A product is constantly developing. New flavours, combinations of features, tastes and ingredients are tried, tested and launched all the time. Understanding consumers’ response is needed during the whole process – in the development of the idea and product concept, in the refinement of the product and in performance measurement, once the product is launched.
EVOLVE works in all stages of product development to find uncovered needs, translate them in product opportunities, define customer benefits and evaluate the success of the new product or product variant.
Creative research as an approach and set of techniques involve both consumers and clients. The tonality is heightened, dynamic and empowering.
There are various possibilities in determining the design. A set-up we like to employ, that has proven itself in practice, consists of creative sessions with customers, followed by a brainstorming workshop with the client team.
An option for co-creation is when members of the client team participate in the creative sessions as well. A creative session can last 2-3 hours or much longer – a day, a weekend.
The initial briefing is very important to setting the mind frame of participants. During the sessions relaxation techniques and exercises for increasing the brain energy can be used.
The tools we use in the design of creative sessions and workshops come from the areas of synectics, lateral thinking, problem solving etc.
One ideation session can result in more than a hundred ideas. They are evaluated and some are further developed in product concepts. Others are left for future use.
Concept testing helps evaluate consumer response to a new product or service idea before it is marketed. Potential consumers are targeted to gain insights on the perceptions of the product concept, likeability, evaluation of specific features, price and likelihood of purchase.
Typically several concepts are screened to select the most likely to succeed concept and to suggest possible improvements.
This type of research also gives information about the target groups to whom your concept is most appealing.
Product tests are invaluable in creating new products and in refining existing products and can be used to continuously improve product performance and achieve product superiority over competitive products.
For food and beverage categories in essence this is a test of the sensory attributes.
For durables and services these are usability tests.
The most common method (used to reduce cost) is the sequential monadic designs. In this design, each respondent evaluates two products sequentially. They are also a very good diagnostic tool.
The monadicdesign focuses the respondent’s attention upon one product. This is usually the method in home visits.
Another popular variation in the design of product tests includes initial evaluation of one product and as a second step paired-comparison.
Web usability is a very specific type of research that can be done in a central location setting, testing navigation, content and overall experience. Participants think-aloud while performing specific tasks and their face and voice as well as the movement on the screen are recorded for analysis. Click heat maps are generated. For evaluation of specific functions AB testing or multi-variant testing can be done online.
Package testing is usually carried out on its own for a full diagnostic of package impact on consumers’ choice. In a setting with shelf simulation the ability of the package to capture attention and its differentiation from other brands are best observed and measured.
What will be the impact on purchase frequency of brand buyers, to what extend would the package change buying behavior of category buyer and what is its ability to attract new buyers are the main questions this research must answer.
The diagnostics include attractiveness of the pack, communication of product benefits, brand positioning – emotions, image, fit with the brand and functionality – ease of use, storage.