Everyone has an opinion! It needs to be sweeter, richer, have more depth of flavour? Have more or less salt, sourness, umami? It should have more fizz, less fizz, a cleaner taste. It needs more flavour.
But taste is so personal, everyone is looking for something slightly different and inevitably we end up looking for the best compromise, treading a narrow path to get the maximum likes – although not loves – and offending the fewest number of consumers.
We use our tech expertise to focus on the sensorial aspects we can change. We might enhance the flavour delivery, the impact of the carbonation, reduce sodium content and yet do we really understand the psychological impact of these changes on our consumer and how it impacts their preference?
But there is a better way.
The most successful products taste great because their taste has a meaning to the consumer. Red Bull means energy, 7up refreshing, Snickers is substantial and satisfying. It is not just the brands that encapsulate this meaning, but the very taste of the product.
We can think about taste as just a physiological experience and try to measure consumers likes and dislikes, or we can move into the next league and understand how taste affects our consumers emotionally.
What do we want our product experience to mean to our consumers and how are we going to elicit exactly the right emotional response from them?
The whole emotional journey matters
It is not just about asking consumers how they feel after consuming our products. We need to understand their emotional needs from our product, their whole emotional journey whilst consuming it.
How and why the sensorial features of the consumption journey deliver the emotional journey and how we can improve it.
The Marketing Clinic are Global experts in the psychology of taste. We help to keep global brands like Nescafé and Lay’s Potato Chips on top, to understanding how and why home cooked fish and chips in the UK should be different from everyone’s favourite take away version and why the most popular indigestion tablets in the US should not taste better than they do (even though they could).
Most significantly we can tell you what you need to do to make your consumers love your product. Stop making cosmetic tweaks to the taste of your product and focus on what your brand delivery actually means to the consumer.
Chris Lukehurst is a Consumer Psychologist and a Director at The Marketing Clinic:
Providing Clarity on the Psychological relationships between consumers and brands