Creating synergy in the product experience to keep ontrack.


It is that time of year when brand plans are being written and updated. Looking at current trends and predicting how these will affect our brands and how we can steal a march on our competition by anticipating these better than they do.

Considerable effort is put into monitoring and measuring trends, their direction and speed of travel, and extrapolating these into the future. However, this will only get us so far and our competitors are measuring and extrapolating the same available data, so this exercise is helping us to keep up with them rather than giving us any advantage.

Competitive advantage comes from understanding the drivers of the change. Why are consumers changing their habits? Why in this direction?

Market trends are an outward manifestation of a shift by consumers in their desires and needs. Whilst there may be a physiological change in the “needs” of our market often the greater change is a psychological one as our consumers’ desires evolve.

It is relatively easy to understand and adapt to changing physiological needs of our market, but understanding, predicting and adapting to their changing psychological needs is more complex.

Perhaps consumers are seeking out ‘healthier’ products? Perhaps you have made great strides in making your product more ‘healthy’… but what does ‘healthy’ actually mean to your average consumer. How are they evaluating ‘health’? Yes, they may examine the nutritional details of the product, but what are the emotions associated with health, and how is your product triggering the right emotions and in the desired sequence?

What are the sensorial aspects that cue feelings of ‘health’? Are there in fact some aspects of your product experience that undermine its ‘health’ credentials. Is there an artificial aftertaste that makes consumers feel this is too processed and therefore less ‘healthy’.

It’s confusing? Your product developers have made it more healthy and yet consumers aren’t recognising it? Most times it is because there is something in the consumption experience that is not reinforcing their perception of ‘health’. Consumers may not to be able to articulate this but that doesn’t mean it doesnt exist.

We all know it. When you try something with high hopes from the promise of advertising only to be underwhelmed or disappointed. Ask a consumer ‘why’ and even the most articulate may struggle.

In order to find out which points along the journey are key, the moments that are delivering or not delivering for the consumer, you need to get underneath their conscious responses, dig deep into their unconscious and have techniques that connect these to the sensory cues. That way you have a map that connects the sensory experiences with the the whole sequence of emotions for your brand and for that of your competitors.

Having this insight in addition to your product testing will give you a synergy in the product experience unlike any other.

Now you’ll understand that what you think is ‘healthy’ is not exactly the case with your consumers and more importantly you’ll understand where your product is hitting and missing the mark with consumers and what you can do to fix it.

This is exactly what we do at The marketing Clinic and why we are unique. If you think this approach could be of value then please get in touch.

Chris Lukehurst is a Consumer Psychologist and a Director at The Marketing Clinic:

Providing Clarity on the Psychological relationships between consumers and brands