How potent is my potion?

Date of publication: February 6, 2008

Companies: Nielsen, GSK


Creating change in today's marketplace is a challenge in any category, with rising clutter levels and tuned-out consumers. Marketers across categories have been grappling, for quite some time now, with autopilot brand choices, habit-driven consumers and the difficulty of changing entrenched behavioural patterns. The ability to create real change requires a far better understanding of consumer self-medication choices than is currently available. In recent years, we have done a considerable amount of work in understanding consumer decision making processes and identifying triggers for change. We believe there are valuable learnings here for the healthcare industry in terms of the tools that have proven useful in deconstructing decisions, as well as insights on how consumers make judgments about self-medication options. This paper presents a methodological framework that has been effective in understanding choices in OTC products. The framework, based on new thinking in neuroscience and cognitive psychology about how people make choices, draws from cognitive interviewing and narrative building approaches, and also from the notion of intuitive logic. We draw from our work in a range of self-medication categories (fever, cold, pain and acidity) to illustrate the usefulness of this framework.

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