Posts Tagged ‘concept evaluation’

Garbage in. Garbage out. The Need for Concept Optimization.

Posted on: June 1st, 2017 by doyle

From the desk of Carole Schmidtsusana-fernandez-56313

I’m just going to say it. We see a lot of bad concepts.

Look, we fully understand that it’s not easy to create a compelling new product and seemingly impossible to carve out real brand distinction in crowded categories. And rocket speed-to-market means you’ve got six months to get this thing on shelf!  But, sheesh, too often we are handed concepts that are still being written as we’re performing participant introductions during the research.  In other real world scenarios, waves of team review, and legal’s approval, have created some real concept doozers, delivered to us researchers either diluted to mush, with the core idea buried in euphemisms, or wholly lacking a reason for being.

I’m just going to say it. Spending time getting the “test” concepts right is worth its weight in gold.

Checking in with your customer along the way, while you’re crafting those concepts, reduces the misses on the back end, saving valuable time and money. Several “presearch” avenues are inexpensive and fast and they will help you get to great concepts, faster.

Relate to a need: The most successful concepts address a real customer’s unmet need or compensating behavior. How do you discover those? Get out of the office to observe your customer in situ by going in-home or in-car.  Tap mobile journals or geofenced intercept interviews to capture and understand the customer experience at the point-of-purchase or use.

Reflect the language of the target to increase relevance: Yogurt eaters are particular about thick vs. Greek. Gearheads know what a four-banger is. Tap qualitative social media analysis to get a handle on the language your customers speak.

Understand concept-product fit: When you have a product in mind as well as a concept, go both ways. Explore your concept first among some and probe for product expectations. Investigate your product first among others, then probe how to communicate about it.  This is where your internal employees/staff can be of great help, formally, with a series of moderated on-site or webcam interviews, or informally, discussed around the water cooler or lunchroom at the office.

 Consider exposing the concept unbranded, too: Probe, “Is there an idea here?” independently of revealing the brand behind that idea to better assess the concept’s strength and the power of your brand as part of that concept. Branded and unbranded concepts can be rotated in online boards just as readily as they can be in focus groups.

Communicate as intended: “Gives you energy to take on the day” was meant to be a sustaining and satiety benefit, but in research it was also incorrectly perceived as a telltale sign of high carbs or sugar to many. Communication checks for concept clarity are efficient and inexpensive; they can be done in a day, in–person or online.

 I’m just going to say it again. Take your concepts as seriously as you do the rest of your research spend. Get your customer involved in optimizing your concepts before testing them. We look forward to your future successful concepts!

When Qualitative Research Delivers Above and Beyond: A Case Study

Posted on: April 9th, 2013 by doyle

A blog from the laptop of Chris Efken…

I love when qualitative research delivers insights far beyond the study objectives. I recently conducted what I, and my client, thought would be a straightforward concept study. We asked six groups of consumers—2 of prospects, 2 of current brand users, and 2 of competitive brand users—to evaluate four positioning territories in terms of personal relevance, language, believability and appeal. At the conclusion of the sessions, it felt as if we had uncovered more questions than answers. Each session yielded dramatically different findings, with no single concept rising to the top or falling out of contention. Even among each segment there was no consensus. You know that you face a challenge when, upon the conclusion of the last group discussion, the client says to you “I’m glad that I don’t have to be the one to make sense of these learnings. Good luck writing the report for this project!”

Yet, the task wasn’t nearly as overwhelming as anticipated. When I reviewed the recordings and transcripts, and listened to each individual’s personal stories and his/her specific reactions to the concepts, it became evident that the findings aligned by segment, but not the segments we recruited. Rather, participants’ personal stories, category perceptions and life experiences could be clustered into five distinct need-state segments. And, at least one participant in each focus group represented each of the new segments. So, by cutting the data a little differently and creating user profiles, it made it much easier to identify the concepts that resonated with each need-state segment and create separate concepts and campaigns targeted at each of these cohorts.

Though the objectives of the research were simply to optimize the concepts and identify those with the greatest potential, we learned so much more about the consumer, their lifestyles, and how to connect with each segment to build a more personally relevant brand.