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Thinking Beyond the Category

Updated: Mar 11

Innovation and growth happen when we learn from others or do something out of the ordinary. This has always been a part of my research process, especially when a client wants to understand growth potential. As brands are rushing to develop more and more products, often creating a sea of sameness for consumers, this out of the ordinary approach is more important than ever.

As researchers, we don’t always get to do this because of resources and ‘fear of the unknown’, but as the newest member of the MarketView team and Director of Qualitative Insights, I think we have a wonderful opportunity to expose our clients to new techniques, which will not only reinvigorate the research process, but also uncover killer insights that can help inform product development, communication, growth and beyond.

Here are a couple of examples of how I’ve used this:

Refreshing a CPG’s personal care portfolio:

A CPG company wanted to refresh the messaging of their whole personal care line (10-15 brands) in an effort to stay relevant. We designed several different types of engagements which would help inspire the brand team’s thinking. The whole engagement was a year long process which involved consumer outings, consumer interviews and expert engagements. Within these engagements we came up with activities that had NOTHING to do with personal care, but rather themes or categories that personal care can ‘learn’ from. We did a series of expert panels, and each panel would address a specific theme e.g., Confidence or Self Expression. I headed up this initiative and brainstormed the type of professionals who might know a thing or two about these themes. For confidence we recruited a Pro Tennis trainer, a social worker who works with teenagers, and a stylist. None of these professions have ANYTHING to do with one another or with body wash or hair care, but these discussions inspired how the brand can think about confidence and empowering their consumers to feel confident using their products.

Insight activation for a new ice cream brand

An ice cream brand wanted to develop a new, healthier variety of ice cream. The internal team had developed two territories in which they knew they wanted to play. One of the territories was all about femininity. My research team took the territories and came up with client engagements that would help inspire what this product might be. We looked outside the food category at activities that feel feminine e.g., spas, lunch with the CMO of Rent the Runway, and a boutique fitness class. None of these categories have ANYTHING to do with ice cream, but they activate the team in new ways of thinking and help generate product ideas.

Stretching the bounds of qualitative research with creative, yet connected techniques can ignite fresh thinking amongst consumers and brands alike. Every day we help brands rethink, reshape and reinvigorate their products through our research. It’s the beauty of qualitative- having the room to be creative and apply unique approaches that truly engage and reveal the most from consumers. The possibilities are endless. Whether a new innovative approach or a traditional focus group, we’re here to support the growth of your brand and the success of your products. Ask us how today….

Learn more about our Qualitative expertise or contact us.

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Marc Solomon
Marc Solomon

Nicely done!

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