How to identify the best innovations.


Your Product Development team are not short of ideas on how to improve your product. They are brimming over with improved ingredients and wonderfully imaginative ideas. Some to improve the product performance, some to improve its shelf life, some make it look better, some improve its environmental credentials, others will bring down production costs.

But which ones are going to work with consumers, either to increase their tendency to buy or, if they have other benefits, at least not decrease it?

You can do some concept testing, but how often do consumers love a concept and then never buy it once it reaches the market?

Preference testing is the most common route. You can test your new ideas against the current product and/or your competitors. It has the advantage of statistical significance if you get the numbers right. But what exactly are you measuring?

Is it the consumer preference for a list of predetermined features that you believe to be the most significant in their decision making? Is it their preference for the idea of the product, or for its communication message as expressed in the specific test? Is it their tendency to buy or to re-purchase after use? Was the test inadvertently (or consciously) designed to look at the team’s prejudices or concerns rather than what actually matters to the consumers?

Of course, your team, your company has a way of going about this research that eliminates these risks, that always gets you a reliable result. If so, stick with it and don’t bother to read any further.

We take a Different Approach

At The Marketing Clinic we take a different approach. We are Consumer Psychologists, we take a selection of your concepts or product prototypes along with some competitors and, using our unique techniques, track consumers’ emotional, unconscious responses to them.

How do they respond to the communication, to the appearance, feel, aroma of the products? We track their emotional journey as they encounter and use the products, how do they feel after use.

Following this work, we give you a detailed description of not only how each product performs, but of how each element of the product experience affects the consumer and why it affects them in that way.

We will rank the product performances, yes, but we will also breakdown the different elements of each product to explain why they perform as they do.

Most importantly, because we have observed the individual elements of the product deliveries that work most effectively, we will make clear recommendations not just for the best performing product, but for how you can take different elements from the different ideas and create the best product available.

Developing new products and even improving existing ones is a risky and expensive necessity as we struggle to keep up with and stay ahead of our competition. Why would you not maximise your chances with product research that goes much deeper to give you better information?

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

Providing Clarity on the Psychological relationships between consumers and brands