How consumer insight makes or breaks a new brand (The Wise Marketer)
The Wise Marketer - Home Subscribe to our RSS feed!   Share it!   
Email this page to a friend! Tweet this! Share this via LinkedIn! Share this on Facebook! Share this on Google Plus!
  Mobile Edition Tablet Edition
   The Wise Marketer          Customer Strategy Network             Log In          Register for Free   
Stay up to date with What's Hot in the world of Customer Loyalty and Marketing All the latest Customer Loyalty and Marketing News and Developments worldwide - just the facts Facts, Figures and Stats to support your Loyalty, Engagement and Marketing initiatives Opinion and Analysis from the world's most respected Customer Loyalty and Marketing luminaries
The Loyalty Guide - the only complete global Guide to Customer Loyalty, Engagement and Marketing Feature Articles and How-To Guides by the world's most respected Customer Loyalty and Marketing experts Details of the top Customer Loyalty and Marketing Conferences worldwide Search The Wise Marketer from top to bottom!
   The Wise Marketer   
   Loyalty Companions:    All Sectors    Retail    Supermarket/Grocery    Coalitions    Hotels    Airlines    Banks/Cards    B2B   

Get your headlines by email every Thursday - Free!

How consumer insight makes or breaks a new brand (The Wise Marketer)

Feature Articles and Guides


How consumer insight makes or breaks a new brand


By Jack Gordon (AcuPOLL); Bill Vernick and Bob Sukys (BrandMine)
Published by The Wise Marketer in November 2005.

Tweet this article

When developing and launching a new product, the brand marketer needs consumer insight to get the market positioning right. So how do you begin the process, and how have others succeeded in the past?

The kind of consumer insight needed when developing a new product or brand is all about what target consumers are saying and thinking, and what truly matters to them. With that kind of insight in hand, we can create a product that fully delivers the benefit highlighted by the insight - and then 'hit a homerun' executionally with advertising, packaging, and marketing that highlights the benefit and sells it in a believable way.

Smart and successful marketing executives know how to juggle all these factors and still end up with a great new product that fulfils the terrific idea you started off with. The key is simple: managing the consumer insight. In other words, you have to keep the insight in sight. By finding and then keeping the insight in focus, it becomes the guide - the pathway to your product's ultimate success in the marketplace. Or to look at it another way, if your product isn't relevant to the target audience, or it goes against the way they think or feel, it won't succeed.

Six steps to follow
There are six ways to set about product development and marketing, and the whole procedure always starts with the insight:

  1. Finding and identifying your insight
    The key to finding a big new insight is understanding consumer needs, wants, and how they view and use the category. Trying to "sell the consumer" on your views is seldom successful, but listening to their language and watching their actions will point you straight to terrific new insights. Ask yourself this: what is it about your product (or organisation) that triggers an emotional response stronger than the commodity itself?

    Once you have possible insights identified, these insights should be objectively and quantifiably tested to determine if they are truly bold, new insights (or just old hat rephrased). This should be done before writing concepts as there is a totally different set of questions necessary to identify the potential of an insight. Only when the insights are determined to truly have ground breaking potential should you proceed to the concept development phase.

  2. Concept development and screening
    A truly good insight has the ability to be executed in many different ways. If you can develop only one possible concept from an insight, it is simply not an insight. Insights allow for multiple executions - so when you have identified all of these directions, you can develop the concept executions and screen them to find the most compelling (and unique) delivery of your insight.
  3. Product development and quantification
    Having identified the right concept, developing the product to deliver on the promises of the concept (delivering the insight through product performance) is critical. The product must live up to the promises made in the concept, or your business proposition will fail. At this stage, your concept fulfilment, cannibalisation estimates, and volumetrics can tell you if you have been successful.
  4. Advertising development and screening
    This stage is too late for the advertising or public relations agency to get involved and start reinterpreting the product's benefits. Good marketing communications should "sell the insight". If the product's unique selling point (USP) is not conveyed properly in the advertising, it's just a waste of money. By engaging the agency in the development process they can aid in guiding the project and will be in a much better position to write copy that's true to the original insight. Working closely at the conceptual stage with the brand research and brand marketing agency is critical, as advertising is not the place for trial and error.

    Screening multiple campaigns to objectively find the one that does this best is essential as well. Not only should the winning campaign be motivating and unique, it should convey new information, communicate the features and benefits that are most important (that is, the ones that consumers have already indicated they bought into), and it should generate the emotional reaction necessary to get consumers to bond with the brand. Each element is part of a successful advertising testing effort.

  5. Packaging development and screening
    For many brands, the packaging is the primary (if not the only) advertising consumers will ever see. Packaging development needs to clearly focus on the insight and sell the benefits that come out of it.

