The next speaker - Dave Lundahl, CEO of consultancy InsightsNow - reminded delegates that what consumers say in focus groups (‘I want more healthy alternatives at fast food outlets’) and what they actually do (buy a double cheeseburger out of habit, then feel bad about it afterwards) are often very different.
And that’s because the rational mindset we employ in focus groups is not the mindset most of us employ when we go about routine tasks like grocery shopping or ordering food. In fact most of the time we don’t consciously know what’s motivating our choices, he said.
So if product developers want to connect with consumers at key moments - such as a ‘busy energizing’ moment when we’re on the run and want to replace a meal with a portable snack - they have to identify the cues certain food attributes convey to our subconscious minds at that particular moment in order to be relevant, he said.
We need to segment moments, not people
For example, a lightweight granola bar with big fruit pieces might score top marks in a focus group on bars for liking. But at this particular ‘moment’ when we’re grabbing something to replace a meal, its visible fruit pieces and light-weight send cues to our subconscious minds that this product might not sustain us until the next meal, while heavy, dense and chewy Clif Bars are the perfect choice (more energizing), he said.
However, that same granola bar might be the perfect choice for another snacking ‘moment’ where different, subconscious motivations are at play, he said.
“We need to segment moments, not people. It’s not just about liking, it’s about whether a product is relevant at key moments of people’s lives and becomes habit-forming.”
Red Bull, for example, is a classic case of a product that probably wouldn’t perform well on a blind taste test compared with other soft drinks, but has been phenomenally successful, he said. Meanwhile, how many people like the taste of coffee when they drink their first cup?
Yet both beverages meet consumer needs at key moments.