures. Informed by these IDIs, Brädo then developed menu offerings striving to “strike the balance between craveability and familiarity.” Consumers would up for “a twist on the traditional”: “when you’re hungry, you usually try to play it safe. You want to know the food combinations, but you can experiment a little bit.” The team then led workshops with consumers and the KFC R&D team to develop its new breakfast menu, which is in limited stores for testing.

Jeffrey Henning is president of Researchscape International and volunteers on the MRII board.

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