FIND YOUR FOCUS: Clean Label Category Review

Gain category and competitive insights, uncover the opportunities for success

By Emily Cruz (CuliNex) and Dave Lundahl (InsightsNow)

While there are many different product development philosophies, the product development process looks relatively similar across different industries. In today’s hyper competitive clean label marketplace, the entire process needs to happen in record time, i.e. yesterday. Because of this, once the initial discovery process is complete it can be tempting to jump straight into concept ideation and validation, but that can be a fatal mistake. Successful product development requires a deep understanding of consumer behaviors and desires, the competitive environment, and potential whitespace opportunities. How do you thoughtfully narrow the path of focus while sprinting towards product launch in record time? And how do you develop a successful strategy to win in the category?

Enter the CRAEVS Solution, a series of rapid, iterative sprints that starts with an intensive “Find Your Focus” 1-2-week Category Deep Dive sprint.  This sprint will help you make informed decisions by asking the right questions from the very inception of a project. This step is vital in bringing focus for successful downstream concepting, prototyping and validation in market.

Key questions to answer during the “Find Your Focus” sprint include, “what is the competitive set?”  This typically is discovered by considering where will your new innovation or renovated product play, i.e. what category or categories might it be placed into within a store shelf set? Innovation initiatives may have already addressed this question through a white space discovery study.  In any case, defining your competitive set helps provide additional focus by answering the next question, “what criteria will you use to achieve success in-market?” Are you seeking to protect your position in a category or to take share away from other competitive brands? It also provides a framework to ask about your product design strategy to achieve your defined success criteria.

The “Find Your Focus” sprint includes an in-depth review of the category and consumer behaviors, including physical and/or virtual retail store walks.  It includes a competitive landscape review including an evaluation of current and competitive products to uncover potential opportunities to achieve your success criteria through product design.  Consumer research is also typically conducted to create the baseline category KPI’s (drivers of choice) that you can use to not only make early product design decisions, but to establish success KPIs for successive sprints.  This can include the building of product scorecards and recommended formulation strategies through consumer and product insights. It can also include consumer insights through primary research or by accessing the InsightsNow Innovation Center of information about which ingredients are most perceived to be clean label or most importance to include as a claims, or to identify which ingredients are most associated to benefits that position your product from your competition.

Finding Your Focus is a quick, essential sprint to add prior to concepting and prototyping. It will not only inspire and guide concepting and future prototyping, it will help you establish baselines for concept, prototype, in-market product success criteria in-store and in-home.

Ultimately, this multi-dimensional category research will serve to drive your strategy to win and set your brand up for success.

Innovation Discovery at the Convergence of Technology, Product and Behavioral White Space

CRAEVS to Build Successful Innovation Pipelines

By Dave Lundahl (InsightsNow), Emily Cruz (CuliNex) and Matt Ferguson (Xinova)

Product innovation has been called the “life blood” of a food company.  Stop innovating and your organization is certain to grow old and eventually die.  For this reason, one of the most important activities a food company can do is invest in the Discovery process – the innovation front end.  Many marketing, development and innovation professionals call the innovation front end the “fuzzy front end.” However, if you are going to invest in Discovery, it is critical that this process be anything but fuzzy.  It needs to bring clarity to focus your valuable product development and commercialization resources to achieve a high return on your innovation investments.

There is never a lack of ideas.  Even good ideas can be a dime a dozen.  Winning ideas are forged by creative focus at the innovation front end where three white spaces converge.  This includes ideas filling Product White Space where your competitors are not playing, Technology White Space where your competitors cannot play, and Behavioral White Space where there is great disruptive potential.

Venn Diagram 2020-11-5

Understanding opportunities at this convergence of white spaces is easier said than done.  Ideas that only fill Product White Space may be different, but not disruptive.  Disruptive ideas are both different (i.e. filling up product white space) and change consumer behaviors (e.g. fill up behavioral white space).  Bush Brothers, for example, achieved success by changing behavior through its Grillin’ Beans line for the outdoor cooking and eating moment.  Discovering this underserved moment was key to success. Simply coming up with another line of bean products differentiated by flavor or type of bean would likely have gotten lost in the clutter. Products targeting behavioral white space are “sticky.”  They provide differentiation beyond form and functionality, becoming the sole product for new routines and habits, sometimes creating completely new categories.

