There are many areas in consumer healthcare, domestic and personal hygiene where the efficacy of the products is similar across all brands and variants. Soaps, shower gels, shampoos, deodorants, toothpaste, cleaning products, disinfectants… all achieve their stated objective. The difference, the competitive advantage, therefore comes in consumer preference and ultimately in the consumer’s belief in the effectiveness of the product.
In all of these products there are a number of things in the experience of their use that prompt the consumer to believe in their effectiveness. The communications messages, the appearance and functionality of the packaging, the appearance, viscosity, aroma, feel of the product itself, the consumer experience of its use, the feel/appearance and aroma after use…
Most of these have no relevance to the actual efficacy of the product, but they create a story in the consumer’s mind. For some of the products it is a story of reassurance, that says that this is doing something positive, it is working. However, for other products the story lacks reassurance, it says nothing about the efficacy of the product – it does not make them feel good about its use.
This is not about one feature that our product lacks. It is about how the communications and each stage of the product experience come together to create a comprehensive narrative in the consumer’s mind convincing them of its effectiveness. The story reassures them and allows them to move from focusing upon the task at hand to getting on with their lives. The product has done/is doing its job.
Invariably, due to factors that have nothing to do with the actual efficacy of the product, the consumer will form their opinion of its effectiveness according to their experience of use.
For all healthcare and hygiene products efficacy is important, but consumer belief is the critical factor. When the consumer believes in your product, when they believe that it is working for them, it makes them feel better and they are motivated to keep using it. This is an emotional rather than a rational reaction. Difficult to prove in a clinical trial or to understand through quantitative testing, but essential to your success in a competitive market.
Understanding the consumers’ emotional outtakes and connecting them with the product experience is the advantage that The Marketing Clinic brings to your brands. You manufacture effective healthcare and hygiene products and we ensure that you deliver a consumer experience that differentiates you from your competitors and builds the essential consumer belief in your brands, driving liking, preference, loyalty and advocacy.
Chris Lukehurst is a Director at The Marketing Clinic:
Understanding the connections between the consumer experience and emotional responses.