Expectations Scales: 3 versus 5 points

Expectations Scales: 3 versus 5 points

Recently, we were collaborating with a client about a project, and she asked us which Expectation Scale we should use – 3 or 5 point.

If you’re not familiar with Expectation Scales, this is what they typically look like:

This is a 3-Point Expectation Scale:

This is a 5-Point Expectation Scale:

Expectation Scales are widely used in market research. They are:

– easy for people to understand

– can be deployed in virtually any category

– provide definitive information across a multitude of factors

So, they have a lot going for them!

While the 5-Point Expectation Scale is useful and widely popular, the 3-Point Scale is easier for consumers to work with, and it carries more meaning for the researcher when it comes to analysis.

The beauty of a 3-Point Scale is that it does not leave room for a gray area.  It requires that the consumer make a definitive answer – positive, negative, or neutral.  While the 5-Point Scale might soften the blow a bit for an under-performing product, it also can artificially boost an average product.  On the other hand, the 3-Point Scale leaves minimal room for error – either positively or negatively.

I think of our preferences for expectations scales a bit like our preferences for removing a band aid – you can go slowly, taking off the edges bit by bit until you peel it off  – that’s a 5-Point.  Or, you can go fast and just rip it – yup, that’s the 3-Point! Now, which one are you?

 

Understanding the Impact of Color on Supplements

Understanding the Impact of Color on Supplements

The Challenge

Our client is working towards the removal of artificial colors from a healthcare supplement product line, with the goal of creating a more ‘natural’ product.
1.  Obtain feedback on an initial production line with more natural colors
2.  Understand potential issues that may arise with these changes in colors

Our Approach

We conducted a Central Location Test to evaluate six different variants, including the Current. Aside from standard hedonics, we included just-about-right measures, so we could conduct Penalty Analysis to determine where to optimize in terms of color and size, if need be.

Following the product evaluation, peel-off In-Depth Interviews were conducted to obtain additional understanding around the colors.

What We Learned

Purchase Decision Factors (in Priority Order) are:
Brand – Trust is key
Efficacy – Should do what it says it does, particularly if gender or age specific
Size – Should both look easy to swallow and be easy to swallow
Color is not necessarily important. Most consumers could not recall what the color of
their supplement was.  Still if encouraged to choose, consumers had some color preferences:

Insights to Action

Current consumers strongly believe in the brand’s reputation and efficacy. So while the brand is “internally” pressured to make this change, a change “within reason” will not deter brand usage – as
trust in the brand overrides the color of the tablets.

Further, current consumers already believe the tablets to be natural, so while the company desires to state this on the package as a benefit, it may cause consumer concern and lead consumers to question their prior experience with the product.

Overall, there is not much concern in making this switch, but there are some issues around specific colors, which came out in the qualitative interviews…

Want more?  View the case study.

How to introduce a new food into the U.S. market

How to introduce a new food into the U.S. market

The Challenge

Our client has a highly-popular international food item (a non-meat Turkish street fare) which they would like to introduce into the U.S. food market.
– Explore how consumers might use the product
– Determine how to position the product in the U.S.
– Identify any product adjustments to better fit the U.S. palate

Our Approach

Conduct qualitative focus group discussions with potential consumers who are open to the idea of a popular Turkish street food fare. We offered a buffet to allow sampling and pairings and looked for consumers who were “adventurous eaters” – those who have tried other international foods, such as Falafel, Gyros, Hummus, Tabbouleh, and Tar-tar.

What We Learned

Overall, the product was well-liked and generated excitement as a new flavor experience with multiple usage occasions.

Product

Because we did not define how this food product should be consumed, we were able to explore what was interesting/desirable to US consumers, versus setting expectations as to how it is typically consumed (in other countries).
– The expected form – a dry mix – wasn’t perceived as highly desirable, but once consumers were allowed to “play with the product” new ideas were uncovered.
– Consumers also identified additional usage occasions, aside from the typical “street fare”.

Marketing

The Turkish roots of the product were a highly appealing feature.  And, anchoring to other established international products offers familiarity yet a sense of adventure.  However – while meatless – the product should not be marketed as vegan as that label is too restrictive.

Want more? View the case study.

What Happens When Ingredient Changes Result in Two Different but Equally-Liked Options

What Happens When Ingredient Changes Result in Two Different but Equally-Liked Options

The Challenge

Our client is considering a different formulation for its Chipotle Veggie Chip and wants to ensure
there are no discernible differences between the reformulations and Current.  The reformulations include one prototype using a new flavor house and three prototypes using reduced seasoning levels from the current flavor house.

Our Approach

Compare the current formulation to the revised prototypes to determine if consumers equally accept
any/all formulations. And, determine any optimization priorities for the new formulations to ensure they deliver as well as Current.

