Finding the gaps in the market, the opportunities for new or modified products that satisfy a new or unanswered consumer need is the aspiration of many brand owners. However, many of these “gaps” in the market turnout to be holes down which much time, effort, money, and careers disappear.
· Market mapping identifies gaps in provision, but not necessarily gaps in need.
· Need-state mapping is notoriously unreliable as consumers are terrible at identifying their own needs and even worse at articulating them.
Psychometric predictive techniques have helped in narrowing the gap between theory and real market opportunities, but the miss-rate is still too high.
In order for a new product to be adopted it must have a strong emotional resonance with the consumer. Initial attraction and excitement at a concept and even the strongest logical reasoning, is not enough. The consumer has to be attracted at an emotional level, they have to believe it will improve their life.
Understanding the consumers’ emotional requirements and how these can be met through the brand and product experience is key.
Every consumer experience results in an emotional journey. It changes the consumer’s mood in some way. (If your brand does not change the consumer’s mood, then what does it do?).
This mood change is never a simple switch from mood A to mood B. Your brand experience transports your consumer from A to B via X, Y and Z on the way.
While the end point (point B) is important, it is the journey that is the essence of your brand.
Identifying emotional journeys that resonate with your consumers and how to deliver these journeys through product and communications development is the key to developing successful new products and improving existing ones.
Whether you are seeking the next great innovation or just trying to steal a march on your competition, delivering great emotional journeys through well planned and understood brand experiences will not only give you the edge, it will also leave your competition wondering what happened.
Chris Lukehurst is a Consumer Psychologist and a Director at The Marketing Clinic:
Providing Clarity on the Psychological relationships between consumers and brands