Contrary to the spelling of its name, the Ratufa isn’t a “rat”, it’s a squirrel, a “very large tree squirrel”, according to the ultimate authority on squirrels, Wikipedia. There are four species of the genus Ratufa living in Southeast Asia…and that’s about as exciting as it gets. If you want to see a Ratufa, also known as an Oriental Giant Squirrel, in action, follow this link to a YouTube video of one eating a cookie. (The logic of how this “exciting” video has over 16,000 views escapes me).
In the Branding World, Ratufa is something different. Each letter, R.A.T.U.F.A., stands for one of six fundamental components that I believe are critical to a solid branding strategy: Relationship, Anchor Belief, Trust, Unique Selling Position, Focus, and Authority.
Relationship. Branding is about relationships. The relationship you have with your target audience. Just like in real life, relationships take time and patience. And just like in real life, this relationship must be worked on….constantly. Regular communication with your target audience lets them know how much they are valued. This connection is critical in order for them to feel comfortable and have trust in your brand, but also in order for you to understand them, their likes and dislikes, preferences, satisfaction, etc.
Anchor Belief. This is your brand’s “big idea”. The center of you brands universe. Everything revolves around, focuses on, and refers back to your brand’s anchor belief.
Gatorade is one of the more well-known brands in the world. When I mentioned it you instantly associated it with sports, likely football, track, or basketball, along with images of highly skilled and determined athletes drinking colorful Gatorade and the lightning bolt on the side of the bottle. But you have probably never heard of Gatorade’s anchor belief/big idea; “The will to win in a bottle”. Now that you know it, it’s clear how everything the brand does revolves around that single idea. It’s not a very catchy tag line, so it never flashes across the screen at the end of a commercial, but its message is communicated perfectly to the target audience. Once your target audience connects with your anchor belief, it becomes much easier to get them to buy whatever it is you are selling.
Trust. The marketing world has literally shot itself in the foot on trust. The myriad of unsubstantiated claims makes it simply impossible to believe what any company says about its brand. That is until they have earned your trust. Trust is about being authentic and real. Social media has made brands more transparent than ever. Try and pull a fast one and your toast. Try to hide your brands flaws and they will be found. Want to be seen as more authentic? Don’t try to be something you aren’t, don’t be afraid to admit a weakness, genuinely support a cause your target audience believes in, and most important, deliver on your promises. Nobody‘s perfect. No brand is perfect. No one expects perfection. Everyone appreciates honesty and authenticity. Sync your brands values with the values of your target audience and you will build trust.
Unique Selling Position. There is perhaps no better measure of a brand’s strength than its Unique Selling Position (USP). Closely related to an Anchor Belief, your brands USP is what sets it apart from the competition. It is a claim that is yours alone. No other brand can offer it. It is your Anchor Belief put into action. Your USP communicates to your target audience the primary benefit of choosing your product or service over that of the competition. It positions you in such a way that your target audience sees you as both different and better than the competition.
Focus. Focusing your brand’s message gives it clarity and strength. It also means not going after absolutely everyone who might possibly use your product or service. When you go after everyone, you weaken your connection and relationship with your core target audience (your best customers). They feel ignored. People respond when the message your brand sends resonates with them. Exercising a measure of restraint by not trying to be everything to everyone creates focus. If you need to have two or three different USP’s than maybe you need two or three different brands.
Focus also creates consistency. Consistency builds confidence. Everything about your company right down to the color of the tile on the floor of the janitor’s closet must be a consistent reflection of your brand. When everything is consistent, your brand, and everyone in your company, is focused on its anchor belief.
Authority. Authority is about proof. Repeat customers may not need proof but attracting new ones requires it. Authority is earned. Often slowly. But bit-by-bit it builds through customer recommendations, likes, posts, awards, etc. Once established as an authority, everything a brand does is instantly credible. People pay attention and sales happen.
Brands develop over time, like taking care of a vegetable garden. Brand development is more a process of working hard at nurturing and cultivating a healthy environment for your brand to grow than trying to force quick results. Sure there’s much more to branding than the six core components discussed here, but get these six right, and your brand will develop into something extraordinary.
Every so often I’ll come across an article, blog post, or book that resonates my own thoughts or viewpoint on a subject almost perfectly. This was the case with “Brand Against the Machine” by John Morgan.
For me, the book simply put into words much of what I already believed about branding, and did it in a way that made perfect sense. John takes perhaps the most discussed marketing topic on the planet and delivers a refreshing perspective.
