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Exploration of new dairy-free products

Published 16 Jun 2021 3 minute read

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The challenge was to explore opportunities for new products in the dairy-free category, on behalf of a client looking to stretch their product portfolio.

Further’s team give me certainty. I know that the platform will operate in the way that I want. I know participants will be recruited against the spec I’ve put out and that the technical support will be there as and when I need it. The service you provide is just utterly reliable and very easy to work with.

Chris Blythe, The Brand Nursery

The objectives

  • To understand consumers’ relationship with the dairy-free product category.
  • To develop white spaces, brand positionings and concept statements
    To gauge how products lived up to their claims and whether they aligned with consumers’ needs and wants.
  • To explore consumer response to the different ways in which products can be used.
    user-centred approach to developing an innovative new driver communication on mobile phones

The approach

Participants were encouraged to use specific products and document their experiences over a number of weeks to aid the strategy teams’ understanding of their meal preparation.

According to Chris, traditional in-person qual might require several focus groups and some ethnography, followed by some quant, using this method however, he argues that:

Online discussion forums are perfect for this kind of product and concept testing. I can do all the comparative and conceptual work; looking at packaging; exploring price points. Over an extended period I can cover everything I need.

Recently, I’ve started to reconvene forums with the same respondents, to review other products. This brings down recruitment costs and allows participants to reflect back on products they explored previously. I can discover what they remember about the product; whether they’re still using any of the samples; if they’d like more etc.

Reconvening offers the benefits of a panel at a fraction of the cost, because you don’t have the upfront panel costs of recruiting a large number of people. It’s definitely something I will be doing more of in the future

The results

Chris now runs these types of online research projects across a number of products for this client, and they have gone to market confidently knowing how consumers will react.

 In one instance, our client was looking to move into a completely new sector, potentially acquiring another business.

Part of our research was to explore whether that brand would have a better opportunity in the sector than my client’s brand.

The business needed to evaluate whether they were buying the right thing, and, if they went ahead, how they could make the most of the additional assets. So, there are some big commercial decisions coming out of the back of these studies

The support

I've been working with Further for over a decade now and there are lots of reasons for that:

The user experience is excellent: Every time I go on your platform, it seems to offer more features, more functionality. It's very flexible. It’s easy to drop in imagery and video and it works in a way that feels very intuitive and reflective of day-to-day social media posting. It seems to mirror the way people increasingly lead their lives, so the research feels like a very natural part of their daily routine. It's not disruptive or intrusive in the way that in-person focus groups can be.

The team are very responsive: You have the expertise to take on any aspect of the project that I need you to take on. I find it enormously helpful that you will do all the recruitment, all the admin, all the payment of incentives. Further’s project managers have always been very responsive to any issue that’s come up: the customer support from your team is fantastic.

I can absolutely rely on Further: I know that the platform will operate in the way that I want. I know participants will be recruited against the spec I’ve put out and that the technical support will be there as and when I need it. The service you provide is just utterly reliable and very easy to work with.

 I want to spend my time focusing on the research itself, what people say and how that relates to what I need to report back to my client. So, I want any concerns about the admin and project support side taken away. That's precisely what your team do. They give me that certainty.

Chris Blythe, The Brand Nursery

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