Using machine learning and large samples to understand PROPER’s brand health

PROPER rethinks its brand strategy based on high-quality consumer insight




To understand how PROPER’s brand was performing to inform its brand strategy.


PROPER has become an established player in the healthy snacks category in the UK with its PROPERCORN and PROPERCHIPS products. They were thinking about how to take their brand to the next level. They needed a deep understanding of what consumers thought about PROPER to inform a renewed brand strategy.

  • PROPER had previously tried using traditional market research agencies, but didn’t trust their results: reported brand awareness was clearly too high, and the results weren’t reliable due to their small sample size.
  • PROPER didn’t want to hear that their brand was doing well: they wanted an honest, rigorous assessment so they could make informed decisions about what to do next.
  • PROPER couldn’t understand what demographics they were performing best in because the samples were too small to give statistical confidence.


focaldata completed a brand health review for PROPER to support their brand strategy. We commissioned a large sample survey (4,000 respondents) to understand the key components of the traditional brand funnel: awareness, consideration and purchase. We completed the following core pieces of work:

  • Assessed how much PROPER was known by its target audience. We found that there was significant headroom for awareness among key demographics (young, urban, healthy eaters) and attitudes (trendy, open, design-focussed consumers).
  • Applied statistical tests to see what factors predicted awareness. For example, young people were statistically more likely to be aware of PROPER.
  • Used machine learning to understand what really drove awareness and consideration. We found that those who care about product style and design were more aware of PROPER, but this was due to people in these industries tending to be younger. After controlling for demographics, this effect disappeared. This contrasted with PROPER’s previous understanding of their target audience, which assumed that certain consumer attitudes such as design and product style were driving consumer behaviour.
  • Explained the levels of confidence in our findings, highlighting areas of uncertainty and where further investigation would be most valuable.


focaldata’s analysis has given PROPER critical insight into its brand and the wider category, and helped drive the next phase of growth for the company. Unlike previous work for PROPER by other agencies, focaldata’s findings were credible and accurate. They could be trusted by PROPER because they were based on a large survey sample and the survey questions went through a rigorous design and testing process to maximise accuracy. Our work had the following outcomes:

  • PROPER had an accurate baseline for ongoing brand tracking work to measure the efficacy of current and future campaigns to boost brand awareness and consideration.
  • PROPER changed its brand strategy to be more focussed on core demographic groups, where awareness is lower than previously assumed.
  • PROPER identified gaps in its knowledge about its target audience, alongside a plan for closing these gaps in future through further support from focaldata.
" focaldata gave us the honest view of our brand that we needed. Having tried their blend of larger sample sizes with machine learning insights, I can’t ever imagine going back to conventional research. " -- Cassandra Stavrou MBE, Co-founder of PROPER