Human-centric segmentation for Virgin Media O2

Taking a human-centric approach is fundamental to making a difference to consumer behaviour. Following Incite’s recent segmentation for O2, Jonathan shares some of the critical learnings that helped to activate lasting behaviour change.

Targeting strategy needs a segmentation

O2 was struggling to find meaningfully different brand and product propositions and risked a race to the bottom as data fast becomes a commodity. Forays into digital subscriptions and tech retail extended the offer, but both are sprawling and highly competitive categories in their own right.

The merger with Virgin Media complicated the picture further, introducing household as well as personal buying dynamics. Virgin Media O2 needed a joined-up strategy for ‘where to play’ and ‘how to win’ to unlock value across its portfolio.

Changing behaviour requires a human-centric approach

Enough research had been done over the years to understand the functional and emotional needs within categories. Competitors understand these too. The real question was how to change behaviour in inert markets with limited differentiation. Our solution lay in treating consumers as 3D humans and flawed decision-makers, and using these as inputs to create a segmentation anchored in what motivates them to behave differently:

Personal drivers
What is most important in life, how do they self-identify, what is their relationship to technology and their home, category engagement and needs?

Social influences
Who do they look to for help and validation, how do they express themselves through technology, how do they feel about supporting others?

What is their economic outlook, what are the pressures put on their decision making by partners and children, what pressures do they put on themselves?

The business needs to be inspired and enabled

A successful segmentation both inspires and enables people to act differently. Bringing a segmentation to life is critical to inspiring a business, but making it easy for colleagues to incorporate it into their daily lives is critical to it being actionable.

We worked with the senior leadership to creative a narrative around why segmentation is important, workshopped with teams to bake segmentation into BAU processes, mapped segments to multiple databases, recruited segmentation champions and created assets to increase physical and mental availability.

"Incite have been a delight to work with; they brought significant expertise to guide our approach and importantly, a creativity to our activation that addresses sustained behaviour change across our organisation."

Amy Gaertner, Head of Planning

Stakeholders need to be treated as humans too

The approach throughout, and the secret to success of this project, was to identify with people, consumers and stakeholders alike, as humans.

From the perspective of engaging consumers, the opportunity to unlock was to design interventions that would disrupt segment behaviour based on their idiosyncratic biases and heuristics.

From the perspective of engaging stakeholders, the need was to create psychological safety. The project was complex and took place in the middle of massive merger. It was incredibly important to be empathetic and curate the right environment for people to speak and be heard, specify their needs, be creative and be individual.

To learn about how we can help bring human understanding to your business challenges, get in touch.