New product development of Kao

Date of publication: June 15, 1990

Author: Masashi Kuga


Kao launched a new compact biotex detergent "Attack" in April, 1987 and the maximum saturated laundry detergent market changed to this new type successfully and innovatively. However, this successful story of "Attack" had a long hard history before the development. In 1975 12 years before the launch, which was the age of save-resources and save-energy after the detergent panic originating from the oil shock, Kao quickly introduced a condensed compact detergent to preempt needs of the age, but consumers did not support it and Kao had to withdraw it from the market. It was a bitter experience to Kao. Even after that, Kao did not give up the intention to innovate the detergent market which was in the midst of price competition under the stagnation. It was alternate continuation of efforts and collapses surrounding R&D. A happening in the long-term qualitative panel, a newly developed testing method, broke through that deadlock. The long-term qualitative panel means a method that new products under development relating to detergent, for example, be used one after another and be evaluated by the panelists. In other words, it is a new qualitative research method to integrate group interviews with experience of several uses of test products. At a group interview after uses of the prototype "Attack", one panelist mentioned, "It made laundry much whiter than bleach tested just before". This one expression made the bleach development staff disappointed but it made the "Attack" R&D group excited. It was really a good chance to accelerate the development of "Attack" toward launching in the market.

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