    Like advertising, your packaging agency must understand the insight and not try to reinterpret the product's benefits. Furthermore, multiple packaging options should be considered to find the direction that is most motivating, unique, does the best job of communicating benefits, and leaves consumers with the emotional reaction you want to achieve.

    Out of interest, the brand packaging firm should be brought into the equation early in the process - before final concepts are designed - allowing the packaging firm to offer experience and advice on how to execute the idea efficiently, effectively, and at the best cost level. The best idea, if unable to be executed (or if executed at tremendous cost) is not a bargain!

  6. Introductory marketing/promotional materials
    These should also be true to the insight. Having focused on this winning consumer insight so long, why risk it by not telling consumers that it's now in their power to buy it? Introduce the product as the breakthrough it is, not just another line extension.

So remember that you owe your insight to the consumer, who should always drive your efforts. If you get off track and the consumers tell you, you must listen. This is the reason you have to keep checking with them, to make sure you have stayed true to their original guidance. Simply listen to consumers, because it's the best way to improve any new product, advertising, marketing, and packaging.

Keep an Insight Manager on board to keep all these development efforts focused on the insight and its benefits. Sometimes, depending on your corporate culture, this can be an internal manager, and sometimes it is best accomplished by having an outside agent come in on the project - and that's what Cincinnati-based consulting group Insight Manager does.

Our top ten insights
To finish off, let's take a look at some examples - ten of the best we know of - that worked just they way they should:

  1. Folgers Coffee
    Until the "Best Part Of Wakin' Up" came along, we all thought that the ability to brew a good-tasting cup of coffee for our annoyingly picky friends was an effective measure of our self-worth. But then the people at Folgers uncovered a simple, obvious, but nevertheless earth shattering insight: Coffee is mostly about waking up, and we wake up to the smell of the coffee before we even get to take a sip. This insight drove the business from a 17% to 36% market share.
  2. Oreo Cookies
    How do you increase sales volume for what is already a national institution? Well, the people at Oreo told Americans to "Eat the middle first and save the chocolate cookie outside for last". Was the campaign the actual insight itself? Not quite - the insight was actually that children love what they instinctively discover for themselves: this is simply the best way to eat an Oreo. The clever part is that tens of millions of individual Oreo eaters still think they came up with the idea first, and they love when the adverting reminds them of their apparent genius. This also led the company to create Oreo Double-Stuff for those who just can't get enough of the creamy middle bit. Brilliant!
  3. Quaker Oatmeal
    Remember Wilford Brimley telling the world that "It's the right thing to do"? (If you're not American, you'll have to take that on trust.) What most people don't know is that insight behind this was that many consumers were being told, "You're doing the wrong thing! You're eating wrong and you're not listening to your doctor - or your mother!" But eating Quaker Oats was as healthy as anything you could eat, it was easy to make, and it was a hallmark of old-fashioned traditional values - a way of finally "getting it right". Furthermore, when someone as honest as Wilford Brimley says it, you know you're doing the right thing. The genius of the choice of spokesperson was that Wilford Brimley = Trustworthy.
  4. Whiskas Cat Food
    The insight provoking question is this: If you could give your cat US$10 and send him off to the grocery store to buy cat food, what would he bring home? The answer (albeit theoretically) is: Live meat! Now, that insight propelled the Whiskas campaign "Cats would buy Whiskas" into Effie Gold by doubling awareness, getting consumers to try buying it, and setting record sales for the brand in a category that was fast becoming commoditised in the early 1990s. And to bring the notion alive even further, Whiskas featured a "spokesbird" who represented the gold standard for what cats love (the live meat). Hungry cats joyfully devoured Whiskas, ignoring the irreverent bird who stood next to the bowl of cat food extolling the virtues of the brand.
  5. DeBeers
    When you watch those intriguing Diamond commercials, who are they aiming at? Men or women? Actually, it's both. That's the beauty of this particular insight: The woman thinks: "If he really, really cares for me, he'll give me a diamond," while the man thinks: "If I come home with anything other than a diamond, I'm history." The brilliantly executed "A diamond is forever" campaign will forever be on our top ten insights list.
  6. Jif Peanut Butter
    How do you maintain market leadership for over 25 years without ever changing your benefit? The answer, in Jif's case, was to find an insight based on a fundamental human value, such as nurturing. Mothers want only the best for their families and they're very picky about what they feed them, so why would they settle for anything less than the peanut butter that tastes most like fresh roasted peanuts? That's why "Choosy Moms Choose Jif". It's an insight that will never stop delivering results.
  7. California Milk Processor Board
    We've been told about the virtues of drinking milk for a long time: it's wholesome, builds strong bones, and helps to keep us healthy. Yet milk by itself can be a little boring. But pair it with your chocolate chip cookie, your favourite fudge brownie, or your health breakfast, and it becomes the exclamation point to a favourite snack or meal. Without milk, it's just a cookie... So think of how devastating it is when you go to the fridge with your cookie in hand, only to discover there's no milk. That's the insight the brilliant minds at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners came up with when they asked milk drinkers if we were sure that we "Got Milk?".
  8. Volkswagen Beetle
    Think back to the gas-guzzling giant monsters (many with tailfins!) prowling the highways of 1950s America. Suddenly this small, strange-looking car arrived, getting 50 miles to the gallon (and fuel was US$0.19 per gallon). They told America to "Think Small". But their insight wasn't small at all. It wasn't just the need for a smaller car - there was a sizable group of people who needed to be different and didn't express themselves based on the size of their car. A later variety of this same insight - appealing to individuality against all odds - is Apple's "Think Different" campaign.
  9. Life Cereal
    If you tell a child that something's good for them, they'll never do it, eat it or listen to you. And so it goes with breakfast cereals. But the child who hates everything that's healthy hungrily devours Life Cereal, which claims "It's s'posed to be good for you". Mothers are told not to tell their kids that Life Cereal is nutritious. It's reverse psychology at it's best: Don't say it's healthy, and they'll defy you and eat it anyway.
  10. Dannon Yogurt
    In another "must be good for you" story it was noted that many men and women in Soviet Georgia live past the ripe old age of 100. Many of these citizens eat a lot of yogurt and so, because trying to uncover a "fountain of youth" is a fundamental human endeavour, tying a particular habit to longevity tends to make it very attractive to the consumer. The French drink red wine, the Italians use olive oil, and Soviet Georgians eat yogurt. "Just ask Temur Vanacha who has been eating yogurt for 105 years! Stuff must be good!" - and that insight was good for Dannon. Sales grew for 14 years.


