Insights That Matter: How Alm. Brand Boosted Newsletter Signups by 20%


When it comes to communicating with your customers, choosing what to say, how to say it, and when to say it is essential. This is especially true for insurance companies: after all, when your job is to ensure your customers’ most valuable possessions, you want to be sure they will read and understand your updates without the risk of finding them irrelevant.

But how can you make sure your content is read and understood by all?

For Alm. Brand, the answer laid in its newsletter. More in detail, the company wanted to understand what content was readworthy for its customers and use this knowledge to craft a compelling email series.


Sonar tested Alm. Brand’s newsletter using the ‘Newsletter’ study from its insights marketplace. For this study, Sonar interviewed 10 people from the company’s target group- half existing customers, and half not. This design gave insight into both biased and unbiased interactions and behaviour towards the newsletter, showing what content customers found really valuable.

Each interview was filmed and broken down into qualitative data, then analysed by a team of specialists and aggregated into a set of actionable, customer-backed insights.


Alm. Brand received all full videos, an executive summary, and a report with 3 key takeaways, suggestions for next steps, and 9 concrete optimization points addressing potential initiatives to better reach its target audience.


With actionable insights from its customers, the insurance company had all the tools to reforge its newsletter and make it more attractive to its target group. The results were immediate: upon implementing some of these insights, Alm Brand increased its newsletter signups through referrals by 20%.

Revving Up Adoption: How Toyota Optimised Its Insurance Service


Toyota was offering a new free insurance service named ‘Toyota Relax’ to all Toyota owners that serviced their vehicles yearly in any of its dealerships. The initiative aimed at retaining clients, increasing customer loyalty, and boosting customer lifetime value. However, despite the convenience of this new service, Toyota was not seeing the adoption rate it had hoped.


Toyota partnered with Sonar to conduct a concept validation test with its Danish customers. Sonar designed the study, recruited and interviewed the participants, and aggregated their feedback into a set of actionable insights on video. To minimize research bias, half the study participants already owned the service “Toyota Relax”, while the other half did not.


The results of the test showed two key insights: existing service subscribers had no knowledge of how to use the ‘Relax’ insurance, whereas other Toyota owners were not familiar with the service at all. These findings gave Toyota a clear indication of the barriers preventing adoption, as well as how to optimize communication to both Relax subscribers and non-subscribers.


With clear customer insights, Toyota optimised its communication strategy across touchpoints. This led to a higher service adoption, increased customer loyalty and customer lifetime value.

Fuelling Up on Feedback: Circle K’s Customer-Led App Redesign


Circle K was planning a major revamp of its main app. With a new prototype ready to be launched, the company wanted to ensure it offered the best navigation experience and communication clarity. Moreover, Circle K wanted to test the effectiveness of its new loyalty programme, and to confirm users would understand and utilise it at launch.


Sonar tested Circle K’s prototype using the ‘Prototype User Testing’ study from its insights marketplace. To ensure the lowest level of bias on the new prototype, Sonar evenly recruited participants between app users and non-users across different markets. Sonar then interviewed the participants and aggregated their feedback into a set of actionable insights.


The test confirmed Circle K’s doubts about its new program: most customers liked the idea but found the overall message confusing. Additionally, the test showed that customers appreciated the updated features and sections, but suggested making the app more personalised to their needs and improving the readability of the icons.


Circle K got the customer validation it needed to cut decision time by up to 50%, streamline development efforts and roll out a new app with enhanced navigation and value to its customers.

Beyond Analytics: How Bambo Nature Used Customer Insights to Boost Online Sales


Bambo Nature, a skin and eco-friendly baby products manufacturer, was looking for a way to boost conversions from its UK online store. The company’s e-commerce team was already using all of the traditional analytical tools, such as Google Analytics and A/B testing, to optimise conversions. However, it wanted to take it one step further and discover how customers experienced its website.


Bambo Nature needed rapid insights on video into the customer’s purchase experience. Therefore, the company decided to run a usability test with Sonar, using the ‘e-commerce flow’ study from the Sonar insights marketplace. Sonar then recruited participants in the UK market, interviewed them and aggregated their feedback into a set of actionable insights.

“Sonar’s easy-to-digest format and powerful insights helped us gain internal buy-in and quickly implement changes that benefited our customers.”

Helle Merrild Hansen, eCommerce Manager, Bambo Nature


Sonar provided Bambo Nature with a comprehensive list of insights and customer-backed recommendations. The company was surprised by the results: the test revealed customers found the navigation intuitive, but struggled with confusing terminology and pop-ups interrupting the flow. Furthermore, it gained a clearer perspective on its customers’ pain points and barriers, validating some of its internal assumptions.