As I was reading I found myself highlighting sentence after sentence and paragraph after paragraph. Probably enough for a 365 page “Brand Against the Machine” quote of the day calendar. Below are two-dozen of my favorite “bite-sized” quotes. Some are a little out of context, but as long as you keep branding as the subject in mind, you should be okay. Oh yea, and I highly recommend purchasing the book. Even if one of your self-proclaimed titles on LinkedIn is “Branding Guru”, you will learn something. Maybe even that being a “self-proclaimed” guru of anything is lame and worthless unless you can actually back it up with reality and proof. Enjoy.
- Your goal is to position your brand in the mind of the consumer as one of, if not the, top authority in your industry, to be seen as a valued resource rather than another service provider.
- At some point your competition will match you. The only element they cannot match is your brand. There are a lot of business that make shoes. There is only one Nike.
- Branding is what makes me drive past a Kmart while going to Target. They sell the same stuff, for the most part. But I have a different perception of each of them. My trust level is different for each of them.
- Keep in mind that you don’t need to be found everywhere, as traditional branding would suggest. You just want to be found everywhere within you niche, everywhere your audience is hanging out.
- When you’re trying to get your message in front of everyone, you end up causing your target market to feel ignored. They want to know you’re speaking directly to them.
- When your message is focused and directed toward a certain group of people, those people respond. They respond because they realize it’s for them. That’s the kind of attention you want.
- Proof is what makes you an authority. Information is like a new form of currency. The more information you share, the more you’ll be positioned and viewed as an authority. Bringing new ideas to the table and people acting on those ideas: that’s proof.
- Something magical happens when your audience finds your content to be genuinely helpful: They trust you. They value your message and thoughts. Now they will buy form you and be excited to do so.
- Your brand’s anchor belief is your brand’s philosophy or viewpoint. It’s a big idea that is the focus of all of your products, services, marketing, presentations, and any other element of your business. Its premise becomes the backbone of your brand.
- You must be completely focused on your anchor belief. It helps define your brand and gives prospects clarity about you. This is why it’s absolutely critical to ensure your philosophy and message is a part of all you do, whether that be a marketing campaign, video, blog post, product, webinar, or presentation.
- It’s easier to get someone to buy into your philosophy and anchor belief than it is to buy a product. Once they’ve bought into your philosophy, it is super easy to sell your product.
- What’s your story? Your target audience is asking that question. How well you tell your story matters. Your creation story of how you got to be where you are now, both in life and the creation of your business. People love to know how something came about and how it got started.
- If the only people who would really miss your business if it went under are either related to you or your closest friends, you may have a “boring” problem. Don’t misunderstand me. It’s not that you can’t be a dentist or sell shoes or do something that others do. It’s that you can’t do those things in the same way as your competitors and hope to have a brand that people feel like they need to feel complete. Identify what makes you different.
- Taking care of people when there isn’t a problem and when it’s not expected is a sure fire way to generate positive word of mouth. Helping people who are in a jam will do amazing things for your brand.
- If you want your brand to be a huge success, developing a strong relationship with your target audience is a must. Have patience. Let the relationship mature. Frequent communication with your target audience lets them know that you value the relationship. It allows you to get to know them. How can you serve and provide value to your customer if you don’t even know them?
- Anyone can copy what you do, but few can copy how you do it.
- Often a great USP (unique selling point) says what you do that others are afraid to do.
- Most business fail to maximize on their brand touch points. A touch point is simply any form of contact someone has with your brand. It can be an e-mail, conversation with an employee, direct mail piece, commercial, or blog post. Understand that every touch point counts, no matter if it’s big or small.
- When your audience sees that you share the same values as they do, you begin to build a level of trust with them.
- Nothing creates a stronger bond than an “us versus them” mentality. You want to create a feeling that they are part of a larger “us.” Position your brand and its fans as being against “them.”
- If you want someone to be a fan of yours, start by being a fan of theirs. Treat your brand advocates like rock stars—because they are.
- Consistency builds confidence with consumers. It shows you are a brand people can rely on. A brand that if they put their trust into, you won’t let them down.
- Every element of your business supports your brand or tears it apart. Employees are no exception to that. They represent your brand on and off the clock.
- The number one thing you don’t want is for people to be indifferent about your brand.
