Business professionals are tasked daily with understanding the wants and needs of the customer and there is growing awareness that VoC (Voice of Consumer) research is the quickest way to tap into that knowledge. But industries struggle with knowing how to translate their initial business objectives into research projects that will produce the insights they need.

Below is a case study of how one of our beauty clients overcame a major hurdle in their industry through qualitative exploration and iterative testing to satisfy every question they had about their customer base and maintain a competitive edge in the market.

The Objective:

In 2016, a brand-new buzzword entered the beauty fold: glow. A slew of new products emerged on the market, all promising an ethereal, “from-within” appearance of radiance. Popular YouTube influences began featuring never-before-seen brands on their vlogs, putting pressure on industry veterans to keep up with the growing trend. That’s when one of the most established international beauty behemoths asked us to help them develop a universal radiance product that would sustain their reputation as innovators in the industry. But where to start?

The Process:

  1. Open Exploration – To better understand consumer perceptions around what it means to have glowing skin, we ran multiple open-ended community discussions and a sprawling A&U (Attitudes & Usage) survey.
  2. Consumer Segmentation – Initial findings revealed that different women define “glow” differently, and look for a range of qualities in their products to deliver what they perceive as a radiant look. Deeper analysis of this exploratory research organically produced two distinct consumer segments, which guided the client’s lab to a more manageable list of possible directions for their product.
  3. Product Testing – After developing an initial formulation, it was time to conduct an IHUT (In-Home-Usage-Test). Community members were asked to share their thoughts via survey (quantitative) and submit videos (qualitative) after testing the product in multiple ways for variation. Results from the initial round of product testing revealed room for improvement.
  4. Iteration – We continued to deliver bite-sized updates to client throughout the testing period so the labs could revise the formulation quickly based on consumer response.  Then we tested the reformulation.

The Results:

After a year of iterative research, the client launched a multi-channel marketing campaign and stocked store shelves with 4 shades of glow lotion, which are still selling fast and in production today. Bonus: community members so enjoyed the process that they started theorizing when they might see the products in-store, informing us that IHUTs are not only an effective way to conduct product testing, but that they also function to bond research subjects around a brand. Through open-minded exploration, tireless iteration, and a willingness to go with the flow, our client succeeded above and beyond.