Further, ideas which are different and disruptive may be initially successful, but too easily copied.  Unless your brand owns a category, success may quickly lead to competitors and a new round of commoditization to depress margins.  Access to technical unlocks creates technical white space.  Technical white space not only leads to different and disruptive product ideas it can also places significant barriers to slow down competition likely to follow success.

For these reasons, we are excited to introduce CRAEVS Discovery – a fresh solution for the innovation front end.  This solution combines the behavioral marketing research expertise of InsightsNow with the food product development expertise of CuliNex and the open innovation technology expertise of Xinova.   Using an integrated working process, we are able to deliver commercially viable new product ideas targeting opportunities discovered at the convergence of technology, product, and behavioral white space.

CRAEVS Discovery delivers innovative food product platform concepts, differentiated by technology, and developed by culinologists to be delicious, culinary-inspired, and commercializable at scale. Consumer research identifies those platforms able to play over the broadest landscape of moments and have the greatest disruptive potential to change consumer behaviors.  These platforms are used to create early prototypes ready for downstream development and commercialization initiatives.

Over the next five weeks please look for more posts drilling down into CRAEVS details, uncovering how you can use take your viable new product ideas and to rapidly sprint to in-market success through the CRAEVS Solution.

Webinar 46: Three Dimensions of White Space Discovery

Presentation Date:   Thursday, November 19, 2pm ET (11am PT)   
Presenters
: :  Dave Lundahl, CEO InsightsNow Inc., Mark Crowell, CEO Culinex LLC, and Matt Ferguson, Vice President of Innovation Services, Xinova

Winning ideas are forged by creative focus at the innovation front end where three white spaces converge.  This includes ideas filling Product White Space where your competitors are not playing, Technology White Space where your competitors cannot play, and Behavioral White Space where there is great disruptive potential.

In this webinar, experts from 3 of the country’s leading innovation firms, Xinova, CuliNex and InsightsNow will premiere a new, joint solution for CPG brands called CRAEVS™ Discovery.

We will discuss the CRAEVS™ Discovery methodology and provide case studies that illustrate how we apply behavioral metrics to guide product platform discovery enabled by game-changing technologies.  The results are exciting: a pipeline of viable product ideas with prototypes ready to develop into commercialized award-winning products.

Webinar 9 – May 2018 “Accelerating Innovation through Agile Techniques-Part 3: Commercialization Sprints”

Thursday, May 3, 2 pm ET   “Commercialization Sprints”

 

 Hosted by InsightsNow: Dave Lundahl, CEO, and Greg Stucky, Chief Research Officer

After the fuzzy front end and defining a product design, commercialization steps become more agile with consumer behavior insights.

You now have a great product design explicitly and implicitly communicating benefits for a consumer target.  How do you successfully sprint to the finish line?

This will be the subject for part 3 of our WebinarsNow series on research techniques for agile innovation.

We will address how to rapidly iterate to avoid three major pitfalls for innovation teams.  The first is to rapidly learn through cost rationalization with a constant focus on the prize – maintaining the important cues that signal the benefits your brand will promise to target consumers.  The second is to apply rapid, iterative behavioral techniques to validate pricing and how your consumer target will react.  These techniques will address the importance of including the context of competitive sets to understand price sensitivity, and to ensure you do not alienate existing, and in fact gain new, brand fans as a result of your new product introduction.  We will discuss how to integrate these techniques into learning sprints that are validated through various kinds of test market.

This third webinar will discuss consumer research approaches that uncover consumer insights regarding the areas of ingredients, packaging, pricing, and promotion.

The essential need for speed-to-market response in today’s consumer-driven marketplace has compelled a shift from traditional step-by-step development processes to innovation approaches that incorporate a lean mindset, design thinking, and rapid prototyping. But being lean and agile to support successful innovation efforts does not mean cutting corners, it means you are being smarter in getting to market faster with lower investment.

How do you do shift your research and innovation efforts to be agile, fast and affordable, while still effectively exploring, ideating and executing on your idea, product or service?

In this three-part series of WebinarsNow, you’ll learn about:

  • Agile approaches to innovation and how these differ from classical processes
  • Iterative, cooperative research
  • Case studies delving into these behavioral research approaches
  • Beyond Design - Commercialization Sprints (May 3)

Innovations in research methodology have been proven to help innovation teams more quickly know how to target, design and develop for a more rapid market response. Join us to be inspired to shift your mindset and revisit the way you drive your innovation pipeline to success.

