Developing a product blueprint from the consumer
This paper presents a new technology, IDEAMAP. The technique involves an interactive computer system which makes full use of the opportunities for graphical and pictorial display, plus sound. This allows concepts to be presented in such a way that all the elements of the product mix can be evaluated and identification of key influences for the consumer - the hot buttons can be made. This individual measure is possible because any given element appears as a free agent within many concepts so we can evaluate the contribution (negative, positive or neutral) of each element independently. These elements are placed into related groups such as product formulation features, packaging, even image or product delivery, or any other elements incorporated in the study design. The collection of the data by computer means that the database can subsequently easily be interrogated with further what if questions. Included in the system is the facility for the computer to optimise the concepts to see which has the most appeal; this can of course be analysed for any customer subgroup, based on usage behaviour, competitive brand purchase, demographics, or any other relevant criteria. Overall the use of IdeaMap can greatly shorten the development process for products, because in one study both product performance features, and image, positioning, packaging, advertising themes, etc. can be included. A much greater range of possibilities for the product is screened at an early stage, and the key features which will appeal identified. Further developments in centralising and speeding up the process of development are becoming available through specially designed laboratory centres.
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