Happen: billion dollar FMCG dessert challenge

Written by Martin Lucas

Happen Group is a global innovation company focussing on global projects which raise innovation success rates for businesses serving global, crowded consumer markets. They do this by pairing unmet consumer needs with commercially viable solutions.

They called us into to work on a billion-dollar FMCG company who wanted to figure out future consumer trends and how to (literally) serve that market. Here is what the Happen Co-founder, Costas, has to say:

“In the realm of desserts & ice creams: Find the opportunity sweet spot between three areas: consumer need, customer/channel need and technical realism. A multi-faceted problem, a bit like an innovation whack-a-mole. Across all three areas, with a particular focus on locking most important consumer needs down in their relevant context. Focus. Having the Mastermindset team join in on our thinking, the 1000s of potential routes down to half a dozen per channel.”

This was the first of our projects with Happen and one that filled us with a lot of excitement. When you work in mass-market behaviour change it doesn’t get any better than large scale, complex problem solving. For this project, we rolled out our behaviour change model and started by analysing the daily behaviours of the world for this product. Here are some of the highlights we looked at:

  1. What time(s) are people most open to this product?
  2. What are the alternates they are choosing?
  3. How are they engaging with this and other products?
  4. What locations have the best and worst experiences?
  5. With the ‘short of time’ perception rising, what will that mean for the future?
  6. What will the youngest generation consider and how are their behaviours / needs different?

Collectively, we analysed over 300 areas of interest and findings from Happen on top of which we layered Neuroscience and Behavioural Science before distilling it using Consumer Psychology (mass), Individual Psychology (micro) and finally Emotional Intelligence which represents our model in motion.

That got to us to a point of understanding which allows us to present our findings, here is what Costas thought:

“Besides landing with clarity on the options in front of us, what impressed me about working with the Mastermindset team was the relatively small amount of information they needed to get their heads around the challenge, and their comfort with ambiguity. It meant we could work in workshop form, at good pace, with MM as true sounding board rather than losing time in debate about facts.”

We do love working at pace; we pride ourselves on working on the challenges, not clock-watching like most traditional consultants. We then looked at how to distill those findings down relative to points of sale, practical science of decision-making and the trend of a more body-conscious consumer, which led us to a shortlist:

“We were quite sure there were good answers - i.e. sweet spots - hidden in our research. We were happily surprised to discover how many there were.”

So far, so good. Now came the planning aspect, using Behavioural Science to set the path for how to execute and plan for positive change:

“Sharper definition of customer needs and ‘what to move consumers away from’. A real realisation you can only shift consumer behaviour by simultaneously working on what current behaviours/products you’re trying to wean them off.”

Planning with action is just vapourware. What did this billion-dollar company do with this insight?

“We expect a Q2-2018 launch of the propositions that have come out of this work.”

They implemented it! We were extremely happy about this, not just because we had a happy client (x2 really, with Happen AND the FMCG client); it was also because we had proof, fun and had solved a truly complex problem. How happy was Happen?

“We have used MM’s input on other projects since – valuing their unbiased perspective in the highly biased world that is innovation.”

Costas Papaikonomou, Co-founder, Happen

We really love innovation combined with behavioural problem solving!