Research on your needs
Consumer research is a science in its own right. At P&G, our consumer research experts' ultimate aim is to collect information that will be helpful to our product development people. Their research falls into one of two broad categories: quantitative or qualitative.
Qualitative research is used to generate ideas. It involves small groups of people, and requires in-depth interaction between the researcher and the group.
Focus group discussions
This is a common technique for exploring ideas and making initial evaluations. A relatively small group of people is brought together and asked to talk about certain topics. The advantage of this technique is that people can build on one another's ideas and comments.
People who use our products are interviewed at home. They are asked questions about what they use the product for, the product, the desired end result, how they judge the end result and what improvements they would like. Being in the home provides a chance to understand the actual conditions under which our products are used and what the constraints are from your point of view.
People who use our products are interviewed while using them, whether that be laundering, showering or shampooing. This type of research provides valuable insight into the details of how people use a product, how they judge the end result, and what improvements they would like.
One-on-one interviews with customers while they shop allow us to really understand why you make the decision to buy a certain product.
Quantitative research is used to measure large amounts of data or to evaluate new ideas or prototypes. It involves larger groups of people and statistical analysis of data.
Habits and practices
This requires large-scale studies. People are asked to keep written records of how they use a product for a long period of time by making hand-written notes in a special product diary.
These tests involve people who do not know the brand of the new or upgraded product they are being asked to use. The benchmark is either the current product or the key competitor's product. Virtually every product upgrade or new product launch by P&G is supported by blind testing.
Concept-aided usage tests
People are first given the product or brand's concept (which will later be the basis for advertising) and then given the product to use. This helps us understand if the product delivers as promised and whether the packaging, artwork and pricing is appealing.
This is testing done to evaluate whether a product meets both your requirements and product design criteria.