Insights: An investment or indulgence?

 This is brought to you by AntzWorkz Consultants.

Often overlooked, myopia, also known as short-sightedness, is fast becoming a major global health issue, with half of the world’s population expected to have myopia by 2050.

Already in Singapore, up to eight in 10 children have myopia upon secondary school completion. And the younger one develops myopia, the higher the likelihood they will  suffer from sight-threatening high myopia and related health issues later in life.

Myopia is caused by a combination of both genetic and environmental factors, with inappropriate smart device usage being a significant contributing factor.

This is hardly surprising considering the increasing uptake and accessibility of smart devices. Bottom line, the device tsunami is here to stay and will continue to be entrenched further into our lifestyles. Consequently, myopia rates and other associated health problems will increase accordingly.

Being a recognised world authority on myopia and other common eye conditions, Dr Mo Dirani, managing director at plano, was adamant there must be better and smarter scientific ways to overcome this global health issue.

As important as the science bit is, Dr Dirani also recognised the need to ensure consumer acceptance of any new solutions developed.

As with most clients, and certainly for one who is well-versed in various research methodologies, he was initially sceptical of the value that an external consultant could offer, especially with various competing budget needs.

“Spending” to identify “insights” seemed to be of lower priority, especially if compared to other equally, if not more important, works such as IT development, etc.

But post AntzWorkz’s pitch of its proprietary product development approach, AntzGatzTM, he was able to identify the value it could bring to the table.

“AntzWorkz played a pivotal role in plano’s product design, early development and market entry in Singapore. Their market research smarts, product insights and business IQ separated them from the bunch. It made my decision on selecting a consultancy easy,” he said.

AntzGatzTM is designed to work in parallel and be complementary to two major ongoing work streams: scientific research and technical development.

Through specially designed and targeted research activities, AntzGatzTM helped to identify relevant latent gaps in protecting vision among children, teenagers and young adults. These insights were subsequently used in developing the overall concept of plano and its eventual features.

For instance, while many parents acknowledged concerns with their children’s device usage, many also perceived that all is well and under control. Yet in qualitative observations and quantitative exercises, various data points suggested otherwise.

Case in point: while there’s some degree of success in managing device usage via “self-manual” timers, most parents aren’t equipped to deal with how close devices are held to their children’s eyes, which is an important risk factor for myopia.

And the sobering truth is, even as adults, we sometimes find it hard to set limits for our own device use. It is even harder to expect young children to regulate their own device use.

“It was quite clear to us that devices are here to stay. There’s no way we can get folks to stop using devices, but the insights identified by AntzWorkz confirmed that we do have an opportunity to help turn an unhealthy relationship into a healthy one.” Dr Dirani.

In a busy world where parents and teachers are not able to constantly monitor children and their device use, a reliable technological solution that is built into the devices they are using is needed.

In other words, the problem is also the solution. And in October 2017, plano was officially launched and thus became the world’s first parental health management app with a specific focus on protecting vision.

Cutting-edge technology was utilised to develop proven science-based features to combat myopia while providing the desired user experience. Established behavioural science principles were also incorporated to drive desired actions, following keen observations and understanding of children’s behaviours and mindsets.

As a result, plano was able to help parents and children to avoid verbal clashes over device usage, which are often frustrating and emotionally draining, thereby helping to foster stronger familial ties built on trust, rather than fear.

With plano being designed with parents and children in mind right from the outset, parents who became aware of plano were able to recognise it as a much better solution than what they were doing to address device usage and myopia. And the actual take-up rates say as much.

Despite soft-launching plano quietly with no fanfare and with limited marketing efforts, word of plano quickly got around organically among parents.

In less than three months, plano achieved more than 30,000 downloads. In the same time frame, more than 50 corporate partners signed up to be vendors-listed on the in-app plano shop, with more in the pipeline.

As a result of its unprecedented launch success, plano also won various industry accolades:
1. Best Idea – Consumer Insights
2. Best App – Govt & Community Services
3. Best Campaign – Research & Insights
4. Best Campaign – Informative Use of Mobile

“It was already gratifying to see our work being used during the development of plano. Having parents and children, the audience we specifically researched on, coming to tell us that plano has indeed made a real difference in their lives, makes it really special for us. This, more than anything else, proves that insights, if done correctly, are a worthy investment.” – Kelvin Eng, managing director, AntzWorkz Consultants.

You can view AntzWorkz’s full interview with Marketing during the MARKies Awards Singapore last month here:

This article started with a question on whether insights should be viewed as an investment or indulgence. And who else better to answer this than the client himself.

“Absolutely an investment. I’m not sure whether we would have achieved this much if not for it. We look forward to strengthening our relationship with AntzWorkz as plano matures in the market place, both locally and internationally.” – Dr Dirani.

As evident from the above, proper utilisation of insights can result in significant ROI and that it is not exclusive to big brand entities or those with significant budgets. Perhaps, it’s time to reimagine insights and rethink how great insights can be achieved in your organisation.