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The First Step in Designing a Tracking Study

September 18th, 2023 Comments off

The first step in designing a tracking study is to identify what your goal is and what you want to do with it.

Do you need a Brand Equity, Brand Health or Advertising Tracker?  Or some combination?

So let’s first define each…

Some researchers lump Brand Equity and Brand Health into the same bucket but they’re actually different.  Here’s how…

Brand Equity:

Brand Equity is a measure of the value of a brand.  That value is built on everything the brand goes to market with; name, logo, image, advertising, packaging, service, quality, price, performance, availability, etc.  In very practical terms, it is why a consumer will choose one brand over another, and why in some instances, even pay a price premium for that brand.

MSW’s CC Brand Preference™ measure is a proven, independently validated measure of brand value.

Brand Health:

Brand Health is how the brand got here and where can it go in the future.  Brand Health can be made up of many measures depending on the objectives; awareness, consideration, perceptions, our Brand Franchise Analysis (a segmentation technique that looks at Loyalty, Repertoire usage, Lapsed, Rejectors, Attracted, Indifferent, and Hostile), our RDE Analysis (which looks at Relevance, Differentiation and Emotion), etc.  Examining trends is also an important part of Brand Health.  All of this is what informs and creates the actionability of a well designed tracker.

And there’s also Advertising Tracking to consider:

Advertising Tracking measures the performance of a brand’s communications.  How well is it working to move consumers to consider, use, or use more of your brand.  And how to optimize messaging, media, and weight.

With these definitions in mind, the first step is to align this with your goals.

We can help.  At MSW we provide insights derived from proven, brand growth oriented KPI’s; innovative tracking analytics that empower you to grow your brand by demonstrating how to:

  • Retain current customers,
  • Acquire new customers, and
  • Improve the return on your marketing investment.

Contact us to learn more.

Impact of Turmoil in the Airline Industry: 2022 to 2023

September 13th, 2023 Comments off

The airline industry has been going through a difficult time; COVID shutdowns, Staff shortages, Inflation, weather and FAA system outages.  Some airlines tried to recover from COVID too quickly and have then had to rollback planned/scheduled expansions.  The result is misery for passengers, who can expect long lines, packed flights, less space on board and much higher prices.  Delays and cancellations are rampant, as massive staffing shortages make domestic airlines unequipped to deal with disruptions such as weather events.

Some failures of note:

  • December 26, 2022: Southwest disruption with 11,000 flights cancelled.

  • January 11, 2023: FAA computer outage – 10,000 flights delayed or cancelled:
    • Southwest 49%
    • American 48%
    • United 40%
    • Delta 38%
    • JetBlue 33%

  • June 24-27, 2023: 31,850 flights (a third of all flights nationwide) were delayed (of which 6,346 were cancelled outright) due to severe storm activity.

Additionally, there was the battle for Spirit Airlines between Frontier and JetBlue, which was eventually won by JetBlue. However, the DOJ then blocked the acquisition on March 7, 2023, leaving Spirit in limbo.  While JetBlue ended its alliance with American Airlines in July in a bid to protect the purchase of Spirit from legal challenges, the saga remains unresolved.

Commentators anticipated that airline preferences would change, in particular predicting Southwest would suffer due to the issues outlined above.

That is not what our data shows.  Southwest has gained preference among Americans! The following analysis is based on data collected through the MSW TBSM tracking service among 1000 consumers in early 2022 and another 1000 consumers in the first half of 2023.

Part of Southwest’s Brand Preference gain can be explained by higher awareness.  Southwest gained about 1.5 percentage-points, rising from 93.6% in 2022 to 95.0% in 2023.  The second reason is due to performance: Southwest had a very low level of complaints across 2022, very few lengthy tarmac delays or mishandled baggage. And the third reason is Inflation. American incomes have been squeezed, which is why we also see an increase in Brand Preference for Spirit Airlines.


Domestic Airlines Brand Preference: 2022 vs 2023

Specifically, Spirit improved its Brand Preference from 3.4% to 3.9% on the back of higher awareness, also up about 1.5 percentage-points from 85.6% to 87.2%.  Proving yet again that no publicity is bad publicity as long as the name is spelled correctly.

In addition, consumers have changed what they are looking for.  Ticket prices have always been an important factor affecting flight choice.  This was mentioned by 42% in 2022 and increased significantly to 54% in 2023, reflecting the impact of inflation and tighter household budgets. Fully 29% say it is the most important factor; up 5 percentage-points from 2022.


Important Factors/Primary Factor in Choosing Airline: 2022 versus 2023

Price can only go so far.  TBSM also recorded significant increases in the number of people looking for convenience and choosing flights because they trust the airline based on its safety record.  Notably, people attach much less importance to the availability of first class and an airline club/lounge.  The last two are substantially more important to frequent travelers.

There is a strong correlation between airline preference and passenger numbers, as reported by the Bureau of Transportation.


