Historically, sensory research has been conducted in person. But, as we’ve all learned the hard way over the last year and a half, sometimes circumstances beyond our control ultimately force change. While the pandemic necessitated a move to online methods for marketing research in general, this transition has been particularly difficult for sensory research. It’s certainly been a learning experience for many; however, we believe the change has also created an opportunity to explore the rich insights that can be obtained through virtual methods, not to mention the convenience and flexibility it can provide. Here’s how to ease your transition to online and why your moderator may be your biggest ally in the process. Read more
As brands contend with increasingly distracted and ever more demanding consumers, success depends on effectively using all the marketing tools at your disposal. Yet, there may be five of them in which you are overlooking: the senses. Or more specifically, how they work together to create a sensory experience that helps you achieve an emotional connection with consumers; which in turn, gives you a competitive advantage. It’s this understanding that has helped propel some of the biggest brands in the world – Apple, Starbucks, Hershey’s, Mercedes Benz, Disney – to greater success. Here’s how sensory research can help your brand, too. Read more
Our client was looking to launch a new supplement to help with stress and wanted to understand the factors that contribute to stress and what the opportunity would be for their stress management supplement.
We conducted a Home Use Test and also asked a subset of our Home Use Test participants to record how they were feeling prior to their trial of the product and then after using the product. After reviewing their videos, we selected some participants to participate in online, moderated group discussions. Four, 60-minute sessions were conducted with three participants per session.
What We Learned
Some behaviors require more time, which is not always possible in the moment. Even with stress management techniques, anxious feelings aren’t easily cured and don’t always go away completely. Consumers spend the time to de-stress just to re-stress at the first sign of trouble.
Insights to Action
Most people are not currently using supplements to help calm themselves but would be open to it.
The primary benefit is feeling the relief take over (actually noticing the physical and emotional shift).
For the PDF, click here.
Some things may still be up in the air, but your qualitative research doesn’t have to be one of them.
Today’s online qualitative solutions go beyond the typical virtual group to deploy innovative approaches, leveraging the best tools, techs, and methods. And, online qual delivers six surprising benefits that help you move forward faster and with confidence:
1.Add depth of insight without adding complexity
In the online space, we can weave more elements into the project – online boards, virtual focus groups/IDIs – moving seamlessly from one to the other. What’s more – we can add these tools without adding complicated project coordination or extending lead times.
2. Engage with consumers using the best (and newest) tools and tech
Beyond traditional online discussions and video interviews, there are continual innovations in the digital space. We seek out these advances to help bridge the gap of remote research and, more importantly, uncover the most in-depth, productive insights from consumers.
3. Access information at your convenience
Respondent feedback is available immediately and 24/7. Client teams don’t have to turn their schedules upside down to attend live sessions. Still too busy to attend all of the virtual sessions? Recordings are available and easily accessible and machine transcripts – though sometimes imperfect – are good enough for achieving an immediate understanding of consumer feedback.
4. Get team alignment
The ubiquity of the platform enables more teammates to be involved first-hand, rather than prioritizing who travels or whose schedule takes precedence. This enhances team alignment and helps everyone move forward quickly.
5. Achieve tight timelines
From recruiting respondents to scheduling client teams, from allocating moderator time to organizing insights, online research frees up time across the board. This creates opportunities for qualitative insights that did not exist previously.
6. Expand research opportunities
Online qual is simply more cost effective. There are no facility rentals or travel costs, and respondent incentives can be lower since they too are not traveling. This leaves room for other projects, as well as for more robust methodologies that produce richer insights.
Bottom line: A Benefit, not a Bandaid
Online Qual lets us leverage the richness and flexibility of the online space. Just as cross-country families play games across the virtual void and international business associates collaborate on a singular document, so Online Qual brings opportunities for deeper insights that were not imagined previously. Let’s explore that landscape together!
Our client wanted to improve their home fragrance spray product, which had received some negative feedback regarding wetness on surfaces. Two prototypes have been developed with different spray patterns, particle size, and improved fall-out from the Current product. Consumer evaluation was needed to understand if the new spray patterns are consumer noticeable and acceptable.
In a randomized order, and with direction from a test administrator, consumers sprayed and evaluated performance of two sprays: Current and one of the two Prototypes. All products utilized the same fragrance.
Panelists completed a questionnaire after each sample, and peel-off interviews were conducted to provide deeper insights. Interviews included spray characteristics of products at end-of-life to determine if there are any watch-outs.
What We Learned
– Prototypes are equally well-liked, although the amount of residue is more satisfactory from Current than Prototype 2.