This is just something worth sharing. While I think their signature graph about the Wealth & Health of Nations is the coolest, it’s fun to mess around with and select other variables as well. What amazing progress mankind has made over the past 200 years. GapMinder.
Once upon a time people believed that there was no such thing as a free lunch. Still true, perhaps, if you’re someone like me who over analyzes everything. But back in 1975 when Nobel-prize winning economist Milton Friedman popularized the phrase with a book by the same title, the world was very tangible, tangible is expensive. Today the world is digital, digital is cheap, and as a result free is everywhere. How much are you paying to use LinkedIn? How many apps on your phone didn’t cost you a dime? Do you Skype? Do you use Dropbox, flickr or Hulu?
Sometimes a freemium marketing strategy works, sometimes it doesn’t. I’m a big fan of freemiums, but to work they need a properly executed strategy or you will end up cannibalizing your existing product, cheapening its value, or even destroying your brand. Here are ten keys to making your freemium pay.
1- First consider: Does it make sense to even offer a freemium? For many businesses it doesn’t. They simply don’t have a product that lends itself to the strategy or they have a target market that would be turned off by it. However, think carefully before dismissing this strategy. Even if you have a high ticket product there may be some element that you may wish to consider giving away for free.
2- Go digital. Your freemium doesn’t have to be digital, but the most successful ones are. Digital is cheap. If you can’t offer anything digital consider giving away a service.
3- No strings attached. The quickest way to kill your freemium is to be deceptive. Most people are smart enough to spot something bogus or something that requires them to jump through too many hoops. Your potential customers are going to leave as soon as they realize that your freemium comes at a price, even though it may not be a monetary one.
4- Your freemium must have “stand alone value”. In fact, the value should be so enticing that the vast majority of your users will likely never migrate to a paid product. Of course having them stay at the free level isn’t the objective, but this is a numbers game. The more freeloaders you have the more you will ultimately have at the paid level.
5- Have an easy next level product. Getting people to jump to the next level is the whole point of offering a freemium. However, if the next level is your core product and your core product isn’t a cheap $2 app, but something a little on the expensive side, consider a low-end offer that costs a little, but is less expensive than your core product. Your customers may need to realize ROI if they are going to move to the next level. This low-end offer should also under promise but over deliver. This isn’t going to be a big money maker, but rather a way of advertising to the best and most targeted market of eligible buyers you’ll find.
6- Don’t forget to offer a premium. There is almost always a small sliver of customers that want absolutely everything you can offer them and they are willing to pay for it. If you don’t have a platinum/deluxe level, you’re losing money.
7- Realize that a freemium is a marketing expense. Just like buying a radio ad that only a small percentage of listeners will pay attention to and an even a smaller percentage will take action on, a freemium is advertising and needs to be viewed from that perspective. You wouldn’t expect to run an ad on a radio station with 20,000 people listening and have 10,000 of them buy your product, so don’t expect a freemium to have that kind of conversion ratio either.
8- Have a strong next level offer. Your freemium needs to be strong, but your paid offer needs to be stronger. If there is no reason to jump to the next level why would anybody do it? Users need to see the value in paying for something more. Furthermore, make sure the differences between free and paid are clearly discernible. This is something that should be understood upfront and not delivered as an unpleasant surprise later.
9- Think carefully before monetizing. You have to make money off of those freeloaders somehow right? But is the purpose of your freemium to advertise or to get people to the next level? Monetizing may make sense; especially if your offer is digital, just make sure it doesn’t undercut the value of your freemium.
10- Close the gap with research. There will always be a gap that exists between those that get a free lunch and those that pay for more. With a freemium the percentage of people who end up paying will be small, typically less than 5%. But there’s a way to up that percentage and close the gap, it’s called research. This may be last on my list, but it’s the first thing you should do. Research answers questions such as: What features are going to entice your customers to the next level? What can and can’t you leave out of your freemium and still make it work? What pricing structure should you adopt for your paid levels? How do users of your paid service and free service differ? And how can you find more users who are like the ones who pay and less like the ones who don’t? Carefully designed questions to a focus group or survey of your target market will help you find the answers.
This past summer I spent a week fishing in Alaska. Great time, great fishing, except for the double-ugly. The double-ugly is a fish you don’t want to catch. It has very little meat on it and what meat it does have apparently doesn’t taste very good. It has pokey spines, doesn’t fight much when you reel it in, and is, well, ugly. I’m not sure where the “double” part comes from, maybe the eyes that are double the size you would expect or maybe because it’s twice as ugly as your average fish. I’m sure it has some technical name, but “double-ugly” is what the locals called these fish so that’s what we called them.
