Companies often introduce new products to remain relevant and better meet the needs of their existing customers. It can also be used as a strategy to defend against competition. One client wanted to introduce a new type of alcoholic beverage to the local market. In order to help shape the product and ensure that it would receive market acceptance, the company sought to obtain feedback from the target market.
A mixed-method approach involving the use of focus group discussions along with a quantitative assessment was used in order to obtain feedback regarding prospective customers’ perception of the proposed product, their opinion of the actual product with respect to key attributes such as taste, appearance, appeal, etc., and to obtain inputs to help develop brand elements. Prospective customers were first recruited for participation in the study with the aid of a screener questionnaire to help ensure that they fit the profile of the proposed target market. A series of focus group discussions (FGDS)were then held with participants, who were grouped according to variables such as geographical location, gender, age, preferred types of alcoholic beverages. The FGDs facilitated the introduction of the proposed product concept and solicitation of feedback on the concept. This was followed by blind taste tasting in which the participants evaluated different variations of the product. They were asked to rate their opinion of each product using a predesigned rating sheet. Further discussion allowed for further probing of factors influencing their opinions. They were then invited to offer suggestions for naming of the product and its packaging.
The results helped to shape the product and ensure that it would receive market acceptance. The implementation of recommendations that were put forward based on the findings led to refinement of the actual product, with respect to the flavour, sweetness, and overall taste. It also influenced the naming of the product and packaging decisions, including the images and colouring to be used on the label.