Make Your Concepts Stronger with Brand Success Factors

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Isn't it frustrating when market research consultants predict that the volume for your new initiative will not hit your minimum business objective? Or when your concept seems believable, performs well on uniqueness, price/value doesn't seem to be an issue, and there are no apparent dislikes, yet the purchase interest is lower than the benchmarks? Do you want to know why and how you can get a higher volume without having to spend more to push the initiative?

An extensive analysis of trial and repeat components for more than 8,000 new product tests has identified key drivers beyond--and actually alternative to--purchase intent that are correlated to higher trial and repeat rates.

Research indicates that the ability of a new product to establish itself as an entity (measured by ad and package impact), its ability to establish a brand personality in the competitive environment (measured by differentiation in terms of uniqueness and relevance), as well as its perceived overall quality and value are highly correlated to higher trial and repeat rates and, therefore, to higher volumes and long-term in-market success. These I.D.Q.V. TM drivers--impact, differentiation, quality, and value--are critical brand success factors.

Simple Effects As the chart below shows, a simple advantage creates a significant but not strong positive effect on overall volume (+). A single weakness could also have a significant but not strong negative effect on volume (-). It is possible that a single strength and a single weakness will offset each other and result in overall neutral effect on volume. Therefore, while it is acceptable for a new product to be weak on one key driver, it cannot afford to be weak on all.

In terms of single effects, the drivers that could have the biggest benefits are quality before use and quality after use (each yielding a potential increase in volume of 50% relative to the average). The same drivers plus value after use could drive volume down by 50% relative to the average.

I.D.Q.V.(TM) Single Effects

Impact, differentiation, quality, and value appear to be the major single-effect drivers of trial. The same drivers at both before and after use have the greatest bearing on repeat, either positively or negatively. Naturally, repeat seems to be more sensitive to after use quality and value; performance on either of which could result in an increase or decrease of 50% in trial relative to the average.

Synergies It really pays off to be stronger on more than one driver; the more, the better. Strength really comes from exploring the optimal synergies between drivers.

The best synergy at trial is between recall and uniqueness, which could result in a 50% increase of trial relative to the average if performance on each of these drivers is high or very high. Therefore, the combined influence of strong brand name recall and product uniqueness can significantly enhance the trial potential of your initiative. Other higher trial potential synergies are strong visibility and recall (impact), uniqueness and perceptual difference (differentiation), and quality before use and relevance (quality).

On the other end of the spectrum, the biggest threat to brand success comes from low or very low performance on recall and visibility or relevance and perceived quality before use. A weak brand name recall coupled with poor visibility could significantly hurt the trial potential of a new initiative. Weak relevance and before-use quality perceptions could also result in a significantly lower trial.

The synergy between high or very high performance on perceived quality before use and quality after use yields the highest capacity for benefit, followed by the synergy between high or very high quality after use and a medium or low price perception. Therefore, strong quality perceptions established at concept and strong product delivery on quality enhance the probability that consumers would come back and make repeat purchases. The combination of a strong after-use quality and a medium or low price perception has favorable consequences of a similar magnitude. Naturally, major repeat pitfalls are related to low perceived quality before and after use as well as low quality and perceived lack of dominance.

As overall volume is the sum of trial and repeat volumes, various winning strategies can be developed at both concept and product stage to enhance the volume potential of your new initiative depending on its performance on each of these drivers (see the example in the chart below). Synergies between strong performance on impact and differentiation, impact and before-use quality at the concept level as well as synergies between impact and quality after use, differentiation and quality after use, before and after use quality at the concept or product level could result in significantly higher volumes, while weak performance on these drivers could result in significantly lower results.

I.D.Q.V. (TM) Synergies

Conclusion While a single weakness is acceptable, a new product cannot afford to be weak on all drivers. Positive synergies should be pursued between two or more drivers at both the concept and the product stage in order to maximize the potency of your concepts. Negative synergies should be avoided at all costs as they could result in a significant decrease in trial, repeat, and overall volume potential. Getting rich diagnostics at any stage of the development is crucial for balancing the product's performance on each of the key drivers as they help identify synergies with the highest potential.

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