case studies

The following case studies show an extract of my research expertise in terms of

client challenges, business areas of expertise and methodologies.



> CHALLENGE: uncover key success and failure factors!

Products go through same research & development processes but not all achieve the same market success! Why?

A global household care company challenged research to take a closer look at their failures and successes in their air care product category for a 3-folded objective: understandlearn (future launches) – improve (current failures).


Seven air-care variants of the client’s basic line were reviewed in-depth.

- Qualitative CAI (computer aided interviewing) consumer explorations [n=16]  | 50% blind and 50% branded scent evaluation  

- In-depth Synergy Cross-Analysis of Marketing Mix (pack design, name) and product sensory (scent) => synergy check


Results clearly showed that unsuccessful variants were sensorially dissonant [pack design – scent – variant name], while successful variants had a high sensory-synergy. The client received a detailed strategy development for future launches concerning: 1) general consumer involvement, 2) key sensorial cues and emotional involvement, 3) steps to follow to create strongest sensory synergies.


> CHALLENGE: Translate Emotions into Product Functional Cues!

A global personal care company in the US had identified ‘emotionality‘ as a key driver for their tampon product category. After identifying one main emotional mindset, the challenge was to find deeper emotional aspects linked to the mindset and translate them into functional product sensory cues.


To facilitate deep, emotional feedback and allow creative group exercises (e.g. collages, self-interviewing, body outlines, product design,…):

- mini explorative focus groups [n=4-6 per group] + - pre-home-diary capturing ‘moments of truth’ and ‘pain points’

- target group pre-screened for their ability of product description articulation above average


The group intimacy, lively discussions and home diaries delivered rich insights and learnings about uncovering real concerns women face during their periods as well as emotional ‘blocks’ and functional lacks. Additionally, the research was able to deliver actionable recommendations in

addressing functional product issues and how to translate emotional comfort and support in functional cues. The description of the ''ideal' tampon together with a qualitative emotional mind-set landscape (map), the client was able to successfully transfer the results to R&D and Marketing communication.


> CHALLENGE: Explore Consumers' Multi-Sensorial Language!

A global food company in the US was looking to extend their product line with a new candy form by introducing a new texture, crunchiness and mouth feel. 2 prototypes had been developed. The challenge was to capture the entire multi-sensorial consumer expectation, experience and language to support a clear market differentiation.


In order to allow an in-depth multi-sensorial experience and gain rich consumer descriptions, individual product explorations of 6 candies were conducted over 2 days:

- Qualitative CAI (computer aided interviewing) consumer explorations [n=16] 

- target group pre-screened for their ability of product description articulation above average


The results supported both R&D for further fine-tuning and Marketing to identify specific descriptors underlining the product uniqueness. The research identified key emotional and sensorial drivers, as well as important aspects to be highlighted in the communication, helping consumers clearly capture the product specificity (multi-sensorial uniqueness).

Clear improvement suggestions were delivered to further increase the product's sensory differentiation (e.g. colour, stickiness, smoothness,…) and strengthen consumer’s emotional bond.


> CHALLENGE: Uncover Clear Market Differentiation!

A personal care company in Asia was experiencing increased competition due to new brands (e.g. Nivea) entering their market and adding cross-category benefit transfers (e.g. Nivea Whitening In-Shower Lotions). The challenge was to strengthen their product differentiation and main credentials by capturing and understanding their multi-sensorial strengths/weaknesses compared to competition.


In order to capture the full picture, including numbers and significances, a qual-quant approach was conducted, including competitive products;

I. Qualitative product/concept in-depth explorations via CAI  |  50% blind and 50% branded  |  Coherence Cross-Analysis

II.Quantitative CLT paired-evaluation for concept-scent-texture appeal/affinity |  performance

was measured against 3 attribute lists (fragrance, emotions, product performance)


While the quantitative results confirmed client’s brand was ahead of competition on important attributes but were being catched up on others, the qualitative results uncovered the ‘reasons why’ and key differentiators; e.g.

- bottle attractiveness (elegance, femininity) -  texture soft-rich touch  - soft-feminine fragrance with a luxurious but natural touch - holistic, coherent story provided.


> CHALLENGE: Is 'Being Close', Close Enough?

A global player in the baby care industry was forced to change a fragrance formulation in one of their hero baby products due to a new ingredient regulations (REACH). A new fragrance considered ‘closest to current‘ had been developed. The challenge was to check if a silent implementation of the new 'closest' fragrance in the baby product was possible without consumers noticing a difference.


A qualitative in-depth scent evaluation was conducted with sensorially articulate consumers, users/non-users of the product. The idea behind was that if these scent-sensitive consumers perceived a difference, there was a high probability that consumers on a large scale would perceive a difference as well, leading to high consumer complaints and brand damage.


While both fragrances were close at a first glance, clear emotional involvement differences appeared over time. It was recommended not to go with the proposed re-worked fragrance. The fragrance house was asked to develop a new fragrance slightly different to current but with a similar emotional message. Additionally a re-launch with a targeted message towards the scent-review was recommended in order to emotionally prepare consumers for the new fragrance (e.g. 'new softer scent'). As a result, the client was able to re-launch their hero product without consumer complaints!


> CHALLENGE: Enriching Product Design & Communication!

An international beverage company planned to extend their portfolio and created a new product space not yet existing on the market. Four different product prototypes in three different tastes had been developed. The challenge was to review and understand the general consumer interest, while identifying needs/occasions of use, key sensory drivers of appeal and relevant consumer language. 


We combined expertise in sensorial, market and innovation research to create a 3-step methodology:

- Qualitative in-depth CLT product evaluation (CAI) [n=30], followed by an

- Online task completion

- rounded up by a quantitative validation [n=100]

Next to the main challenge, additional questions had to be addressed: checking multi-sensorial consumer expectations (e.g. taste, mouth feel), while defining major sensory barriers and improvement needs.


The project resulted in clear understanding of key emotional connections or disconnections with the product idea, as well as:

- identifying key sensory-drivers for the most promising flavor-combinations and key sensory 'no-goes' for the others 

- defining the 4 most appealing variants to focus on, with clear improvement directions

- delivering consumer language to inspire communication and marketing claims.

Actionable recommendations were delivered for important product sensory improvements, allowing the client to re-work the most promising products along the lines of rich consumer insights.

Contact us and describe your challenge!