Client Results

Making Soda ‘Pop’ Once Again

A major CPG client wanted to understand the factors that drove a precipitous decline of sales in a key category. Given the brand’s sheer size and sales volume, there was a critical need to understand what actions should be taken to stem the declines.

Stemming sales declines by identifying the negatives and embracing the positives associated with the brand.

Our brand positioning research approach employed a combination of rational and implicit elements to dig deeper on deeply ingrained stereotypes within the category. Part of the method involved a projective exercise that we customized toward various key audiences — such as moms or teens — that allowed them to evaluate various beverages in a real life context without actually knowing their answers were related to the category. Our Rapid Choice and Implicit Brand Image Decoder methodologies allowed us to understand consumer associations with the brand and the category at a nonconscious level.

The top key findings included:

  • Negative health associations with key ingredients had penetrated the consciousness of consumers and were deeply associated with the category.
  • Beyond health concerns, the category also suffered from a lack of meaningful differentiation, particularly against a new market entrant, which was gaining the most share.
  • While men were still engaged in the category, engagement among women and health-conscious individuals decreased at alarming rates.

We advised the client that health concerns can only be combated indirectly, since any direct defenses against health would do more harm than good. We recommended that the brand should instead emphasize specific implicit emotions (such as happiness, satisfaction, and relaxation) that were differentiating against other brands and product types in the category.

A New Direction

Client scrapped all planned health messaging

Tap Into Emotion for Brand Identity

Brand messaging emphasized the feeling that comes with drinking the product

A Little Goes a Long Way

Focus on marketing smaller packages led to stronger revenues