An interview with Dr. Rochelle Wainer, VP Global Analytics and Insights

19 March 2020

What do today’s parents wish for their children?

What aspirations and expectations influence their choices when choosing products?

How do current issues and trends affect a parent’s product choice?

What are common pain points for today’s parents and how do they differ globally?

These are the questions driving Rochelle Wainer, Ph.D. and the rest of the Analytics and Insights team at Kids2.

Rochelle Wainer is a recognized expert in child development, youth and family insights, generational insights, and consumer psychology. She has more than 20 years of experience working across different countries, industries, and brands including PepsiCo, Netflix, The Children’s Place, Jell-O, Dannon, Starbucks, and Mattel.

Rochelle came to Kids2 in 2017 looking for a new challenge and an opportunity to spend every day making products that help parents, and toys that engage and promote learning in young children.

“I was attracted by the opportunity to build a new global analytics and insights team to not only foster a deeper understanding of the consumer throughout the organization but also to help influence products and solutions parents want and kids will benefit from,” remarked Rochelle in a recent conversation.

Leading the change to an insights-driven organization

Rochelle’s charge was to lead the transition of a 47-year-old product manufacturer to an insights-driven organization. Traditionally, retailer feedback drove the toy and baby product manufacturer’s product development process. Kids2 was purposefully disrupting itself to address the changing retail and consumer global landscape. Data and insights would help drive this transition and inform product and marketing decisions moving forward.

“It was a mindset shift led by insights that necessitated a product development system and brand overhaul,” said Dave Calhoun, Kids2 President.

The team conducts some 100 annual consumer and shopper insights studies and analyses

Using first-class research expertise in both qualitative and quantitative methods, Wainer and team implement approximately 100 annual consumer and shopper insights studies and analyses that inform and shape new products and opportunities at Kids2. Her team has also been instrumental in working across disciplines to put systems in place to act on these insights, so they truly drive business and product decisions.

Developing five consumer segments from data-driven insights

The Insights team conducted a Landmark US Attitude and Segmentation study which resulted in the development of five core consumer segments that now drive decision-making from product development to brand marketing. This study provides stakeholders with insights around the desires, needs, preferences, and concerns of the parents who purchase Kids2’s brands; influences how the brands differentiate in the market; and informs product design all to create tiny wins for baby and parent.

“My team and I work cross-functionally throughout the organization to infuse consumer segments and insights into the strategy and day-to-day work for Kids2. It has been really fulfilling to see how the organization has adapted the consumer mindset and has begun to use it to drive the business,” said Wainer.

"It has been really fulfilling to see how the organization has adapted the consumer mindset and has begun to use it to drive the business."

Kids2 will soon release the expanded version of the study, the Global Attitude and Usage Study which added four new countries in addition to the US.

Coming study applies consumer segments to shopping behavior

The segment typing tool can be used in other types of research to get more information about the five segments. For example, the team recently completed a large shopper study in which they captured the shopping behavior of parents and gift-givers throughout their journeys to buy baby and toddler product categories. 

“One of the things we will be able to see from this robust project is how our segments shop and what influences their purchases,” said Wainer. “This will help our sales team partner with our retail customers to choose the best initiatives for their stores as well as inform product development.”

This will help our sales team partner with our retail customers to choose the best initiatives for their stores as well as inform product development.

 

The team’s work informed the learning philosophy behind the Baby Einstein brand - The Einstein Way

One of the programs Wainer is most excited about is developing the learning philosophy behind the Baby Einstein brand called The Einstein Way which centers on curiosity. This proprietary philosophy is now the foundation of Baby Einstein’s product and content development.

“Curiosity is fundamental for every child and parent,” said Wainer. “It is the currency of the future because it motivates us to learn and adapt, compels us to be open to possibility and equips us to be confident in our skills. It is an essential trait for both succeeding in our ever-changing world and creating a better one.”

Consumer testing research informs every stage of product development

The Insights and Analytics team at Kids2 also conducts consumer product testing throughout each stage of development from concepts to finished products. In addition, marketplace data analysis from the team helps the company develop a deep understanding of the global marketplace, forecast trends, and understand its position among competitors.

“Our team gets to touch many different pieces of the business,” said Wainer. “On any given day we may meet with the design team, the content team, and members of the executive team among others.”

Data and analytics is a rewarding career path that makes a difference

 “What’s most rewarding about working at Kids2 is the people,” she continued. “There is a shared passion for creating products that help parents and children. Making a difference is what makes work not really work.”

Wainer advises anyone seeking a career in insights to become a lifelong learner.

“Always be reading, looking at new approaches, questioning and following your curiosity.”

Kids2 is a global company that designs solutions to help early-stage parents and families create tiny wins that build bright futures. The Kids2 brand portfolio includes the leading infant, baby, and toddler brands Baby Einstein®, Bright Starts®, and Ingenuity®. Headquartered in Atlanta, Kids2 spans globally with 12 offices on four continents serving customers in more than 90 countries and has been inventing and reinventing baby products for 50 years. Led by CEO Ryan Gunnigle, it operates with an agile start-up approach, which fosters the company’s growing success.