Our client has a long term goal of emulating this experience using commodity ingredients and the first stage of this process was to understand from consumers the optimal way this product should be positioned.
We recognized the importance of designing a programme of research which would uncover patterns of preference for brewed green tea in China so product development could be targeted to deliver specific sensory characteristics that would delight consumers. However, it was also vital to understand the deeper meaning associated with brewed Green Tea (both emotional and functional conceptualizations) to identify the product formulation that would deliver the same equities.
We ran Brandphonics workshops with Chinese consumers, to identify the conceptualizations associated with a range of different leaf green teas. This gave us consumer language used to describe product characteristics and enabled us to probe deeper to elicit the emotional and functional conceptualizations. The next step was to conduct quantitative consumer testing on a wide range of current Green Teas, with objective sensory profiling carried out in parallel by our expert panel. This enabled us to quantitatively measure the linkage between sensory characteristics and the emotional and functional equities to derive a clear strategy for our client’s product development and product positioning.
We identified two potential routes for our client’s entry into this category
- Producing a mainstream style product – with sensory characteristics (and hence emotional & functional characteristics associated with the product) in line with the optimal premium brewed green. This route would be a departure from their original strategy, but our research showed that it would offer a high potential return
- Target a softer, feminine positioning which would be more niche but would deliver a drinking experience in line with brewed Green Tea, and would work as a future line extension from the first product route
We were able to provide clear guidance in terms of the sensory profile for each potential route, plus outline the emotional tone for supporting communications and packaging artwork as well as the functional characteristics which would enhance the proposition.
Given the relative size of opportunity available, our client has decided to proceed with the first strategy and is currently developing liquids. Future research with MMR will ensure that the new prototypes are in line with the desired positioning, plus packaging development work to ensure the whole proposition is consonant.