Copyright 2005 AcuPOLL; Brandmine / The Wise Marketer


Tell a friend about this article Click here to tell a friend   or   Tweet this article


Loyalty marketing... for real facts, figures, research, case studies, best practices, practical how-to's, technologies & examples, The Loyalty Guide is the world's most complete report that covers it all. Costing less than a single conference pass, details of this electronic report's contents, free samples, pricing, and ordering are online now at - get yours now!


About the author...

AcuPOLL Research and the Brandmine division of MRA Services have teamed up to create Insight Manager - a painlessly efficient process that helps companies learn how to create, identify and manage consumer insights. According to Jack Gordon, Insight Manager is a process that helps companies uncover "terrific consumer insight, ensure that it is indeed terrific, and most importantly maintain the magic of that insight throughout product development, marketing strategy, advertising, and package development." The whole process can also be taught to any marketing organisation.

Along with Gordon, BrandMine consultants Bob Sukys and Bill Vernick developed Insight Manager after identifying the problems and finding instances where the original consumer insight was consistently upheld throughout development and delivery of the products and strategies. The group highlights the Folgers' Coffee "Best Part Of Wakin' Up" campaign as an example that clearly shows that remaining true to an insight can reap years of rewards.

With headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, AcuPOLL Research Inc. is a global brand building research agency that uses a patented system to provide companies with clear business recommendations, based on a thorough analysis of customised data. AcuPOLL provides fast, predictive, and accurate research methodology. AcuPOLL has successfully predicted the success of new products, services, mail order catalogue items, retail concepts, advertising, promotions, and business services. The company has offices in the USA, Asia, Europe, Mexico, and South America. AcuPOLL can be found online at

BrandMine is a division of MRA Advertising/Production Support Services Inc., created to help companies improve the effectiveness of their insights, ideas, and advertising, and to grow brand share by driving revenue and increasing shareholder value through the creation of strong brands and persuasive brand messages. The company can be found online at


Looking for permission to reproduce this article?
We are usually pleased to permit the reproduction of our
Feature Articles in other trade journals (but not 'blogs').
If you would like to reproduce this article, you will need to
obtain written (i.e. e-mailed or faxed) permission from our
publisher (Wise Research Ltd) as well as the original author.
Contact the publisher by clicking here
and contact the author by clicking here
Please explain your intended usage in your requests.

Have your loyalty news delivered - free.

Get all the most important customer loyalty and marketing news by email every Thursday, and it's still absolutely Free ...
Sign up!


What is The Wise Marketer?

We're the only truly unbiased, global source of news & research for customer loyalty and marketing professionals...   Join Free Here

See The Loyalty Guide 7 up close, and find out how to increase profits and market share with more effective loyalty marketing!

Join nearly 13,000 other loyalty and marketing professionals and get our free weekly news roundups...

Sign Up For Free

See The Loyalty Guide 7 up close, and find out how to increase profits and market share with more effective loyalty marketing!

Subscribe and follow...

Get our free weekly newsletter
Follow us on Twitter
Access our RSS news feed

Hot off the presses...

What's been happening recently?

