Upfield: “Zinklar’s Platform is a Conversation with the Consumer”

Anna Raventós

Luis Mateu, Customer Market Insights Manager at Upfield Iberia talks about how having access to consumer insights in real-time has been a game-changer for the company during the pandemic and beyond. 

As insights leader at Upfield, what is the importance of data in your brand?

We rely on data to understand our environment. Market analysis requires fact-based information, and it is essential to know how to read, interpret and understand it. This allows us to maneuver our brand actions in a strategic way. 

As you work with data, its importance in decision-making increases. At Upfield we work with data, insights, and learnings on a daily basis, which we incorporate into any decision we make.

How has the new pandemic context influenced your brand?

The confinement caused us all to eat at home. The increase in domestic consumption was relevant, and with it came the emergence of new habits. Now the challenge is to understand this new normality and to understand what parts of what happened in the confinement have come to stay. To understand these new forms of consumption, it is essential to work with data-driven information.

How does data help you understand the new consumer?

Who hasn’t baked during the lockdown? How many have taken up baking? Some of these people will continue this practice, but we need to know what percentage. Data allows us to understand these new habits, discover their weight in the market and detect new trends in consumption. 

The data provided by a platform like Zinklar also allows us to better understand if new consumption habits have emerged, and to discover the new targets that are now consuming products in our category.

Real time insights report

Can you give examples of this phenomenon in your sector?

At Tulipán, for example, we have launched a new product for baking that uses the tablet format for the first time. It’s a product aimed at these new moments of consumption that we have detected. And both the retailer and the consumer have welcomed it.

Are consumers demanding a greater commitment from brands to sustainability?

They certainly are. Sustainability is no longer a question of the future, but of the present. At Upfield, we are a company committed to the planet. In fact, our purpose is to make people healthier and happier with nutritious, delicious, natural, and plant-based foods that are good for people and our planet.

The fact that all our products are plant-based gives us a good understanding of this consumer who is sensitive to the future of the planet.

What did the implementation of a platform like Zinklar mean for you?

Working with a platform like Zinklar’s means a new approach, a different perspective. The key to working with data is to know what each of the sources gives you and to be able to combine them.

Zinklar’s platform gives you the versatility to be able to ask the consumer and know what they think. You can target a specific profile, segment it in a precise way, and get answers in a few hours. This gives you a very wide margin of action.

Let me give you an example. At Upfield we have a meeting first thing in the morning and an important topic comes up. At that very moment, we can launch a Zinklar questionnaire and get results that same afternoon. This room for maneuverability changes your perspective on the job.

In Insights, is Recurrence or Speed more important?

The more data and the faster, the better. But the important thing about having a lot of information is knowing how to interpret it. Sometimes, the margin for action is small and 4 pieces of information say more than 40. 

The key is to always be connected to what is happening in your market. In a changing environment, it doesn’t make sense now to analyze data every six months, as results are constantly evolving.

Have you tested advertising campaigns through the Zinklar platform?

Brand strategy is fundamental for Upfield and we constantly carry out studies on advertising campaigns to connect with the consumer. Thanks to this data, for example, we discovered that many consumers remembered an old Tulipán ad that featured a helicopter. This year we recreated that ad in a new campaign.

In which departments are Zinklar used?

It is a process that involves all departments, but for Marketing, it has become a key part of their entire strategy. It is a determining factor in decision-making. In Trade Marketing it is also important to implement these decisions and, in the Sales Department, to build the whole story around a product.

What goals did you set when implementing a platform like Zinklar? Have you achieved them?

We have certainly achieved them! The initial objective was to analyze the market and detect trends, but as you get to know the possibilities of the platform you expand its functions to get the most out of it. We measure the consumer’s perception of a product or category, test the changes we want to implement, and ask the consumer about the price they are willing to pay, among many other questions. 

The great advantage of a platform like Zinklar’s is that you get results and insights in a matter of hours. This agility is key for decision-making.

What is the biggest benefit of Zinklar for a company like Upfield?

The Zinklar platform is a conversation with the consumer. You can ask them anything you want, ask them to rate or comment on a product, evaluate a campaign or assess any changes you want to introduce as a brand. This conversation with the consumer is done through a questionnaire, using a large enough sample to be meaningful.

Consumers often confirm what you already suspected, but in other cases, they give you new clues about the evolution of the market.

How easy is it to use a platform like Zinklar?

In my first week at Upfield, I launched my first study. It’s an intuitive process. Within the Marketing department itself, for example, they are already launching their own projects directly. 

The Zinklar team also offers constant support to help you launch more complex questionnaires. They are always there to help you.

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