– Consumers do notice differences in spray patterns/wetness between Current and Prototypes.
– There doesn’t appear to be a watch-out for end-of-life regarding fragrance or sound.
– There is a segment that desires to see the stream of spray and angle, present in the Prototypes versus the plume of Current:
Insights to Action
Rather than moving forward with one of the Prototypes, we recommended an iteration of the two.
For the pdf, click here.
Our client was looking to launch a new supplement to help with Mental Clarity. After their Home Use Tests were completed, our client wanted to further explore how to optimize the product.
A subset of our original Home Use Test participants recorded how they were feeling prior to their trial of the product and then after using the product. After reviewing the videos, we selected some participants to participate in online, moderated group discussions.
Two in-market packaging options were delivered to each respondent in advance of the group discussion. Four, 60-minute sessions were conducted with three participants per session.
What We Learned
Consumers rely on various methods to help regain focus.
Most are not using supplements to improve focus but are open to the idea.
Insights to Action
While we provided specific insights on the concept, product, pricing, and packaging, here are some of the highlights:
For a pdf of the case study, click here.
Disaster checks. Gaining alignment. Last minute questions. If you’re looking for faster insights and you’ve got an engaged team, then our Summary Report Solution can help.
Summary Reports are designed for active teams, who are ready to make decisions in-the-moment, following live research.
With our Summary Report Solution, your team observes the live research, then participates in an interactive, facilitated debrief with your Blueberry Research Manager. Together, you react to the insights, discuss solutions, and gain cross-functional alignment.
For more information about Summary, click here.
We get it. You need today’s qualitative insights yesterday.
That’s where Snapshot comes in. Snapshot is our new report option that delivers topline insights in about three days, so you can move forward with confidence.
With Snapshot, you choose your key questions. Then, we conduct the research and deliver fast insights on those priorities. We follow your Snapshot report with Synthesis (our standard full report and analysis), so you get the best of both worlds:
Speed + Substance = Confident Action
For more information about Snapshot, click here.
Recently, we were collaborating with a client about a project, and she asked us which Expectation Scale we should use – 3 or 5 point.
If you’re not familiar with Expectation Scales, this is what they typically look like:
This is a 3-Point Expectation Scale:
This is a 5-Point Expectation Scale:
Expectation Scales are widely used in market research. They are:
– easy for people to understand
– can be deployed in virtually any category
– provide definitive information across a multitude of factors
So, they have a lot going for them!
While the 5-Point Expectation Scale is useful and widely popular, the 3-Point Scale is easier for consumers to work with, and it carries more meaning for the researcher when it comes to analysis.
The beauty of a 3-Point Scale is that it does not leave room for a gray area. It requires that the consumer make a definitive answer – positive, negative, or neutral. While the 5-Point Scale might soften the blow a bit for an under-performing product, it also can artificially boost an average product. On the other hand, the 3-Point Scale leaves minimal room for error – either positively or negatively.
I think of our preferences for expectations scales a bit like our preferences for removing a band aid – you can go slowly, taking off the edges bit by bit until you peel it off – that’s a 5-Point. Or, you can go fast and just rip it – yup, that’s the 3-Point! Now, which one are you?
Our client is working towards the removal of artificial colors from a healthcare supplement product line, with the goal of creating a more ‘natural’ product.
1. Obtain feedback on an initial production line with more natural colors
2. Understand potential issues that may arise with these changes in colors
We conducted a Central Location Test to evaluate six different variants, including the Current. Aside from standard hedonics, we included just-about-right measures, so we could conduct Penalty Analysis to determine where to optimize in terms of color and size, if need be.
Following the product evaluation, peel-off In-Depth Interviews were conducted to obtain additional understanding around the colors.
What We Learned
Purchase Decision Factors (in Priority Order) are:
– Brand – Trust is key
– Efficacy – Should do what it says it does, particularly if gender or age specific
– Size – Should both look easy to swallow and be easy to swallow
– Color is not necessarily important. Most consumers could not recall what the color of
their supplement was. Still if encouraged to choose, consumers had some color preferences:
Insights to Action
Current consumers strongly believe in the brand’s reputation and efficacy. So while the brand is “internally” pressured to make this change, a change “within reason” will not deter brand usage – as
trust in the brand overrides the color of the tablets.
Further, current consumers already believe the tablets to be natural, so while the company desires to state this on the package as a benefit, it may cause consumer concern and lead consumers to question their prior experience with the product.
Overall, there is not much concern in making this switch, but there are some issues around specific colors, which came out in the qualitative interviews…
Want more? View the case study.