Editor's note: Dave Carruthers is the founder and CEO of Voxpopme. For questions or comments please e-mail christoph.trappe@voxpopme.com.

Over the last few years, even before the pandemic, companies across a range of industries have been in a fairly aggressive mode of transformation to react quickly to changing consumer trends and behaviors. Sometimes the reactions are short-term, in response to something in the market. Other times they are more lasting, reflecting the seismic impact of a broad cultural shift.

No matter the cause or the time frame, it is crucial for brands to understand what’s going on, why it’s going on and how it can affect them. More importantly, understanding the shifts in behaviors certainly helps companies understand the person behind the consumer.

As Megan Kehr, analytics insights associate manager at PepsiCo, mentioned on our podcast, “Reel Talk: The Customer Insights Show,” insights professionals have increasingly spoken about gaining a deeper sense of consumers’ lives. “For example, take somebody like me and not just seeing me as a Pepsi drinker … while my consumption behavior is part of who I am, I’m also a wife, a sister, a daughter, I’m a cat mom. There are all these other aspects of my life outside of the beverage I drink that make up who I am,” she said.

To truly understand our consumers, we certainly can’t just check in with them every few years; we have to build that ongoing relationship. And one way to do that is by making research an ongoing effort that spans company culture.

But how can we accomplish that? Let’s dive in.

Market research can have the most impact on companies when it provides insights that can be acted upon and that offer something executives and stakeholders didn’t know before.

Many have used Henry Ford’s famous quote – “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” – in arguing against talkin...