Where would you start?
September 20, 2005
- by Robert E. Stevens, GENESIS II(The Second Beginning) E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
A reader of the Views sent me an email asking the following question. Assume that you are taking a new job working with the R&D Department of a large consumer packaged goods company. Your job is to identify new opportunities for the company. Where would you start?
I would take multiple learning paths. One path would deal with the company, the second with the consumer and the third would deal with the competition.
Since most of us have had experience in identifying the goals of a company, their focus of interest, and current progress, I would like to devote this page to the second point, that is, the collection of consumer information.
My objective would be to hit the ground running. I would want to identify as many potential ideas as quickly as possible (and cheaply as possible). My focus would be directed to potential improvements of our current brands, potential category improvements, and possible category expansion.
As quickly as possible, I would be in the field conducting research similar to Negative Brand Share information. That is, among consumers purchasing a competitive brand, I would want to know why they have chosen that brand rather than my brand. I would also want to know what I would have to do to get the users of the competitive brands to use my brand on a regular basis. I would be using the Negative Brand Share technique at the point of purchase, at the time the actual purchase decision is exercised. I would also, at the same time, be collecting “Wish List” information whereby we have consumers finish a sentence completion statement such as “I wish the manufacturer of (insert your brand) would change this product so that it would __________________.”
For category research I would also collect “Wish List” data about the category, again using the sentence completion format such as “I wish the manufacturers of (insert the category) would make a product that would __________________.”
For category expansion, I would look at bundling attributes by taking something that works in one category and adding it to the category of interest. For example (I’m intentionally taking a far out example to get the idea across) creating an orange juice drink that contains Drano, not really, but contains an ingredient that would clean out the digestive track.
The above research is fast and easy to implement. While this research is under way, it would give me time to design my “Habits and Practices” research aimed at identifying the who, what, when, where, and how data. A second study would involve Brand and Competitive Image Studies to determine how well my brand lives up to its promise and Mission Statement. Yes, the brand’s Mission Statement. Every brand should have its own Mission Statement, just as every company, organization, and individual should have one.
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