02_Elements/Icons/ArrowLeft Back to Insight
Insights > Digital & technology

Building a Better Burger Try Social Listening for Product Development

4 minute read | April 2010

Jessica Hogue, Research Director, Online Division

For years, Nielsen has been refining and expanding its online tools that enable clients to put actionable context behind conversations about their brand. As “brand listening” on the web has now become standard practice, it’s time to go deeper to unlock the value, passion and insight hidden inside the everyday chatter happening outside the context of your brand. As social media usage and time spent on these sites grows globally, the need for this deep social listening, with the proper approach and analysis, is more important than ever.

In a recent webinar, The Power of Listening: How KRAFT Leverages Social Media Insights for New Product Development, I hosted with Paul Banas of Kraft Foods, we examined how Nielsen’s social listening frameworks could provide valuable dimension and feedback for Kraft’s potential entry into the burger or mini-burger market. Kraft knows the cheese part of cheeseburger better than anyone, but what could social listening tell them about product trends, emerging flavors and consumer profiles?

Beyond Brand

When we talk about food online, we see that maybe 10% of conversations mention brands specifically, while the rest focus on passionate likes and dislikes, chatter about daily routines and more.


But where to start?

Listening to the entire web to get new product ideas is a bit like boiling the ocean. This is why building a listening framework around themes is key. For example, we could focus in on themes like health and wellness, sustainability, and even an occasion like getting out of the house in the morning. From there we can map those themes, look for trends over time, find intersections and conversation drivers across different segments. Then, it’s onto a deep dive of that information blending search trends and offline data among other tactics.


It’s also important to build a framework around audience types. Kraft knows that moms talk about food differently than food aficionados, dieters or those big on entertaining at home. Understanding who is providing feedback, where they are commenting and even what time of day helps put their passions and preferences in the proper context.

Understanding the Situational Context

Lifestyle personas of at-home burger eaters


Passion: Cooking unique, gourmet burgers, appreciated sophisticated palates.

Enjoys Them With: Spouse, friends, sometimes kids.

Flavor Profile: High-end proteins: bison, lamb, kobe beef. Enjoys interesting seasonings and toppings.

Where You’ll Find Them: Foodie communities, personal blogs

Tension: Getting kids to enjoy “fancy” burgers

Moms + Household Chefs

Passion: Basic beef or turkey burgers

Occasion: Family dinners, weekend cookouts

Enjoys Them With: Spouse, children

Flavor Profile: Existing freezer or pantry ingredients

Where You’ll Find Them: Personal blogs, recipe sharing and mom sites

Tension: Creating a quick, tasty meal while avoiding dinnertime ruts. Greasy burgers are deemed unhealthy.


Passion: Pre-made burgers, beef burgers with no buns, turkey burgers, veggie burgers.

Prep Profile: George Foreman grill, microwaves

Where You’ll Find Them: Weight loss communities, personal blogs

Tension: Time-consuming to make fresh burgers, poor taste for healthier options.


Passion: Beef burgers, turkey burgers served in casual, fun atmosphere, usually prepared on an outdoor grill.

Flavor Profile: Basic seasonings

Enjoys Them With: Friends, extended family

Occasions: Weekends, holidays, during nice weather

Tension: Poor weather, preparation time takes time away from guests, less “classy” than other menu options.

Results of the Deep Dive

When Kraft focused in on conversations specifically around “sliders” or mini burgers, they found some common themes and “Positive Triggers” across audiences to help focus their thinking.

  • Sharability: Social networking helped highlight the fact that sliders are themselves social and are a food that is rarely consumed alone. They are more likely to be enjoyed at a social function, a happy hour or events.
  • Kids Love ‘Em: Parents of picky eaters found it a fun dinner option and could make an activity out preparation with their children.
  • Multiple Meal Satisfier: Sliders can be consumed as an appetizer, snack or light dinner. Its value as a late-night junk-food fix among students was also a factor.

The Value of Social Listening

While both Paul and I agree that social listening is not a full replacement for traditional focus groups, surveys or “ask-based” research, social listening is vital to understanding the passion of consumer sentiment online. Listening vs. Asking provides a powerful complement with the potential to increase the depth, speed and even the affordability of large-scale customer research.

Related tags:

Continue browsing similar insights

Our products can help you and your business

  • Consumer & Media View

    Access syndicated and custom consumer research that will help you shape successful brand, advertising and marketing…

  • NCSolutions

    Maximize CPG advertising effectiveness with data to better segment, optimize and enable sales-based outcomes.