Brand Preference vs Actual Passenger Numbers

However, for a variety of reasons people do not always fly on their preferred airline.

Nearly three-quarters of people who say that they prefer Southwest or American flew on that airline the last time they took a flight, while less than 60% of those that prefer JetBlue or United flew their preferred airline on their last trip.  Across the entire industry only 60% of flights were accommodated on people’s preferred airline.


Percentage of Those Who Prefer Each Airline Flying It Last Time

People who flew an airline other than their preferred carrier said they did so for different reasons, but one-third of those who switched did so because of price.


Reasons For Switching from Your Preferred Airline

41% switched because they didn’t like the schedule or their preferred seat choice was not available.

18% were influenced to try a different airline.

The three legacy carriers face similar reasons why people didn’t fly them last time.  But the legacy carriers have some differences versus Southwest.


Reasons for Switching: Legacy vs. Southwest

While pricing pressure is real across the entire industry, it is more so the case with the legacy carriers versus Southwest, with the legacy carriers losing business for being too expensive at almost double the rate of Southwest.

On the other hand, scheduling limitations are much more a concern for Southwest than for the legacy carriers.  “Didn’t fly to destination” was the most often cited reason why those who prefer Southwest used a different airline.  This is much less of an issue with legacy carriers, which have associated regional carriers which allow them to reach many more markets.

Those who prefer legacy carriers are more likely to want to try a different experience; while those who prefer Southwest are more likely to be influenced by a companion into using a different airline (perhaps because the companion doesn’t want to fly with a discount carrier).

Loyalty differs across the different airlines. We previously viewed behavioral loyalty, i.e., did people who prefer the airline fly it last time (Southwest and American led on this metric).  The alternative approach is to examine the Brand Relationship and attitudinal loyalty.  Delta has more people who feel attitudinally loyal to it.


Delta Airlines: Brand Relationships


One in seven flyers (14%) say that they feel attitudinally loyal to Delta.  This means that these people will choose Delta if all else is equal – schedule, equipment, prices.  Delta has the BEST on time delivery record of any US airline; 82% of flights arrive on time.  Plus, it has fewer cancelled flights or involuntary bumps between classes than any other airline.


Attitudinal Loyalty Toward Domestic Airlines

Nearly half of all flyers in the USA do not feel loyal to any airline.

United is the weakest of the three legacy carriers. Only 7% of Americans feel loyal to it, and this is an improvement on its 2022 performance when 6% were loyal.

Delta’s loyal group has increased from 12% in 2022 to 14% in 2023.

American’s loyal group increased from 10% to 11%, and Southwest, even with the massive system outage, managed to creep up from 11% to 12%. JetBlue held steady at 5%.

Across the industry, the number of flyers who feel loyal to one carrier or another has increased from 53% to 56%.


Brand Relationship Profiles for Select Domestic Airlines


Delta and American have the strongest brand relationships in the US:

  • Delta and American lead in trial, with 66% of those aware of each airline having flown on it.
  • American leads in terms of retention, with 68% of those with experience with the airline continuing to fly with it.
  • Delta leads in terms of loyalty, with 35% of those who currently fly Delta saying that they are loyal. Southwest is a strong second, with 32% of current users being loyal.

The logic for JetBlue’s attempted purchase of Spirit Airlines is very clear.

For more information about the airline industry or your brand’s category contact MSW.

Categories: Chart of The Week Tags:

We Don’t Make the Models You Use… We Make the Models You Use Better

May 31st, 2023 Comments off

In the world of brand data analytics, models are expected to provide consistent predictive, decision-support to grow the business.

Traditional models often fall short of delivering the full potential they promise. They lack the ability to ask the right questions, suffer from incomplete and inaccurate data, and fail to provide insights that drive the full potential of business opportunities. However, there is a solution that bridges this gap and enhances the performance of these models. Welcome to the world of MSW Enhanced Models, where the focus is on improving accuracy, understanding consumer behavior, and addressing the shortcomings of current behavioral modeling with consistently repeatable business results.

Traditional Models: Limitations and Challenges

Traditional models have their limitations, and these limitations can hinder their effectiveness in providing actionable insights. One of the major drawbacks is their failure to ask the right questions. They often focus on narrow or overly broad questions that fail to capture the nuances necessary for driving business growth. Without asking the right questions, these models miss out on valuable opportunities, leading to misguided strategies and missed opportunities.

Another challenge lies in the quality of data used in traditional models. They often rely on incomplete and transactional data without considering the behavioral root cause. This limits their perspective to top and perhaps bottom sales funnel prediction.  But even that limited, short-term, perspective may be flawed as a predictive tool.  For instance, if a model only looks at purchase data without considering the underlying motivations and preferences of consumers, it may fail to provide accurate and meaningful insights. Inaccurate or incomplete data can lead to flawed inferences and incorrect conclusions, hampering the decision-making process for businesses.