I hated catching a double-ugly because that meant pinning the extra slippery slimy fish down on the boat deck in order to try and get my hook out of its mouth while doing my best not to get poked by its sharp spiny fins. Not to mention the disappointment I experienced every time one of these fish got on my hook and I realized that it wasn’t a Halibut.
I recall moderating a focus group one time when I was faced with a double-ugly. No, not a participant that was hideously ugly with bulging eyes, but a situation. The number of questions in the moderator’s guide was double what it should have been. (Okay, maybe that’s a bit of stretch on this transition, but stick with me. My comparison gets a little better.) Focus groups are exploratory by nature. There shouldn’t be a ton of formal questions. It isn’t a survey. When a moderator’s guide has 20 questions, focus groups get ugly. The results are ugly. You’ll want to throw the results back because there’s no meat and they taste bad.
Focus groups are one of the oldest, but also one of the most powerful marketing research tools. They aren’t perfect, but the payoff can be substantial when done right. However, in addition to asking only half a dozen questions instead of surveying the focus group, there are there a number of things that I, as a focus group moderator, try to do in order to avoid prickly, foul tasting, double-ugly results. Here are a few:
- Probing is critical, and one of the reasons you can’t ask eight people 20 questions in 90 minutes. But probing should consist of more than simply asking “why”. This can lead to the “I ask, you answer” routine. One of the trademarks of a good focus group is that the respondents interact with each other in a way that reveals additional information rather than just respond to the moderator’s questions. Ask for examples, suggestions, experiences, reasons.
- It might be necessary to deviate from the discussion guide in order to generate the most useful information. Often times moderating a focus group is about knowing when something unanticipated that is brought up is a topic that warrants further discussion. Discovery is the objective and when it happens it should be developed. Don’t be overly anxious to check off a question every ten minutes.
- It’s important to ensure that focus group participants feel okay about sharing their true feelings. As much as it is possible. I think one of the easiest and simplest ways to accomplish this is at the outset. It isn’t perfect, but merely setting the stage by asking for “brutal honesty” can go a long way toward making it okay for participants to feel free to speak their mind. Additional reminders throughout the focus group help break down the barrier some may have of not wanting to offend.
- Not only is it important to ask only a handful of questions in order to allow for exploration, but it’s even more important to ask the right questions. This means carefully crafting six to eight key questions that will get at the heart of the objectives. Furthermore they don’t even have to be questions. Projective techniques, where the respondents are asked to project their own attitudes, feelings, or beliefs into a situation, such as word association, sentence completion, and symbolic analysis, can help reveal underlying motivations.
- Sometimes in a focus group people may miss an opportunity to say what they are thinking if the conversation moves rapidly and the topic transitions. I like to ask for additional input on a topic before moving on and for final statements at the end of the focus group after all questions in the moderators guide have been addressed. It can sometimes be surprising what people hold back but then share when asked specifically to do so.
- Finally it’s important to understand that like every other research tool, focus groups have their weaknesses. Think about it, people are thrown together with a group of strangers and then asked to make spot judgments about some product or service they many have never even heard of. As human beings were complicated creatures. Often times we don’t even know what we want. We think one thing but then do something else. Especially when others may be influencing us. It’s essential to know when a focus group is appropriate and when another form of research should be used either instead of a focus group or in conjunction with a focus group in order to create a comprehensive solution to the marketing research objective.
A little more than a month ago I spent my lunch hour with six colleges at a local restaurant. The fast-casual atmosphere was elegant, modern, and chic, yet not over-the-top. Displayed on large colorful flat screen monitors near the counter, the menu consisted of food that was reflective of the restaurants apparent core message, great tasting healthy food. Offering healthy options on the menu is something that most restaurants do, but the entire menu? That was different. I searched among the salads, fish, and side dishes of fruit and hummus to find what appeared to be the one and only unhealthy item on the menu, the Slow Braised Short Rib Sandwich, and ordered it. Good tasting, no, fantastic tasting, yes! I didn’t expect it to be as good as it was. I was pleasantly surprised. The result, a return trip a week later and this blog article.
