Different objectives can lead to similar success, through a holistic approach to research.
We live in a world with an abundance of choices. Think about the last time you went to purchase yogurt. As you walked down the aisle, you likely noticed the wide range of options. For someone who doesn’t already have a preferred selection or has never purchased yogurt before, the abundance of options can be overwhelming. Each product, although all yogurt, is unique in terms of brand, quality, attributes, package design, price, target consumer, etc. The more knowledge you have of yogurt, the better equipped you are to make the best choice for your needs. In this way, choosing the right approach to research is just like choosing the right yogurt.
When it comes to designing a study, it’s imperative to carefully evaluate every aspect to ensure that the insights gleaned are the richest, most accurate, and of course, answer the questions at hand. For this reason, Curion takes a holistic approach to research. Armed with traditional methodologies, as well as a suite of digital tools, the Curion team works closely with their clients to identify the best approach for each objective.
Earlier this year, a prominent nutritional beverage and supplements brand was looking to gather feedback from current users and nonusers on new concepts for powdered mixes and ready to drink (RTD) products. The brand was in its earliest stages of product development and sought input from consumers to ideate their ideal product. With a thorough understanding of the client, their brand, their goals and objectives, and the market itself, the Curion team took a virtual co-creation approach leveraging capabilities from its digital toolkit.
Since the brand was looking to get feedback from current users and nonusers, the recruit was fulfilled using a combination of Curion’s proprietary database of consumers, as well as the brand’s own database of loyalists. Over the course of two weeks, video diaries and shop-a-longs were captured showcasing everyday usage of the brand’s products and similar products on the market. Photo captures allowed for sketching ideal powders and RTD products, with self-narrated videos attached. Select consumers were pulled to participate in live 1:1 sessions with a moderator for a deeper dive.
The study showed that consumers are focused on functional nutrition that is convenient and easy. They prefer a lighter flavor intensity and like customization but need simplified options and education on benefits. In terms of packaging, consumers are looking for a design that emphasizes functionality, sustainability and convenience. After reviewing these results, the client was able to identify and optimize the most appealing new product concepts and fine tune them before launching a product in the marketplace.
Around this same time, another client approached the Curion team looking to resolve their customer’s biggest complaint – the curling of their baking paper. The client was a manufacturer of household packaging products and wanted feedback on four packaging prototypes designed to alleviate the curling, without changing the paper itself. The Curion team, again with a deep understanding of the brand, the product, objectives, and the market, decided that in order to get the most accurate results, they needed the most authentic look into how consumers interacted with the product. It was crucial that the client be able to observe how consumers interacted with the product and if they followed the
instructions provided on the packaging. In order to achieve this, the team used a home use test approach in combination with capabilities from the digital toolkit.
Leveraging a partner’s proprietary online database, the team recruited consumers who regularly used and purchased the product. This was important to ensure that the consumers participating in the study were familiar with the curling issue and would give an accurate insight into typical product usage. Selected consumers were asked to capture their experiences dispensing the product from each box. They took video diaries unwrapping and lining their baking sheets and then completed a short online questionnaire. Interviews were conducted with a portion of the participants to dig deeper into elements of each prototype using the live 1:1 interview capability.
From this research, the client discovered that many consumers didn’t even read the instructions provided. Of the consumers that did, many still failed to properly follow them and stated there were too many steps to follow. Consumers had expected that the paper itself would be changed to prevent curling, rather than having to resolve the issue through their own usage behaviors. The problem persisted. As a result of the feedback received, the client went back to the work bench, simplified instructions and tweaked the product. New prototypes are now undergoing quantitative testing.
Although these clients had very different products, with different objectives, recruit needs, and were in very different stages of development, they were able to use many of the same tools to achieve their research goals. In both cases, the client was seeking a closer, more personal look into consumer lifestyles and usage behaviors. While a traditional focus group could have been used to explore new product concepts for the nutritional beverage and supplements brand, biases such as group think would likely have altered the quality of results. Similarly, a traditional home use test could have given the packaging products manufacturer the insight that their prototypes failed to resolve the curling problem. However, without the ability to observe the consumers interacting with the product, it would have lacked insight into how consumers were reacting to (or completely ignoring) the provided instructions.
Just like selecting the right yogurt, when it comes to selecting the right research partner there is an abundance of options. By choosing a research partner who took the time to understand and develop their objectives, and who had the depth of knowledge, experience, and access to the right mix of tools, both clients were able to walk away from their studies equipped with the insights needed to take proper action to further their product development. These cases exemplify the importance of taking a holistic approach to research and having the support of an experienced team of researchers who can creatively leverage a mix of tools and methods to provide the best insight.
Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network
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Chicago, IL 60603
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