Identifying Product Benefits
Our client wanted to evaluate consumer perceptions of a novel hair care system particularly the perceived benefits of the system and how belief in these benefits was enhanced by the product concept. One additional feature of the new system was use of less water and energy compared to a conventional shampoo and conditioner system and so our client also wanted to obtain objective data on water use.
To fully explore consumer perception at every stage of use, we chose a qualitative approach using 1-2-1 depth interviews. Consumers were allocated to one of two cells: one cell saw the full product benefit concept whereas the second just had basic usage instructions. Research was carried out in our unique in-house shower facility. Using the facility allowed us to control all external variables, including water quality and flow rate, and so to measure the amount used.
What We Did
Respondents attended our facility on two occasions assessing new and standard systems on separate days according to a balanced experimental design. Half of the respondents saw the product benefit statement before using the product and half just basic usage instructions. Throughout the process of using the product in the shower, respondents were interviewed by a qualitative researcher.
The interview explored perceptions of the product during each stage of the hair wash from dispensing to rinsing. It also assessed effects on dry hair and perceived benefits and disadvantages. Interviewing in real time enabled us to gain an accurate picture of the perception of the product in the moment capturing the emotions experienced and language used.
The time taken to complete each stage of the hair wash was measured allowing water and energy used to be calculated.
What We Found
The new system had clear benefits and these were strongly reinforced by the concept. The environmental advantage was also proven but whilst consumers appreciated this aspect of the new system, the research revealed that other factors, not previously considered, were much more important in determining product appeal.
The depth interviews identified new consumer benefits and gave the client clear direction for further development and positioning.