Views from the Hills by R. E. Stevens, GENESIS II (The Second Beginning) E-Mail

A Competitive Edge Through Creative Research

If everyone uses the same resources and the same techniques, the result will be mediocrity.  To gain the competitive edge, you must maintain an advantage over the competition.  While there are many ways to obtain a competitive edge, consumer understanding is a critical point.  Knowing how the consumer thinks, acts, evaluates needs, and dreams, can lead to the competitive advantage.  I believe we must look at the consumer through their own eyes, which means using multiple approaches to research.  Or as I like to say, look at it as a process of walking around the mountain and viewing the summit from different perspectives.  Following are just a few of the techniques I found helpful in the consumer learning and understanding process.

Exploratory Stage of Research:

  • For current brand improvements, I would use the Negative Brand Share Technique.
  • For new brand of line extensions, I would use the Accepted Category Belief Technique.
  • For basic consumer understanding, I would use the Expert (Consumer) Director Test.
  • Idea Development:
  • For verbal and visual positioning, I would use the In-Home Group Discussion Protocol.
  • Product Communication: Product Development: Pricing & Packaging: Brand Assessment: Market Assessment: While I would also utilize the more conventional research protocols, the above are the lesser known methods and thereby the ones that can give added consumer perspective and competitive advantage.

    All of the above methods are covered in detail in previous Views. Each can be located at the web site  Click on the word "VIEWS" in the expert section and use the available search engine to identify the specific paper(s) covering each method.

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