Getting Consumers To VALIDATE Forward Thinking Innovations

You have identified a potentially breakthrough product and you now need it to get through quant testing. But how do you open up consumers’ minds up to forward thinking innovations when validating an innovation concept using quant?

Here are some principles to follow through quant. testing to help unlock the potential of your ground-breaking innovation:

Principle 1: Introducing the idea in the right way is critical

Studies done by psychologists such as Robert Zajonc at Stanford show that consumers give negative reactions when being introduced to rare and unfamiliar things simply because they are different. The more often consumers see the idea the more they will come to like it. This means setting up the context is key to try and minimise this negative reaction.

Here are our top tips:

  • Introduce consumers to products that were innovative and very unusual at the time of launch but are now everyday, e.g. antibacterial hand gel or Febreze. Try to use product examples from both very different and adjacent categories to yours to show this happens everywhere
  • Show key products which have changed and shaped your category over time. This will show consumers specifically how new ideas have benefited your category and will help them to approach your new innovation with an open mind

Principle 2: Set up the survey to minimise the limitations of online quant. research

Online quant surveys do face some limitations. When completing surveys at home consumers are often distracted. It’s also hard to get to consumers’ subconscious and you don’t get the understanding of the emotional aspect that builds into their decision making process.

Here are some top tips for mitigating this:

  • Keep consumers fully engaged throughout the survey by using a gamification approach. This approach involves getting consumers to complete tasks and games throughout the survey (click here for more information). It helps to keep consumers focused and make survey participation more enjoyable
  • Gamification will also help to get to their subconscious. As consumers lose themselves in the games their subconscious is more likely to dominate their responses, giving you higher quality results

Principle 3: Make consumers feel they can change/ build on the idea, it’s not a fait accompli

By the time you get to quant you should have a clear idea of which product attributes are necessities and which are the nice to haves. To understand what consumers really want you need them to feel they have permission to make the changes they want.

Here is our key top tip for making consumers feel they can tweak your innovation:

  • A rough product visualisation rather than something finely tuned tends to make consumers feel as though they have more permission to change a product. A perfect image inhibits consumers from changing anything; they just accept or reject the whole without thinking about the small additions that could really make the product work for them. A rough image also prevents consumers from being negatively impacted by the execution and concentrate more on the big idea

Remember, when consumers have indicated which changes they might want, it’s critical to sense check the final product with them. Does it work as a complete concept and, critically, will these additions add value in terms of purchase intent, willingness to pay etc. 

There are quant agencies out there whose methodology could easily be adapted to take into account these considerations and ensure you give your product the best opportunity to pass quant testing. You just need to find the right partner with a flexible approach.

Read part 1: Getting Consumers to VISUALISE Forward Thinking Innovations


Published 22nd May 2015 by Shelly Greenway @ the Strategy Distillery