Best Practices

How Sensory-Based Testing Drives Product Performance

 2021/10/man-coffee-cafe-smell-245.jpg Inspired by cup of fresh coffee. Handsome young man enjoying coffee in cafe while sitting at the table and smelling coffee aroma
Inspired by cup of fresh coffee. Handsome young man enjoying coffee in cafe while sitting at the table and smelling coffee aroma

To make a product successful, the entire sensory experience offered needs to be taken into account, from identifying which specific product traits motivate consumers to be brand loyal to making sure each of those characteristics are dialed in to the ideal level. Sensory-based product testing can help demystify and unravel the individual sensory and aesthetic characteristics of a product, how these characteristics influence each other, and most importantly, how they influence future product purchases, loyalty and advocacy.

What Challenges Can Sensory-Based Product Testing Solve?

Sensory-based product testing is appropriate for numerous product development initiatives, including:

  • Research and Development of new products
  • Re-formulation of existing products
  • Benchmarking existing and competitive products
  • Streamlining existing product lines to reduce redundancies
  • Standardizing multiple formulas from different countries into one product

What’s more, sensory-based product testing can often address more than one of these goals within one properly-designed research study.

How Can you ‘Change the Game’ With Your Testing?

Our experience has been that using a series of straight-forward, sensory-quantification questions that allow respondents to indicate the strength of product traits via highly engaging sliding scales can lead to more powerful insights and action plans coming out of your product testing.

sensor-image

While this scale is simple for respondents to use, it collects a precise evaluation across a range of attributes. These types of questions provide robust, highly differentiated results and have the added benefit of working well across cultures when testing internationally.

Once data are collected, a combination of micro-modeling and aggregate analysis can be applied to the results to help you understand how each sensory attribute impacts preference. At this point you can integrate external data, such as professional sensory panel ratings or technical evaluations. Finally, you can create “what-if” scenarios to understand how changing a product’s sensory experience can impact consumer response.

At Radius we’ve build an approach called SENSORTM that holistically incorporates all of these elements to help you achieve your goals.

Key Considerations for Sensory-Based Product Testing

  • What is the end goal? Is it to identify the ideal formulation for a new product, reformulate an existing product, or just establish benchmarks for the category? The end goals will help dictate the study design.
  • What are you trying to affect? Is the goal to drive purchase intent or to make a claim like “9 in 10 moms recommend this product”? These decisions will impact the types of questions included in the survey.
  • How many products are being evaluated? A set of multiple products can provide robust data against which to model an “ideal” sensory profile for the category. However, availability of products for testing (especially if products are prototypes) should also be considered.
  • What is the timeline? Tests that include few products being evaluated in the US can be conducted relatively quickly, while multi-country tests with complex sampling and respondent accessibility can take several months to complete.

Benefits

At the very minimum, this type of research provides a robust sensory profile of the tested products. However, it is the flexibility of the data and resulting analysis that delivers the key advantage, creating clarity for you by answering several key questions:

  • Which attributes are must-haves for all consumers?
  • Where do we have flexibility to modify the product?
  • What is the ideal formula (across markets, if applicable)?
  • What are key preferences to address for different types of consumers (regions, users, etc.)?
  • What adjustments will most improve performance?

Contact us to learn more about how sensory-based product testing.
Download more information about SENSOR (PDF).

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Stay on top of the latest marketing trends and innovative insights approaches.

Subscribe