 What We Learned

 

Insights to Action

Although Control, Chipotle Reformulated and Test 1 are equally liked for nearly all measures,
Chipotle Reformulated is significantly better optimized for vegetable flavor over Control and Test 1
and better optimized for chipotle flavor over Test 1.

Still, there’s risk in switching to Chipotle Reformulated, as it does not emulate the current Veggie
Chip profile in the same manner in which Test 1 does. Flavor differences detected in Chipotle
Reformulated could indicate that this formula is more “potato-chip” like, thereby potentially
alienating current consumers.

Want more?  View the case study.

Our Facilities are Open for In-Person Research

Our Facilities are Open for In-Person Research

We are pleased to share that our Milwaukee, Philadelphia and New York facilities are open for in-person research, as are many of our trusted facility partners.

As we reopen and with the goal of exercising extreme caution for the health and well-being of our clients, respondents and staff, we are taking extensive health and safety measures, including but not limited to

– Health screenings and personal protective equipment for all people on site

– Reconfigured spaces to maintain social distancing guidelines of 6’

– Safety and cleaning procedures

– Only essential staff on site

Most importantly, we realize that these unique circumstances may present challenges or concerns about your research.  Please know that we continue to be your creative, collaborative partner.  We will work with you to customize a solution that delivers the insights you need.

As we have done for the last 20 years, we remain committed to your research success.

We are excited about opening and delivering insights that help you navigate your path forward.

An Inside Look as We Execute a Home Use Test

An Inside Look as We Execute a Home Use Test

Are you wondering if you can successfully convert your Central Location Test to a Home Use Test?  We thought a quick view of our HUTs in action might be helpful:

It’s true that product tests have their own unique complexities . . . However, we’ve successfully converted several CLTs to HUTs in the last two months, and we’ve conducted thousands of HUTs in our 20 years.

Please reach out to see if our Home Use Tests can be an insight solution for you.

Maximizing your Core Business during COVID-19

Maximizing your Core Business during COVID-19

As the ground shifts beneath our feet, it’s instinct to look for a firm place to hold onto.  And for consumers, that safe place is the products and brands they rely on.

And so it makes sense that some of our clients have shifted focus a bit – putting innovation initiatives on hold and focusing on ensuring that their core business is in its best shape possible.

If that sounds like you, then here are ideas for research studies that can be conducted right now to maximize your core business:

Our world has changed, but we can give comfort to our consumer community by delivering consistency and satisfaction in our products and brands. Together, let’s make the best products!

Conducting Marketing & Sensory Research in a Time of Social Distancing

Conducting Marketing & Sensory Research in a Time of Social Distancing

Operations Update

We are operating as usual, although we are postponing all in-person research for the next few weeks as we await further information.

What MR Solutions are Available

While COVID-19 is new to all of us, conducting marketing and sensory research online, at home and via phone is not. In fact, we have a lot of experience doing it! Here’s how to get consumer insights in a time of social distancing:

Qualitative Solutions
Online qualitative solutions are efficient, affordable and insightful. And with so many people staying home, this is a good time to reach your consumers. We offer online focus groups, mobile ethnography, online discussion boards, and web-enabled in-depth interviews.

Quantitative Solutions
Home Use Tests deliver analytical insights while minimizing personal interactions. Our experienced team will recruit and field HUTs anywhere in the U.S.. And, we excel at designing online concept and packaging tests, too!

Sensory Solutions
Shelf-life studies, sensory snapshots and even discrimination testing can be conducted at home by our trained sensory panel. In fact, they have extensive experience working remotely as well as on-site. We conduct protocol and lexicon instruction via video and then ship product to panelists.

Help for Overworked Insights Teams
Our flexible, experienced team regularly works remotely, and our systems are built to securely support off-premise operations. We’ll help keep your research on track, even when everything seems so surreal. Examples include agile ad hoc research, meta analysis of older data and report writing.

Let us help you achieve your insights goals. Please reach out.

Be well.

Understanding Core & Category Consumer Impact of an Ingredient Change

Understanding Core & Category Consumer Impact of an Ingredient Change

The Challenge
Can we reduce overall cheese content by 10% in our cracker product without negatively impacting consumer perception?

Our Approach
Test the current product against the test product with both medium and heavy brand consumers to determine if consumers equally accept the test product.

What We Learned
Heavy brand users were able to identify differences between the current and test products.

However, heavy brand consumers also purchase competitive product just as frequently. Since the proposed ingredient change resulted in a slightly less satisfactory product, if implemented, these flavor and texture differences present a risk to the franchise and may erode perceptions of the brand over time.

If this change has to be implemented due to productivity (cost of goods reduction), we recommend that our client enhance flavor and texture perceptions.

 

Click here for the full case study.