Ever notice how most really good restaurants don’t do much in the way of advertising? They don’t need to. They rely on word-of-mouth, they rely on ambassadors. They create these willful promoters by exceeding expectations. I am now an ambassador of Blue Lemon. Why would I put my reputation on the line by recommending this place? The same reason most people recommend something. Because I’m confident that your experience will be as good as mine. You will thank me. My credibility will rise. You will think I’m cool and smart.
Companies create ambassadors when their customers experience something that goes well beyond what was expected. Slightly better won’t do it. It needs to be a lot better. Good service and good quality are expected. No one cares if you deliver the expected. To create an ambassador of your product or service you need to give them a strong reason for promoting you by surprising them with something they discover themselves and can feel connected to. You need to under promise and over deliver. That doesn’t mean you don’t promote the value of your product or service, but as tempting as it may be, don’t advertise whatever it is that you are counting on to create word-of-mouth. Leave something for discovery. Why would a customer repeat the very same thing you are advertising? How are they going to be surprised enough to want to share their experience? And share they will. If a boring trip to the local grocery store is worth tweeting about, imagine what some people will do when they actually have something interesting to say.
Whether it’s a new business, re-branding campaign, or new product launch, word-of-mouth will be your best and most believable form of advertising. For me, Blue Lemon created something worth talking about because my expectations were surprisingly exceeded. To figure out how to exceed your customer’s expectations you need to understand your customers wants and needs on a level your competition doesn’t. This can be accomplished three different ways: your best guess, trial-and-error, and research. Two of those three are risky and expensive.
It was hard to resist the urge as I sat there on the couch watching the ten o’clock news. A commercial for a local car dealership came on. They were offering “zero down!” and “direct from the factory savings!” Not only that, but they told me that I had to “hurry in!”, because the deals wouldn’t last. The fast music and confetti graphic across the screen at the end sealed the deal. I had to buy a new car. I could hardly sleep that night knowing the great deal I was going to get the next day.
Forgive my sarcasm. I realize that the purpose of that ad was to target those who, unlike me, were in the market for a new car right there and then. But for many of us car dealership type ads are our least favorite. It’s not that we hate advertising, it’s just that like the car dealership commercial, most ads lack relevancy. Additionally, just like the car dealership commercial, we’ve heard the same song and dance a bazillion times before. And, just like the car dealership commercial, whatever message does happen to get past those first two filters, that is to say it’s relevant or new/different/entertaining, were going to assume it’s deceptive in some way.
So here’s my formula for a great advertising message. I’m sure there are dozens of other “formulas” out there, but this one’s mine: 1) say something new, 2) say something relevant, 3) say something real. Mention your superior service, friendly staff, and great prices and all anyone will hear is blah, blah, blah. We pay attention to the new, relevant, and real. We tune everything else out. Were trained to. We have to if we are to get through our day.
New – Is it news, is it unusual, is it entertaining, is it different? We love learning. We crave discovery. It’s part of who we are as human beings. Tell me something interesting that I don’t know and I’ll pay attention. Show me something unusual that I haven’t seen before or entertain me with something I can’t predict, and I’ll give you my time.
Relevant –I may like your ad, but I’ll struggle to recall your brand unless your message is relevant. We’ve all seen highly entertaining ads but then can’t recall what company or product the ad was for. I’m not arguing against the importance of emotional association in building a brand, or the use of frequency to create top of mind. But a meaningless statement will be meaningless no matter how often I hear it, and a meaningless brand will remain meaningless not matter what music, imagery, or celebrity is associated with it.
Real –We’re all smart enough to be skeptical until offered proof to the contrary. Everything we encounter is measured against the background of our own knowledge and the knowledge we gain thorough our own research prior to purchase. To illustrate, a couple of weeks ago I served as the moderator for a focus group about home theaters. One of the things we talked about were factors the participants consider when buying home theater equipment. Over and over they brought up how important online reviews and other non-manufactured information was in their decision making process. If your message doesn’t correlate with reality, your customers are going to know it and let everyone else know it as well. You can’t make shallow unsubstantiated claims and expect people to believe them, you need to offer proof.
So how does a business create a message that is new, relevant, and real? Getting there is a two stage process. Stage two is a good advertising agency to craft the message. Stage one… research.
I love the recent Direct TV commercials that show a string of unfortunate events resulting from having cable instead of Direct TV. The same can be said of not doing marketing research. Here’s my ad: “When you don’t do marketing research, you advertise the wrong message, when you advertise the wrong message, your customers go somewhere else, when your customers go somewhere else, you go out of business, when you go out of business, you wake up in a roadside ditch. Don’t wake up in a roadside ditch, do marketing research.”