The insights provided by Sonar gave the e-commerce team the authority and validation it needed to make meaningful changes to its website and optimize it for maximum conversion.

Maersk’s Philosophy on Customer Centricity

But why does customer centricity really matter when working with a 20-foot-long container? And how do the teams at Maersk actually use customer insight?

In short, their practice is to make the customer shine in front of their own customers. Read along to get the full explanation.

Maersk has embarked on a customer-centric journey

Maersk has a legacy of almost 120 years of shipping. Today, it is the largest container shipping line in the world. However, in recent years, the company has repositioned itself to be an end-to-end logistics partner for B2B customers.

But when navigating a large vessel in a new direction, many unknown factors must be taken into account. Global Head of Insights at Maersk, John Walker, leads global customer insights and solution development for the company.

In this process, his focus has been democratising insights and driving customer-led innovation. In his own words, he has truly taken the journey of what it means to be customer-centric. Let’s have a look at the journey towards customer-centricity at Maersk.

The future is all about the customers

When people think of Maersk, many imagine a whacking great ship with over 20,000 containers on it. That is the company’s legacy. In that context, John Walker says that he is not sure how vital customer-centricity used to be.

“In the past, our customers were just the companies we billed for moving their 20 or 40-foot containers from port A to port B. The future is to be an end-to-end integrated logistics provider, which means we follow the supply chain from raw materials going through factories to the customer’s front door.”

To be able to successfully make this transformation, they need to know a lot more about the customers. So this has been the main focus for John and his team at Maersk.

Customer-centricity should be deep in the culture

When John describes Maersk’s approach to customer-centricity, he asks you to picture a lead singer with his band at a concert.

“Where do you think Maersk is in the picture? At the front, leading the band? This is actually our customer on stage because we believe that being customer-centric is helping our customer shine in front of their customer. Maersk isn’t even in this picture. We’re the lighting crew, the sound engineers and the roadies, John describes.”

He sees it as a humbling acknowledgement that their long-term success hinges on the ability to make the customer shine in front of their customers.

“That is the mindset we must all own and act from,” he says.

At Maersk, customer-centricity means that every colleague must practise customer empathy and see the linkage between what they do and the customer impact.

“Customer-centricity doesn’t come on spreadsheets and in PowerPoint. It is how we behave. It is not just something you turn on when you are talking to a customer. It is culture. It needs to be part of every colleague’s natural behaviour.”

When a company is customer-centric it is not just a few teams that think of the customer. It has to be spread across the organisation. Starting at the very top.

It all begins with the leaders

A part of John’s job is to encourage the leaders at Maersk to stimulate a team culture of ‘customer obsession’. In such a culture, the teams genuinely empathise with customers and employees are encouraged to solve the challenges of today and explore opportunities to shape future value for the customers.

“Leaders should be able to speak with confidence about what customer-centricity means in Maersk, unpack what it means for their function and have personal stories they can tour with to role model customer-centricity.”

At the same time, he mentions the importance of a shared view of the customer. The leaders should do that through data and tools that continuously deepen employees’ understanding of our customers and how to best create value for them.

“Curiosity thrives in a fruitful environment of experiments, data utilisation, and customer interactions. We humbly acknowledge that there is always more to learn through customer interactions, data and experiments”.

John Walker and his team in Customer Insights are using different tools to get a deeper understanding of their customers. Especially when they seek insights into scalable products.

Sonar transforms product insights into actionable outcomes

Maersk has over 40 product teams working with segmentation, but they can only get to a certain point on their own. In order to make insights truly actionable, they often have to be specific to the product.

How do they know what the retailers in India think, feel or do when considering a specific product?

“This is where a platform like Sonars is incredibly helpful. I have tremendous confidence in being able to point Sonar after a stakeholder. Even given the relatively low maturity of our stakeholders, a data-led question will get translated into something commercially relevant, actionable and researchable.”

John Walker goes on to explain that Sonar has given Maersk a reach beyond its own resources when needing a scalable and repeatable model to get quality-controlled insights from its customers.

Maersk uses a range of partners, but Walker highlights Sonar’s ability to conduct scalable online interviews with non-expert stakeholders with a consistency that works globally.

“I feel comfortable pointing the Sonar team at any internal stakeholder. When somebody on our team ‘needs to talk to the customer’, I am confident it will get shaped into a sensible, outcome-based brief,” concludes John Walker.