Case Study

Identifying Consumers’ Unmet Needs to Fuel Product Innovation


A multi-national home care goods company came to C+R seeking a deeper understanding of the role their air care product played in the marketplace and consumers’ homes and lives. The company wanted to know which product features were most important to consumers and how the product was used and perceived; they hoped this research would spark new marketing and innovation opportunities.

C+R developed a qualitative home immersion and quantitative need-state approach to uncover deep consumer insights and innovation opportunities for the home care brand.


Understanding the Home Fragrance Consumer

The air care segment is crowded with many brands and product types, and consumer usage and attitudes can vary widely depending on a range of factors. A major home care goods company was looking for innovation opportunities and knew that the path to innovation was through consumers.

The brand’s ultimate goal was to identify and organize customer segments. The company needed to evaluate the relevance of the brand and product category in relation to consumers’ needs and wants. They also sought a comprehensive study of the air care fragrance category, including attitudes toward the specific product segment and the motivators, usage, demographics, and psychographics of new target audiences.


A Three-Phase Mixed-Methods Approach

C+R designed a threephase  qualitative and quantitative approach of segment research, target market home immersion, and a national online survey to get a deep understanding of the home care fragrance category.

The team began by developing hypotheses and categorizing knowns and unknowns in the product category. Next, researchers analyzed data on distribution and buying patterns of multi-cultural demographic groups, which led to a deep dive into the Hispanic population, as they showed the most potential value for the brand.

Next up was a qualitative home immersion strategy to test the hypotheses. The strategy involved several immersion techniques including online immersion, in-home visits, in-home observations, and tours of key areas for the target market.

The immersion approach was followed by a quantitative need state study. The study focused on attitudes, emotions, category usage, brand awareness, brand usage, brand perceptions, purchase patterns and barriers to product purchase.

Data was evaluated using a combination of purpose-driven segmentation research, qualitative immersion, and advanced analytics. These elements allowed the team to uncover the most profitable opportunities for differentiation and innovation.

The result

It’s All About Awareness and Variety

This complex research design yielded a range of actionable findings, including:

  • The client’s brand lacked emotional and functional differentiation from its key competitor.
  • Electric scented oils serve as a “gateway” to fragrance in the home, but many who use other types of home fragrance products are unaware of this product option; conversely, those who use this product are very engaged users.
  • Consumers do not feel a differentiation between the brand and its competitors; therefore, decisions are made based on monetary value (not other attributes or brand loyalty).
  • Home fragrance users are more interested in greater fragrance options within a product category than a greater number of home fragrance product types.
  • There are many opportunities to improve awareness among new audiences, especially the Hispanic market; this demographic group has great potential value for the brand.

Our research drove home the importance of improving awareness to home care fragrance consumers, introducing the product line to new users, and increasing product variety.

Based on the findings and C+R’s recommendations, our client launched new communications that touted the benefits of their product and increased awareness of electric scented oil to home fragrance consumers. Additionally, they began developing demographic-centric communications to reach new audiences. And, finally, the client laid plans for innovating their product line with new fragrance options to appeal to customers and build the foundatishopon for a long-term brand differentiation strategy.

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