innovating in a complex category


A liquor manufacturer recently adjusted the formulation of a key product and wished to understand consumer response to the change.


They were keen to explore performance versus key competitor products, as well as the ‘mainstream’ view of the category from a taste perspective. From this, they'd see if further optimisation was required on their new formulation.


A central location test was recommended to ensure we had strict control over the preparation of the test samples, so that all products were tested in a similar context.


As the test involved alcoholic beverages we applied a specific design to the research to ensure that respondents didn't consume excessive alcohol during the test – nobody wants a slurry respondent, after all. 


This included restricting the number of samples tested and having strict measures for each.


This approach speaks to the key benefits of control and good research design.


The client was able to ascertain the performance of their core product against the competitive set and see strong performance here.


Further, the data highlighted the complexity of the category, reinforcing that they should not try and ‘optimise to the middle’  as they'd risk losing their specific character.

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