Think about a business or brand that you like. You’re interest is peaked when they come out with something new. You trust their product. You probably even “like” them on Facebook and follow them on LinkedIn. They didn’t win your ambassadorship by guessing. They won it by understanding your needs better than the competition. They won it by understanding what you want and then delivering on that promise. They won it through research.
If there was ever a rule that should be applied to the planning phase of any marketing research project it is this: Ask the right question, to the right people, the right way.
Ask someone “Which of these two colas tastes better to you?” and they will give you an answer. But when New Coke was introduced in 1985 Americans were outraged. Not because it tasted bad, but because Coke was about more than taste. Coke was part of our heritage. It represented feelings and emotions. It served as an anchor in the lives of millions overwhelmed by a cold-war era of uncertainty and change. Some saw changing the taste of Coke as nearly akin to changing the colors of the American flag to green, yellow, and purple.
This most famous marketing blunder of all time very well could have been avoided if the right question had been asked, “If we changed Coke to taste like this would you buy it?” or even better, “What would your reaction be if we changed the taste of Coke to be more like Pepsi?”
In a more recent marketing blunder, Honda introduced the Accord hybrid. The logic was sound. Combine one of the best-selling car models of all time with the growing desire of people to be earth friendly and save gas. But Honda decided to release a more powerful hybrid in the Accord, a six cylinder model that got the gas millage of a standard four cylinder. Earth loving consumers simply couldn’t justify paying $9,000 more for the extra horsepower.
Had Honda asked the right questions to the right people in the right way they might have learned that horsepower was way down the list of reasons why people buy hybrids and definitely not something their earth friendly target market was willing to pay an extra $9,000 for.
Brand extensions are famous for marketing blunders. Ever heard of Harley Davidson Perfume? Colgate Kitchen Entrees? Cosmopolitan Yogurt? I’m not making any of these up. All are brand extensions combining a well-known brand with what was thought to be a genuine market opportunity. Why wouldn’t someone want to eat their Colgate chicken stir-fry then brush their teeth with Colgate toothpaste? It all has something to do with your mouth, right? In each case there was a communication disconnect between what consumers want and the untested eager ideas that pop out of executive brainstorming meetings. And in each case multi-million dollar mistakes could have been avoided if the right questions had been asked to the right people and in the right way.
In 1996 backed by a $100 million advertising campaign, McDonald’s introduced the Arch Deluxe targeted at adults with a more “refined palate”. But refinement isn’t a reason people go to McDonalds. Not even if the hamburger has “stone ground” mustard sauce and an unnaturally rounded piece of peppered bacon. McDonald’s may have received a positive response when they asked adults if they wanted a more “adult” burger, but they failed to correctly ask the refined target market if this sophisticated burger would actually create a reason for them to go to McDonalds.
Looking back only a year ago we have the Sun Chips compostable bag. The social media backlash created by this exceptionally loud eco-friendly bag forced Frito-Lay to abandon the earth-friendly idea and return all but its original flavor to standard plastic bags. Ask Sun Chip consumers, or any group of consumers, if they would prefer earth friendly packaging over earth destroying packaging and they will say “yes”. But fail to be specific by asking the right question to the right people in the right way and you end up with a drop in sales of 11% and a Facebook group with tens of thousands of upset Sun Chip lovers protesting your noisy bag.
Finally, it wouldn’t be fair to bash Coke for their blunder without also taking a shot at Pepsi. Remember Crystal Pepsi? In the early 90’s marketing toward health and purity was all the rage. Crystal Pepsi even performed well in test markets and enjoyed some success nationwide, however sales tapered off quickly and the product was pulled after a little more than a year. Most people like to try new things, especially if they don’t cost a lot, so when a test market was set up to answer the question “If we made a clear version of Pepsi would people try it?” the results were positive. However, the question that needed to be answered was would the people who tried it continue to buy it? But in their rush to capitalize on the “clear” fad Pepsi failed to take the time to see it’s research through to the end by asking the right questions to the right people and in the right way.
Even if the right questions are asked, even if the right people are sampled, and even if the right research method is selected there is no guarantee the new product will succeed. There are just too many unpredictable variables to account for, but the odds will be in your favor when you take the time to carefully and strategically plan your marketing research project. Just because you found out that your target market’s top three favorite colors are green, yellow, and purple it doesn’t necessarily mean you should change the color of your flag.