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A Better Way To Spill The Tea: A Controlled, Multi-Category Consumer Experiment To Assess Optimal Ways To Elicit Open Ended Feedback In Quantitative Surveys

Open-ended responses hold a distinctive power to unveil hidden insights that quantitative measures might miss. Curion ventured to explore the potential of modifying prompts for open-ended questions to influence the context of consumer responses, aligning them more closely with research goals.


An Intricate Experiment

Collaborating seamlessly across multiple levels and groups, we developed a new solution and invited participants to two of our company-owned testing facilities to engage in a Consumer Location Test (CLT) study. The experiment mirrored typical category assessment questionnaires, and then unfolded across two product categories: cheddar-flavored snacks and beauty & personal care lotions.

Each product category embraced a multi-cell design, assigning a distinct prompt to each cell while ensuring blind product presentations. This methodology created an intricate comparison of response patterns across various prompts and product segments.


Envisioning the Future

Our exploration shed light on the classic prompt’s alignment with overall quantitative survey results and its resemblance to the Tell a Friend prompt. However, its limitation lies in its lack of external context.

The Critic/Influencer prompts, designed around the roles of Food Critics and Beauty Influencers, garnered fewer positive mentions overall. These prompts corresponded well with star ratings, reflecting overall liking and purchase intent.

The Tell a Friend prompt closely paralleled the classic prompt, emphasizing the importance of referral-friendly feedback.


Lessons to Embrace

Open-ended prompts often dwell in the shadows of generic approaches, yet experienced researchers acknowledge their potential for unearthing unique insights. Prompt modifications can alter consumer mindsets to align with specific research objectives, whether it’s prioritizing visual aspects, eliciting nuanced negative or positive aspects, or encouraging more elaborate responses.

The prompts explored in this study serve as ready-to-use tools or templates to customize according to research objectives of the client. In the ever-evolving landscape of consumer insights, it’s important to remember that experimentation paves the way to discovery.

Embrace the unexplored realm, as it holds the potential to unlocking transformative insights.


This research, presented on a scientific poster during Pangborn 2023, was selected blindly by the scientific committee as a “Top Poster,” representing the top 10% of all research presented at Pangborn, showcasing its outstanding contribution to the field.


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About Curion:

Curion specializes in delivering impactful insights to the world’s top CPG companies, helping them develop winning, repeatedly purchased products. Curion’s deep data-driven product insights, sensory expertise, and state-of-the-art consumer centers enable them to uncover responses to critical client objectives. With over five decades of experience in the product testing industry, Curion is dedicated to guiding clients with their proprietary XP Xperience Performance platform, connecting brands to consumers at every step. An innovator in the industry, Curion recently developed a groundbreaking benchmarking product testing method, the Curion Score™, which has become a trusted and sought after tool within the industry. As one of the largest product and consumer insights companies in the U.S., Curion has built a reputation for excellence and trust among the world’s leading consumer brands. Curion’s commitment to innovation and expertise, coupled with a passion for delivering actionable insights, makes Curion a valuable partner for companies looking to develop and launch successful products.