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Baskin-Robbins finds Consumer ‘Joy factors’ in the Ice-Cream & Dessert category

Baskin Robbins used to understand consumers behaviours to determine and validate its next strategy in customer acquisition in Malaysia's competitive ice cream industry.

Nov 08, 2022

Burt Baskin and Irv Robbins, two brothers-in-law had a dream of innovating an ice-cream store that would be a family gathering spot. Burt and Irv shared a love for good old-fashioned ice-cream and the desire to serve customers in a fun and inviting atmosphere. They aimed to present customers with a variety of flavours made with quality ingredients.

The brand began its venture as separate entities between Irv and Burt. In 1945, Irv opened a Snowbird ice-cream in Glendale, California, and a year later Burt opened Burton's ice-cream Shop, in Pasadena, California. By 1948, they had six stores between them, and finally, in 1953, the separate identities were dropped and Snowbird and Burton's became Baskin-Robbins.

Today, in Malaysia, the sight of the tiny pink spoon screams excitement for many of us. Baskin Robbins, which is home to the famous ice-cream cakes and nearly 50 creative ice-cream flavours in Malaysia, can be spotted in every corner of Klang Valley, and several premium outlets in East Malaysia. The first-ever Baskin-Robbins store in Malaysia opened in Subang Parade, on Christmas Eve of 1988. The business had expanded exponentially since then. In 2010, The Star reported that there were 54 stores in West Malaysia only. Today, there are nearly 130 stores spread across East and West Malaysia.

Improving customer acquisition amidst growing competition

Although having made a name that brings joy to Malaysians, Baskin-Robbins faced growing competition within the industry. They approached to understand consumers behaviours to determine and validate their next strategy in customer acquisition.

Baskin-Robbins needed to find ways to compete against competitors such as Haagen Dazs, Ben & Jerry's, Magnum, etc., as well as newer players such as Inside Scoop, Softsrve, Llaollao, Fatbaby Ice-cream, etc.

They also wanted to learn of any unsuspecting competitors to be able to strategize better and where required, reconstruct their marketing strategies and approach. Baskin-Robbins aimed to appear as a more appealing option when it comes to ice-cream or choice of desserts.

Application of Quantitative & Qualitative Research Methodology's

Baskin-Robbins sought out to achieve a holistic comprehension and understanding of its consumer behaviours and patterns surrounding the purchase and selection of ice-cream brands.

Together with, they opted for a mixed research methodology which involved four sessions of Offline Focus Groups, three sessions of Online Focus Groups, and one Online Survey.

Overview on implementation of Focus Groups & Online Survey Studies

  1. The Offline and Online Focus Groups aimed to uncover insights on the difference between consumer behaviours of variant demographic backgrounds such as those married with kids with comparisons among consumers of different age groups and locations.
  2. The study aimed to identify influencing factors and connectivity between demographic backgrounds with gender, location or other possible elements.
  3. The design of the Online Survey involved analysing responses from both the Online and Offline Focus Group sessions. The Online Survey aimed to measure the following:
  4. Key reasons consumers are purchasing or not purchasing from Baskin-Robbins (BR)
  5. Brand perception of Baskin-Robbins and it’s competition
  6. Purchase behaviours & preferences of consumers
  7. Profile/Segmentation of the consumers

Focus Group sessions uncovered these insights for Baskin-Robbins:

  • The role of desserts for consumers.
  • Consumers health concerns.
  • Consumption of dessert type/flavours based on trends.
  • External (Business) and Internal (Consumer) controlled elements (e.g. Promotions vs. Virality)
  • Halal and hygiene concerns amongst consumers.
  • Consumption of dessert type/flavours based on trends.
  • Consumer perception and factors perceived as quality.
  • Perception of brands based on brand colours, store locations, and flavours.
  • Attributes which define brands as everyday-affordable or premium.

* observed and analysed responses from participants of the Focus Group sessions to design a framework of insights they needed to uncover in the  Online Survey.

Online Survey uncovered these insights for Baskin-Robbins:

  • Other types of popularly consumed desserts apart from ice-cream.
  • Frequency of popularly consumed desserts apart from ice-cream.
  • Causes behind a reduced frequency of visitors in Baskin Robbins.
  • Common spends on other desserts and ice-cream only, on a monthly basis.
  • Common time of the day/seasons consumers visit an ice-cream store.
  • Consideration factors when selecting an ice-cream store.
  • Influencing factors which cause consumers to switch from one brand of ice-cream to another.
  • Other sources of ice-cream purchase apart from ice-cream stores.

Baskin-Robbins Testimonial on research approach & solutions

In conducting surveys, we always want to reflect the population to be as real as possible to our target market. Being a traditional brick & mortar business, focus groups have enabled us to gain comfort in terms of extracting qualitative insights; which enabled us to design a questionnaire that covers all ground. The online survey then enabled us to reach most of the demographic that we wanted to cover, from urban to sub-urban or from KL to KK. The online survey also enabled us to increase the survey population by a large margin without increasing the cost of study. Hence we thought it was quite a well-balanced survey that have definitely given us some important insights for our future marketing plan.From the start of the survey, Vase has been able to give us valuable and objective advice in terms of methodology which is quite vital as we don't conduct market research regularly. Their ability to understand our industry and issues have also made the study a lot easier and effective. Great team they have.

Cheah Jia Ming,
CEO of Baskin-Robbins offers various solutions for your business needs. Contact us today to find how we can help you you resolve the many unanswered areas of your business growth and how effective research can be your solution.


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