 

See how you can accelerate successful innovations through behavioral research in this video.

Webinar 8- April 2018 – “Accelerating Innovation through Agile Techniques – Part 2: Translation through Iterative Design”

Presented Thursday, April 5, 2 pm ET   

 

 Hosted by InsightsNow: Dave Lundahl, CEO, and Karen Lynch, Director, Qualitative Services

The essential need for speed-to-market response in today’s consumer-driven marketplace has compelled a shift from traditional step-by-step development processes to innovation approaches that incorporate a lean mindset, design thinking, and rapid prototyping. But being lean and agile to support successful innovation efforts does not mean cutting corners, it means you are being smarter in getting to market faster with lower investment.

How do you do shift your research and innovation efforts to be agile, fast and affordable, while still effectively exploring, ideating and executing on your idea, product or service?

In this three-part series of WebinarsNow, you’ll learn about:

  • Agile approaches to innovation and how these differ from classical processes
  • Iterative, cooperative research
  • Case studies delving into these behavioral research approaches
  • Beyond Design - Commercialization Sprints (May 3)

Innovations in research methodology have been proven to help innovation teams more quickly know how to target, design and develop for a more rapid market response. Join us to be inspired to shift your mindset and revisit the way you drive your innovation pipeline to success.

 

View the other two presentations in this Accelerating Innovation series HERE

See how you can accelerate successful innovations through behavioral research in this video.

Accelerating Innovation!

See how you can accelerate successful innovations through behavioral research in this video.

The essential need for speed-to-market response in today’s consumer-driven marketplace has compelled a shift from traditional step-by-step development processes to innovation approaches that incorporate a lean mindset, design thinking, and rapid prototyping. But being lean and agile to support successful innovation efforts does not mean cutting corners, it means you are being smarter in getting to market faster with lower investment.

How do you do shift your research and innovation efforts to be agile, fast and affordable, while still effectively exploring, ideating and executing on your idea, product or service?

In this two-part series of WebinarsNow, you’ll learn about:

  • Agile approaches to innovation and how these differ from classical processes
  • Iterative, cooperative research methodologies functioning as “learning sprints” and “feedback loops”
  • Case studies delving into these behavioral research approaches

Innovations in research methodology have been proven to help innovation teams more quickly know how to target, design and develop for a more rapid market response. Join us to be inspired to shift your mindset and revisit the way you drive your innovation pipeline to success.

Original Presentations:

Thursday, March 8, 2pm ET : “Clearing Up the Fuzzy Front End”

Attend Live!

Thursday, April 5, 2pm ET : “Translation Through Iterative Design”

 Hosted by InsightsNow: Dave Lundahl, CEO & Karen Lynch, Senior Director of Qualitative Insights

Webinar 7 – March 2018 “Accelerating Innovation through Agile Techniques – Part 1: Clearing Up the Fuzzy Front End”

Thursday, March 8, 2pm ET : “Clearing Up the Fuzzy Front End”

Thursday, April 5, 2pm ET : “Translation Through Iterative Design”

Thursday, May 3, 2pm ET :  "Commercialization Sprints"

 Hosted by InsightsNow: Dave Lundahl, CEO, Karen Lynch, Senior Director of Qualitative Insights, and Greg Stucky, Chief Research Officer

The essential need for speed-to-market response in today’s consumer-driven marketplace has compelled a shift from traditional step-by-step development processes to innovation approaches that incorporate a lean mindset, design thinking, and rapid prototyping. But being lean and agile to support successful innovation efforts does not mean cutting corners, it means you are being smarter in getting to market faster with lower investment.

How do you do shift your research and innovation efforts to be agile, fast and affordable, while still effectively exploring, ideating and executing on your idea, product or service?

In this WebinarsNow series, you’ll learn about:

  • Agile approaches to innovation and how these differ from classical processes
  • Iterative, cooperative research methodologies functioning as “learning sprints” and “feedback loops”
  • Case studies delving into these behavioral research approaches

Innovations in research methodology have been proven to help innovation teams more quickly know how to target, design and develop for a more rapid market response. Join us to be inspired to shift your mindset and revisit the way you drive your innovation pipeline to success.

See how you can accelerate successful innovations through behavioral research in this video.