Germany: PAYBACK launches digital payments and loyalty card - News from the EHI conference in Bonn: German coalition loyalty programme PAYBACK CEO Dominik Dommick and digital services director Philipp Blome announced the launch a new mobile ...
Survey: US consumers largely unconcerned about data breaches - Every six months or so, we learn of another security breach in which a hackers compromise the IT security of a major consumer brand and steal consumer personal data. there's good ...
Insight: Post-purchase experience key to retail loyalty - Jason Ankeny at Retail Dive details the push by retailers to improve the post-purchase experience for shoppers. Why? Maybe it's because, while retailers spend nearly 80% of their ...
Ouch: Deutsche Bank downgrades Starbucks over loyalty changes - Our weekly update on the Starbucks saga continues as Business Insider reports that Deutsche Bank is hitting the coffee retailer where it hurts - downgrading its stock in part ...
Survey: Only one in four organisations practice data-driven marketing - A new survey from Econsultancy and Adobe reveals the dirty secret of digital marketing: most companies either have no formal approach whatsoever to using data in ...
Australia: Shoppers, suppliers cool on Woolworths programme - The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Australia's Woolworths grocery retail is facing pushback as both customers and suppliers react unfavorably to the company's new Woolworths ...
Opinion: Knocking down the loyalty straw man - Once a year or so, it becomes my solemn duty as a customer loyalty evangelist to knock down a few well-worn arguments about the efficacy of customer loyalty programmes. These arguments ...
Opinion: Is JD Power's hotel loyalty ranking hopelessly flawed? - The Boarding Area is hosting a lively discussion about the value of JD Power's recently-released ranking of hotel loyalty programmes. The main article, written by frequent ...
Welcoming our Robot Overlords: How artificial intelligence will drive engagement - Over at VentureBeat, writer Jon Cifuentes uses the example of mobile communications platform Flok to highlight the growing role of artificial intelligence in ...
Insight: Loyalty lessons from the Walking Dead - Contributing editor Jeff Haden at Inc. has an interesting take on the lessons for marketers in the recent controversy concerning the season 6 finale of the hit AMC televison programme The ...
Trend: Loyalty programmes take center stage (again) in the hotel industry - TNooz has a nice, if lengthy, roundup of the industry trends that are bringing renewed interest in and invigoration of loyalty programmes in the hotel industry. The ...
News: Accor Hotels announces changes to Le Club Accor programme - With all three major U.S. airlines now offering separate reward miles and elite-status qualification miles through their frequent-flyer programmes, it was only a matter of ...
Starbucks and loyalty: the debate rages on - Another week, another op-ed bemoaning coffee-chain giant Starbucks' supposed betrayal of its customers by changing the terms of its reward programme. This week' entry comes courtesy of ...
Canada: Rewards help government nudge citizens toward better health - Over at TechVibes, writer Jonathan Woods details a sneak peek at Carrot Rewards, a mobile app and reward programme funded in part by the Canadian government and designed ...
Insight: Can a great customer experience alone build loyalty? - Over at Skift, writer Dennis Schaal explores some of the reasons why a travel brand might choose not to operate a loyalty programme. The case study: online tavel agency ...
Survey: Travel loyalty programme members want broader redemption choices - A new Collinson Latitude report on the value of redemption reveals an important truth about the evolution of travel loyalty programmes: With many programmes now ...
Study: U.S. consumers demand more human interaction - Customer-facing businesses often assume that creating efficiency in an omnichannel world means removing the human touch from the customer experience. Not so fast: according to new ...
News: Wells Fargo Introduces Go Far Rewards - Last week, San Francisco, CA-based financial services provider Wells Fargo & Company announced Go Far Rewards, its merchant-funded credit card rewards programme available to all customers with a ...
Marriott-Starwood merger: Pleasure or pain for Starwood loyalists? - Now that the on-again/off-again acquisition of Starwood Hotels by Marriott International is back on again, industry observers have turned their attention to the most ...
Report: The death of email has been greatly exaggerated - Conventional wisdom tells us that Millennials and Gen-Z teens don't acknowledge the existence of any message that doesn't arrive via social media, and that they think of email as ...

  ... Never miss anything important - join nearly 13,000 marketing professionals and get our free weekly newsletter, written by marketers for marketers - sign up here!


See The Loyalty Guide 7 up close, and find out how to increase profits and market share with more effective loyalty marketing!
   Loyalty Companions:    Retail    Supermarket/Grocery    Coalitions    Hotels    Airlines    Banks/Cards    B2B   
   The Wise Marketer   
   Published By & Copyright 2016 Customer Strategy Network / The Wise Marketer. All rights reserved.   
The Wise Marketer - Home Subscribe to our RSS feed! Share this on Facebook! Share this on Google Plus! Tweet this! Share this via LinkedIn! Email this page to a friend!