WHAT A CONSUMER INSIGHT REALLY IS!
Most companies agree that innovation should be consumer-centered. Each company has a different way to express this idea: “The consumer is the boss”, “We are consumer-obsessed”,” human design”, and many other expressions convey the need to be guided by the consumers. After all, the consumers are the ones who decide which product or service to acquire, the ones who use it, and the ones who evaluate the utility and delight of the experience. However, every year, companies spend millions of dollars learning irrelevant or already-known information about consumers. Or, so they think.
This article describes a few examples of relevant consumer insights – insight that translated into millions in profits rather than millions of wasted costs – that less-perceptive companies may have overlooked.
A social benefit that helped the brand: Procter & Gamble defined “Hair so healthy it shines” as the Pantene products’ brand mission (back then, it was referred to as “equity statement”). Shiny, healthy hair was the North Star for any innovation in those products. The products had to deliver shiny hair; the package had to communicate shine; the advertisements had to convey the scent, the feeling, and texture of their products – all connecting consciously or unconsciously with shine. For inspiration, the P&G team chose to look outside the hair care category: instead of asking what makes women’s hair lose its shine, they asked what makes a woman lose her shine? Learning that domestic violence was a key reason behind loss of self-esteem, P&G’s campaign against domestic violence was a not only an excellent vehicle to reduce the domestic violence, but also increased brand recognition and brand love.
The happiness of Coke. Coca-Cola has historically produced superb marketing and product innovations to drive moments of happiness. The company – through its products and ads – is present in national festivities, birthdays, and all major celebrations with a single intention: being a vehicle for sharing happiness. How else could they share happiness? They went to the consumer. They learned that an important moment of happiness is giving and receiving presents. Going deeper, they learned that the present itself was not as important as the fact that the person really thought about the details, such as customizing a gift by engraving the recipient’s name. Why not to give a coke to your friend as a present? That was the beginning of the famous Share A Coke campaign. Connecting a great insight with the technology capable printing endless different names on cans worldwide made Coca-Cola the mediator of millions of happy moments.
The not-so-good Swiffer. When performance shifted its center: Aiming to improve its Swiffer products, P&G chose to understand consumers not when they are cleaning floors, but rather when they are not cleaning, and during those times, why they are not. P&G teams observed the consumer during their daily routines with an eye trained to observe, question, and connect what seemed otherwise unconnected. They observed that consumers’ free time amounts to five free minutes here and there, and that there is no time to clean the floor in five minutes. The solution? Swiffer: quick, easy, and enjoyable. It doesn’t clean as well as a full cleaning process, but it is always better than nothing. This was the beginning of the Swiffer family. Their clarity about their consumer, and their development framework, allowed them to move quickly and successfully to market.
Clean is the beginning, what comes next is everything: My friends from Clorox always focused on human connections. The consumer insight was realizing that cleaning is the beginning of almost all great celebrations and activities, of new beginnings, of dressing up for an important event, of preparing for family celebrations, etc. Here, no words will do better than this fantastic short video:
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