According to a study conducted by Truth{set}, a leading data quality measurement company, “big” data can be wrong up to 60% of the time. This highlights the significant challenge of relying solely on data without proper validation and verification. Such inaccuracies can have profound consequences for businesses relying on these models for decision-making, leading to misguided strategies and missed opportunities.

MSW Enhanced Models: Unlocking the Full Potential

MSW Enhanced Models offer a transformative approach to brand data analytics. These models prioritize asking the questions that truly impact business decisions. For example, instead of focusing on the number of units sold, an MSW Enhanced Model might explore questions like “What hidden factors influenced the purchasing decisions of our target audience?” or “Which specific brand attributes drive consumer preference for my brand?” By delving into the depth of consumer behavior, these models uncover the who, what, when, where, why, and with whom behind each transaction. This level of granularity enables businesses to gain a comprehensive understanding of their customers and make informed decisions.

Consistent accuracy is a fundamental pillar of MSW Enhanced Models. By integrating MSW Preference™, these models can improve the prediction of actual volume with 100% accuracy. For example, a company that implemented MSW Enhanced Models with MSW Preference™ experienced a significant boost in their predictive accuracy, allowing them to allocate resources more effectively and optimize their marketing efforts. This improved accuracy instills confidence in businesses, enabling them to rely on the insights provided by these models to drive their strategies and achieve optimal results.

Furthermore, MSW Enhanced Models address the ever-changing consumer mindset. They recognize that brand perceptions and relationships drive consumer choices. By capturing and analyzing these factors, businesses can adapt their strategies to meet evolving consumer preferences and stay ahead of the competition.  For instance, an MSW Enhanced Model can help identify shifts in consumer perceptions of a brand and provide actionable insights to realign marketing campaigns accordingly, thereby increasing brand loyalty and driving revenue growth.

Bridging the Gap with Innovative Products

MSW offers a range of innovative products that complement and enhance traditional brand data analytics models. Let’s explore some of these products:

  1. Decoder™: This product acts as a guide in identifying and prioritizing the most relevant questions for a model. By measuring the who, what, when, where, why, and with whom of consumer behavior, Decoder™ ensures that businesses focus on the aspects that truly matter. For example, it can help businesses understand not only the purchase behavior but also the underlying motivations, preferences, and influencers that drive consumer decisions. By incorporating these insights, businesses can develop more targeted and effective marketing strategies.

Client Testimonial From Real Life in Use Example:

“after using Decoder to identify the KPI’s we needed to focus on and building those into our existing model, our product has achieved a wholesale rate of what I would consider directly in line with the numbers expected.  These are preliminary based on orders, but sales figures appear to be trending toward 102% of forecast.”

  1. TouchPoint™: Brand activation is a crucial aspect of any marketing strategy. TouchPoint™ ensures that brand activation aligns with strategic objectives by evaluating its impact on attention, branding, brand perceptions, relationships, and preferences. For instance, by analyzing the impact of different touchpoints on brand perceptions, businesses can optimize their marketing investments to create stronger brand associations and positive customer experiences. This helps build brand loyalty and increases the likelihood of repeat purchases.

Client Testimonial From Real Life in Use Example:

“For our three main L’Oréal brands it was found that a 1-point increase in MSW Brand Preference resulted in a 0.6% sales gain at retail.  Furthermore, the MSW advertising quality measurement ranked as the 2nd leading potential driver of incremental brand volume.”

  1. Brand Strength Monitor™: Tracking performance is essential for success. Brand Strength Monitor™ provides foresight and prescriptive analytics that help identify and quantify opportunities for growth. It measures awareness, consideration, cross-consideration, reasons for behavior, and the size of each brand relationship. For example, by tracking awareness levels and reasons for behavior, businesses can identify gaps in their brand messaging and make necessary adjustments to improve customer engagement and conversion rates.

Client Testimonial From Real Life in Use Example:

“Brand Relationship Analysis™ administered within the MSW tracking solution identified leverage points directing resource allocation and ongoing ROI measurement.  Insights enabled the Benefiber brand to move from third choice in market to #1.  Brand trial and market share doubled.”

These solutions include the same unique, evidence-based, brand-building metrics that provide connective tissue across a consistently predictive, go-to-market process:

Traditional brand data analytics models often fall short of delivering actionable insights. They lack the ability to ask the right questions, rely on incomplete data, and suffer from inaccuracies. However, MSW Enhanced Models bridge this gap by focusing on impactful questions, improving accuracy, and addressing consumer behavior. With innovative products like Decoder™, TouchPoint™, and Brand Strength Monitor™, businesses can unlock the full potential of their data analytics models and make informed decisions that drive growth. The future of brand data analytics lies in enhancing existing models to deliver the results businesses need to thrive in a dynamic market.  With MSW Enhanced Models, businesses can truly optimize their strategies and stay ahead in an ever-evolving business landscape.


Categories: Modeling Tags: