Chicken Fries: The Evolution of a Trend

chicken fries

Burger King’s chicken fries are back. How did concept testing help create the cult classic?//Image source Flickr user JeepersMedia

Many parents will tell you that food served in a specific format – for example, as “fingers” or “fries” – is infinitely more popular with kids than the whole foods version. It doesn’t matter whether the food in question is fish, potatoes, chicken or avocado. Put it in fry form, and suddenly everyone is a lot more interested in giving in a try. This trend has been borne out in the market with the surprising popularity of Burger King’s (BK) chicken fries. Here’s a look at this recurring trend and some lessons that we can glean about concept testing from the case study. Continue reading

Understanding the Fundamentals of Product Differentiation

product differentiation

Product differentiation is often based on a small, single difference from other options on the market.
Image source Flickr user See-Ming Lee

We’ve all that had experience: You walk into the aisle at the grocery store looking for a specific product like a bag of chips, and what you see takes you completely by surprise. “Cappuccino potato chips?” you wonder. You’ve just encountered a differentiated product in the wild.

One of the factors that influences a product’s chance to stand out in the market and do well is its level of differentiation. A differentiated product is one of the aspects that researchers consider when they’re developing concept tests. It’s also a critical lever that marketers can push on when they’re crafting messaging and designing campaigns to attract the public’s attention. But what does product differentiation really mean, and where does it come from in the product development process? Continue reading

Because Bacon: How Will Reebok’s Paleo Bacon Campaign Perform?

Paleo bacon

Reebok introduces a line of Paleo bacon to support the CrossFit games.
Image source: Flickr user (matt)

We have already established that everything is better with bacon, even chocolate. But at first glance, coming up with a connection between fitness and the beloved pork product might seem counterintuitive. After all, bacon hasn’t really been considered a healthy food, especially coming out of the era of low-fat and vegetarian diets. Its image has improved somewhat given the proliferation of low-carb and ancestral health diets taking the sports and fitness worlds by storm. Major sports brand Reebok is doing their best to make the bacon-health connection with their new Reebok Bacon campaign. In the second post in our “Because Bacon” series, we’re taking a deeper look at their newest advertising effort. Here’s how the marketing effort came to be and here are some helpful lessons that every business can take away from the case study. Continue reading

Examining Television Consumption: Are We in TV’s Second Golden Age?

television's golden age

The internet and streaming capabilities are dramatically changing how we consume television.
Image source: Flickr user Medhi

With the arrival of fall, we’re facing two things: back-to-school season and the launch of the new 2014 – 2015 television lineup. One look at this year’s innovative programming tells you that the entertainment landscape is rapidly evolving. The Internet and streaming content have dramatically changed how we consume TV. At the same time, increased competition from traditional networks, premium cable channels, and even streaming video producers is bringing scripted television to new creative heights and reality television to new levels of drama. Fans are eating it up, but can we agree across generations that we’re in a new golden age of television? partnered with YuMe Inc., a data science-driven leading provider of digital video brand advertising solutions across devices, and surveyed 1000 respondents to find out.

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Brand Management and Concept Testing: The Ongoing Search for Brand Continuity

brand management

Your brand will influence the success of new products. Does your concept testing reflect that?
Image source: Flickr user loop_oh

One of the most important aspects of a new concept’s market viability is whether or not it fits with your brand. While it’s not ultimately as indicative of market success as purchase intent, brand perception and the appropriateness of certain products for your brand’s core values determine major business decisions. When structuring a concept test, there are a number of questions you can ask to help you gauge how the public sees your brand and whether the concept your proposing fits that continuity appropriately. Here’s what you need to know.

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Genetically Modified Is Out, Genetically Edited Is In: How Brands Manage the Discussion Around GMO Foods


GMO foods

Can market research help your brand manage the discussion around GMO and genome edited foods?
Image source: Flickr user MillionsAgainstMonsanto

Since the term “genetically modified” has been introduced, it’s created a huge backlash among health-conscious consumers. From concerns about the long-term health implications of these foods to a simple aversion to eating products that have been modified, opponents have taken serious action. Terms like “Frankenfoods” have entered the public’s vocabulary, while groups have boycotted companies, launched education campaigns, and introduced requests for legislative action. Today, many companies are starting to migrate away from “genetically modified” foods and into genetically edited. The approach has implications for everything from product development to messaging. Here’s a closer look at the trend and what businesses can learn from it. Continue reading

Brands for Sale: P&G to Put 100 Product Lines on the Chopping Block

P&G brands

Will household names like Duracell survive being divested from P&G
Image source: Flickr user Jeepers Media

Procter & Gamble (P&G) seems to be following in the footsteps of Nestle and Unilever. Recently, consumer packaged goods giant P&G made headlines when they announced that they would be refocusing their company and shedding nearly 100 brands. Nestle and Unilever took similar steps last year in an effort to drive sales by focusing on their most profitable, core brands.

Continue reading Shelf Score – August 2014 – Beverages

shelf score

August’s Shelf-Score takes a dive into the non-alcoholic beverage world. Liquids are big business. One recent report suggests that the average American worker spends over $1100 each year just on coffee. Innovation has never been more important in the beverage industry. Beverage Industry, a leading data publication, suggests that in 2013 total sales of beverages declined in some categories including carbonated drinks and dairy beverages. Health concerns about sweeteners and sugar consumption, environmental concerns, and limited disposable income are all having an effect. As a result, companies are pushing harder than ever to find enticing flavors, interesting partnerships, and value-adds while developing drink category lines. Whether you are marketing protein water, are looking for the latest hot flavor trends to hit the market, or want to diversify your beverage product line, this month’s Shelf Score lineup has insights for you.

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10 Tips for Conducting Ethical Mobile Market Research

mobile market research

Conducting mobile market research ethically protects your company and positions you as a trustworthy brand.
Image source: Flickr user Nicola since 1972

Mobile technology has made it convenient for business owners to gather real-time responses to mobile surveys and other market research campaigns. But advances in technology have forced market researchers to take a hard look at ethical and legal considerations. For companies conducting independent market research, it’s important to understand respondent rights and privacy issues when developing campaigns. With a bit of planning, it’s easy to ensure that you’re acting in accordance with market research best practices and taking actions that reinforce customers’ trust in your brand. Continue reading

Can CPG Companies Get Millennials to Eat Cereal Again?


What does the future of the cereal category look like?
Image search: Flickr user avrene

There was a time when cold cereal was the top breakfast trend in the U.S. Weekly trips to the grocery store simply weren’t complete without a couple large boxes of popular breakfast cereal. Every sitcom and morning show assumed that Americans were diving into this “healthy” breakfast. But over the past few years, cereal consumption in the United States has decreased considerably. According to the Specialty Foods Association, the category has declined since 2009. Large companies like Kellogg and General Mills have experienced drops in brands that were once kitchen staples. Overall, sales of cold cereal products have decreased by 7% in just four years. Why have sales suddenly gone cold? Here are a few reasons behind the shift, and some important takeaways for businesses. Continue reading