How Coca-Cola, Standard Chartered and SingTel are using mobile research in Asia

Low Lai Chow

Traditional market-research techniques often suffer from a simple, but significant, problem, according to Maharaj Singh, Coca-Cola's marketing strategy and insights director for India and South Asia: "People do not remember. They may not have the mind-space to remember every single thing which we ask them," he told delegates at the Market Research in the Mobile World Asia Pacific conference.

"Typically, the kind of questions we ask them – and what we're talking about – is: 'When do you consume a brand? Who were you with? What were you doing? What size? What brand? What scale?'" Facts like these are vital for marketers, but are not always top-of-mind for consumers. "This is information that is pretty detailed. It's all based on what you remember," Singh said.

Coca-Cola decided to work around this problem, and get closer to the "moment of truth", by tracking consumption with a mobile app that functioned as a diary. Over a seven-day period, a group of 350 respondents in Singapore were asked to photograph every beverage they consumed and answer short questions, in real time, about the precise drink and occasion concerned.