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Building a new startup with Unilever

Business problem:

Unilever’s CMI team conducts huge amounts of qualitative ethnographic research each year to learn more about the customers of its many brands. However, such research still relies largely on claimed behaviour, rather than finding out what really goes on in a customer’s day to day life and their interaction with a brand.

What we did:

The Bakery saw the potential to leverage existing Google Glass technology to trial a new approach to ethnographic research, which would allow Unilever’s CMI team to see directly how customers are interacting with their brands every day.

We identified a company of Google Glass developers, at the time focused on developing gaming applications for Glass technology. However, their business had been eroded by the lack of widespread consumer adoption of Google Glass.

In partnership with Unilever’s internal innovation team, The Foundry, The Bakery proposed a new use case for this company’s skills – to provide consumer insights teams for some of the world’s biggest brands with a new way around the issue of claimed versus actual behaviour when conducting ethnographic research.

The solution:

We helped the existing group of skilled Google Glass developers to build a business, We See Through, that could address this solution and initially run a trial with Unilever on a live project.

We See Through used HD, video-recording glasses to gain genuine insights direct from the consumer, collecting and reporting on those via a dashboard so that CMI teams can monitor and analyse results remotely and in real time. 

The results:

We See Through has grown its role within Unilever from a single project, to providing services globally for multiple brands and briefs. It has also grown its reach beyond Unilever, working with external research agencies, such as GFK and IPSOS, to help them revolutionise the qualitative research they can offer their clients. 

“It’s been a fantastic experience for our teams to work directly with a startup that’s so focused on how to change the world, and how to continue to reinvent and have that curiosity about people, and how to understand them better”

Marie Wolfe, Director of Research Innovation


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